10 Essential Downtown L.A. Parking Tips Every Angeleno Needs to Know

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Parking in Downtown Los Angeles is such a mystery that even Neil deGrasse Tyson won’t touch it. Navigating the busy streets is difficult enough, but trying to find parking at the same time…? Forget about it.

It takes years of skill, practice, dedication, note taking, interviews, surveillance, survey crews, government intervention, SWAT teams and superhero powers to master the downtown parking scene. Or, if you really need to shortcut the process, you could just read this article.


Our 10 best tips to parking in Downtown L.A. to follow. Enjoy the rundown!

Parking Lot in Downtown Los Angeles
Credit: Neil Kremer on flickr

1. Over One Hundred Years in the Making

Philippe’s or Cole’s? Cole’s or Philippe’s? That’s the eternal question for Angelenos. One of these disputed creators of the French Dip Sandwich has the upper hand in one department: Free parking! That would be Philippe’s. Yes, technically it sits in Chinatown, but is so convenient to downtown, Dodger games and Union Station, how could you say no? It’s only available while dining, so please respect the rights of others while eating their superior sandwiches!

2. Spare Change?

One go-to trick instead of parking my Rolls Royce in an expensive lot is finding metered parking a few blocks away from the $20 parking. You won’t find them on Figueroa or Flower, but there are pockets all around. Since most meters expire at 8pm, you’re screwed trying to find a spot. I’ll use basic math skills when to find a spot. Since the meters typically have one, two or four hour limits, I’ll subtract those numbers from eight to see when I can start parking. Actually, my butler does the math for me.

3. There’s So Much Space in the Car with those Tight Pants

Since I’m slow to pick up on trends, I had to wonder about the cluster of hipsters parked on the side of the road scrolling through their phones, for what I presumed was shopping online for fedoras. I was able to put two and two together once I noticed those pink mustaches on the dashboards. With my apologies to the man purse crowd, Uber, Lyft and other ride share apps are a great way to supplement your commute. I pulled a move where a few of us drove separately and met up in a cheap lot to put our savings towards ride share to bring us the rest of the way. We each saved big cash over doling out for the expensive lot. And our driver had more money for the thrift store.

4. Go West Young Man

Seeing a game at Staples is always an event, but so is leaving. Do I ever park in the associated lots? Only when someone gives me a free pass. The reality is, the time you gain parking nearby you lose afterwards trying to get out of the lot and finding a freeway. If you live south of Staples or on the westside, I advise trying to find metered or cheap parking east of Flower and hop onto the 10 at Grand for easy access. If you’re Hollywood bound or carpooling with the Kardashians to Calabasas, look to park off of 11th Street on the other side of the 110. There are some $10 lots or if you’re adventurous, free spots along the side streets. Afterward, hop onto to Alvarado and hit the 101. Boom! Mind blown!

5. Underground

Avoiding parking altogether is a good move. Convincing people of that practice is a whole other animal. Because its public transit, some people have the stigma that the trains are like Gangs of New York without all the overacting. Truth be told, it’s you best option going downtown. There are rail lines converging from all the cardinal directions and takes you within a couple of blocks of where you want to go, like Disney Hall, LA Live, Broadway and the Arts District. The lines run very frequently up until 8pm and only costs $1.75 including all transfers for two hours. Plus, you won’t be sitting in traffic. Enough for you to give up your car.


Best Parking in Downtown Los Angeles
Credit: bestparking.com

6. Lock it, Hide it, Keep it

While Downtown LA is overall safer than most neighborhoods, the rate for car related crimes is about average. The malfeasance is pretty equally distributed inside the inner loop, so no one is safe, even in parking garages. I look to pick a smaller lot where someone is in attendance to keep an eye on things, but that’s no guarantee. Always remember to hide all valuables. Justin Bieber albums don’t count.

7. How does Free Sound?

I never went to the Wharton School of Business, but to make money, you have to collect it. When I heard of the recent service that will shuttle you for free around downtown, I pinched myself and slapped my face for good measure. Downtown Concierge will provide you free rides anywhere inside the downtown loop. The only downside is you’ll possibly be sharing the ride, but dollars count these days. By setting up your pickup times, it’s a great way to bar hop once you’ve parked. Just connect with their webpage and go from there.

8. Just Submit

I don’t always fight the power. Knowing there’s a lot with available space and modest pricing does it for me sometimes. Pershing Square’s lot is right in the middle of things and doesn’t break the bank. Their early bird special which lasts until 11am(that doesn’t seem that early), costs only $10. After 7pm and on weekends & holidays it drops to $7. If you feel bad about spending this much, just peek your head into Rendezvous Court across the street at the Biltmore for its beautiful lounge and all anger will subside. If you want to get an overview of all the paid lots (and there are tons!) in the area, check out this map provided by bestparking.com.

9. On the Other Hand…

You shouldn’t drive down Broadway, let alone park there. Even with all its attractions, everyone wnats to be near there and parking operators know it. That’s why I’ll try to find one of the lots around Main or Los Angeles St. My price point is $5, but you’ll find a number of others that land in the single digits. Just don’t look up Joe’s Parking and ask someone on the street where their lot is. The have a million of them downtown. At least.

10. Grand Central Yum

I’ll ignore the complaints about Grand Central Market being gentrified. It’s been a damn good place to eat and always will be. And also park too. The garage next to the building on the corner of Hill and 3rd Street provides free one hour validated parking with purchase. There are a few places that offer this sort of deal, but I’ll choose Grand Central Market every time. Also, poke your nose across Broadway into the Bradbury Building before you time expires.

 So what’s your best advice for parking in downtown Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments below!


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