Parking Saturday to Thursday in Philadelphia
September 15, 2016 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Visiting Philadelphia from Saturday afternoon (9/17) through Thursday morning (9/22}. Staying at an airbnb that's reasonably close to the 2nd St Metro station. What's my best option for parking that won't cost both arms and legs?

We're planning on taking advantage of public transportation, rideshare, and our feet while we're here, but our rental doesn't have parking. I'm fine leaving the car elsewhere assuming it's not likely to be broken into or otherwise disturbed in our absence. We will have at least a couple suitcases when we arrive.

I've also sent an inquiry to our host, but wanted to check with the hive mind as well.
posted by miratime to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (10 answers total)
Welcome to our fair city! I'm assuming the 2nd street metro is at 2nd & Market street. That is a bit of an expensive area. You might find parking for your whole stay somewhere or you might end up cobbling together a garage for Thursday -Friday and finding free parking for the rest of the weekend.

You might want to check into a visitor parking pass for your zone. PPA issues them. I'm not sure if you or your Airbnb host needs to get it.

You can also download the Best Parking app which tells you daily rates for garages in the area. I've found it to be accurate.

Also if you go a bit north or south, you will be able to find unmetered parking. These streets basically have no signs & you can park indefinately.

I know on 1315 Buttonwood, you can park on the right hand side of the street for free on on weekends when school is not in session.

Good luck!
posted by PeaPod at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending on where you are driving in from, parking at Septa out in the suburbs might not be a bad idea. I prefer the Woodbourne station on the West Trenton line. It would not be a far walk to where you are staying and it is one of the few Septa stations with free parking. It takes about an hour, depending on the train, to get from Woodbourne to Jefferson Station.
posted by Nackt at 2:33 PM on September 15, 2016

While there is unmetered parking a bit to the north and the south, it is almost always permit parking - which is a 2 hour limit during the day. If you exceed that limit, you will be ticketed. I am 100% serious about that. The PPA does not mess around and they patrol that area heavily [I live a few block south of there and see them about all the time].

All the garages and lots nearby are pretty expensive if you are going to be leaving your car there for a whole day. There is just no way around it. There are some deals available - like Friday night parking in the garage underneath Independence Mall but they have conditions like needing to move the car by 6 am.

If you really want free parking and don't need ready access to your car, you could park up in Fishtown around the Gerard or Berks stop and take the train down to where you are staying. Note that this is a gentrifying area and you may not feel comfortable leaving your car there. You might also be able to find an unmetered, unpermitted place to park closer to the Spring Garden stop which is in Northern Liberties but I am not that familiar with that area and the parking situation there.

Sorry that I can't be more helpful but hope you have a great time in Philadelphia.

Also - if you would like any recommendations or have any questions about the area feel free to me mail me.
posted by nolnacs at 5:24 PM on September 15, 2016

Oh and to echo PeaPod, the visitor parking permit would be a cheap option at only $15 [IIRC] but the person renting out the airbnb would need to get it.
posted by nolnacs at 5:28 PM on September 15, 2016

Yeah, if you want to park for free, your best bet is probably to go to an outlying neighborhood and then take the subway to where you're staying. Seconding Northern Liberties or Fishtown for ease in quickly getting back to Center City. They can both look a little rough but are pretty safe.
posted by kalimac at 7:03 PM on September 15, 2016

If you are willing to drive around and very, very carefully look at the signs, there are blocks, and even parts of blocks or sides of streets, where parking is unrestricted. I'm thinking of smaller streets in particular in Old City. I'm thinking Spring Garden Street to Market St, Front St. to about 5th Street where I am guessing you are staying. Luck and diligence are the tickets here. Best time of day to look for parking is during the workday after spots are vacated. It's a pain for a visitor, but is probably worth the effort.

The crazy-quilt parking rules result from a block-by-block permit parking system based on a percentage of residents signing petitions to have permit parking. If it isn't requested, and isn't a commercial block where shopkeepers want a churn of spaces, it's often left to more laissez-faire forces and no signs are posted. Be careful, though. The notorious Parking Authority is fully deserving of its reputation, and you will be ticketed if you run afoul of the rules. I am a grinch when it comes to paying for parking, and I almost always can come up with a spot if I drive around enough.

The dead easiest solution would be for your Air Bnb host to get a visitor permit for you. Surely they've encountered this issue before?

And welcome to Philly!
posted by citygirl at 10:42 PM on September 15, 2016

Also be aware that there is a half-marathon here this weekend. That screws up the traffic, parking and buses on Sunday 9/18.
posted by Pax at 5:12 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

(Maybe you are coming for it...)
posted by Pax at 5:12 AM on September 16, 2016

In DC some of the hotels now rent out their parking sports cheap if you prepay via Parking Panda or a similar site. My last few flights out of DC I've been able to park in the secure underground garage of a major hotel for about $7 a day, while the hotel guest parked next to me is paying $35 a day for the same privilege.

I'd imagine the same option is available in Philly.
posted by COD at 6:32 AM on September 16, 2016

I'd pretty much resigned myself to endless block circling plus a backup plan of just sucking it up and paying the 20.50/night, but Parking Panda was just the thing! Found a spot less than a mile away from our rental for 71 dollars/five days. Peace of mind for the garage and guaranteed space, and at least I saved a little. Thanks!
posted by miratime at 7:02 AM on September 16, 2016

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