Rallies, Demonstrations and Marches
Are you organizing a rally, demonstration, or march?
The City of Madison wants your event to be safe for everyone. Madison has public spaces where people can demonstrate, with or without a permit. Below are some suggested locations and permit information. A group, of less than 100 people, that remains on public sidewalks, follows all traffic laws, does not block vehicles or pedestrians, and does not use amplification or set up any structures, does not require a permit. A group can gather in a City park without a permit if the number of people does not disrupt shelter reservations, athletic reservations, or permitted events, there is no sound amplification, no vending, and no structures like tents being set up. See Find a Park
Use of a City street requires a Street Use Permit - apply here: Street Use Permit Application. Apply at least 2 weeks in advance of the event date and submit a $100 non-refundable application fee. Other permit fees may be charged based on the details of the event.
- Small rallies, no march: Space is available through a Downtown Performance Space Permit. This permit is low cost and can be issued quickly. The permit may not be applied for more than 3 weeks in advance of the event. Cost is $15 plus $0.25/hour electricity fee. Locations include Library Mall, the top of State Street, and others along State Street and the Capitol Square.
- Larger groups:
- Gatherings on the State Capitol grounds that will not require closing City streets can be reserved with a State Facility Use Permit. To obtain this permit, you must contact Capitol Police, or call (608) 266-7840. No City permit is needed if not closing City streets or holding a march that will block traffic (including cross traffic.)
- Many City parks can accommodate a larger group.
- Reserve a park shelter or apply for a Park Event permit, depending on the anticipated attendance and desired location.
- Suggested routes for a march:
- Stay on sidewalks and obey all traffic signals
- Marches of 100 people or less that will stay on sidewalks and obey traffic signals - No permit required
- Marches of 100 people or more that will stay on sidewalk and obey traffic signals - Parade Permit.
- Use one of these routes:
- Warner Park - park paths
- Any City park with walking paths.
- Capitol Square loop (weekends)
- Langdon Street from Wisconsin Avenue to Park Street
Why not State Street?
Anyone can march on the sidewalks of State Street without a permit, as long as you follow all traffic signals. But closing State Street to traffic is very disruptive, especially on weekdays. Many City buses travel on State Street. Bus detours are disruptive to bus riders who use public transportation for work and appointments. Closing State Street also means that Johnson and Gorham, two major transportation corridors through the city, must be closed to traffic and cross-town traffic is stopped. Please see suggested routes.
Last minute event?
The City of Madison wants events to be safe for everyone. Plan ahead! Please follow applicable deadlines. Events that close a street require a Street Use Permit, applied for at least 2 weeks in advance (4 weeks is preferred.) Planning suggestions:
- Are there other events this day? Will your group conflict or overlap with crowds or traffic?
- Why are you choosing this date? Can you pick another date to allow pre-planning?
- Benefits of a Street Use Permit: official street closures, barricades, traffic control, SAFETY.
- What is your crowd size? Smaller groups, less than 100 people, can stay on sidewalks without a permit, or remain on Capitol grounds.
- Let the City know of your plans.
- Some small marches can be permitted on shorter notice through a parade permit, if staying on sidewalks and obeying traffic signals.
Keep us informed - We want to work with you!
Tell us your date, crowd size, and location, by contacting:
Phone (608) 264‑9289 or email Madison Events.