Updated: Jul 29, 2022
Downtown is the business and recreation center of Austin, Texas. This vibrant city has multiple options for entertainment, tourism, shopping, dining, as well as several notable buildings and landmarks. It's not uncommon to find events happening at Republic Square or some other location in Austin downtown.
Due to the vast amount of activity in the area and the large number of visitors who come to have fun, parking spaces are usually scarce in Austin. Even in the streets, you will hardly find parking spaces; even when you do, you'll have to pay for them.
So if you're looking to spend time downtown, you need to know all about parking lots available in the area and parking rates for different parking garages. Plus, you need to know the parking laws in the neighborhood, so you don't end up with a ticket on your car. Discover Downtown Austin's best parking spots here.
Where can I park in downtown Austin?
Downtown Austin offers two main parking options: Street parking and parking garages.
Garage parking spaces may not be the cheapest, but they're the most convenient. Austin downtown has over 1,000 garage park spaces, ranging from ground-level garage lots to garages inside buildings.
Nearly every street in Austin has a garage lot. You can conveniently book a space in any of these lots scattered throughout the city. Bookings in parking garages are usually charged monthly instead of per hour charges of metered parking.
Though parking garages are available to travelers and residents, you can only be given full access after payment. Monthly parking bookings in Downtown Austin may cost anywhere from $100 to $290. Companies always offer a flat rate for their garage parking services, so be rest assured the prices are non-negotiable.
Note that private companies mostly own park garages. These companies usually have websites or apps (with a map of the city) you can use to know the various locations of different garages the company manages, the amount of available space, and how much it will cost to book a space. You can also pay via these company apps/websites.
Get a Parking Pass in Downtown Austin
If you're looking for a flexible, affordable, high-security garage parking option, then the Indeed tower parking garage nearby is what you need. With a garage located at the heart of downtown Austin, you can easily walk down from the parking lot to your destination in a matter of minutes.
What's more, Smarking allows you chose between a monthly pass and a one-day parking pass, so you only pay for days when you need space. SmartPass is fully automated and removes the trouble of citations and tickets.
Easily reserve your parking permit from the comfort of your home using your mobile phone.
Street parking is one of the cheapest parking options in downtown Austin. However, it is not as simple as it seems. For one, you can't just park in anybody's front yard: most neighborhoods have adopted laws preventing drivers from parking in their homes' front or side yards.
Secondly, parking restrictions exist on certain vehicles like motor homes and vehicles weighing 9,000 pounds and more. Also, parking improperly in street parking spaces or parking for too long can quickly get you a parking ticket.
However, despite all the regulations, street parking remains the quickest way to park your car in Austin, especially when you're on a budget.
Are there free street parking spaces in Austin?
Yes, there are free parking options available in Austin. However, free parking usually works at night, on weekends, and special holidays.
Just so you know, parking is free every Sunday at meters throughout Austin. On Saturdays, however, free parking is only available from midnight till 10 am.
How Much Do On-Street Parking Meters Charge?
Most on-street parking meters in Austin charge $1 to $1.25 per hour. However, scooters and motorcycles are allowed 12-hour free parking at metered spaces, after which they may be required to pay a parking ticket. To avoid this, choose the "next day purchase" option on the meter so you can park overnight.
Here are the meter-operating hours in downtown Austin:
Monday-Wednesday: 8 am to 6 pm
Thursday-Friday: 8 am till midnight
Saturday: 11 am till midnight
It is important to note that parking meters in Austin only allow you to park for about 4 hours and that the hours they are enforced slightly vary depending on where the meter is located in the city.
For example, between IH-35 to Lamar Boulevard, and Lady Bird Lake to 10th St., parking meter-enforcing hours are exactly as shown above. However, for areas like Barton Springs Road, South Lamar, Lee Barton Drive, and Toomey Road, the enforcement hours for meters are 8 am through midnight, Monday to Saturday. Also, parking lots by Stephen F. Austin High School parking meters are enforced from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday.
Parking your car for the night will cost a few extra dollars (say $7-$8) at most of these metered park spaces. You can pay for parking meters and tickets online or via the ATX app.