A popular question from Airbnb guests is where can we park?
My first response is always, if you don't need to bring a car, don't bother. Philly is an easy city to navigate by foot, bike, and public transportation and it's cheaper to pay for an Uber than it is to pay for parking, let alone the hassle of driving in the city.
So if you're considering renting a car or driving in from a nearby city, consider leaving the car behind and taking the train.
If however you must bring a car, which is understandable as most people are driving in from other states, here is what you need to know about parking...
For starters, parking in and around Center City is quite tricky. Street parking is hard to come by, metered, and restricted to two hours during the day. If staying in a neighborhood like Rittenhouse, Center City or Washington Square your best bet is to just go ahead and leave the car in a nearby garage for the duration of your stay. It will run about $25-35/day with no in/out access.
If you are determined to find a spot on the street, please read the signs carefully (more on this later) and be sure to keep up with your meter. Setting an alarm on your phone will help keep time in check.
If you're not staying in a Center City community and instead are someplace like South Philly, Port Richmond, Fairmount or Fishtown/Northern Liberties there is free street parking but it still doesn't come without restrictions. Here are things to look out for that apply specifically to these neighborhoods but also the rest of the city as well...
Most of the time, you'll see a sign that looks something like this:
Two hour parking
Monday through Sunday
Except permit #25
This mean that every day of the week parking on this block is restricted to two hours at a time between the hours of 8am and 2am. This means you could theoretically park your car here at midnight and use the two hour restrictions until 2am then leave it until 10am when you have used another two hours from 8-10am. At this point you will need to move to a new spot.
Don't just circle the block and then park in the same spot. The parking authority won't know that move happened and then you'll get a ticket. You must cross a street, or park on the opposite side of the street.
There are also some blocks you will find that don't have any parking signs. If there are no parking restrictions on that block, you can leave your car as long as you stay. Please be sure to double check that there are no signs posted.
If you arrive prior to 5 pm, you'll automatically have better luck finding a spot while people are working.
Be mindful of fire hydrants, crosswalks, handicapped signs, and garage doors. You cannot park within 15 feet of fire hydrant, in a crosswalk, or in front of a garage door. If you have a handicapped sign for your rear-view mirror, or an emblem on your licenses plate, parking between handicapped signs is permitted. If you are not handicapped, please do not park in a handicapped spot.