Boston Common Garage almost always offers cheaper rates than most other nearby garages when you want to park in a central location near Downtown, Back Bay, the Theatre District, and Beacon Hill.
Best of all, the garage's location under the Common makes it easy to find, easy to enter, and easy to exit.
"Easy" is a huge benefit in a city where many streets are so narrow and winding that you'd swear they haven't changed since Colonial times.
If you've parked in other downtown garages, you may have encountered steep ramps, low ceilings, and narrow spaces.
Fortunately, you'll find the opposite situation here.
Evening and weekend rates give you an especially good deal. Although a few other centrally located Boston garages do offer competitive deals, especially on the weekends, they're not as convenient.
Parking rates (as of 2016) are hard to beat in this part of Boston:
Weekday rate: Enter between 6am and 4pm
- $12 - Up to 1 hr
- $18 - Up to 2 hrs
- $24 - Up to 3 hrs
- $28 - Up to 10 hrs
- $32 - Maximum charge for 24 hours
Evening rate: Enter between 4pm and 6am and exit before 8am - pay just $10 for up to 1 hour, $14 for 1-3 hours, and $18 (up to 8am) for 3 hours or more.
Weekend rates: Enter after 6am on Saturday or Sunday and exit by 8am on the following morning
- $10 - Up to 1 hour
- $14 - 1-3 hours
- $18 - Over 3 hours (up to 8am)
Fastest way to pay: When you enter the kiosk on the way back to your car - Pay with cash or a credit card
Slower: Pay with credit card with you exit the garage; make everyone behind you have to wait longer.
Snow emergencies: When on-street parking bans go into effect in the city due to snow emergencies, Boston residents of nearby neighborhoods get to park here for discounted rates - so expect the garage to be very full during these times.
Size: Inside, you'll find 1,300 parking spaces. The underground garage is well-lit, and gets fairly heavy usage day and night. Security personnel are usually a visible presence in the garage.
Have a "Plan B": Occasionally, the dreaded "Lot Full" sign blocks the entrance, so unfortunately, you should always have a backup garage, and know where it is before you leave home. Driving aimlessly around the city while hoping to find parking will put you in danger of ending up in one of Boston's most expensive garages. (Check parking in Boston's Theatre District for other nearby options.)
5 Tips for Parking Under the Common
1. You enter the Boston Common Garage from Charles Street, which is 1-way going north between Boston Common and the Public Garden. The garage is easy to reach from Storrow Drive, I-93, and Mass Pike (I-90).
2. Once you park and lock your car, be sure to note:
- The letter (A, B, C, D, etc) of the aisle where you parked
- The level you parked on
3. Once you walk up the stairs or take the elevator up to ground level, you'll exit through a small kiosk. There are four kiosks in all, and they all look identical. Make a mental note of the location where you exit, so that you can find it when you leave.
4. Bring your ticket with you, as you may need to swipe it at the kiosk door in order get back in. (Boston Insider's Tip: Sometimes late at night, all but one kiosk is locked - definitely disconcerting if you aren't expecting it.)
5. Payment machines are available in each kiosk. You should pay before going back to your car.
Located Near the Garage
Because Boston is so compact, the location of the Boston Common Parking Garage is convenient to the Theatre District, Park Square, Historic Downtown Boston, Chinatown, Beacon Hill, Back Bay (the end closest to the Public Garden), and Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market.
If you're planning to explore the Freedom Trail, you'll find the Boston Visitor Information Center where you can pick up a free map just on the other side of the Common - and of course, Boston Common itself is part of the Trail.
How to Save on Overnight Parking in Boston
If you're planning to visit Boston, want to bring your car, and your hotel of choice has just quoted $50 as the daily parking rate - which is not uncommon now at many Boston hotels - you may be able save a significant amount of money if you can take advantage of overnight and weekend parking at the Boston Common Parking Garage.
This strategy works best if you're just visiting for the weekend.
During the week, you'd need to be willing to get up early in the morning and move your car out of the parking garage before weekday hourly rates kick in.
Details and Directions for Boston Common Garage
Location: 0 Charles Street. Enter Boston Common Garage on Charles Street between the Public Garden and Boston Common. You'll find detailed directions from Storrow Drive, I-93, and the Mass Pike (I-90) on the Boston Common Parking Garage website
Hours: 24 x 7
Cost: See above
For more information: 617-954-2098
Managed by: MCCA, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
Nearest T station: Green and Red Lines/Park Street or Green Line/Boylston; if you need to go somewhere on the Blue or Orange Line, State Station is a few blocks away