Chicago has everything a traveler could ask for, from night clubs and music venues, to sporting arenas, theaters, and conventions. One thing the Windy City doesn’t have, though, is quick, simple, and painless parking. Chicago is hardly unique in this problem when it comes to major cities, but if you don’t want to bust your travel budget finding a place to leave your car while you enjoy the city’s sights and sounds, here are some parking tips that will protect your wallet.
Chicago, like most other major cities, has an abundance of street parking. If you’re just going to lunch, or to a quick meeting, then paying $7 for an hour or so at the meter isn’t going to break your bank account. However, if you’re going to be out all night (at a concert, hitting the clubs, etc.) then it’s a good idea to pick a location very carefully. According to research, street parking in many parts of Chicago is free starting at 9 p.m., and it will remain that way until 8 a.m. the next day. Planning ahead can be a major boon for those who’d rather spend their money on something more fun.
Tip #2: Validated Parking Can Get You an Hour or Two Free of Charge
If you go somewhere like Trader Joe’s, you’re allowed to park in the customer lot with a validated parking ticket. That ticket will be good for a few hours, as long as you go inside and make a purchase. Once you’ve picked up that item you needed, whether it was a pack of gum, or a car charger, you can still spend time in the area. You may have as long as two hours, which gives you ample time to grab a bite to eat, take a walk in the park, or meet up with a friend. Again, good planning will save you from spending $25 or more for a parking slot in a garage.
Tip #3: See if Your Hotel Has Free Parking
Parking is at a premium in any big city, and Chicago is no exception to this travel rule. If you’re paying for a room at a hotel, though, you’re often given a free parking space as part of your stay. That can take a huge load off of your shoulders, particularly for hotels that allow you to come and go as you please without any additional parking fees, valet fees, etc.
Tip #4: Use an App to Pay For Parking
We live in the age of the smartphone, and thanks to the spread of technology there’s no reason for you to drive around looking for a parking spot while you’re in Chicago. All you need to do is download a parking app, like Parqex, and you’ll be treated to a view of available parking near your destination. Not only does the app give you a bird’s-eye view of your parking situation, complete with a map to let you plan your evening more easily, but it allows you to pay for parking with a few taps of your screen. Quick, easy, and there’s no need to keep a cash stash in your car to be sure you can cover your parking expenses.
The usefulness of parking apps cannot be overstated. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can pay for your parking. Whether you’re going to a garage or the street, as long as the meters are in the network, it’s all taken care of.
For more useful tips and tricks on getting cheap parking in the Windy City, simply contact us today!