“Cheap parking” in Denver has long meant avoiding lots and garages and cruising the streets to find a meter where a vehicle could be stashed for the low price of a buck per hour.
In January 2022, for the first time in two decades, the city is upping parking rates, doubling the cost of street parking to $2 per hour. (That breaks down to 50 cents for a 15-minute, in-and-out trip.)
That’s still a bargain in many cases but with most of the city’s 6,200 meters subject to two-hour limits (move it or risk a ticket), there are plenty of reasons to consider off-street alternatives.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to find available, cheap parking in Denver:
Let a parking app or website do the hunting
Seasoned parkers tend to have their favorite spots and hidden gems around town. At the rate that Denver has been densifying in recent years, there’s no guarantee those spaces will be available long term.
The Colorado Rockies “West Lot,” for decades provided a convenient, nearby option for people heading to game at Coors Field. It ceased to exist in 2018 and has since been transformed into McGregor Square, a massive combo hotel-office-condo project where hourly parking is scarce.
There are a handful of companies that traffic in real-time Denver parking data and even allow drivers to reserve spots online, sometimes at discounts. Those include Parkwhiz, Parkopedia and SpotHero. (All three offer mobile apps.)
Going on the 16th Street Mall? Parkopedia knows that the Denver Pavilion’s dedicated underground lot has 800 spaces just off the mall. It also knows the daytime weekday rate in the lot is $4 an hour for the first two hours and $18 for up to 12 hours. Reserve through Parkopedia and you can get two hours for $6.75 (as of the writing of this article.)
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Even local operators like Laz Parking have online options that allow drivers to check availability in real-time and sign up for potentially cost-saving options like monthly parking.
Park and ride
Parkopedia knows that the cheapest option for drivers looking to get downtown involves taking some extra steps.
Specifically, that means parking in one of the Regional Transportation District’s more than 70 Park-n-Ride lots and boarding a bus or train to get closer to a final destination. Most Park-N-Ride lots are free for 24 hours for people whose cars are registered within RTD’s metro area-spanning boundaries. Charges apply to those with plates from outside the boundaries.
From there, it’s a matter of buying a ticket to ride. An unlimited day pass for RTD buses and trains was going for $10.50 in December.
Denver parking meters have an app
Since February 2021, the city of Denver has been offering a mobile app for parkers to manage their metered spots.
Using the PayByPhone app, people can pay their meter, get alerts when their time is about to expire and even add money to extend their stay as long as it’s within posted limits, officials with the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said.
For more details on the city’s meter rules, including various rates for overnight stays in on-street spots, visit denvergor.org/parking and click on the street parking tab.
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