How best to handle parking during Manhattan vacation?
December 12, 2018 7:06 AM   Subscribe

We’re trying to figure out cheapest options. We’re driving to Manhattan (from Maryland) on Dec. 22 and leaving Christmas morning. We’re driving a small SUV with 5 people and luggage. Does it make the most sense to 1. Hope we can find a space in Manhattan near our hotel. 2. Find or reserve a garage and pay for 3 days of parking. 3. Park in Jersey City/Hoboken/Weehawken and cab/Uber in. Any suggestions appreciated.
posted by Mr. Justice to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you tried or

They will probably have the lowest prices available unless you can find street parking, which is very doable. It always looks hopeless until you find your spot! Just be sure to read the parking signs carefully.
posted by defreckled at 7:10 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

You can eliminate option 1. You won't find a space on the street near your hotel but even if you did, you'd later have to deal with moving the car for alternate side parking rules. I imagine you don't want to spend your vacation time doing that.

On edit: had not considered ThePinkSuperhero's point, so disregard mine please!
posted by nantucket at 7:16 AM on December 12, 2018

I would lean toward reserving a garage and paying for parking. Finding street parking will be a wild card (although Saturday-Christmas Tuesday probably means you'll miss alternate side parking rules which are generally suspended for holidays), and paying for a cab to and from Jersey will also cost a decent chunk of change.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:16 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

4. Park in Jersey and take a train in. I'll leave it to people who do this more regularly than me to tell you the right train station. (The viability of this also depends on where your hotel is relative to Penn Station.)
posted by madcaptenor at 7:18 AM on December 12, 2018

Have you asked the hotel if they have any agreements/deals with local parking lots/garages? I think parking in NJ and all that is gonna be a big waste of time, energy, and money.
posted by mareli at 7:18 AM on December 12, 2018 [9 favorites]

Option 2 is the only viable one, IMO. Option 1 is completely untenable and, while Option 3 probably would be less expensive* than Option 2, at the time you're doing it I bet you will wish you had just spent the extra money.

* Option 4 is really the least expensive option, which involves parking outside the City and traveling in via PATH, LIRR or MetroNorth train (depending on where you park). Still, I bet you will wish you had spent the money on Option 2.
posted by slkinsey at 7:21 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would find and reserve garage space closest to your hotel. You might consider calling your hotel and asking for garage recommendations.

Even if you could find a usable train station in NJ to park at, cost of parking + the train fare for each of you or cab costs from NJ would kill that idea right off. Not to mention that hauling luggage around is super annoying.

Sorry that the cost of Manhattan parking garages suck, but it is definitely your best option.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:23 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

4. Park in Jersey and take a train in. I'll leave it to people who do this more regularly than me to tell you the right train station.

You could park at Secaucus Junction in NJ and take an NJ transit train (only 10-15 minute ride, and they run fairly regularly) into Penn Station. I would probably only do this if the hotel was a quick walk/cab ride away from Penn Station. I agree with all above that any more schlepping than that is going to be a huge PITA and spending the extra money for convenience will be well worth it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:26 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

When my family does this in Chicago, we use to facilitate your option #2. I imagine it would be a similar experience in NYC. It is really painless and significantly less expensive than hotel valets and more convenient than leaving your car outside the city and having to get to/from it. Just find a garage and reserve on Make sure the garage supports what you want (i.e. re-entry vs no re-entry, phone scannable, etc.).
posted by cmm at 7:38 AM on December 12, 2018

If it was just a person or two, I would park in Jersey and take the train in. However, with a car full of people and luggage that gets more expensive and less worth it, plus schlepping. I'd just pay for parking. I'd probably look around for free street parking first though - I've had minor luck depending on the location, but I find the signs more confusing than other cities (I'm a Philly girl and ours are plenty complicated) so usually end up nervous I'll get a surprise ticket.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:39 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

You could also park at the Weehawken ferry terminal and take the ferry in. There are free buses on the NYC side, though I'm not sure of the routes.

That said, I'm with everyone else who is saying that for me, it wouldn't be worth the aggravation. I use the Parking Panda app and it has not yet steered me wrong.
posted by lyssabee at 7:39 AM on December 12, 2018

I've always just picked a hotel that included parking.
posted by RoadScholar at 7:42 AM on December 12, 2018

Is it possible for your crew to take the train up instead? It is a pretty fast train and would eliminate this issue.
posted by k8t at 7:46 AM on December 12, 2018

The other day I used an app called SmoothParking to identify blocks with possible parking on the upper east side. Found one in a half hour on a weekday evening. The rules are detailed but clear if you read carefully and have the discipline to get out and move if needed. So possible. Using one of the other apps to find the best deal is probably much less stressful.
posted by sammyo at 8:05 AM on December 12, 2018

We parked in NJ at the Metropark station and took the train in - once. With the cost of parking and tickets, the time to park and wait for the train, and the extra time carrying luggage, it definitely wasn't worth it. If you want or need to drive, just park in the city.

