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Jaunted Parking Guide: Where To Park In Los Angeles

December 19, 2006 at 1:28 PM | by | Comment (1)

A while back Hertz banned us from renting their cars because of excessive parking tickets, no joke. We are fighting back by trying to help give visitors a clear view of the entire parking scene in a particular locale. We have put together our guide to parking in LA, and an accompanying map. On the map, we have plotted six LA public parking spots where we have had the most luck. Send along LA parking tips, tricks, and advice and comment here so other folks don't rack up steep parking fines, or worse yet, get towed.


Click Here To Go Straight To Jaunted's LA Parking Guide

The city of Los Angeles is often referred to as Hell-A for several reasons--god awful traffic and soulless entertainment industry people are among the top few. But parking in this city is also rather hellacious and since everyone is driving in this town (thanks to greedy GM, among others), there's no way to avoid having to park your car. Sure many residents have figured out exactly where to park without incurring a hefty parking ticket (either that or they just keep an account with the city to pay their steep parking fines), but what about visitors, aka tourists. These folks usually rent cars, are almost always lost, and look terribly confused--where can they park?

That's why we have compiled our JAUNTED PARKING GUIDE: Los Angeles. In which, we take a look at three top tourist spots amongst LA's sprawling neighborhoods and then detail where to park. We also look at how to avoid parking tickets, how to pay your parking tickets and what your friendly neighborhood parking wench looks like. Hey, appearances matter in this town.

PARKNG IN BEVERLY HILLS


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Rodeo Drive is usually the #1 stop for out-of-towners hoping to spy celebs on outrageous shopping sprees. (Also the Pretty Woman tour never gets old for tourists.)

Where to Park:
There are actual parking meters on Rodeo Drive, usually for 1 to 2 hours and one quarter will get you a whopping 15 minutes. And don't think the folks behind the counter at Louis Vuitton are eager to exchange your one dollar bill for coins. However, since neighboring street Rodeo Drive is also a mini-shopping destination where the more affordable stores are, the city of Beverly Hills has several Two Hours Free parking garages. Just look for the Public Parking signs. The most popular one is next to Crate and Barrel. These garages are great for daytime shopping but not for dining at night since after 6pm the rates are something absurd like $1.50 for 15 minutes. That's when finding a metered spot is clutch since you don't have to feed it money after 6pm and before 8am.

There are also a couple bi-level garages with metered spaces along Little Santa Monica Boulevard, north of Rodeo. Yet if you plan on being in BH for the night, you may find that paying a valet is well worth saving yourself the hassle of street spot hunting.

What to Avoid:
Any other parking garages that are not the public ones. They usually charge ridiculous fees per 15 minutes. Avoid parking on streets below Wilshire and Rodeo as they are all permit parking and constantly patrolled by the parking enforcement crew who sometimes give permitted cars tickets for displaying their permit placard in the wrong way.

How to Pay:
Tickets range from $35 to $40 for expired meters or parking in a permit zone without a permit. You can pay online through the city website, by phone (for an extra fee!) or by mail.

How to Spot the Parking Wench:
The wenches either zoom around in white, electric SUVs with the Beverly Hills logo on the side or in pretty white Jeep Wranglers, also with the city logo. On the main streets, like Beverly Drive, the wenches can be seen tooling around on a bike. For the most part, they are happy people (they could be patrolling South Central) and are helpful in directing you where else to park but they are merciless nonetheless. Once you're meter has expired, or you have parked in a permit zone, forget it. They have already sent your license plate # off to city hall and suckered you in for at least $35, trying to sweet talk these folks will not help.

PARKING IN SANTA MONICA


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Tourists can't get enough of the famous Santa Monica pier. Seeing the place Forest Gump ran to, not once, but twice, is just too tempting. There's also the beaches, Santa's Monica's Main Street, the Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica mall. All in all, plenty of reasons to seek out a parking spot in Santa Monica.

Where to Park:
Fortunately, Santa Monica is less crowded than Beverly Hills and there are more options for parking, ranging from meters to free parking garages. Well, at least two to three hours are free, depending on the structure. After that, there's a fee and also after 5 or 6pm, there's a $3 flat rate.

However, when it comes to beach parking during the summer all the metered spaces on Ocean Avenue are taken quite early on (these are two hour spots) so you are often relegated to parking in the lots down on PCH which are closer to the actual beach but cost about $6-$9 for the day. These lots have short-term parking available for $1 per hour, with 2 hours being the maximum. Yet, unlike most cities, Santa Monica is very helpful with finding public parking spaces as evidenced by their Parking Space Now web site feature. This page tells you how many spaces are available at the present time in the public parking garages and lots.

What to Avoid:
Pay close attention to the rules for metered parking. While most meters don't require payment after 6 pm, most spaces in Santa Monica require payment until 2am everday including Sunday. Also some metered spaces have 15, 20 or 30 minute time-limits.

Be on the lookout too for parking spaces along highly trafficked streets like Wilshire or Santa Monica as some blocks restrict parking during rush hour times like 7 to 9am and 4 to 7pm. And wherever you are in LA, don't forget parking during street-cleaning hours will merit you a high-priced ticket. For more information, check out the City of Santa Monica's own tips on parking in their city.

How to Pay:
Tickets range from $35 to $40 for expired meters or parking in a permit zone without a permit. You can pay online through the Santa Monica website, by phone (for a fee) or by mail.

How to Spot the Parking Wench:
Most wenches here can be found on bikes wearing blue shorts and shirts or sometimes in those little go-cart things. They have mastered the heartless, cold, "I don't care if you were just coming out to feed the meter" look and will often remain stone-faced during your "why don't you concentrate more on the homeless problem than parking" rants.

PARKING IN HOLLYWOOD

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Your trip to Los Angeles wouldn't be complete without a stop in Hollywood. The most popular spot is the Mann's Chinese Theater where people like to put their hands in the walk of fame and check out the street stars. Hollywood can get crowded and metered spots may not be available.

Where to Park:
The easiest spot to park for the Mann's experience is at Hollywood & Highland, the shopping center next to the Renaissance Hollywood and the Kodak Theater (The Mann is just a short walk west). Parking here is free for two hours with validation which you can do by buying a snack or a water at Starbucks. (Ed. Note: Whoops, no it's not. It's $2 with validation.) Although if you can swing it, some time metered spots are the best bet. That is, if it's datyime. If you are clubbing at night in Hollywood near Vine Street there are lots of little parking lots that you can pull into for $10 which sounds steep but is considerably safer than parking on some random side streets and faster than waiting for valet at the club. Just make sure the parking lot is well-staffed, and make sure the lot has a contact phone number--take it down, just in case.

What to Avoid:
Famous movie or cartoon characters who offer to park your car for $15 bucks. Like if Darth Vader is waving an orange flag into a shady parking lot behind Jack in the Box, just keep on driving.

How to Pay:
Parking tickets here range from $30 to $40. Pay online, or by phone for a fee. Mailing in your check will save you a processing fee.

Parking Wenches:
The wenches here are like soul-sucking dementors, they remain out of sight for the most part. In fact, we've never had that much interaction with these parking Voldemorts, however, we hear they drive normal white cars--no jeep wranglers or hybrid cars here. We don't know if they wear hooded cloaks, or look like wraiths, but we are fairly sure they are all "writing a screenplay."

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