Los Angeles is a sprawling city with poorly connected public transportation. Drivers are used to spending their money on sky-high parking fees and tickets, especially downtown. It turns out that Los Angeles was the highest paying city for parking-related expenses last year, with L.A. city tickets amounting to an average of $5,000 per person! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about parking to avoid those expensive tickets.
General Parking In L.A. City and Downtown L.A.
Parking in residential neighborhoods without a permit and on streets during street cleaning hours often ends in a parking citation. Most of the city’s parking tickets are issued during street cleaning hours. To learn more about L.A. street cleaning, read this street cleaning guide.
Drivers who receive five or more parking tickets may even get a “Boot of Despair” placed on the wheels, which prevents them from driving any further until the parking ticket is fully paid. Call 855-288-2642 to resolve any issues due to parking boots.
Find the most commonly issued parking tickets in LA below:
|PARKING IN SNOW REMOVAL AREAS||$63|
|PARKING NEAR EMERGENCY VEHICLE||$63|
|WRONG SIDE/NOT PARALLEL – OVER 18″ FROM CURB||$63|
|PARKING ON LEFT SIDE OF ROADWAY||$58|
|OVERNIGHT PARKING WITHOUT PERMIT||$68|
|PASSENGER ZONE (WHITE)||$58|
|LOADING ZONE (YELLOW)||$58|
|SHORT TIME LIMIT ZONE (GREEN)||$58|
|NO STOPPING ZONE (RED)||$93|
|PARKING PROHIBITED/STREET CLEANING||$73|
|PARKING TIME LIMITS||$58|
|OVERTIME USE OF METER SPACE||$63|
What to Do When Your Car Gets Towed
But before towing you, officials must give you notice, which is usually done by leaving a citation and warning on your car. If you’ve missed that notice and your car is towed, here’s what do:
- Illegally Parked Tows: If your car got towed because of a parking violation, call the Official Police Garage in that specific area. You can find a list of districts and contact information online. Expect to pay a fee of $115 to release the car, plus additional costs depending on how many days it’s been stored.
- Unpaid Parking Tickets: For towed cars with unpaid parking tickets, you have to visit the Public Service Center in person. Find your location here.
- Towed Car For No Evidence of Registration: If your car got towed because of expired registration, you have to visit the Public Service Center. Bring proof of evidence, ID, and credit card.
Parking Signs in Los Angeles
Keep an extra eye out for the most common parking signs in LA, which could help you save a pretty penny on parking tickets.
Street Cleaning: This sign is common all over LA neighborhoods, which lets you know which days and hours you’re not allowed to park due to street cleaning.
Limited Parking Hours: This sign tells you how many hours you can park before you have to find a different spot.
Temporary No Parking: Sometimes you may run into this kind of sign, which means either construction is ongoing, or a special event is in progress.
Handicapped Parking: Many parking lots and streets assign a few designated spots to people with disabilities. Without a permit, you’re not allowed to park here.
Residential Parking Permit Required: You need a residential parking permit to park in most In residential neighborhoods. If you just moved to a new neighborhood, you can purchase a permit online.
Where do I find free or cheap parking?
Though the parking competition is LA is tough, there are certain streets with free parking. The busier the street, the more likely you’ll have to pay the meter.
On Washington Boulevard in Culver City, you get to enjoy free parking on both sides of the streets all day long. If you’re just looking for short-term free parking in Downtown LA, even some popular tourist attractions may be your best bet. Beverly Hills Parking Facility, Beverly South Parking Structure, Santa Monica Parking Structure 8, and Robertson Public Parking Lot 703 near the Groove are just a few structures that offer one till two-hour free parking. Keep in mind that during hockey season, parking near the Staples Center is nearly impossible.
There are plenty of parking options in Los Angeles, whether you prefer free street parking, or paid spots such as metered, or parking garage. The easiest way to find free parking is by downloading a parking app to find availability in real time.
Heading out for a night at Regal Cinemas or one of the shops near LA Live? There is limited street parking, but it’s worth checking the rates on the app. If you’re okay with walking a few minutes to your destination, find parking on 11th St. or West Olympic Blvd. Click this map to see parking rates for LA Live in real time.
If you’re planning a trip to LA’s Chinatown neighborhood, you’ll be happy to know that street parking is plentiful and costs between $1-4 depending on the time of day. Click this map to learn more and find out how much parking costs near your destination.
Smorgasburg, a weekly open-air market located on the five-acre site of the weekday Alameda Produce Market in Downtown Los Angeles, offers tons of free parking. If parking is looking scarce, try the 4,000 car parking garage nearby. Click the map to see more details.
How much does metered parking cost?
You’ll find over 40,000 metered parking spaces throughout the LA area. Pay for your chosen spot at the meter or with the city’s parking app. Rates range between $0.50/hour to $4/hour, depending on where you park.
If you want to park right outside the house you can purchase a residential permit for a monthly fee between $33 to $55 depending on the area. However, you still need to move your car every 72 hours (three days). Otherwise, your car will get ticketed and towed.
Parking near the Airport
Since so many people drive in LA, there are plenty of parking options near LAX. Find both short term and long term parking structures from as low as $3 hourly rates to a maximum of $30/day.
Los Angeles Parking Holidays
Parking regulations are suspended on major national holidays unless the parking sign reads “Holiday Enforcement.” When holidays occur on a Saturday, parking restrictions aren’t enforced the Friday before. And when holidays occur on a Sunday, parking enforcement is suspended the Monday after! Here’s a list of holidays that make street parking free:
January 1 – New Year’s Day
January 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 19 – Presidents Day
May 28 – Memorial Day
July 4 – Independence Day
September 3 – Labor Day
October 8 – Indigenous People Day
November 11 – Veterans Day
November 22 – Thanksgiving Day
December 25 – Christmas Day
Street Cleaning Information
Check the parking signs to find out what days and hours you should plan to find parking somewhere else. Even if the street sweeper passes, you still have to wait out the hours stated on the parking sign to avoid a $75 parking ticket. Plan ahead by checking out this comprehensive street cleaning guide, which includes information about street cleaning holidays and rules.
Feel like a street parking pro? Download the free Spot Angels app for real-time alerts when your meter is about to expire.