If you haven't, consider taking the bus. Many bus companies stop outside of Baltimore, so parking would be free. You also wouldn't have to worry about driving or parking in Manhattan.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:17 AM on December 12, 2018

When we spend time in the city we do Option 2. Maybe not the cheapest but DEFINITELY the easiest. We don't even usually reserve ahead of time (though the holiday might make that necessary) because there are just so many parking garages with daily rates that we just circle the block and find one.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Five people, SUV full of luggage? If your hotel doesn't have parking, I would pick option 2 - driver drops the other four people off at the hotel with all the luggage so they can get checked in, then goes to store the car for the weekend. By the time driver gets back, checking in should be taken care of. (I'm presuming nobody in your party is mobility-challenged enough that you'll need to get the car in and out during the weekend to go places, that you're planning on walking, taking the subway, or taxiing while you're there.)

(k8t, there are almost no seats left on the trains at this point; a quick search for 5 adults round trip on those dates costs between $900 and $1500 on the few trains that still have any space, and even if some of these people are youths or kids, that's not nearly enough savings to justify the train. Driving up and parking in a reserved garage in Midtown Manhattan for those three days is going to be $175-$350 max, by comparison.)
posted by Pandora Kouti at 8:27 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would plan to park in a garage. I would check with the hotel if they have a garage on site or nearby that they recommend. However, I would not assume any garage affiliated with the hotel is the cheapest or best option, so I would also check apps/websites for what else is nearby.

Depending on where your hotel is located, it may be possible to find a street spot, but I'll note that alternate side parking appears NOT to be suspended on Christmas Eve (see, so that could make finding a single spot more difficult. Depending on your budget, it might not be worth even attempting to do this.
posted by Caz721 at 8:31 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

Well - where is your hotel? Manhattan is a pretty big place. I mean if your hotel is in an out of the way Manhattan location you could theoretically do No. 1. You would just have to take care not to park in a spot that has alternate side parking restrictions on Monday the 24th. You'd most likely be in the clear on Sunday and Christmas Day. And yes it would be the cheapest.

But if you are not familiar with Manhattan neighborhoods - which it sounds like you are not - then this is the riskiest option. If your hotel is in any way in/near midtown, Soho, Times Square, many other Manhattan neighborhoods, etc. then no - you should under no circumstances attempt option no. 1.

So if you determine that your hotel is in an unfriendly parking zone - I recommend along with many others here calling the hotel and going with their recommendation for option no. 2.

Option no. 3 sounds like a real hassle and potentially more expensive imo.
posted by rdnnyc at 9:05 AM on December 12, 2018

My vote is for a Spothero reservation, because you can search the map and choose it ahead of time, and it'll be there waiting for you when you get there. Looking at the app now, I can see plenty of places for ~$100 total for your dates, with some super-cheap ones in hard to reach areas (e.g. $60 at #70 Monroe St).
posted by xo at 10:09 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is unanswerable without the location of your hotel.
posted by caek at 10:10 AM on December 12, 2018

Since the very first thing you mention is cheapest option, I would give street parking a go. If your hotel is midtown east, I would drop everyone off at the hotel and head east of park ave going more in the direction of uptown into more residential areas and away from shopping areas. Also the further east you go the easier it will likely be as well
It might take an hour or more to find a spot, maybe, but if you were to park in NJ and commute in that would be lost time anyway.
The only day there is street cleaning between the time you arrive and leave is Monday, so avoid parking on a street that has signs saying no parking Monday between certain hours.
Street parking is completely doable if you're patient and can parallel park. Plus you might get lucky and get a space right away.
(I've driven and street parked in NYC for over 20 years)
posted by newpotato at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2018

I don't know if you've driven and parked in NYC before. If you haven't, just be aware that it can be a pretty gnarly experience. The roads are jammed, the drivers aggressive, and the spots are often just big enough to pull into.
posted by xammerboy at 11:36 AM on December 12, 2018

I have used Spothero in Manhattan many times and it works really well. That would be my recommendation.
posted by sockermom at 2:03 AM on December 13, 2018

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