Finding free parking in NYC. Parked cars on street.

5 Tips to Find Free Parking in New York City

The parking situation in New York City is often a gamble. More often than not, there will be no free spaces wherever you’re going, which will leave you driving in circles for hours trying to find a spot.

That’s a great way to ruin your day, and maybe even your vacation. You definitely don’t want to deal with parking nightmares while you’re trying to enjoy yourself.

So, does free parking in New York actually exist? Or is it a myth?

Great news: New York free parking is out there. You just need to be a savvy traveler to find it.

How to Find New York Free Parking (It Does Exist!)

These are our best tips on how to find New York and Manhattan free parking. (And, if all else fails, use tip #4.)

1. Check for Designated Manhattan Free Parking

To the relief of New Yorkers everywhere, in 2005 the NYC Department of Transportation lifted the ordinance that parking meters needed to be paid on Sunday. That means you can park at all metered spots for free on Sundays.

That said, just because parking is free doesn’t mean you’ll be guaranteed a spot. If you can, try to arrive at your destination early to find a spot, especially if you’re attending an event like a concert.

In addition to free parking on Sundays, NYC also has designated areas where you can park for free during specific hours of the day. Look for signs near your destination specifying the regulations, and make sure you follow them to avoid a ticket. (For instance, one might say something like “No Parking 2 a.m. – 4 p.m.” – that means you can park there after 4 p.m. and leave your car there until the wee hours of the night.)

2. Look Up Parking Regulations for Your Exact Destination

To find potential free parking at your destination before you get there, you can look at NYC’s DOTmap.

This handy tool allows you to look up parking regulations for particular streets and cross-streets. You can search by intersection, street address, or borough to check if there will be any free spots available at a specific time.

Again, none of these spots are guaranteed, but it gives you some options and will help you show up to your destination prepared.

3. Park for Free Outside the City (and Take Public Transport)

If you drive into Brooklyn, Queens, or Manhattan via a bridge or tunnel, you’ll have to pay tolls. To avoid tolls and have a better chance at free parking, try parking outside the city and taking public transportation to your final destination.

You can park in New Jersey, which is just across the river, and take a ferry to Manhattan. You can also try your luck in the suburbs outside New York. Just look for the nearest train station close to your free parking spot.

4. Give Up and Use an App to Reserve Parking and Pre-Pay

Parking in NYC is tough no matter the day, time, or season. If you can’t find free parking options during your research, sometimes it’s best to give up gracefully and reserve parking instead.

You’ll have to pay a fee to park, but what you gain in peace-of-mind might be worth the price. Paying to reserve a space ahead of time means you won’t be circling neighborhoods searching for a spot, which can make you late for events.

There are lots of parking apps that show you all possible parking options in garages and parking lots. You can reserve your spot through the app and pre-pay. Here are some most-recommended parking apps:

  • SpotHero shows you a real-time map of available parking spots you can reserve. You can also reserve and pre-pay through the app.
  • ParkMe includes a parking timer, so you never run over your allotted time and risk a ticket.
  • Pango will find you both on-street and off-street parking. You can even pay for tickets inside the app.

5. Stay at a Hotel Offering Free Parking in New York

If you’re staying in New York City for an extended period and need to drive in, make your life easier and choose a hotel that offers Manhattan free parking.

This amenity makes it a breeze to arrive at your hotel, park your car, and forget it for the remainder of your trip. You can walk or take public transportation to all the places on your itinerary, saving yourself a headache and a half.

Find Free Parking in New York for a Better Trip

Want to have a better trip? Get New York free parking figured out beforehand, and then forget about it. You’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress and hassle, and you’ll be able to enjoy NYC more.

Don’t worry about parking. Stay with us at Avalon Hotel and book our Daily Parking Package for free parking during your entire visit.