Berkeley, CA is a friendly city with much to explore and more than 3,700 metered parking spaces, but residents and visitors alike know how potentially frustrating parking in this college community can be. With programs like goBerkeley and time limits like the ‘72-hour rule,’ Berkeley’s parking rules are extensive. To avoid tickets and the city’s notorious tow trucks, keep reading to learn all about Berkeley street parking rules.
When you see painted curbs on the streets of Berkeley, that means parking rules are in place. Here’s what street curb colors in Berkeley mean:
✅ If you’re parked in a 2-hour parking spot, paying the meter after two hours will not exempt you from ticketing. In fact, you’ll likely be ticked because these limits are strictly enforced.
✅ Look for temporary parking signs that may change street parking rules, which may be present during city events or construction projects. They’ll be posted 24 hours prior to the start of an event or 72 hours before the start of construction.
✅ Preferential Permit Parking areas are designated for city residents with permits, but other drivers are able to park in this area for up to two hours. If it’s the day of a Football Game, parking tickets in these areas double, so watch out! After 7PM, the 2-hour limit expires.
If you park anywhere on a public street in Berkeley, you must move your car before after 72 hours. This limit is strictly enforced, and many residents know the terror of walking out onto the street after a long weekend to find their car has been towed away by the city.
The City of Berkeley uses two separate rate programs for metered parking. Downtown, goBerkeley designates approximately 2,000 metered spaces with hourly rates between $2.00-3.50. In all other metered areas, the rate is $1.50.
Most parking spaces in Berkeley that are near the downtown areas and the university are metered or under the rule of the goBerkeley metered parking program.
To find free parking spaces in Berkeley, simply visit this Berkeley parking map and look for parking areas near your destination marked ‘free’.
If you find yourself near campus on a Friday night, most zones are free to park after 5pm Friday through Sunday, and you’re able to leave your car all weekend.
Residents recommend avoiding the downtown area between Bancroft Way and Dwight Way between Dana Street and Telegraph Avenue because the area experiences a high number of overnight car break-ins.
Unless you’re in a metered zone or along a restricted curb, many of the city’s residential spaces are open for overnight parking. Read nearby signs to determine specific rules, or visit the SpotAngels overnight parking map to see the time limits that each block enforces.
If your car has been towed by the city, call the number listed on the parking sign nearest you. The city of Berkeley enforces its towing en masse, and only the registered owner of the vehicle is able to pick up the impounded car.
If you want to appeal the city’s decision to tow your car, you can schedule a tow hearing with the Traffic Bureau by calling (510)981-5980.
Berkeley uses two types of meters for street parking: multi-space (IPS pay stations) and single-space. Every meter accepts Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards, as well as coins up to one dollar.
Generally, meters are active between the hours of 9AM to 6PM Monday through Saturday, with the exception of certain holidays, and all meters can be prepaid two hours before 9AM. So if you park your car in a metered spot at 7AM, you’re able to pay for two hours of parking and leave your car until 11AM.
2-hour time limits are common, but check nearby signs or the Berkeley street parking map to determine how long you’re able to park on your specific block.
The easiest way to know how long you can park in a metered parking space is by downloading the SpotAngels app, which allows you to see parking restrictions along your block in real-time. Otherwise, check out the interactive map online. Simply click on the blue icon to reveal hour limits and enforcement times in the sidebar on the left.
Berkeley street parking meters are not enforced on the following holidays:
✅ New Year’s Day, January 1 (Holiday observed on Monday if it falls on Sunday)
✅ Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Third Monday in January
✅ President’s Day, Third Monday in February
✅ Memorial Day, Last Monday in May
✅ Independence Day, July 4 (Holiday observed on Friday if it falls on a Sunday)
✅ Labor Day, First Monday in September
✅ Indigenous People’s Day, Second Monday in October
✅ Veterans Day, November 11 (Holiday observed on Monday if it falls on Sunday)
✅ Thanksgiving Day, Fourth Thursday in November
✅ Christmas Day, December 25 (Holiday observed on Monday if it falls on Sunday)
Berkeley is well-known for its cleanliness, so make sure you keep an eye out for upcoming street cleaning dates. Cars parked while the street sweepers are out will be ticketed. To learn more about Berkeley street cleaning, check out this detailed street cleaning guide.
Berkeley residents may obtain a Residential Preferential Parking Permit (RPP) to park along certain residential streets for longer than two hours. To find out whether your address is valid for a permit, search for your address on the city website.
The City of Berkeley offers two off-street parking lots for public use. The Telegraph Channing parking garage is near People’s Park in Southside, and the Oxford parking garage is located west of Edwards stadium between Central Berkeley and Southside. They’re both fully automated and accept coins, bills, and credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) at pay stations located within each facility. Visit the Berkeley parking map to see exactly how to find them.