Tell Us Your City's Best Parking Hacks

Photo: Lily Banse

During a Chicago winter, you can reserve a parking spot with a folding chair, a playpen, or a giant teddy bear. Or at least you can try. It’s one of the greatest parking hacks in the world: If you shovel out a snowed-in parking spot in Chicago, and you put a placeholder in the space, a lot of people will honour your “dibs” and not take the parking spot from you. You own that spot until the snow melts. Especially if you threaten anyone who steals it. But wherever you live, we’d love your hacks for local city parking.

What’s your local parking hack? Is there an especially good parking lot that will validate with a small purchase? A way to get free parking near the stadium? A rule of thumb for finding open spots on the street? A recommendation of one garage over another? A good Facebook group for renting your spot to someone else?

Does your city have exclusive parking spots for certain kinds of vehicles? Are there unorthodox — or sketchy — ways to get a parking permit? Any way to stretch your parking pass beyond its usual window?

What are the local pitfalls — street cleaning rules, local laws that aren’t reflected on signs, dirty tricks that cops pull so they can issue more tickets? Have you found a good workaround for these?

What’s your driving strategy for finding a spot? How do you avoid being bamboozled by garage doors? What do you look for, how do you identify a car about to leave, how do you keep someone else from swooping in?

Don’t tell the world where your one precious parking spot is. But in the spirit of camaraderie with your fellow drivers, share your best practices and hacks, and they’ll share theirs. Super-local specifics and general advice are both welcome.


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