Outdoor Dining & Retail in Parking Lots & Other Private Spaces

The City of Oakland is providing opportunities for businesses to utilize privately-owned outdoor areas, including parking lots, for outdoor dining and retail uses.


Photo of downtown Oakland City Center Plaza. Courtesy Aaron Lehmer-Chang.

The City of Oakland is providing opportunities for economic revitalization and community engagement through creative and flexible uses of privately-owned parking lots and other open outdoor areas. The initiative streamlines permitting requirements to provide additional space for Oakland restaurants and retail businesses to operate.


  1. Support local restaurants and retailers:
    • Provide quick response to businesses who want to use privately-owned parking lots and other areas
  2. Support Oakland residents:
    • Increase outdoor activity for Oakland residents and visitors
    • Foster renewed community spirit, connection and engagement within Oakland neighborhoods
  3. Ensure and advance racial equity:
    • Advance racial equity for and prioritize vulnerable businesses of color
    • Ensure business owners receive necessary technical support to take advantage of proposed City initiatives
    • Reduce administrative barriers to participate in the City program

Get Started

The application form for this initiative is below, along with links to related resources. Get started right away by preparing the following:

  1. Prepare a Site Plan for your café or merchandise display
    Plan how many tables and chairs or display stands you can reasonably fit in the portion of the privately-owned parking lot or other private property area dedicated to such use without blocking any pedestrian path. Note any items currently in these spaces. Remember, you must keep six feet of pedestrian path clear for accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  2. Photograph your business
    Show all entrances to the business and the private outdoor areas, including parking lots, on the same or adjacent property. Take additional photos as needed.

How to Apply

Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage. There is no charge for this application.

APPLY ONLINE: Visit our Apply for Outdoor Dining & Retail in Parking Lots & Private Spaces page


Call (510) 238-3911 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal. You may also schedule an appointment with Permit Counter staff during open hours.

Reopening Resources

Businesses may also apply to operate outdoor retail and dining in parking lanes, sidewalks, traffic lanes, and approved public properties under the City's Flex Streets initiative.


Jul 11, 2020

Statement from the City of Oakland on Outdoor Dining

Late last night, (Friday, July 10), Alameda County issued a press release regarding updated State-issued guidance, dated July 9, stating that outdoor dining is prohibited in non-variance counties, which includes Alameda County. While Alameda County’s Health Officer Order had allowed for outdoor dining, the press release states that under this stricter State guidance, all restaurants, wineries, and bars in Alameda County may only be open for drive-through or pick-up/delivery options.

Contact Us


Zoning Division

Map image for Outdoor Dining & Retail in Parking Lots & Other Private Spaces, located at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, CA 94612
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone Numbers