Are you from a place where the only packed cars are restaurants, supermarkets, and stores? Does the sight of street upon street of parked cars make you sad? Parking in the city can be rough if you're not used to it, and you can't get used to it easily if you're just visiting. If you only plan on visiting the city for major events and shopping trips, here are a few services and strategies to make your trip easier:
Plan Your Parking Within Blocks, Not Steps
If you're coming from another area and not used to the city, don't expect to get perfect parking near your destination without paying. You may get lucky if your destination is in the outskirts, not in a city center, and not in a busy neighborhood, but it's better to map out the immediate area in case you need to keep driving.
One of the worst things to do while looking for a parking space in a city you don't know is to expect that a few right turns will get you back to the same general area. Cities are not always simple grids, and you can easily be sent into a bypass or one-way road by assuming the area.
Before your drive, open a map and research the surrounding eight blocks around your destination block. Figure out which roads are nearby, and find a way to get back to your destination if you accidentally enter a bypass.
That doesn't mean you can't find the closest parking space possible, but keep in mind that you have an entire city and its visitors to compete with.
Pay Your Way Into Comfortable Parking
If you don't feel like competing for parking, consider having a list of parking garages and parking lots with paid access available.
You don't need to choose the first available parking area, but you should have more than one paid parking area in mind. Especially during holidays and weekends, you may have competition from people willing to pay for parking, but it's generally more available than the free parking areas.
Many parking areas have mobile check-in and time extension, allowing you to make sure that your stay is legal and won't result in towing if you get distracted or if your errands are taking longer than expected.
Contact a garage and parking lot professional to discuss the best possible routes to your next destination to find parking places that are efficient and at a good price.