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New York City—5 boroughs that sit where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean, where art, culture, business, food, and people collide to create one of the most iconic places the world.
But one of the most important questions by far is where to park in New York City. Parking regulations can be confusing and finding a parking space is a difficult endeavor. Not to mention parking rate prices can be high.
At Zeus, we’re here to make your life easier, so we’ve got your back with a list of free and close-up options for parking in NYC.
When you’re new to the city, parking in NYC can seem like a nightmare, especially when you want to explore. Here are some of our team’s top picks for places to park near popular landmarks.
Most tourists and visitors in NYC want to visit Central Park but have no idea where to park their vehicles. You can find free street parking on Central Park West between 62nd and 110th Streets, though keep in mind, things can get wildly busy. If you don’t snag that free parking spot, one of the best places to park before your picnic is Solow Building Valet. Located at 9 W 57th St., rates start at $20, and the park is an easy 7-minute stroll away.
8 minutes away from the Empire State Building, you’ll find 124 W 31st St. Valet, which offers a good affordable option for parking in NYC. It’s good to note that it’s overnight parking with no-entry—so once you leave, you can’t come back (well, you can, but not without paying first).
If you’re wondering where to park in New York City for free near Times Square, the closest spot is 210 W 48th St New York. A short 3-minute walk will get you to Times Square, so you can enjoy all the lights, billboards, and restaurants. For parking rates starting at $15, you can also check out the valet at 1601 Broadway, which is a short 1-minute walk from Times Square.
On-street parking in Manhattan below 125th street can come with a hefty price tag and a bunch of rules. You have to be on top of things like street sweeping, or your car is likely to get towed should you fail to follow the rules. If you find a parking spot in Manhattan, you can pay using the Park NYC app or at a machine.
If you’re wondering where to park in New York City for free, know that Manhattan can be challenging (but not impossible). However, in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island you can find residential areas where you won’t have to pay. Before you leave your car and head off for a day of adventuring, make sure you look around for signs that indicate how long you can park there (or if you can park there at all).
An article by Tripsavvy notes that Margot Tohn, author of a past-edition of Park It! NYC encourages those wondering where to park in New York City to look for parking garages that are owned by larger companies with multiple facilities. Some of these offer discounted rates and coupons.
Icon Parking, for example, has over 200 facilities in Manhattan alone and often offers online specials and discount coupons. If you’re looking to park for extended periods, some garages will offer discounts for 6-12 month contracts.
There are few times when parking is always free in NYC, just make sure to pay attention to those street signs.
On Sundays, metered spots are free. Again (we just have to reiterate this so you don’t end up with a large ticket) read the signs to see if there are any limitations on certain hours you can or cannot park in a metered spot for free.
On major holidays, parking rules are not in effect and you do not have to give your vacation money over to the hungry meters. Make sure to do some research to see if this has changed at the time of your visit.
You can park for free during off-hours, just make sure to read the signs carefully to see if there are limitations or indicated hours that show when you can not park.
If you don’t want to drive into the city, save yourself the time and go with the park and ride options instead. There are park and ride stops along the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road where you can often find a parking lot to leave your car. Parking is typically free, but sometimes it might require a permit. Remember that these stops aren’t overnight parking options, but they’re a good resource for day trips into NYC.
If the idea of where to park a car in New York City still freaks you out, rest assured there are plenty of non-driving options for transportation. Here are some good ways to get around the city when you’re looking to ditch the idea of driving.
Citi Bike is New York’s official bike-sharing system. You can go for options like the day pass or short-term, depending on how long you need the bike. Do your errands or some site-seeing without having to worry about parking a car.
When you want to take the scenic route, go by way of the NYC ferry. These ferries run the same price as a subway ride but come equipped with things like charging stations and snacks. Download the tickets through a mobile app then hop on board and enjoy this luxurious way of getting around the city.
The MTA mass transit system runs throughout the city and consists of subways, busses, and commuter rail service. If you’re looking to move around without a car, MTA will help get you to your destination.
If parking in NYC stresses you out, you’re not alone. Simply hail a taxi like they do on television and you’ll reach your destination in true New York City style.
When you don’t want to do public transportation and are wary about driving, Uber and Lyft will help you navigate throughout the city streets. Depending on where you’re going, download the app to see an estimate of what your trip will cost then send a request to a driver. Think of these ride-sharing apps as similar to driving your own car (just without the actual driving and the hassle of parking).
Here are a few more minor tips that will come in handy when parking in NYC. Because as we like to say, in the city that never sleeps—the parking challenges never seem to either.
It never hurts to double-check with an attendant on duty in a parking garage to make sure you’re getting the rate you think you’re getting. Parking rates can sometimes vary based on the time and day. Some garages might charge extra for oversize vehicles or charge more during holidays.
Events and festivals can draw large crowds to New York City, during which time the parking garages might raise the prices. Also, this might impact whether or not you can park on a metered street, and if you’re distracted by the sites and sounds of the city (who wouldn’t be?!) you could end up with a large ticket or a tow.
A super simple trick when you’re commuting into the city is to find a coworker or someone in your neighborhood and carpool. Not only will help by splitting the parking cost, but it will give you an extra set of eyes—an important tool when you’re trying to navigate the city streets.
If you’re wondering where to park a car in New York City, we hope this list has given you some necessary resources and confidence. Remember, even though it can be challenging, parking in NYC is not impossible.
When you do make your way here, and your question becomes where to stay in New York City with family or where to stay in New York City solo — book a rental with Zeus. Our tho ughtfully-furnished homes are perfect for stays that are a month or longer and we have plenty of New York rental options to choose from.