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 - 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.
Inside, you'll find 1,300 parking spaces. The underground garage is well-lit, and gets fairly heavy usage day and night. Occasionally, the dreaded "Lot Full" sign blocks the entrance.
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).
Once you park and lock your car, be sure to note:
Walk up the stairs or take the elevator up to ground level, and walk out through one of the 4 small kiosks that provide pedestrian access to the parking garage, which otherwise is invisible from the Common.
The parking kiosks are all located near the Charles Street / Beacon Street corner of the Common, and look like the few other buildings on the Common. Be sure to remember which one you come out of, as it will probably be closest to your car when you return. Sometimes late at night, all but one is locked, which can be disconcerting if you aren't expecting it.
The Boston Common Garage is owned and operated by MCCA, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which also operates the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on the South Boston Waterfront, the Hynes Convention Center in Back Bay, and a 3rd convention center in the western part of the state.
Security always seems very good - I almost always see security personnel on the floor where I park.
Because the city 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.
Parking rates (last updated August 2013) are hard to beat in this part of Boston:
Weekday rate: Enter between 6am and 4pm
$10 - Up to 1 hr
$14 - Up to 2 hrs
$18 - Up to 3 hrs
$23 - Up to 10 hrs
$28 - Maximum charge for 24 hours
Evening rate: Enter between 4pm and 6am and exit before 8am - pay just $12
$12 - Enter after 6am on Saturday or Sunday and exit by 8am on the following morning
$24 - Enter after 6am on Saturday and exit by 8am on Monday
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.
Snow emergencies: When on-street parking bans go into effect in the city due to snow emergiences, Boston residents get to park here for very low rates - so expect the garage to be very full during these times.
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.
The Boston Common Parking Garage gives you easy access to two T stations - Park Street (Red and Green Lines), and Boylston (Green Line).
If you need the Orange or Blue Line, the State station a few blocks away (State and Washington Streets, in the sub-basement of the Old State House) offers both.
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
Nearest T station: Green and Red Lines/Park Street or Green Line/Boylston