ATTENTION: In response to COVID-19, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure is asking businesses interested in activating sidewalk areas to instead apply via the department's specialized street modifications permits for temporary sidewalk cafes. An application form as well as instructions on how to apply may be found on the department's COVID-19 response page. If you have any questions, please contact

Sidewalk Activation License

There are two types of Sidewalk Activation Licenses offered by the City of Pittsburgh: Non Food Prep and Food Prep.

The purpose of the Sidewalk Activation License (Non Food Prep) is to encourage businesses such as novelty shops, clothing stores, boutiques, bookstores, art galleries, florists, and the like to expand their space onto their sidewalks to create a pedestrian-friendly environment for visitors and residents alike to stroll the streets and enjoy the variety of merchandise available.

The purpose of the Sidewalk Activation License (Food Prep) is to allow restaurants, grocery stores, cafés, or delis to use the public sidewalk for the purpose of outdoor cooking, selling, sampling, and displaying of food cooked/prepared outside of the business premises. Note: if a food establishment wishes to serve food and beverages to their customers at tables placed on the public sidewalk, it must apply for a Sidewalk Café License instead.

To learn more about what is required for either type of Sidewalk Activation License, check out the following information:


To apply for a Sidewalk Activation License, please download and complete the application found at and email for further direction.