Seattle drivers spend an average of 57 hours per year looking for parking, compared to a nationwide average of 17 hours. That’s too many hours! Luckily, with a few tricks and tips, finding parking in Seattle just got a whole lot easier.
Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of street parking in Seattle, as well as tips for overnight parking, metered parking, and free parking. Or, skip right ahead to the map to find parking near you right now.
To avoid expensive parking tickets handed out by the Seattle Police Department, learn about these general street parking rules:
A white curb can mean several things, either a passenger loading/unloading zone intended for quick drop-offs or a 24/7 reserved street parking space for police vehicles or fire department vehicles only.
A yellow curb can mean a loading or unloading zone, a truck-only loading zone, a commercial vehicle loading zone, or a taxi stand,
A red curb means tow-away zone. If you park here, you’re risking immediate impound.
Alternating Red and Yellow Curb
An alternating red and yellow curb means bus zone. Vehicles who park here are subject to parking tickets and an immediate tow.
Angled Parking: This sign indicates whether drivers need to park at an angle, either head-in or back-in. This makes sure that cars don’t roll into traffic on inclined streets.
Food Truck Zones: These signs indicate that only permitted food trucks can park here during the days/times indicated on the sign.
No Parking and No Stopping: When you see this sign, no parking or stopping is allowed, sometimes by time of day, or in advance of a stop sign or crosswalk.
Peak Period Restriction: This sign indicates times when parking or stopping is not allowed during morning and afternoon commute times. Watch for this one, if you violate it you could be towed immediately.
Taxi Zone: Only taxis can park here during designated times.
Time-limited parking: This sign tells you how much time you are allowed to park here. Payment is not required. When you move your car, you’re required to move it to a different block if parking again the same day.
After 5 PM Sign: You’ll see this sign on paid street parking spots. It indicates that the maximum time limit you can park here is 3 hours after 5 PM.
Look for the green check mark on metered parking spots to find the Best Value parking with lower rates or longer time limits. These blocks may be a little farther from your destination but will likely have more parking available.
This sign indicates 2-hour parking from 8 AM to 6 PM Monday-Saturday
This sign indicates 2-hour parking from 8 AM to 5 PM, and 3-hour max after 5 PM.
There are many residential street parking spaces that are free throughout the week and a number of free spaces in the downtown area, though congestion can make those difficult to snag.
The easiest way to find free parking is by using this interactive parking map. Simply navigate to where you want to park or type in a destination in the search bar to see how much parking costs in that area, as well as garages and special parking restrictions nearby.
Parking meters are in effect Monday through Saturday, and they are generally limited to 2 hours, 4 hours, or 10 hours. Parking is free on Sundays!
To see how much metered-parking costs during any given time, visit this parking map and type in your parking destination and time of day:
Street parking is free between 6 or 8PM-8AM, but finding a spot can be difficult if you’re in a highly trafficked area. But here’s a trick: from 10 p.m. until paid parking officially begins the next morning at 8 AM, Seattle’s pay stations are programmed to allow customers to pre-pay for the next morning’s parking if you’re hoping to park overnight and sleep in.
Or, if you park overnight on the street in a residential area with no parking limits, keep in mind that if your car is parked in the same spot for longer than 72-hours, you could face a parking ticket. Seattle also has many parking garages that offer overnight parking and long-term parking for residents and visitors.
|Ticket Type||Fee Amount|
|No RPZ permit in a residential parking zone||$250.00|
|Parking in a disabled space without a permit||$450.00|
|Parking illegally in an alley or driveway||$47.00|
|Parking in a loading zone||$47.00|
|Parking in longer than the time allowed||$44.00|
|Parking in a taxi zone||$47.00|
|Leaving your car on the street for longer than 72 hours||$44.0|
|Parking illegally in an electric vehicle charging station||$124.00|
If your car was towed from a Seattle street, use Lincoln Towing’s impound vehicle search to locate it. There is no storage fee for the first 12 hours that your car sits at the towing lot, but after 12 hours the fee is $14.40 for every additional 12-hour period.
When you pick up your vehicle, expect to pay at least $120.50, with additional added by the city as an administrative tax.
If your car has been booted under the Scofflaw Ordinance, which allows a boot to be placed on the vehicles of Seattle drivers who have four or more overdue, unpaid parking tickets, call 1-877-590-3757 and a technician will be out to release you upon payment of all parking tickets.
Seattle offers free parking on certain Holidays. But which Holidays are city-wide? Here are all of Seattle’s parking holidays:
January: January 1* and the 3rd Monday
February: 3rd Monday
May: Last Monday
July: July 4*
September: 1st Monday
November: November 11* and the 4th Thursday
December: December 25*
*If the date falls on a Sunday, the Monday that follows is a free parking day.