Question about Parking in Boston

Charles Street Entrance to Boston Common Parking Garage

Charles Street Entrance to Boston Common Parking Garage

Question: Do you have to put money in the parking meters along Boston streets on Saturday? Thanks!

Susan's response: Yes, you do - unless one of the official City of Boston holidays happens to fall on the Saturday when you want to park. In that case, parking is free.

The only free days for on-street parking are Sundays and holidays. Time limit restrictions are also lifted on these days, meaning that you can keep your car in the same space all day if you want. Otherwise, the limit is 2 hours or less, if you're in shorter term parking, such as 30 minutes. Even if you keep going back and adding more quarters, you still risk getting a ticket for staying too long.

Keep in mind that holiday parking is free only on the official day of the holiday, not the day when it's celebrated. For example, if a holiday falls on Saturday but government offices and businesses close on Friday to celebrate it, you can park free on Saturday but not Friday.

My experience is that finding a free metered parking space on Sunday or a holiday is just as hard, if not harder, than on weekdays and Saturday.

At this time, metered parking in Boston costs $.25 for 12 minutes, or 5 quarters for an hour. The only neighborhood where I’ve noticed parking pay stations (where you note your parking space number, put money or swipe your credit card in the parking pay station to get a time-stamped ticket, and put the ticket inside your car on the dashboard) is Back Bay - so make sure you have plenty of quarters if you’re parking in another Boston neighborhood.

The good news is that many Boston parking garages charge considerably lower rates on Saturday and Sunday than they do for weekday parking. For example, the Boston Common Parking Garage charges weekend rates of $11 - more than on-street metered parking, but much less than the cost of a ticket. Other garages charge even less on weekends, although they may not be quite as convenient to access and exit.

Do be careful when parking in Boston to read signs up and down the block, as restrictions aren’t always obvious, and keep in mind that all bets are off when snow starts falling, as snow emergency rules may kick in. Above all, never park in “Residents Only” spaces, as most neighborhoods are vigilant about calling the police if they see cars in “their” spaces.

Hope this helps!


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