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Savvy Travel Tips

The Uncomplicated Guide to Parking in New York

New York City has over 8 million residents and approximately 5 million parking spaces. Of those spaces, only 81,000 are metered. NYC is also one of the most ticketed cities in the United States.

Whatever you do, don’t cancel the ridiculously fun vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months because you’re stressing over finding a parking space.

Finding a parking spot in the big apple might seem like a pipe dream with those numbers, but it is possible to find convenient parking spots where you need them without a ton of effort. 

Want a parking expert in your pocket that can guide you towards the most convenient parking spot available? Take a look at the tips below to see just how much easier parking in New York City can be. 

Best and Worst Neighborhoods for Parking

There are some areas of New York that are considered impossible for finding a parking spot and others that make parking seem like a breeze. Of the five boroughs making up the city, Manhattan and Brooklyn typically receive most of the tourists and are the most difficult places to find a good parking spot. 

To save time and effort, it’s best to know which neighborhoods in each of these boroughs you should avoid at all costs because you’ll never find a spot and which ones will offer your best options for finding parking near where you want to spend the day. 

The best neighborhoods for finding on-street parking in Manhattan are Roosevelt Island, Central Harlem, Marble Hill, West Harlem, Stuyvesant Town, and Upper West Side. Try to avoid Midtown, the Financial District, Chinatown, Soho, Hell’s Kitchen, and Tribeca. 

If you’re venturing out to Brooklyn you’ll want to try Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Mapleton, Bensonhurst, Brownsville, and Prospect Park South. Avoid Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Hill, and Cobble Hill to bypass the parking headache. 

There’s an App for That

There are quite a few parking apps out there, but there are few that truly earn the title of the best parking app. ParkMobile, SpotHero, and Park NYC are all apps designed to make parking in New York City hassle-free. 

Within the apps you can choose the day you’re heading into town, search available parking spaces, and reserve spaces for future dates and times. The apps allow you to view prices of various parking spaces, making it easy to find a space that fits your budget. 

You’ll never have to frantically run back to a meter as the time expires or forget to add more time to the meter. Each of these apps allow you to add more time and send notifications when your time is running out. 

One of the biggest perks of using an app is it takes the guesswork out of whether or not you’ll get a ticket if you park in a certain spot. If it’s shown as available on the app, it’s safe to park there. 

Park & Ride

If you’re going to be in the city for the entire day, parking your car outside of the city and taking the train or subway could be a simple solution to your parking needs. If 30 minutes to an hour of travel time won’t make you miss an appointment or event, you can park your car in a garage outside of the city for lower prices than garages in the city. 

Conduct a thorough search to find the most convenient park and ride location so you’ll know how to get where you’re going with minimal effort. Be aware that this option can be complicated and require several changes on a train or subway depending on your destination. However, most park and ride garages don’t fill up completely and some even offer free parking for the day. 

Free Parking Does Exist

Unless you’re a local you might not know about all of the opportunities for free parking. New York City provides free on-street parking during holidays and in many areas on Sundays in spots that would normally be metered. 

If you’re coming to the city during the week or during a time that doesn’t overlap with a major holiday, never fear. There is plenty of free parking to be found.

Many parking spaces are off-limits during certain hours of the day and are marked by signs detailing those hours. Outside of these time limits parking is free if there are no meters assigned to these spots. 

If you’re willing to spend some time cruising around in search of a parking spot, most neighborhoods offer free limited parking. The allowed parking time will vary, but if you’re looking for a short-term parking space without a meter, neighborhoods are your best chance for a free parking spot.

Use the neighborhood suggestions above to make your search more successful.

Alternate Side Parking

Ignoring alternate side parking signs is a foolproof way to receive a ticket. City blocks all have alternate-side-parking dates to allow street cleaning vehicles to clean. Each street will have its own, unique time and day designated for this. 

Look for signs marked with the letter “P” and a broom. There will be dates and times listed when parking is not allowed. Make sure you double-check the signs wherever you find an on-street parking space to ensure the space you snagged won’t get you an expensive ticket. 

Parking Garages

While this is often the most expensive option, it’s also the most reliable. There are tons of parking garages all over the city and most are conveniently located near major attractions and popular neighborhoods. 

Costs per day vary between $20 – $50 but will often increase if there are nearby events that are attracting larger crowds. Garages located further away from popular attractions will save you money, so it’s best to set your budget and search for a garage that meets both your time, monetary, and convenience needs. 

Which Parking Tip Is Your Favorite?

Leave your answers in the comments below! Despite the massive size of New York and its ever-growing population, it is possible to find parking spots when and where you need them.

Parking in New York shouldn’t leave you feeling more stressed but energized and excited to start your adventure. Use this guide to continue to make your trips to the city as stress-free as possible!

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