Chicago is a busy city with locals and tourists filling it streets at all times, making parking a challenge. On top of being a destination city, parking in Chicago gets complicated with its unpredictable weather, especially in the winter months. Make sure to be aware of the city’s many street parking bans that include rush hour parking zone bans, winter parking bans, and street cleaning bans. Additionally, many residential areas also require a parking permit.
Visitors to Chicago will be tempted to park within the Loop for the easiest access to many of the city’s highlights. The Loop is Chicago’s central business district located between the Chicago River, Michigan Avenue, and Congress Parkway. However, if you park here be prepared to pay higher rates and spend a bit more time finding a spot on the street.
Where to Find On-Street Parking
The city is known for its expensive on-street metered parking rates. Depending on location, prices range between $2-6.50 per hour. Expect to pay $6.50 an hour in the Loop. On-street parking can be paid for with credit cards. Get the ParkChicago app to pay electronically and extend your parking time if you’re not near your vehicle. Check out residential areas like Lincoln Park for cheaper on-street parking.
Where to Find Parking Garages
Visit Chicago’s famous Navy Pier and catch a ride on its Ferris wheel or stop in one its many restaurants for a bite to eat. There’s a parking garage at 414 E Grand Avenue with easy access to the pier with rates starting at $12 an hour. Willis Tower is one of the tallest buildings in the United States and offers parking starting at $18 in the Willis Tower Garage.
Many parking garages can be found within the Loop and by Millennium Park. Both the Grant Park parking garages, located at 325 S. Michigan Ave or at 25 Michigan Avenue, are open 24 hours and are ideal if you plan on walking around downtown. When it comes to stadium parking, Wrigley Field is a short walk from many paid parking garages. In general, for cheaper parking garage options check places further away from the Loop.
Where to Park for Free
Free parking is few and far between in Chicago, but if you find yourself outside of the city’s central business district on-street parking is free on Sundays. Just make sure there are no signs that indicate otherwise like a “7 Day Paid Parking” sign. If you’re in the city late at night or early morning, you’re in luck. Most areas have free on-street parking between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Park & Ride Locations
Since the city has a somewhat notorious reputation in regard to parking, choosing a Park & Ride option can make your life easier. Catch a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train or bus from one of the CTA line stops in the suburbs.