San Diego

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Park Permitting for Gyms and Religious Institutions

On Tuesday, Aug. 18 Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer signed an PDF icon Executive Order allowing gyms and religious institutions to operate in city parks where physical distancing is made easier.

The mayor’s order eases permitting for fitness studios and houses of worship that wish to safely operate outside in one of the City of San Diego’s nearly 340 parks. The directive, which goes into effect Monday, Aug. 24, defers park permit fees for 60 days. 

Outdoor religious services and outdoor fitness classes are all eligible under the executive order.

Permitted Use 

Activities that require a permit include outdoor religious services, gym and physical fitness facilities and outdoor recreation, fitness or athletic activities in which professional instruction or coaching is provided. 

The number of permits available for each park depends on the total available spaces. Availability of park sites is not guaranteed and is based on demand. 

Permits for these activities will be granted for a duration not to exceed one month. Entities who hold permits with a month-long duration can reserve space on a recurring basis during the month-long permit period without having to make multiple one-day reservations. 

Parks authorized for outdoor religious and fitness instruction-oriented activities are listed below: 

Mission Bay Balboa Park Other Parks
  1. Bonita Cove
  2. De Anza Cove
  3. Hospitality Point
  4. North Kellogg Park
  5. Playa I, II, III 
  6. Ski Beach North
  7. Sunset Point
  8. Tecolote Shores (North and South)
  1. 6th Avenue and Hawthorn Street
  2. 7th Avenue and Upas Street
  3. Cypress Picnic Grove
  4. Inspiration Point Lawn
  5. Morley Field Fitness Area East
  6. Morley Field Fitness Area North
  7. Morley Field Fitness Area West
  8. Pepper Grove
  9. Redwood Circle
  10. War Memorial Lawn

Applicants can telephone the recreation center nearest to the park they would like to use in order to inquire about space availability. Please visit the City's Recreation Center page for locations and phone numbers. 


NOTE: All recreation centers remain closed to the public, but staff can be reached via telephone or email for assistance. 

Hours of use are from 7 a.m to dusk and are subject to change based on season. 

The following locations are not eligible to be permitted at this time: 

  • Recreation centers
  • Parking lots
  • Balboa Park Organ Pavilion
  • Balboa Park Plaza de Panama

Permit Eligibility

To be considered for a permit, applicants must abide by the following requirements:

  • Activities must fall within the categories of outdoor religious services, those who operate fitness facilities and offer fitness instruction and day camps
  • Applicant must have the required insurance naming the City of San Diego as additional insured
  • Applicants must have a copy of their PDF icon Safe Reopening Plan
  • Applicants must have a City of San Diego Business Certificate issued prior to Aug. 1, 2020 (if applicant is a fitness facility or organization that offers fitness instruction

Permit Application Process

Permits must be applied for in advance via the Parks and Recreation Department.

  • To reserve areas in Mission Bay, Shoreline Parks and Balboa Park, please contact the Permit Center at (619) 235-1169
  • For all other parks, please visit to the City's Recreation Centers page for the Recreation Center associated with the desired location.
  • PLEASE NOTE: The City Permit Center located at 2125 Park Blvd. and all City Recreation Centers remain closed to the public and are not available for in-person visits. 

After contact with the Permit Center (or applicable recreation center) has been made, applicants will be asked to do the following:

Permit Effective Dates

Permits will go into effect as of the date of approval apprearing on the permit and end of the permitted end date or as soon as the Public Health Order allows these organizations to resume indoor operations (whichever comes first). These temporary permits will be canceled immediately upon reinstated approval of indoor spaces for religious services and fitness operations by the County of San Diego. At that point, the group or organization can continue to operate outdoors if they pay the regular fees associated with that site and location. Future permits will be issued based on the order listed above and availability of space.

Conditions of Use

The City of San Diego has requirements that must be met prior to and during use of outdoor parkland for these activities. Failure to meet and maintain these requirements will be cause for a permit application to be rejected or permit to be canceled.

  • Applicant shall adhere to all rules governing the use of parkland, including all applicable City codes and policies. This includes all posted park rules and the Rules adn Regulations included in each issued Park Permit
  • All State of California and County of San Diego regulations and Center for Disease Control guidelines for Covid-19 must followed. Failure to adhere to the regulations may result in cancellation of a permit and rejection of future applications
  • Prior to use of parkland, the applicant must issue a copy of its Safe Reopening Plan to all of its employees to ensure compliance. 
  • The Safe Reopening Plan must be posted at the location of the permitted use.
  • Only approved equipment and supplies are permitted on park land.
  • Equipment and supply set-up and removal is the responsibility of the applicant and must be completed within the approved permit time.
  • All trash and recycling must be placed in the proper receptacles.
  • All groups, regardless of size, are required to comply with the public health guidelines set for by the County of San Diego. All groups should have a Safe Reopening Plan and insurance in order to operate on City of San Diego parkland.

All requirements, terms and conditions outlined in the PDF icon "Parks and Recreation Department Fee Schedule (effective December 20, 2017)" remain in effect.

For more information on park rules and regulations, please visit our PDF icon "Rules and Regulations for Use of City Parks and Recreation Sites" page.