5 Parking Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Parking in LA

The 1980’s new wave band Missing Persons famously sang, “Nobody walks in L.A.” While they got it right that Los Angeles is undeniably a city dominated by cars, they also could have added the addendum, “Nobody parks in L.A., either,” at least, not without a lot of hassle.

In 2015 there were 7.2 million cars and trucks in Los Angeles County, and that number has only grown since then. In high-traffic neighborhoods like Hollywood, Santa Monica and Mid-City, it can often feel like all of these cars are fighting over a handful of parking spaces. But savvy drivers can take advantage of these five great parking hacks to find just the spot:

1 – The Free Parking Underground:  No, we aren’t talking about some 1960s radical group; you can, in fact, park in the heart of the Financial District for free. Underground. The city parking lot under Pershing Square has 1466 spaces, and they are free thanks to a 2014 lawsuit. The parking kiosk used to print out receipts with full credit card numbers in violation of the Fair Credit Act. The court’s verdict?  Free parking for all!

2 – Follow the Yellow-Curbed Road: When you see a section of curb that is painted yellow it generally means it is a loading zone – you can drop off or pick up passengers or freight only. But in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Mid-City and many other neighborhoods you can park along the yellow curb between 6:00 P.M. and 7 A.M. all week and all day on Sunday – for free. That’s golden!

3 – Catch a Break: In a city as big as L.A. it is hard for the public works team to keep up with all the parking meters, and often many of them are broken. Clever Angelenos are known to park at broken meters and leave a note on their windshield that says, “Meter is Broken.” As long as you observe the meter’s parking time limit, the word on the street is that parking enforcement won’t give you a ticket.

4 – Surf the Lots: The City of Los Angeles has an online public parking locator. Just scroll around on the map to find the 118 public parking lots and garages the LA Department of Transportation maintains. The site provides information on lot location, hours of operation, rates, and any special features such as hours when parking is free or maximum height clearance.

5 – There’s an App for That: Pavemint is a peer-to-peer marketplace that lets people looking for parking rent spaces from other people and businesses. Like Airbnb for parking, it allows you to earn money from your vacant driveway and rent spaces on demand or in advance. With the app, you avoid circling the block for hours, wasting fuel and spewing carbon– all very good things for you and the environment!