Oakland Parking Lots & Garages - Plan Ahead, Save Time and Avoid Tickets

In search of parking options in the heart of Oakland? Finding the ideal parking space can be a lot more difficult than you anticipated given all the activity in the neighborhood. The city's downtown area is not solely about commerce. Like most other cities, It is also a hub for history, culture, and entertainment, with a variety of theaters, eateries, street murals, and other interesting sights to explore.


To save delays and the stress of driving around, you may want to have a parking strategy in place in advance if you are attending an event, business meeting, sightseeing, or staying in a hotel in the downtown area of Oakland. While there may occasionally be street parking available, this is often only advised for brief visits because it may not be the safest choice and you run the risk of getting a parking ticket.


So let's go over some basic parking regulations you'll want to keep in mind, as well as the best Oakland parking lots and garages in the downtown area.


Note: Stop driving around and getting parking tickets. Reserve your parking spot ahead of time with the SmartPass by Smarking. Our parking garage right in the heart of downtown Oakland is a great option to spend a worry-free day exploring the area.


Street Parking Regulations in Oakland

The City of Oakland enforces metered parking pretty much everywhere in the downtown area, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the usual fee is $2 per hour (costs may change depending on holidays). However, keep in mind these spaces are only accessible for a maximum of two hours of parking. Even if you relocate your car after the two-hour timeframe and return to the same spot later in the day, you'll still be liable for paying any fines you receive. In other words, once your two hours are up, completely avoid that area.


You will be charged $58 for a citation for an expired parking meter, but all tickets are quite pricey anyways. You definitely don't want to end up receiving a parking ticket, since they can cost anywhere from $41 for double parking to $83 for parking in a residential parking permit zone.


Is There Free Parking in Downtown Oakland?

Since Oakland's parking meters are only operational from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, you could say overnight parking is free. And, on Sundays, metered parking across the city is not enforced, so you can park for free at metered spaces as well. Also, during the holidays the City of Oakland often offers free parking in garages and lots all across the city to encourage residents and tourists to shop locally.


Parking is also free on city holidays including New Year's Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. With this said, remember that free street parking, especially in downtown Oakland, is only advised for short stays because it might not be the safest choice if you want to leave your car there for an extended period of time.


Find the Best Parking Garages and Lots in the Area

A terrific alternative to driving aimlessly seeking street parking is to plan your trip in advance and head directly to a convenient parking lot or garage close to your destination. To help you find the best parking spots nearby, we'll go over some of the most popular options in the area.


Franklin 88 Garage

This parking garage is located on 989 Franklin St, just a couple of blocks away from the Lincoln Square Park. This is a great option if you’re looking to park near the Chinatown area. They have hourly charges starting at $2 and going up to a daily cap of $16, with an early bird discount of $11 for those arriving before 8:30 a.m. If you arrive after 5 o'clock, they also offer a flat fee of $7 for the evening. It is open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Telegraph Plaza Public Parking

The Telegraph Plaza Parking garage is on 2100 Telegraph Avenue just minutes away from the Paramount Theatre and the Fox Oakland. The daily maximum here is $30, with prices starting at $2 for every 20 minutes. In addition, if you show up before 9:30 a.m., you can get the $15 early bird flat rate. Remember that rates can go up when there is an event nearby, so it's always worthwhile to double-check. The garage is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Douglas Parking Lot 21st

The Douglas Parking lot is another convenient choice in the downtown area. Despite not being a garage, this spot is a popular choice for locals and tourists alike due to its excellent location on Broadway and 21st Street very close to the Paramount Theater. Their hourly parking fees start at $4, and a flat day charge of $16 is also available. It's a small lot, so allow a little extra time to find another spot because it could fill up very quickly, especially if there's a local nearby event.


Convention Center Garage

The Oakland Convention parking garage is a good option close to Lafayette Square and the Preservation Park. Their rates start at $3 for the first 20 minutes and go up to a daily maximum of $40. They have disabled spaces available and the garage is open 24/7. Keep in mind this is also the designated parking garage for the Marriott Hotel guests, so it can get a little crowded and rates if you are a guest are different so make sure to double check before entry.


City Center Garage

If you'd rather park the smart way, make a reservation in advance, and we'll have the ideal parking space at the City Center garage ready for you. This garage is located past Clay Street on 14th Street, right behind the Oakland City Center, across the street from the Frank Ogawa Plaza. It's one of the safest options in the neighborhood and you don't run the risk of finding a full garage and having to drive around.


Our prepaid parking pass will give you in/out access throughout the day, which is only granted to passholders using a mobile QR code, so you can be sure your car will be safely parked for the day. The garage is open Monday to Friday, from 5 a.m. -10 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. We also have monthly parking passes available!