Find parking in cities (let alone cheap parking) is somewhat of an adventure. Sometimes you get lucky with that perfect free parking spot in front of the place you want to go, while other times, you can spend your whole time driving around and around the block with no spots available.
But the good news is that things have changed a lot in the past few years. As the slogan goes; there's an app for that! That is just as true when it comes to finding parking in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and any other parking spot mecca.
So we've decided the list our favorite apps for finding parking. You can be sure all these apps offer the best parking for the cheapest prices. So without further ado, here they are;
ParkTag is a great new app that allows you to share and "tag" FREE parking spots you find around the city. This allows people to claim these parking spots so they know where to head for a primo parking spot.
It's a super simple and elegant solution to an almost century old problem. You also gain "credits" for sharing parking spots with future drivers so it's a win-win for both parking spot leavee and searchee.
It's a still very much at the beginning stages, so it might not be super popular in your city. But why not be the first to use it? This is your chance to get in at the groud-level of a very useful app.
ParkWhiz has been around for almost a decade now, but it continues to get better and better. It's a simple app where you can search for PAID parking spots at around an address or venue of your choosing.
The best thing about ParkWhiz is that the spots are usually over 50% off of normal parking rates. Add in the ability to secure a parking spot way before you are at the location, this app makes parking for events, crowded cities, and other limited parking times a breeze.
ParkWhiz is pretty much in every major metropolitan area of the USA so it should be available in a city near you. If not, don't worry, they are expanding at a vigorous pace due to their recent acquisition of 10 million dollars in new funding.
This is one of my favorite apps on this list. It's sooo cool! I just wish it was available in more cities. I also like the fact that not many people know about it, which makes this app even more useful (since people can't steal your spots).
Basically the app shows you street parking around an address you input. Streets that have street parking will be shown in red, yellow, and green. Red means that the chances of you finding a spot there is slim. Green means that there probably should be a spot somewhere.
The biggest downside to the app is that it's only available in 4 cities right now; Chicago, Munich, Hanover, and San Francisco.
Hopefully it starts launching in other cities, cause this app makes it so much easier to find those sweet free street parking spots without having to know the entire city.
SpotHero is very similar to ParkWhiz. It's hard to differentiate between the two, but this newcomer to the Parking niche is already making a loud splash.
You can find PAID parking spots around an address or venue. SpotHero also offers rates that are more than 50% off. This seems to be the biggest difference between SpotHero and ParkWhiz actually. The rates vary greatly between the two at even the same parking garage.
It seems that SpotHero typically has the better of the rates, but it always depends. Definitely worth a download if you live in a congested city.
One of the oldest and maybe the original web and mobile app for finding parking spots in and around cities. Started in 2007, BestParking offers users a map of all known parking garages and parking lots in a city with their costs.
The biggest downside to this service is that you cannot book or pay for the parking spots. You can basically just compare the rates at different places.
But still, with it's immense catalog of parking garages and lots, it's worth the time to check out if you are looking for a convenient parking spot near you.
OK, totally honest, I'm not really sure how ParkingPanda is any different than ParkWhiz or SpotHero, but to be totally unbiased (to non-Chicago startups) I'm also including it here as well.
It raised 5 million in funding last year, after launching in 2012 with $250,000. It includes a lot of the same parking spots as the other services along with the ability to reserve them via your computer or mobile phone. It seems to be in a bit more locations than SpotHero but still less than ParkWhiz.
If you are on the East Coast (ParkingPanda is based in Baltimore and New York) this app might be more useful than the others since they should know their territory a bit better. Try it out and please let us know in the comments!
This app was just recently kicked out of San Francisco ;( But the good news is that it's still available in New York and Chicago (for the time being). Basically, it works a lot like ParkTag above where you can claim open FREE street parking spots.
You can probably see why they got in a bit of trouble in San Francisco. It's tough to claim a parking spot with just a tap of a mobile phone screen, so there was a lot of controversy anytime someone without the app tried to take the spot.
Anyway, it's still a pretty nifty app so it's worth downloading if you are lucky enough to be in one it's 2 markets (Chicago and New York).
If I'm not mistaken, Sweetch was one of the three infamous apps that were kicked out of San Francisco (MonkeyParking and ParkModo being the others) for providing a service to claim open street parking spots.
Well it's now rebooted (or as they say in Silicon Valley "pivoted") and now known as spotAngels. It's actually a pretty cool and useful service. It sees where you parked and informs you of expiring meters, upcoming street cleanings, and directions on how to get back to your car.
The only problem is that it's only available in San Francisco. So if you don't live in San Fran, keep an eye on this app, as I'm sure they are going to be expanding in a matter of time.