Support Us Button Widget

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.

More from SEAtoday
Some of Seattle’s go-to places for frozen treats are participating in the statewide tour of locally owned shops serving gelato, frozen custard, yogurt, ice cream, and soft serve.
We’re introducing the brains behind SEAtoday’s newsletter, articles, and social media.
To celebrate Hoa Mai Park’s opening, Seattle Parks and Recreation will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony with music, food, children’s activities, and a Lion dance performance by Mak Fai Kung Fu on Saturday, July 27.
The Emerald City is well represented on the world stage at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics — here are some Seattleites to watch.
This monthly underground film festival aims to connect artists with an audience in a way that doesn’t break the bank + fosters community.
Bumbershoot Gives Back hopes to tackle food insecurity in Western Washington by giving away 2,000 free tickets encouraging to locals who volunteer with local food banks.
Thirsty? We’ve rounded up a few local drink deals and imagined how we would sip our way through our perfect local beverage day in Seattle.
Focused on fostering a collaborative environment, Bloomberg Green Festival brings climate innovators, policymakers, artists, and more to Seattle Center for five days of interactive learning experiences.
From Bellevue to Bainbridge, we’re giving you all the pertinent details about some of the districts in and around Seattle.
The Graham Street Light Rail Station Project would create a new stop between stations along the 1 Line’s current track.