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Categories: Santa Monica Parking

The Complete Guide to Santa Monica Parking

Santa Monica offers travelers and residents alike a wide variety of activities to explore within its city limits, but the local parking authority makes parking tricky. When you’re looking for parking, expect to compete with a high volume of people who are also looking for the most popular spots.

Understanding Santa Monica street parking rules:

Keep reading to find out about Santa Monica parking rules and discover tips and tricks to avoid surprise regulations and find the best parking spots near your destination.

Tips to avoid a parking ticket

  • Santa Monica beach lots and pay-by-space lots are enforced 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.
  • If you’re parked on the street, move your car every 72 hours.
  • Always have current registration tags on your license plate, displayed clearly.
  • Have two license plates. Plates must be displayed and attached to the rear and front of your car at all times.
  • If you’re at a 2-hour meter, you can park there longer than two hours only if you have a purple, red, green, or white Clean Air Vehicle decal or ZEV decal.

What do curb colors mean? Are they always enforced?

  • Yellow Loading Zones (15 minute limit) are enforced Monday-Saturday 7am-6pm, unless otherwise posted.
  • Green Zones are enforceable 24 hours for the time limit posted.
  • White Zones are enforceable 24 hours for the three minute time limit.

How does residential parking work?

New Santa Monica residents are now able to apply for residential parking permits online. It takes between 3-5 days for applications to process. Existing residents hoping to renew their residential parking permit should use the customer web portal. If you’re in a crunch, you can also print out one-day temporary parking permits.

What do street parking signs in Santa Monica mean?

Here’s how to read the parking signs you’ll come across while parking in the city:

Limited parking sign: When you see this sign, be sure not to park when it says “No Parking” and only park for how long the sign allows.

Residential parking sign: To park here for longer than 2 hours, you’d need a residential parking permit.

What are street parking rules for metered spaces?

Santa Monica has plenty of street and metered parking that costs between $1.0 to $3.0 per hour. It’s important to understand the rules of that specific meter if you don’t want to get a parking ticket.

Read all of the street signs carefully before you park.

Which hours is metered parking in effect?

  • Most meters along Ocean Avenue, 2nd Street, and 4th Street between Wilshire Boulevard and Colorado Avenue run between 8 A.M. and 2 A.M. daily.
  • Most meters along Broadway, Santa Monica Boulevard, Arizona Avenue, and Wilshire Boulevard between Ocean Avenue and 5th Street run between 8 A.M. and 2 A.M. daily.
  • Most meters along the rest of the Downtown streets east of 5th Street and in the Civic Center area run between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. daily.
  • Head to the parking map to learn when meters are in effect for your particular destination.

Where can I park near Santa Monica pier?

This popular Santa Monica destination doesn’t have to be a parking headache.

Here’s how to find affordable or free parking near Santa Monica pier:

  • Most lots are open from sunrise to sunset (except for Lot 1 North which is open from 6am to 2am and the upper Pier deck lot which is open 24 hours per day)
  • It costs between $7 to $18 per day to park in most lots, but there is some free parking and free lot parking available.

How to find the best cheap parking in Santa Monica?

Pay attention to Santa Monica parking rules to make sure you don’t end up with a ticket on your windshield. Check out the free parking guide to learn more.

Where can I find parking garages near downtown?

The easiest way to find parking garages in Santa Monica is by heading to the parking map. There, you’ll find all of the information you need and you’ll be able to reserve a spot right then and there.


What’s the cost of a Santa Monica parking ticket?

Costs for parking tickets in Santa Monica aren’t cheap. If you’re already facing a steep parking ticket bill, the city allows you to contest it.

How do I pay a Santa Monica parking ticket?

Drivers with parking tickets are encouraged to pay online using the city’s website. The city also offers low-income repayment plans to help ease the burden of parking ticket costs.

What do I do if my car gets towed?

Before you jump to any conclusions, call 311 or visit the official city towing page. There are several ways you can find out if your car was towed or stolen.

Is metered parking suspended today?

Santa Monica does give people a break every once in a while. Street parking is free on select parking holidays throughout the year.

Check out this guide if you’re looking for free parking in Santa Monica beyond the free parking that’s available every Sunday at metered spaces.

Which days are Santa Monica parking holidays?

Below are the official parking holidays in the city. To know which specific regulations are suspended on these days, please check the SpotAngels app.

Parking meters will not be enforced on the following holidays, except for meters that are enforced daily according to posted signage. Meters that are enforced daily must be paid on all weekdays, weekends, and holidays.

HolidayDate
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Martin Luther King Jr. Day3rd Monday in January
President’s Day3rd Monday in February
Memorial Daylast Monday in May
Independence DayJuly 4
Labor Day1st Monday in September
Columbus Day2nd Monday in October
Veteran’s DayNovember 11
Thanksgiving Day4th Thursday in November
Christmas DayDecember 25

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