Parking in Boston

Why Parking Garages Can Save You Money & Pain

Parking in Boston

Parking in Boston can be tricky. 

If you're visiting Boston and trying not to get lost while navigating the twists and turns of narrow streets laid out during Colonial times, you'll soon find out that finding cheap parking will be even more challenging.  


The best place to park in Boston is in a garage.


Parking in Boston


Metered Parking in Boston - and Why to Avoid It

On-street metered parking in Boston is quite limited in most areas and virtually non-existent in others.  You'll see mostly "Resident Only" spaces. 

And if you make a parking mistake such as parking in a tow zone or your parking meter runs out of time before you return to your car, Boston parking ticket fines can be expensive - from $25 to as much as $120 for some offenses.  That hurts.

Metered parking is $.25 for 12 minutes.  Some streets boast new meter machines where you can use credit cards, bills, and coins to purchase timed parking tickets, but many neighborhoods still have the old-fashioned type of meters that you have to "feed" with quarters, so stockpiling enough quarters can be a challenge. 

But still, $1.25/hour to park is dirt-cheap - so parking at one of Boston's 9,000 metered spaces, if you can find one, can be tempting.

But parking at a meter can lead to pain  . . .


Parking Pain - When Things Go Wrong

Unfortunately, our Boston parking police are the fastest on the planet at issuing tickets, especially in neighborhoods such as Beacon Hill and Back Bay.  They know which meters are about to expire, and watch them like hawks.  Return to your car just one second too late, and you'll find a fluorescent orange ticket on your windshield.  Trust me, they're ugly.

Furthermore, many areas limit the total amount of time you can stay in one spot within a certain area, even if you successfully race back and add more quarters before the red Expired! sign flashes.  

You can be ticketed for exceeding the time limit for parking on a particular block, even if you move from one spot to another. 

Tips for parking in Boston
Boston parking ticket on car in Park Square


Free Parking Days in Boston

The only days when you don't have to put money in the meter for on-street parking are Sundays and City of Boston holidays - which, in case you're wondering, include all the usual federal and state holidays plus Evacuation Day (March 17), Patriots Day, and Bunker Hill Day.

What's important to note about free parking on holidays is that on-street parking is free on the actual holiday, not the day when it happens to be celebrated. For example, if New Year's Day (January 1) falls on Sunday but offices close on Monday (January 2) to celebrate it, on-street parking in Boston is free on Sunday (which is free anyway), not Monday. Make sense?

Of course, sometimes the Mayor declares free parking.  Good luck trying to find a metered space on those days!


Why Paying More at a Garage Makes Sense

If you're visiting Boston, you probably want to focus on enjoying our attractions and events, not on stuffing quarters into a parking meter.  Plus, it can be tough to know which blocks don't allow extended parking and which days are free.  And paying a parking ticket can certainly spoil a vacation fast.  

In this context, you can see why parking garages quickly become your best choice.  Although Boston parking garages also charge hefty rates, they're cheaper than parking fines - if you avoid the most expensive options, and know where to find discounts and specials.  


Boston "Insider" Tips: Best Places to Park in Boston

Here are my "Boston insider" recommendations for parking garages where you'll find the best rates:

  • Boston parking garages in Fenway - Closest parking garages and lots for Fenway Park, plus parking convenient to House of Blues and other Fenway nightlife, Boston University (East Campus), Museum of Fine Arts, Symphony Hall, Northeastern University, the Longwood Medical area, Colleges of the Fenway, and even the western end of Back Bay
  • Parking garages near North End attractions and TD Garden -  Best garages and lots near TD Garden, Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, local Boston Harbor cruise departures, Government Center, Haymarket (including my favorite - the cheapest parking garage in Boston, with validation), Rose Kennedy Greenway, and of course, the North End.
  • Boston Common GarageConvenient and affordable parking in the center of the city - perfect for Beacon Hill, Downtown Crossing, the Theatre District, Back Bay, and the Freedom Trail.  And, of course, Boston Common and the Public Garden. Rates are significantly lower than other nearby options, and the garage is easy to get in and out of - my personal favorite.
  • Boston parking garages near Theatre District attractions - Convenient and least expensive parking garages near Boston's Theatre District and Chinatown, as well as Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Boston Common, and Public Garden.

My #1 tip?  If at all possible, leave your car at home, and take the T! 

But if you absolutely can't, I hope these recommendations for the best places to find affordable parking in Boston will help you avoid parking tickets!


Any Questions about Parking in Boston?

Have a question about parking in Boston? Ask, and I'll do my best to answer.

First, though, check out what others have asked - I might have already answered the same question for someone else.

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Thanks for getting in touch, and enjoy your visit to Boston!


Questions from Others about Parking in Boston

Here's what others have asked:

Parking for Oversized Vehicles and Vans in Boston 
How can we know which parking places accept 12 passenger vans like the Chevrolet Express and Ford E-350? Do they charge a higher rate for these vehicles? …

Question about Parking in Boston 
Question: Do you have to put money in the parking meters along Boston streets on Saturday? Thanks! Susan's response: Yes, you do - unless …

Long Term Parking for Boston Visitors - Where to Find It 
Where can I park a car for 9 days while I take a bus tour of New England? Our tour leaves from the Park Plaza Hotel on Oct 1st and returns to the hotel …

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