Boston is one of the most walkable cities in America because it’s built for public transportation. That means tiny roads and few street parking spaces for the number of cars driving its streets.
Two rules of thumb in Boston: be prepared for high hourly parking rates and time restricted street parking. But even then with the right tips and tricks, even you should be able to find the perfect parking spot. Here are all of the things you need to know about Boston street parking:
To avoid expensive parking tickets handed out by the City of Boston Parking Authority, consider downloading a parking app recommended by Boston locals. This way, you won’t have to spend time memorizing street parking rules. You’ll receive real-time alerts when your meter is about to expire, and know ahead of time how much each hour of parking will cost you.
But just in case, it’s good to be aware of common violations that could lead to expensive parking tickets:
✅ During the winter months, many Boston streets prohibit street parking to allow better access for snow plows and emergency assistance vehicles.
✅ Most meter parking has a two-hour maximum parking limit.
✅ During rush hours, some major streets convert street parking lanes into extra travel lanes for a better traffic flow. Always read parking signs before leaving your car, or risk being towed.
✅ Residential neighborhoods tend to ONLY allow parking for those who actually live in the area. That means you need a permit to park. No home, no parking!
✅ Street cleaning and city construction schedules prevent Boston residents from parking on the street certain days of the week. To find out about street parking near you, check out this street cleaning map.
✅ Boston keeps their city free from litter by running an all year night-time street cleaning program. If you’re parking in a commercial area, this is when your car will need to move. Daytime street cleaning rules are different. Read this guide to learn about street cleaning rules.
If you left your car without checking the parking signs, it might be towed. After a long day at work, you’re probably not in the mood to spend hours searching for it.
Relax! In Boston, it’s easy to find out which location your car has been towed to. If you know your license plate, you can find your car here. More of a talker? Call the Boston Police Department at 617-343-4629 and they’ll be happy to help.
Expect to pay a $108 dollars fee for the tow, and an additional $35 dollars per day until you pick up your car from the towing lot.
It gets blustery and snowy in Boston. To keep roads clear for plows and emergency vehicles, keep an eye on the Boston Parking Ban. You will be ticketed and towed if you park on a street that is designated an emergency snow route.
To help plows and emergency vehicles get through, the city requires you to park at least 20 feet away from all intersections and further than one foot from all curbs. As usual, don’t block sidewalks, fire hydrants, driveways, ramps, or the street.
You may see trash cans, cones, or other objects being used to save parking spots in residential areas throughout the winter. No one wants to shovel their spot to find it taken by the time they return! This is common practice, and completely legal but only in certain cases. Here’s when:
This past July, the city increased many of their parking ticket fines. To pay an existing Boston parking ticket, the city allows you to use your ticket number, notice number, or plate number. Now, you can even pay your parking ticket online.
The best way to deal with parking tickets is to avoid them entirely. Here are the most commonly cited tickets given out by the city of Boston:
|Ticket Type||Fee Amount|
|Resident Parking Violation||$60|
|Overnight Street Cleaning (Ticket But No Tow)||$90|
|No Parking Zone A||$90|
|No Parking Zone B||$55|
|Double Parking Zone A||$55|
|Double Parking Zone B||$35|
|No Stopping or Standing||$90|
|Meter Fee Unpaid||$40|
|Over Posted Time Limit||$40|
|Over Meter Time Limit||$40|
Here are commonly spotted Boston parking signs to know and understand. See the list below:
Two-hour parking limit: Here, you’re good to park for up to two hours only. If you’re planning a longer stop, you’re better off finding a different parking spot.
No Stopping Boston Police special event: No parking allowed due to special events.
Resident permit parking only: Parking is only allowed for those with a residential parking sticker. If this isn’t your neighborhood, better luck elsewhere.
On Sundays and holidays, enjoy free street parking all over the city. If you’re visiting from out of town, it’s easy to find free parking on the Spot Angels app. In general, be prepared to pay where you park.
Check out this parking map for low rate street parking or head over to neighborhoods known for low-cost parking in Boston, either on the street or in a parking garage. Metered parking prices range from $1.25 to $3.75/hour depending on the street.
As we said, most meters are only active Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and most meters cost $1.25/hour. Sundays are always free and clear. Most meters allow parking for up to two hours, but there are some exceptions. Always check nearby signs wherever you park.
Or, even better, check ahead of time using this free interactive map. You’ll be able to see how long meters allow parking on specific streets, as well as how much the meter will cost you to park there.
To pay a Boston meter, you can use coins, cash, cards, or the city’s app. There are a few different types of meters, so be aware of which you’re using to properly display your proof of payment and avoid a pesky ticket.
PAY AND DISPLAY
For Pay and Display meters, you must take the receipt from the meter and place it on the inside of your car’s curbside window.
IPS SINGLE SPACE METERS
Look for these throughout the City’s most popular shopping, business, and entertainment areas. These areas include Faneuil Hall, the Financial District, Back Bay, and the South End. They all accept quarters, and debit or credit cards from Discover, MasterCard, or Visa.
PARKEON PAY AND DISPLAY METERS
These battery-operated meters are recharged by solar power and have instructions in English and Spanish. As with other Pay and Display meters, put the receipt on the inside of your car’s curbside window to show you’re legit.
METERS WITH COLORED DOMES
PERFORMANCE PARKING PILOT
If you notice a meter that is a bit more expensive than what you’re used to seeing, chances are you’ve stumbled into a city area that’s trying out Performance Parking. This new city initiative aims to free up metered parking spots during high volume times of day to make room for additional vehicles more often.
During the pilot, Back Bay meters are $3.75 an hour. Meters in the Seaport District in South Boston also experience variable rates. Check the map to find out how much these spaces cost right now.
Boston offers free parking on certain Holidays. But which Holidays are city-wide? Here are all of Boston’s parking holidays:
January 1 – New Year’s Day
January 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 19 – Presidents Day
April 16 – Patriots Day
May 28 – Memorial Day
July 4 – Independence Day
September 3 – Labor Day
October 8 – Columbus Day
November 22 – Thanksgiving Day
December 25 – Christmas Day
Ultimately, the easiest way to find parking in Boston is with the SpotAngels app.