As a bustling city with limited space, finding parking in Boston can be quite challenging. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, it’s important to plan ahead and know all your options for parking in Boston. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about parking in Boston, including on-street and off-street parking, parking regulations, parking tickets, and free parking options.
On-Street Parking in Boston
On-street parking is one of the most popular options for parking Boston. There are over 40,000 street parking spaces across the city, but it’s important to be aware of the restrictions and regulations to avoid getting a ticket. Boston parking meters are usually active from 8am to 8pm, Monday through Saturday. Metered spaces come with a two-hour maximum time limit, but there could be exceptions that allow more time.
There are three types of meters in Boston: single space meters, pay and display meters, and meters with colored domes.
1. Single-space meters are usually found on streets in popular business, shopping, and entertainment neighborhoods. These meters accept quarters, debit cards, and credit cards.
2. Pay and display meters require you to display the receipt on the curbside window when using these meters. Use quarters or cards for payment.
3. Meters with colored domes indicate restricted parking, with red-capped meters often designated as drop-off zones during the day and yellow-capped meters used as loading zones during certain hours.
Meter rates for car parking in Boston currently range from $2 – $3.75 per hour. Metered street parking in the southern Boston waterfront area and Back Bay is the most expensive, followed by Bulfinch Triangle and Fenway/Kenmore at $2.50. In the Financial District, Beacon Hill, the South End, and all other parts of the city, meter parking costs $2 per hour.
Metered parking holidays provide free parking in Boston at metered street spaces on Sundays and a few city holidays. However, all other parking rules and regulations are still in effect on meter holidays, and it’s important to be aware of them to avoid getting a ticket.
Parking tickets and fines are common issues faced by drivers in Boston. Failure to follow parking regulations can result in tickets that can range from $25 to $120, depending on the violation. This can become quite costly if you get ticketed repeatedly. To avoid tickets, be sure to read the signs before parking and make sure you’re following all parking regulations. If you do receive a ticket, it’s important to pay it on time to avoid late fees and additional fines.
Off-Street Parking in Boston
Off-street parking is another option for those looking to park in Boston. There are several parking garages and lots scattered throughout the city that offer both hourly and daily rates. While off-street parking may be more expensive than on-street parking, it’s often more convenient and safer.
Demand for off-street parking in Boston can be high, and prices can vary significantly depending on the area. In the Back Bay and the Financial District, parking garages can charge over $40 for a day’s worth of parking. However, there are affordable off-street parking options near top attractions like Boston Common, the Boston Public Library, and the Boston Museum of Science.
One way to save money on off-street parking is to pre-book your parking spots. Several parking apps and websites offer this service, allowing you to reserve a spot ahead of time and often at a discounted rate. Additionally, some parking garages offer discounted rates for evening or overnight parking, which can save you money if you’re planning on staying in the city for an extended period.
Free Parking in Boston
While finding free parking in Boston can be challenging, it’s not impossible. There are several options for free parking throughout the city, including street parking on Sundays and holidays. On Sundays, metered parking spaces are free throughout the city, and this is also true for a few city holidays, such as New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
In addition to these holidays, there are a few other free parking options in Boston. Some residential areas offer free overnight parking, usually between 6 pm and 8 am. If you’re visiting a friend or family member who lives in Boston, consider asking them about visitor permits. Some neighborhoods have a Residential Parking Permit Program that allows residents to purchase permits for their visitors to park on the street without restrictions.
Specific Neighborhoods and Areas
Parking in some neighborhoods and areas of Boston can be especially challenging, so it’s important to know your options before you go.
1. Back Bay parking can be expensive, but there are several affordable parking garages in the area. The Prudential Center garage offers a flat rate of $18 for up to 12 hours of parking, and the Copley Place garage offers a flat rate of $10 for up to three hours of parking.
