Everybody knows that parking in Chicago can be a nightmare.  Parking is something that nobody likes, but we have to do it if we drive.  There's a reason you've found yourself on this page reading about parking tips.  You drive, need to park, and of course you just don't like it.

Avoid Parking Tickets

Those orange envelopes are one of the most dreaded things imaginable in the city of Chicago!  To avoid them, read the signs. There are rush hour tow zones, street cleaning, winter parking bans, residential permit parking, game day parking restrictions (Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, etc.) and on and on!  Read the signs. Look carefully. They can be confusing.  Don't just look at the metal signs on the street.  Look for temporary parking bans on paper signs taped to trees.

The above picture show cases one of those signs that bring about the dreaded street cleaning ticket.

More Parking Tips - You can find free or cheap street parking 

  • You can park for free at the United Center. Yup you heard that correct! There is even some free street parking that is closer to the United Center than the pay lots. Check out this United Center Parking map here.
  • Going to Michigan Ave or Millennium Park? Parking lots nearby can be outrageously expensive. There are really cheap parking options at underground parking structures on Lower Wacker Drive.  There are a bunch of options around the Michigan & Wacker and Columbus & Wacker areas.  Enter on Columbus or East Lake Street to go underground and follow the signs.
  • There is a small strip of free unrestricted parking on Delaware St in the Gold Coast neighborhood west of State and east of Dearborn on the north side of the street. Note, I have rarely ever seen an open spot here.
  • You can park for free on the north side of Chicago Ave between Sedgwick St. and Cambridge Ave.

Know of any other free parking places downtown? Leave a comment!