San Francisco Parking

Tips for Street Parking & Garages by District

San Francisco parking is a constant headache for both locals and visitors. It's not easy to find spots - and most options are quite pricey.

Here you will find some of the best options and pricing estimates for popular spots such as Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown and Union Square.

san francisco parking garage
SF is a colorful place - and that extends to the garages. This mural is on the western side of the Performing Arts SF garage in Hayes Valley/Civic Center.

San Francisco Parking Garages

San Francisco parking garages are your best bet if you plan to drive around or into the city for the day. Street parking can be difficult to find and you will often spend up to an hour looking for a spot.

Below, I've outlined some of the best options by district and/or attraction. This will help you quickly find a place to park and know exactly where to go when you arrive.

Most parking garages in San Francisco are expensive and the rates can increase at times due to special events. I've included parking prices for each one below to give you an idea on what to expect. However, make sure to double check the prices before you pull in so you know the full price for your visit as these prices can (and do!) change at anytime.

Jump ahead to the district that interests you most.

Union Square | Downtown SF | Fisherman's Wharf | Alcatraz

Nob Hill | Mission | North Beach | Civic Center & Hayes Valley

Tips for Parking on the Street

Union Square Parking

Union Square is one of the busiest districts. It's where you will find some great shopping and many of our largest hotels. It's also close to the Yerba Buena district, which is home to some of our top museums. If you plan to park in this district, here are a few recommendations.

Sutter-Stockton Garage
  • Location: 444 Stockton Street
  • Size: Huge garage with almost 1,900 parking spots
  • Perfect for: Anyone shopping in Union Square, Chinatown, or the Financial District
  • Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Height clearance: 6'5"
  • Hourly rate: $1 to $3 per hour
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $36 ($18 on Sundays)
Union Square Garage
  • Location: 333 Post Street
  • Size: Large garage with 985 spaces, goes underground about four stories
  • Perfect for: Those looking for a San Francisco parking garage near the stores in Union Square
  • Access: Enter from either Post or Geary Streets
  • Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Hourly rate: $2.50 to $6 an hour
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $36
Ellis and O’Farrell Garage
  • Location: 123 O'Farrell Street
  • Size: Large garage with 925 spaces
  • Perfect for: Anyone going shopping or to the theater
  • Access: Entrances from both O’Farrell (6'2" clearance) and Ellis Streets (8'2" clearance)
  • Hours: Opens every day at 5:30am; closes at 1am Sunday - Thursday and 2am Friday - Saturday
  • Hourly rate: $1.50 to $4 an hour
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $36
  • Weekday Early Bird discount: Flat rate of $19 when you enter before 8:30am and exit before close

Options in Downtown San Francisco

There are some other San Francisco parking garages for those wanting to find something in a different part of downtown San Francisco.

Fifth and Mission / Yerba Buena Garage
  • Location: 833 Mission Street
  • Size: Huge garage with 2585 spaces, occupies roughly one full square block, with signs on each floor telling you where spots are available
  • Great for: Visitors to the SF MOMA, Jewish Contemporary Museum, or other San Francisco museums in the SOMA District
  • Also great for: Those going to the Metreon or Yerba Buena Gardens
  • Access: You can enter from either Minna Street (6'8" clearance) or Mission Street (7'2" clearance)
  • Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Hourly rate: $3 to $4 an hour depending on when you arrive
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $34
St. Mary's Square Garage
  • Location: 433 Kearny Street
  • Size: Medium-sized garage with 639 spaces
  • Great for: Anyone looking for a San Francisco parking garage in the Financial District or Chinatown
  • Hours: Open 24 hours, 7 days a week
  • Hourly rate: $1 to $5 an hour depending on when you arrive
  • Weekday Early Bird discount: Flat rate of $23 when you enter before 8:30am and exit before midnight
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $39

San Francisco Parking: Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39

There are several parking options if you are visiting Fisherman's Wharf or Pier 39.

The most convenient parking is the Pier 39 Garage, which is located directly across the street from the Entrance Plaza.

  • Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Hourly rate: $9 on weekdays (with a daily max of $45) and $10 on weekends (with a daily max of $50)
  • Validation: Restaurant patrons who dine at one of Pier 39's full-service restaurants receive one hour free validation at lunch and two hours free validation after 6pm for dinner
  • Height clearance: 6' 8". If your vehicle is taller than this, you’ll want to look around for street parking.

Alcatraz Parking in San Francisco

There are several lots for those visiting Alcatraz Island for the day. The Alcatraz Island ferries leave from Pier 33. You’ll find one parking lot located just across the street on the Embarcadero at Bay Street.

If that one is full, there is a larger parking garage just a couple blocks away at 80 Francisco Street (at Kearny). You can find out more about these parking lots and other Alcatraz information on my tips to prepare for Alcatraz page.

San Francisco Parking in Nob Hill

Polk-Bush Garage
  • Location: 1399 Bush Street
  • Size: Small garage with 129 spaces
  • Great for: Nob Hill
  • Hourly rate: $3
  • Hours: Open Monday - Thursday from 7am - 10pm, Friday from 7am - 2:30am, Saturday from 8am - 2:30am, and Sunday 9am - 10pm
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $27
  • Weekday Early Bird discount: Flat rate of $18 when you enter before 9am and exit before 7pm
  • Overnight discount: Flat rate of $8 when you enter after 9pm and exit by 9am (weekdays) or 10am (weekends) the next day

