How to Park: West Coast Edition

 

Parking in the city is not an easy feat. Whether you are rushing to a dinner reservation or visiting a friend for the weekend, finding a parking spot is nothing short of a headache. While we can’t help you snag a secret spot or dispute your parking ticket, we can give you tips on what to expect when you’re in these west coast cities.

 

city parking

 

San Francisco
There is a lot crammed into this 7×7 mile city, which means parking can be quite challenging. If you do find a coveted spot, the good news is that most meters take credit cards so you don’t have to search in the depths of your bag for stray quarters. Certain neighborhoods are even experimenting with on-demand pricing, which means rates may vary by block, time of day and day of the week, and can be adjusted +/- 50 cents per hour. The other good news is that Metromile’s street sweeping alerts are available in SF, which alerts you if your car is parked in a street sweeping area so you can move it in time. When you park, don’t forget to curb your wheels on any street that has a 3% grade or higher (which is pretty much the entire city). This is something visitors often don’t realize and is easy to ticket for.

Los Angeles
If you are in LA, it might be even harder to find a spot since the majority of the city’s population owns a car. Downtown LA also has on-demand pricing and you can see how much you can expect to pay on the LA Express Park website. If you can’t find a spot and are in a time crunch, there are plenty of lots and valet options throughout the metropolitan area, although it could cost you close to $40 for the day. Luckily, most business will validate parking bringing the costs down significantly. And if you do find a spot on the street, make sure you know what the color of the curb means to avoid getting a ticket!

Portland
If you do find on-street parking in Portland keep in mind there are two types of parking meters – the SmartMeter pay station and the coin-operated meter – so don’t get rid of that quarter stash just yet. The city also owns six downtown SmartPark garages which are the most affordable parking lot options. Pro tip: some businesses will even validate two hours of free SmartPark parking with qualifying purchases. If you aren’t near a SmartPark garage, private lots could cost you around $22 for the day.

Seattle
You’re in luck: Seattle is probably the easiest of these cities to find parking in. There is a fair amount of on-street parking, and both coins and credit cards are accepted at all meters. You can even pay by phone to eliminate the need to attach a receipt to your car.

There are also plenty of new innovations popping up to help alleviate city parking, such as Zirx and Luxe which provide on-demand valet service. Of course, you could always take Uber or public transportation and forget about parking entirely. And don’t forget to download the Metromile driving app to use our car locator if you forget where you parked!

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