2. Mission Hill parking is also in high demand due to its proximity to Longwood Medical Area. There are several parking garages in the area, including the Renaissance Parking Garage and the Landmark Center Garage, but prices can be quite expensive. One option for affordable parking is to park at the Roxbury Crossing MBTA station and take the train to Mission Hill.
3. The Boston Museum of Science is a popular attraction, and parking in the area can be difficult. The museum has its own parking garage, but it can be pricey. A more affordable option is to park at the Cambridgeside Galleria and take the free museum shuttle bus.
4. Free downtown parking is hard to come by, but there are a few options. There is a small parking lot on Milk Street that offers free parking after 6 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. Another option is to park at the Boston Common Garage and walk to downtown destinations.
5. The North End is a popular neighborhood for visitors, but parking can be challenging due to the narrow streets and limited parking spaces. There are a few off-street parking garages in the area, including the Parcel 7 Garage and the Haymarket Center Garage. However, these garages can be expensive, and street parking can be hard to find. If you’re visiting the North End, consider taking public transportation or walking from a nearby parking garage or lot.
Additional Resources for Parking Boston
There are several parking apps and websites that can help you find parking in Boston. Parkopedia is a website and app that provides real-time parking information, including prices and availability, for parking garages and lots throughout the city. SpotAngels is another app that helps you find free and affordable parking in Boston and alerts you when your parking time is about to expire.
In addition to these apps, you can also use Yelp to search for “free parking” in Boston. This can be a helpful tool for finding hidden gems and free parking spots that you may not have known about.
Finally, it’s important to note that public transportation is a great option for getting around Boston. The city has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, subways, and commuter rail lines. If you’re staying in the city for an extended period, consider purchasing a weekly or monthly pass to save money on transportation costs.
Finding parking in Boston can be a challenge, but with a little planning and knowledge of your options, you can avoid headaches and save money. Be sure to check for parking regulations and restrictions, and if you’re unsure about a parking spot, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Remember to use parking apps and websites to pre-book your parking spots and find the best deals, and consider taking public transportation to avoid the hassle of finding parking altogether. With these tips and resources, you can make your next trip to Boston a stress-free and enjoyable experience.
1. What is the cost of metered parking in Boston?
Metered parking in Boston ranges from $2 – $3.75 per hour, depending on the area.
2. Are there any free parking options in Boston?
Yes, there are a few free parking options in Boston, including street parking on Sundays and holidays, and some residential areas that offer free overnight parking.
3. What are the parking regulations for on-street parking in Boston?
On-street parking in Boston has various restrictions and regulations, including time limits, meter rates, and restrictions on certain days or times.
4. What are the benefits of using off-street parking in Boston?
Off-street parking in Boston is often more convenient and safer than on-street parking, and some parking garages offer discounts for pre-booking or extended parking periods.
5. How can I find affordable parking near top attractions in Boston?
Using parking apps or websites, such as Parkopedia or SpotAngels, can help you find affordable parking near top attractions in Boston, and pre-booking your parking spot can often save you money.
6. What should I do if I receive a parking ticket in Boston?
If you receive a parking ticket in Boston, it’s important to pay it on time to avoid late fees and additional fines. Be sure to read the signs before parking to avoid getting a ticket in the first place.
7. Can I park on the street overnight in Boston?
Overnight parking is allowed in some residential areas of Boston, usually between 6pm and 8am. Be sure to check for parking regulations and restrictions before parking on the street overnight.
8. How can I find free parking in the North End of Boston?
Finding free parking in the North End can be challenging, but there are a few off-street parking garages in the area, such as the Parcel 7 Garage and the Haymarket Center Garage. You can also try searching for free street parking in nearby neighborhoods and walking to the North End.
9. What is the best way to get around Boston?
Boston has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, subways, and commuter rail lines. Using public transportation can be a cost-effective and convenient way to get around the city.
10. Can I pre-book a parking spot in Boston?
Yes, several parking apps and websites offer pre-booking services for parking spots in Boston. This can be a great way to ensure that you have a spot reserved and often at a discounted rate.