(Also contributing to this report were Elisa Losson, Jennifer Swann, Ali Trachta and Ben Westhoff.)
You know what sucks? Circling a block for twenty minutes, burning the gas in your car and watching someone slip into a space right as you turn the corner to claim what you dreamed was yours.
As Los Angeles comedian Stephen Wright said, “When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving.” You don't need to be a parking shark, no matter how many “Stephen Wrights” there are in the world.
Because we too feel the pain, we present a list of 5 Los Angeles parking secrets, plus a map of over 100 sweet spots to park:
1. Miracle Mile Lots: Parking in Miracle Mile is bat-shit ridiculous, even if you have a permit. Permits aren't the issue — it's finding a space. But there's hope.
Let's say one night you have the audacity to not rush straight home after work to claim your curb and instead, oh, grab some happy hour dollar tacos with pals. Now it's — gasp! — 7:30! There won't be any spots left near your place.
That is, unless you're aware of city lots 614 and 671 off Wilshire Boulevard. Residents near these lots (or anybody, really) can purchase a monthly parking pass for a mere $30, allowing them to park overnight, any night, from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m.
Lots like these give “Mid-Wilshirers” the freedom to work late or run errands without feeling panicky. In the morning there's even time to get coffee on the way to your car. The passes are transferable, so you can share one with your roommate, lover, spouse or friend.
The passes are a lifesaver on the horror known as street-cleaning nights, too. To end the insanity, purchase passes at each lot's electronic pay station. Immediately.
Address: Lot 671, 728 S. Cochran; Lot 641, 672 S. Detroit
Price: $30 Monthly Pass
2. Pershing Square Garage: In Downtown Los Angeles, parking can be scary, like those mind-numbing $40/night valet parking spaces at Millenium Biltmore Hotel that some say are paved in crushed diamonds.
Depending on where you need to be and how much you want to walk, affordable parking can be shady in downtown Los Angeles.
Last year, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) launched the city's ExpressPark program, which includes 6,000 meters and 7,500 lot spaces downtown. You can buy a card via a phone app or online for these mostly curbside spaces in DTLA.
But ExpressPark spots vary wildly in cost — from 50 cents/hr to a pocket-gouging $6/hour — and there's no security for most of it. Not to worry! There is a glowing safe haven in central downtown, the easy-to-miss massive garage underneath Pershing Square park, aptly named Pershing Square Garage.
Yelp garage reviewers (“we review parking with passion”) say that getting out of Pershing Square Garage can be frustrating if just two exit lanes are operating. But if you're going to Art Walk, or meeting friends at Library Bar, Spring Street or Seven Grand (or even Angel's Flight or MOCA) the price is unbeatable at a $7 daily flat rate.
Address: 530 S Olive St. Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: (213) 473-5556
Prices: $2.00 per 15 minutes $16.00 max. between 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday)
Early Bird Rate: $10.00 before 11:00 a.m.
3. Washington Boulevard at Sepulveda Boulevard: On Washington Boulevard in Culver City, just off Sepulveda Boulevard, an awesome stretch of free Westside parking exists that is so often available you might feel you are in the old-timey days, the Wild West–tumbleweeds and all.
Right outside and across from the popular Irish sports bar, Joxer Daly's and just down the block from Culver City's latest hipster mini-mall (Starbucks, Chipotle, Jersey Mike's and Chase Bank) there's street parking with no meters. Just free street parking. Both sides of the street. Nobody knows why.
Address: 11168 Washington Blvd Culver City, California 90232
4. L.A. Press Club Parking Placard: People who can prove they make at least 50 percent of their earnings from journalism — photographers, videographers, bloggers, reporters, editors, broadcasters and some web editors and social media editors — can join the Los Angeles Press Club as a media member ($90 per year/renewal $75) and get issued a big official-looking dashboard placard that says “Working Journalist.”
If you dream of running a Monster Truck up the backsides of your neighbors' parked cars, this might pay. The placard is your friend as you beg a valet to hold your car in front of a restaurant without charge while you run in for just a short minute. It also can work, depending on how nice you smile, when you badly want an authority figure to wave you past a cone barrier or chain, or into a “full” lot.
This is no Get Out of Jail Free Card. If you use the placard to park on the yellow during business hours, that'll be $63 including the new Antonio Villaraigosa Surcharge. On the back of the Press Club placard it explains that the holder will be ticketed or towed just like anyone who breaks the law.
You can join the Press Club at its website, but to qualify for the placard you must provide proof you are a real, working journalist.
Address: Los Angeles Press Club Website
Price: $90 per year/renewal $75
View L.A Weekly Parking Tip Map in a larger map
5. LADOT Parking List: We don't need no government parking! Trust us, sometimes you do.
Many of the city's lots are safer than the privately owned lots and sometimes they're free.
The City of L.A. is a prodigious landowner, controlling some 49,000 parking spaces, as well as curbside spaces along 7,200 miles of L.A. roads (godalmighty, how is there still a fight for parking?), and LADOT operates 118 public parking lots and garages.
Here's a list of free or super discounted LADOT lots throughout LA. Nearly 27 percent of the lots are free-of-charge, 52 percent are metered and 21 percent are operated under contracts.
Click on this Google map of our favorite Los Angeles parking spaces as well as more than 100 places on LADOT's Parking Lot List.
Why not use the government parking? Trust us, it's better than the government cheese.
Address: All over Los Angeles
Phone: Call 311 for info on LADOT lots
Feel free to add your own parking spots and tricks in the comments. It'll be our little secret.