In the US, cars are at the center of daily life. For nearly every American, having a car is essential.
However, finding parking and handling expensive parking tickets can be a constant challenge.
To facilitate the process of finding a parking spot and reduce this burden, parking apps have emerged.
If you’re looking for a place to park your car, whether it’s for a commute, shopping, pick-up, or event in another city, there are 4 apps that can help you out.
Keep in mind that each app has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to do your research to find the one that’s best suited to your specific needs.
Type 1: Street Parking
This type of app offers an alternative to traditional meters, allowing users to pay for parking without ever leaving their car.
When you see a zone code sign on the street, simply use the corresponding app listed on the sign to make your payment.
Average Price: $1.5/hour (varies according to the city)
Passport Parking: The Most Cost-effective Street Parking App
Passport Parking covers over 800 cities in 48 states and boasts an incredibly simple interface.
With Passport Parking, the zone code for the closest parking spot is automatically displayed, so you won’t have to worry about remembering any codes.
Plus, you can select any parking time within the allotted limit, making it ideal for short-term parking.
As the session is about to end, it will alert you and estimate the time it will take you to walk back to your car. You can also remotely extend parking time by adding a new session to avoid a ticket.
Quick Tips: If you want to find a more convenient way to park your car for a short time and avoid a ticket, Passport Parking is the top choice. When the street near you is full of cars and this app doesn’t work, use the other 3 apps to find available garage parking.
Quick Tip: If you’re looking for a more convenient way to park your car by the street for a short period of time and avoid getting fined for overtime parking, Passport Parking is the way to go.
In case the street near you is crowded with cars and the app isn’t working, try using the 3 other apps mentioned below to locate available parking garages.
Points To Note:
- Instant street parking. No reservation is allowed.
- Non-refundable. Cannot adjust or provide refunds once a parking session has been submitted.
- Lose unused time. You will lose any time remaining on your current session if you start a new one before the old one expires. To be honest, it’s a much better deal than a ticket.
- It is still necessary to adhere to the visible parking signs on the street in the selected zone.
- Don’t exceed your parking time. If you can’t make it back in time after seeing the remaining time reminder in the app, extend your time on the app to avoid fines.
- Keep the app updated. This will help avoid bugs from arising in the app, leading to payment errors even after making a payment on your phone.
- Use a credit card if possible. This allows you to see your payment history on your credit card app and parking staff are more likely to accept it, making it easier to resolve any disputes.
Type 2: Garage Parking
There are 3 apps that specialize in garage parking, providing the location and hourly price on a map, which is generally a bit more expensive than street parking.
These apps can accommodate parking needs in most cities and have received rave reviews on the app store.
Through these services, you can find parking places for daily or monthly use, as well as for events. You can compare prices and reserve your parking space ahead of time.
All you have to do is select a time slot, make your payment through the app, scan the QR code for entry and exit to the parking garage, and park in any available spot that is not marked as “reserved”.
- General cities: $8~12/hour (such as Portland, Cleveland, St. Louis, Denver)
- Popular cities: $15~20/hour (such as Chicago, San Diego, Indianapolis, Dallas)
- Events: $10-$70/hour (such as Indianapolis 500, US Open, Taylor Swift concert)
SpotHero: Best Overall Garage Parking App
SpotHero covers 103 cities across 41 states, including 69 major U.S. airports. The company boasts the best customer service, quickly resolving any customer issues and providing efficient refund processes, which has helped it to gain the most users.
When you search for any event, SpotHero will automatically show you the schedules of upcoming events and nearby parking garages. Compared to ParkWhiz and BestParking, SpotHero’s integrated features are superior, enabling users to book parking by the hour, month, and even for airport searches.
ParkWhiz: Best Coverage In Both Major Cities And Small Towns
Founded in 2006, ParkWhiz currently covers 249 cities across 42 states, including 41 major U.S. airports.
The company acquired Bestparking, which has a similar interface and service model, providing complementary parking options.
ParkWhiz has more parking spots in small towns compared to SpotHero and BestParking. A few hours of parking can be booked quickly, but monthly parking is not available.
BestParking: Best Coverage In Popular Cities and Airports
Bestparking is available in 107 cities across all states, including 115 major U.S. airports. The app is primarily focused on cities located in CA, FL, NY, OH, PA, TX, VA, TN, and WA.
With the highest number of airport parking spots, Bestparking is considered the best parking app for densely populated cities.
Owned by the same company as ParkWhiz, it offers monthly parking bookings, but one has to make a phone call to book (312-997-5570), which is not as convenient as SpotHero’s online booking system.
- SpotHero is the go-to for garage parking, but if it doesn’t work in your area, try the other 2 apps. ParkWhiz currently covers the most cities and towns, while BestParking boasts the highest number of parking spots for both airports and popular cities.
- In terms of practical usage, SpotHero is ideal for reserving parking for events, so we recommend searching for the event name or venue on this platform. If SpotHero is not available, we suggest searching for the street name of the venue on either ParkWhiz or BestParking, as these options are always reliable.
Points To Note
- You will receive a parking pass at the email address you provide. If for any reason you are unable to scan the QR code, simply present your pass to the garage manager.
- While these 3 parking apps offer a great deal of convenience, inconsistencies may occur with the parking provider’s information. For example, you may be charged an extra fee upon leaving the garage, depending on the garage.
- Typically, these apps will display available parking garages and guarantee that you will have a spot to park in. However, since the app doesn’t physically hold a specific spot open for each reservation, it is possible that the garage you reserved is fully occupied. If that’s the case, you will need to contact customer service for a refund and find a new parking spot.
- Customer Service:
- SpotHero (844) 324-7768
- ParkWhiz and BestParking (888) 472-7594
- If you exceed your parking time, you cannot extend it through your phone. You will be charged additional fees for the extra time at the exit gate.
- When it comes to event parking, it is recommended to reserve your spot at least one month in advance. This strategy has proven to be effective in securing a good spot.
- If the event is particularly popular and there are expected to be a lot of attendees, the total parking fees may exceed $100. For example, parking near the Taylor Swift concert on May 12th this year is $177.64, but using a ParkWhiz promo code can save you 10%.
We recommend 4 parking apps that cover a broad range of cities across the United States.
These apps have garnered a large user base and boast high ratings in the app store. Based on your specific requirements, you can select the most suitable one for yourself.
If you’re looking for a dependable app to locate on-street parking and identify the most favorable hours to park, PassportParking is your best bet.
If your preference is for the overall best garage parking app, we recommend SpotHero.
In case SpotHero fails to identify available parking in a particular city or at an event venue, you can give ParkWhiz or BestParking a try. For popular events, it’s best to book a month in advance and utilize a promo code to save money.