Mission District Parking

Mission-Bartlett Garage
  • Location: 3255 21st Street
  • Size: Smaller garage with 350 spacessan francisco parking garages misison district
  • Great for: Visiting the Mission District
  • Access: You can enter from either Mission or Bartlett Street (6'6" clearance)
  • Hours: Open Monday - Thursday from 7am - midnight, Friday from 7am - 2:30am, Saturday from 8am - 2:30am, and Sunday 8am - midnight
  • Hourly rate: $1.50 to $5 an hour
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $27
Mission-Otis Garage
  • Location: 1660 Mission Street
  • Size: Very small garage with only 58 spaces
  • Great for: An alternative option when the other Mission District garage is busy (this one has shorter hours of operation and higher hourly rates than the other)
  • Hours: Open Monday - Friday from 7am - 6pm
  • Rate: Every 30 minutes costs $3
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $22

North Beach Parking

North Beach Garage
  • Location: 735 Vallejo Street
  • Size: Smaller garage with 203 spaces
  • Great for: Those visiting the North Beach San Francisco area
  • Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Hourly rate: $4
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $30
  • Weekday Early Bird discount: Flat rate of $20 when you enter before 10am and exit before 7pm

Options for Civic Center and Hayes Valley

Civic Center
  • Location: 355 McAllister Street, underground
  • Size: Large garage with 843 spaces
  • Great for: Those visiting the Asian Art Museum, City Hall, or other attractions in this neighborhood
  • Other: Very safe with security camera
  • Hours: Open weekdays from 6am - midnight, Saturday from 8am - midnight, and Sunday from 9am - 10pm
  • Hourly rate: $2 to $6 an hour
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $29
  • Weekday Early Bird discount: Flat rate of $18 when you enter before 8:30am and exit before closing
Performing Arts Garage
  • Location: 360 Grove Street
  • Size: Medium-sized garage with 598 spaces
  • Great for: Those visiting Hayes Valley or going to a performing arts show (ballet, opera, or symphony)
  • Other: Easy to spot because there are dancing murals on the garage done by Josef Norris
  • Safety: Security camera coverage and well lit
  • Access: Entrance in the middle of the block on Grove Street with height clearance of 5'9"
  • Hours: Open weekdays 6am - midnight, closed weekends unless an event is scheduled
  • Special hours: For performances, the garage is open 3 hours before and 2 hours after each show, so if you have dinner reservations, you'll want to make sure you are back at the garage before it closes
  • Hourly rate: $1 to $4.50, special event rates range from $5 to $40
  • Daily maximum or lost ticket: $22
  • Weekday Early Bird discount: Flat rate of $14 when you enter before 8:30am and exit before closing

Tips to Park on the Street in San Francisco

If you don’t want to park in one of the San Francisco parking garages, you can also look for a spot on the street. However, the cost to park in the street is often just as much as the garages during the day, and for a limited amount of time.

Parking Meters

Most meters have a two-hour time limit. They can be paid by coin, phone, or credit card.

Meter rates vary by zone, with downtown and Fisherman's Wharf being the most expensive. Most are between $2.00 and $4.50 per hour.

With new "smart" technology, there are some SFpark areas based on demand, where rates incrementally adjust by quarter and can range from $0.50 to $6.50 per hour.

Hours of operation for most meters are 9am - 6pm Monday - Saturday. The meters in Fisherman's Wharf run from 7am - 7pm daily. Some of the meters in the busier areas and the Port of San Francisco run until 10 or 11pm.

Most allow you to park without moving your car for 1 to 4 hours. After your time runs out, you are supposed to move your car to a new spot instead of just feeding the meter again.

Most meters are NOT in effect on Sundays, except in the Fisherman's Wharf area, the Embarcadero, off-street parking lots, and the Special Events Area near AT&T Park.

All metered spots are free on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

After you park, always read the meter to confirm days and hours of operation, time limits, and rates.

Other Street Parking

If you find a parking spot on the street that is not metered, check to see if the curb is painted, and look for signs posted about time limits and street sweeping hours.

Most areas of the city have parking permits for local residents. If you do not have a parking permit, you will only be allowed to park for a certain amount of time. Two hours is the standard although some are only one hour and some as much as three. Look for the signs near your car to find out the regulations for San Francisco parking on the street.

Here are some other street parking guidelines:

  • Red curb means no parking at anytime
  • Green curb is for short term parking only, usually around 10 minutes
  • Yellow curbs are loading and unloading zones for commercial vehicles
  • White is passenger pick up and drop off only, with a time limit of around 5 minutes
  • Blue is handicapped parking only with a valid permit

Your best bet for parking is to choose one of the San Francisco parking garages. Overall, parking in the city is pretty expensive unless you are lucky enough to get a decent spot on the street.

If you don't want to hassle with driving and using one of the San Francisco parking garages, you can also take public transportation or one of the San Francisco taxis. Both options make it pretty easy to get around the city.

Motels with Free San Francisco Parking

Many of the motels throughout the city offer free parking. You are allowed to park there during your stay and only hotel guests are offered this privilege. If you do plan to drive into SF and stay, this is a great way to save on your visit.

Find a few of my favorite motels, most with free parking.

How else can I help you with San Francisco parking?

Add your questions or comments below!

Top Hotels for Your Stay

Are you still searching for a hotel room for your visit? Here are some of my favorites based on price, amenities and neighborhood.

Make sure to also check out the great deals on TripAdvisor.com before you book. They offer deals for places in Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and other districts throughout the city. Click here to browse their current offers.

Other Great Pages to Check Out

bus tours
bay cruises
chinatown
Five Top
Bus Tours
Best SF
Bay Cruises
Perfect Day in
Chinatown

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Hi there! I'm Jill and I love writing about San Francisco travel as much as I love exploring my amazing city. Thanks for stopping by and let me know how I can help!

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