How to park in downtown Seattle without pulling your hair out

There are free spaces — you just need to know where and when to look.

Cars parked along a street next to a paid parking meter in downtown Seattle

Paid street parking in downtown Seattle runs Monday through Saturday — Sundays are free.

Photo via Seattle Department of Transportation

We get it — parking in Seattle can be confusing and pricey, but it doesn’t need to deter you from going into town. There are over 1 million places to park, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. We’ve put together some tips + tricks on where to find them.

Before heading downtown

  • Download PayByPhone to pay for parking with ease. Most metered spots use this app — while some still accept coins, there’s no need to carry all that change around.
  • Plan where to leave your car using Seattle’s interactive parking map.
  • You can also use apps like SpotHero to grab a space and pay in advance.

Know the rules

  • Colors are key — curbs marked white, yellow, or red generally mean passenger vehicles can’t park there (or at least not for long).
  • Street paid parking is in effect Monday-Saturday and can span two, four, or 10 hours. Keep track of the rates, which were recently updated.
  • No matter what the sign says, no car can be parked in one spot on a street for longer than 72 hours — so don’t leave it there on your vacay.

Free parking

  • Enjoy a break from paying for street parking on Sunday fundays and national holidays.
  • An open secret is that lots near the Amazon buildings in South Lake Union are free after 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and on weekends.
  • Pioneer Square’s First Thursday Art Walk also offers parking options gratis.

More resources

Of course, you can avoid all those parking headaches by simply getting around the city without a car. Hop on a bike or bus and leave the endless circling behind.