Parking Tips To Live By

1. Pay close attention to street signs

Some metered areas magically turn into tow-away zones from 7 am-9 am and 4 pm-6 pm on weekdays. Be sure to read signs very carefully as many streets have special tow-away, truck loading zones and commercial zones. If you park in any of these areas, you will be towed. Unfortunately, some of these signs are confusing, but we suggest going with your gut- if you have a doubt at all, just don’t park there.


2. Avoid spots with red markings

If a curb is painted red, there are red stripes on the street, or a meter has a red bag over it, that means the designated spots are off limits at all times.


3. Be aware of time limits

Most meters in downtown have a 3 hour time limit which means you cannot park in the designated spot for more than 3 hours at a time without getting a ticket. At the end of the three hours, you must move your car to a completely different zone (not just to the spot in front of or behind you). Note: Most meters have a green sticker on them with a 4 or 5 digit number indicating the parking zone you are currently in.


4. Enjoy FREE parking

On-street parking in downtown is FREE Monday-Saturday from 6 pm-7 am and all day Sunday. Again, beware of red markings (see Tip # 2)!


5. Avoid commercial meters

Commercial meters (usually painted red) designate parking spots for commercial vehicles (with company logos displayed) only. Most likely, if someone is parked in these spots, it’s because they already have a commercial permit for the spot. If you don’t have a commercial permit, think twice about parking in these spots.


6. Utilize hi-tech parking meters

Most of downtown has smart meters which are very easy to use! No more digging change out from between your car seats- they take dollar bills, credit cards and some even allow you to pay-by-phone via apps like Parkmobile and parkbytext. The meters also won’t accept money or mobile payments if you’re trying to use the meter when it is off limits (see Tip #1) or if parking is free at the time (see Tip #4).


7. Purchase a Downtown Hopper Pass

When purchasing a Downtown Hopper Pass you pay a one-time daily fee which allows you to move from block to block or meter to meter throughout downtown without having to pay the meter each time. Time limits still apply (see Tip #3).


8. Explore downtown by foot

Contrary to popular belief, Downtown Houston is walkable! Most of downtown’s most popular destinations are never more than a 5-10 minute walk from each other. For example, you can easily park in the Historic District, grab a drink at one of the neighborhood bars then walk to AMC Dine-In Houston 8 at Bayou Place to see the latest indie flick. Walking is more fun, adventurous, and not to mention, lighter on your pocketbook!



Downtown has no parking—Not true! We actually have more than 100,000 parking spaces downtown: 2,200 on-street, 24,000 surface parking lot spaces and 75,000 garage spaces.

Downtown parking is expensive—Not always! While some surface lots are known to up-charge in the evenings and for special events, less-expensive and sometimes even free parking may be around the corner, if you’re willing to walk just a few short blocks.

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