It’s not easy to find parking in Boston – whether you are new to the city or know the streets like the back of your hand. Boston barely manages to keep up with on-street parking space demand. Off-street, get ready to pay through the nose for a secure garage space in some neighborhoods. So, is there a solution? We can think of a few. The first step, get to know all your options for parking in Boston today.
Planning a holiday road trip? Boston is perfect for an affordable winter vacation! It might not top the list of US holiday destinations, but the lights, snow, and events set the vibe right. To keep the trip affordable, make sure to figure out Boston parking before you go.
In Boston’s busiest neighborhoods, the intense demand for parking spaces keeps the off-street rates high. Even for a city with excellent public transportation and a walkability score of 82, cars on the streets just keep growing.
On-Street Parking in Boston
Seems like the easiest choice, right? Not when you realize there’s a list of restrictions to look out for – especially during winter. However, there are over 40K street parking spaces across the city. If you check posted signs and stick to the rules, Boston street parking should be mostly hassle-free.
Boston parking meters are usually active from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday. Metered spaces come with a two-hour maximum time limit, but there could be exceptions that allow more time. You can feed the meters with coins or credit cards or use the ParkBoston app if the meter has a decal indicating app payment.
Types of Meters
Single space meters: Usually found on streets in popular business, shopping, and entertainment neighborhoods. These meters accept quarters, debit cards, and credit cards.
Pay and Display meters: You must display the receipt on the curbside window when using these meters. Use quarters or cards for payment.
Meters with colored domes: Parking is usually restricted at these metered spots. Red-capped meters are often drop-off zones during the day, while yellow-capped meters are used as loading zones during certain hours.
Always check signs posted nearby and meter decals/displays before you park at a metered space, especially one with a colored dome.
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, South End, and all other parts of the city, meter parking costs $2 per hour.
Meter parking holidays
Free parking in Boston is available at metered street spaces on Sundays and a few city holidays. However, all other parking rules and regulations are in effect on meter holidays. If a holiday like Christmas falls on a Sunday, meters will be suspended on the following Monday as well.
When you go over the cost of parking in Boston, keep the parking tickets in mind. Enforcement officers rarely miss a violation and if you receive a ticket, expect to pay anywhere between $15 and $120.
It’s not easy to keep your record clean; besides the strict street parking rules, Boston also has a Residential Parking Permit Program with no scope for visitor permits. Illegally parking on a ‘Residents Parking Only’ street will set you back by at least $60. Parking over the posted limit or after the meter expires will leave a $40 ticket on your windshield in metered zones. $100 is the going rate for Fenway event parking or Pedestrian Zone violation. Fail to pay your fine within 21 days of getting the ticket, and you’ll lose more money on late fees.
Basic Rules for Street Parking in Boston
- Most streets in Boston are ‘Resident Parking Only,’ but visitors can park in these areas for up to two hours during specific hours. Usually, there are no time limits outside the posted hours.
- Arrows on parking signs point towards the restricted area. If there is no arrow on the sign or two arrows are pointing in opposite directions, parking is restricted on the whole street.
- Boston streets are usually cleaned between April 1st and November 30th. A few main streets are cleaned round the year. You can check the schedule online but always check for street cleaning signs.
- Metered streets downtown become extra traffic lanes during rush hour. Make sure to check signs and meters before you park.
- Parking is restricted to most main streets during snowstorms to keep it clear for emergency vehicles and plows. Off-street parking is highly recommended during winter in Boston.
Find Parking in Boston Off Street
The demand for off-street parking spaces in Boston significantly goes up as the winter sets in – naturally, the cost goes up. When you visit during the holidays, getting complimentary parking at your hotel is a good deal. But you may want to drive around the city too. It’s too risky to leave your car on the streets while trying to enjoy the seasonal events.
Parking in Boston on Sunday is free, but you might struggle to find a spot, and then you have to keep an eye on all the street parking restrictions. The best parking garages in Boston are often thought to be expensive. But it isn’t always – especially when you plan your visit well and pre-book all your parking spots.
It is easier to find cheap parking garages in Boston online instead of driving around in the cold. You can look up all your options and book a spot from anywhere, anytime, using a parking app or website like Way.com. Compare rates, check out the deals, and get more discounts for the lowest rates at garages in high-demand neighborhoods.
Affordable Parking near Top Attractions
Here are some of the events and attractions you don’t want to miss during the holiday season. But the city has a lot more to offer, any time of the year. Check out some of the most visited places in Boston and where to find parking near them.
Parking near the Boston Commons
The downtown public park is the oldest in the country. The Frog Pond is a favorite for winter skating, while picnics are perfect for the summers. The park is surrounded by many historical and iconic sites. You won’t struggle to find parking near Boston Common. If not for the popular Boston Common Garage, you’ll find great deals at these downtown lots.
Copley Square parking
You’ve got to explore on foot to soak in all the sights during the holidays. Even if you arrive any other time of the year, there’s a lot to do here. To keep it stress-free, you need affordable Copley Square parking at a garage nearby. And you’ll find secure parking lot spaces for as low as $3 an hour!
Parking near Christopher Columbus Park
Walk under the trellis lights that’ll be up all winter! Nearby, the historic waterfront area also hosts the Snowport Holiday Wonderland until March 2022. Boston’s North End neighborhood has a European vibe with Italian restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and boutiques. You can expect to spend more than a couple of hours around the park, so plan your parking accordingly. Try these North End parking lots.
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