The 6 Worst Cities for Parking

Sometimes you can’t live without a car, and sometimes you can’t get rid of it. Whether you’re a resident or a tourist in some of America’s biggest cities, just finding a spot to park your car where you won’t spend a fortune and it won’t get stolen or towed is a nightmare. Which cities in the US will make you want to sell your car rather than park it?

New York City, New York


Image via Flickr by maveric2003

With a population of over 8 million crunched into a maze of bridges, water, and skyscrapers, no wonder finding a spot to park a car is hard. If you can find a spot, it’s expensive. Places in Manhattan can cost over $500 a month, and people wait years for those spots to open up. Parking at the Barclays Center or East 11th is slightly less than parking on the moon. At least car theft in NYC has fallen dramatically.

Seattle, Washington

Like New York City, Seattle is bordered by canals and salt water, forcing every driver to compete for space on the same crowded highways and viaducts. When you get near where you’re going, good luck. Parking costs around $27 a day, and car thefts are above the national average. You’ll park far from your destination, and it’s going to be raining. Hope you’re good at parallel parking on hills.

San Francisco, California

Speaking of hills, San Francisco has some of the finest. If you still drive a manual, you’ll be singing, “I left my clutch in San Francisco.” This peninsula has very few ways in or out, making real estate—and therefore parking—expensive and scarce. Traffic is some of theworst in the nation. Parking is nearly $400 a month. Tourists abound and parking spots do not. Take the BART instead.

Honolulu, Hawaii

The sunshine and ocean breezes are free, but everything else is expensive in Hawaii. Everyone wants to be there, but the island’s not getting bigger. Parking costs $42 a day on average, and gas prices are second highest in the nation on top of that. Staying in a remote island paradise isn’t cheap.

Boston, Massachusetts

One of the joys of an old colonial town is the streets that were built before cars (or civic planning) were invented. Sneaking into a parking space on a narrow back street here is tricky. Population density and scarcity of space in Boston rival New York City, making parking nearly as expensive. Abundant winter snow does not make this experience more fun.

Chicago, Illinois

In 2009, Chicago leased its parking meters to a private company. Rates have skyrocketed to $6.50 an hour in places. Monthly parking averages almost $300. For every 1000 commuters, there are .77 parking lots. Chicago commuters spend an average of 51 hours per year stuck in traffic only to get gouged for a parking spot if they can find one. When you sign the papers and take the keys, you’ve only just started to pay for your car. If you’re in one of these cities, before long you’ll be trying to give it away. Maybe cars are just for the country and the suburbs.