Downtown Austin is packed with live music venues, restaurants, theaters, comedy clubs, bars and businesses. That means a lot of competition for parking, especially on weekend evenings or during one of the city’s many festivals, such as South By Southwest.
But don’t fret.
Whether you’re hunting for a spot on a bustling Saturday night or just looking for a convenient and safe place to park near a favorite restaurant, there is almost always a space nearby.
Downtown has more than 17,000 parking spots, which includes about 3,000 on-street spaces. Garage prices fluctuate depending on the time of day.
The city partners with ParkMe.com, which displays a heat map of available parking along with rate information. It shows real-time availability of on-street parking, although it doesn’t show real-time availability at privately-operated parking garages. The phone app is reliable and can help direct you to the closest and cheapest spots.
Drivers can pay with cash or credit for on-street parking at curbside kiosks. Just don’t forget to attach the sticker to the inside of your windshield — the city is quick to ticket illegal parking. Downtown meters run 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 8 a.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday; and 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays.
You can leave your car overnight by hitting the yellow button and buying next day time on the parking pay stations.
Another option is to avoid garage fees altogether.
You can park remotely and ride the MetroRail to the downtown station at East 4th and Trinity Streets. Rail service runs until about midnight on Friday and Saturday. Busses run even later on weekends, including Night Owl busses that can give you a lift at 3 a.m.