Parking in Philadelphia: Save Money and Frustration

You’ve been circling the block of your destination for 45 minutes. You see a spot but cannot decode the cryptic time limitations provided. You are parking in Philadelphia and we are here to help.

Philly’s layout and public transportation system make it easy to explore the breadth of the city. However, parking a car in Philly can be a little more challenging. With over 1.5 million bodies in Philadelphia, there is no guarantee that your perfect parking spot will await your return.

Luckily, when parking in Philadelphia, there are plenty of options:

Street Parking

Parking signs in Philadelphia
There is street parking, but it is time limited…and you still need to pay

Contrary to popular belief, there are thousands of street parking spaces available to the public of Philadelphia. A common complaint regarding street parking is frequent ticketing or towing by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). Thus, this is your reminder to thoroughly READ. THE. SIGNS. Many spaces are either metered or only available between posted hours. Often, there are also highly specific regulations such as a street cleaning day or snow emergency route that you must pay attention to if you find yourself on these streets.

If you don’t wish to pay for parking (who does??), then you may not be completely out of luck. There are a few of what locals like to call ‘forever spots,’ or spots that are free of charge and not subject to ticketing. You may be hard-pressed to find one of these spots on a busy afternoon, post-rush hour, but don’t give up! The app, Spot Angels, identifies the majority of these Philadelphia parking spots using GPS technology and user submissions. It is also important to note that FREE parking exists throughout the city on all major, national holidays. 

Confusing and contradictory parking signs in Philadelphia
Trying to decipher the PPA signs is often impossible

While finding a place to stash your car is not the sexiest of topics, it has caused somewhat of an uproar amongst Philadelphia natives. Specifically, those who reside along North and South Broad Street. If you are new to the city or at least this part of the city, you may be surprised to see cars parked in the median of this busy through street. Although it is not necessarily legal, the PPD and PPA have taken a hands-off approach in dealing with offenders, only ticketing those who park on the striped lines and beyond. Another offbeat Philly tradition preserved! 

Parking Garages 

Sign with parking garage rates
Parking garages can be expensive, but can also save you lots of stress

Parking garages are the logical next option when it comes to parking in Philadelphia. There are several inexpensive, convenient garages to consider depending on where you are in the city:

Parkade on 8th

Exterior of parking garage near Philadelphia Convention Center
The futuristic Parkade on 8th is a good bet, particularly in the evenings

Located conveniently at 8th & Filbert, this garage ranges in price from $5-24 depending on time accrued, and contains electric vehicle charging stations. Early bird and evening rates are applicable as well.

Autopark at Old City

Situated just outside the Ritz East movie theater, you can pay an $11 flat rate to park your car in this garage whilst seeing a movie to pay between $5-24 depending on time accrued while you explore all of the historical wonders that Old City has to offer.

1616 Walnut St. Valet Garage

If you are in by 10 am and out by pm, you can pay just $15 to leave your car in this Rittenhouse Square adjacent lot. Perfect if you’re planning for a day in Center City.

For parking garages in surrounding areas of the city, check out the PPA’s guide to convenient, safe, and inexpensive Philadelphia parking garages. 

Helpful Apps

Signs for parking apps like MeterUp in Philadelphia
Apps like MeterUp can make parking much easier

No one said that Philadelphia parking was a breeze, but with the help of creative, crowdsourced apps, it has become a whole lot easier. 


Meterup is your go-to for metered parking on the street. If you are ever parked in a metered spot in Philadelphia, simply seek out the Meterup sign or sticker and find your zone number. Once you’ve entered your zone number into the app, it’s as simple as linking your credit or debit card to the payment portal and choosing a duration of time. Via the app, you can adjust the time on your meter or even save registered vehicles to your account so you don’t need to re-enter your info the next time you park.

As a bonus, the app is also used extensively throughout the region, including the suburbs on the Main Line, Doylestown, New Hope, and many others.

Spot Hero

Want to make sure you’re getting the best price for your spot? Spot Hero makes it easy to compare pricing and securely book a spot online or on your phone. If you’re looking to avoid last-minute mayhem, book ahead on Spot Hero.

Spot Angels

The Spot Angels app provides you with a map of the city with information on all kids of spots: from those that are free of charge to others that offer monthly rates. Spot Angels’ core mission is to help locals and visitors avoid hefty parking fines and do so ad-free.


Parking tickets on car window
All of this is to save you from getting those awful parking violation notices

Hopefully, at this point, you’ve found the perfect spot within walking distance of your destination (crossing our fingers and toes for you!). If you’re still on the hunt for parking in Philly, keep these helpful tips in mind:


Many parking garages in Philadelphia offer special discounts. Some of these may require that you enter and leave the garage before a certain hour or that you validate your parking pass at a neighboring business. If you opt to take the Philly Phlash Downtown Loop bus to tour the city, you can leave your car in any participating garage and receive a flat, discounted parking rate. Make sure to check your parking garage’s website ahead of time to see if you qualify for any of these discounts. 

Evening Parking

While two or three-hour limits can be a bit of a nuisance during the day, most of these spaces have a non-ticketing period overnight. Say a sign dictates a 2-hour parking limit that begins at 7 am and ends at 6 pm. As long as you park your car after 6 pm and leave your spot before 9 am (2 hours after 7 am), you can drive away ticket-free.

6 thoughts on “Parking in Philadelphia: Save Money and Frustration”

  1. I have a residential handicapped parking spot in two hours limited parking street. Arrows on my handicapped signs show no time limits on HP spot. My son is very sick and on a ventilator and he needs highly professional nursing care. My son’s nurse using our HP tag because the tag is issued for him and she is servicing him. She is working three double shifts weekly(16 hours). She is unable to have a residential yearly sticker because she is not a street resident and it is explained that she can use a designated HP parking spot with the proper HP tag that is named to my son as long as she is on shift. Some of the pp authorities give her a ticket for being there longer than 3 hours, even though the street sign shows no limits at the HP spot. The same agent is ticketing the street resident who also has a residential spot and who did not buy the year’s permit because she was explained that she does not have limits on that spot. The city must do something to make this clear with some additional sign that the time is NOT limited on residential HP spots, because, obviously agents do not know the rules. Takes hours of time to clear these tickets because of the lack of knowledge pp agents.

    1. Lance Longwell

      Usually ‘No Parking’ has an arrow, so the no parking is between the two signs. You can park RIGHT up to the sign. However, if there isn’t an arrow, it usually covers the length of the block. As with anything to do with the PPA, it’s confusing.

  2. Parked in 2 hour limit zone , l left and came to same street, same block different place parked, was ticketed. This was a different spot,previous 2 hours were over. Why ticketed, car was not in the same spot. Is the Coty of Philadelphia I am still on the first parking 2 hours when I had moved my car and came back to where I was.

    1. Shirley, the same thing happened to me about 10 years ago. I contested the ticket and lost. It makes no sense. There’s nothing on the sign that says you are only entitled to two hours per day. If you leave and return later in the day to find an empty spot, you would think parking there would be okay. Good luck!

  3. My grandaughter goes to Drexel University and has an apartment off campus in the city on Spring Garden and was told that she. Doesn’t qualify for a parking permit because the address on her car registration isn’t her Philadelphia address. Is this so. She has received many parking tickets but has no choice she has to park somewhere. What can she do?

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