San Francisco Parking Strategies

san francisco parking

The San Francisco parking enemy lurks...

Parking in San Francisco is often very difficult and expensive. Most hotels charge extra for parking. Street parking is as easy to find as winning the lottery. The city owns a few very high tech lots near busy areas such as Union Square which are not too bad. Before renting a car for your trip, you should strongly consider investing your $40/day in taxicabs. Taxi's don't have to park and save you a lot of stress.

Basically, the only good thing about having a car in S.F. is travel to outlying areas such as Napa and Monterey. Within the city, it is highly counterproductive. At San Francisco International Airport - there are many SFO parking lots for you to safely park your car on an out-of-town trip.

When parking in residential areas of San Francisco - if you take the time to circle to the further areas from restaurants and shops, you can find free parking but walk a bit (good exercise!).

In commercial areas (Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf) - the same sort of rules apply. You need to explore parking areas that are further from the central destination to find the lower priced lots. We've listed some of the most convenient parking lots below for the major San Francisco tourist attractions.

Best Parking Lots By (Popular!) Area:

SFO Parking / San Francisco Airport Parking:

sfo airport parking

SkyPark - $17 outdoor / $19 indoor covered with linked coupon- Recommended. Complimentary valet for 5 minute shuttle to SFO San Francisco Airport. Free coffee, donuts, bagels, and newspapers. Auto service and cleaning available if requested during your trip. (650) 875-6655

Parking Corporation of America - $12 per day with tax - self park, uncovered. (650) 877-0250 / South San Francisco

Park 'N Fly - $13 per day with tax - Self park, uncovered. South San Francisco (650) 877-0304

Detailed SFO parking comparison pricing and service guide available.

Fisherman's Wharf (Near Pier 39):

parking san francisco

Pier 39 Garage - Enter at 2550 Powell Street

  • Pier 39's garage is open 24x7. Restaurant customers who eat at one of Pier 39's full-service restaurants receive one hour free validated parking at lunch and two hours after 6 pm for dinner. The PIER 39 parking garage clearance is 6 ft. 8 inches high for your truck. Prices shown in the photo have risen to $7 per hour with a $35 maximum(!)
    Cheap Parking Fisherman's Wharf
  • Anchorage Square Shopping Center: Editor's Fisherman's Wharf parking recommendation with $4 reduced price. validation at shopping center - see our photo above. Validation requires $5 minimum purchase including Walgreen's Drug. We paid only $16 for parking including a lengthy boat tour. 2800 Leavenworth Street

  • Academy of Art College - Enter at 2350 Stockton

    Radisson Fisherman's Wharf - Enter at 250 Beach

Cheap parking options around the Union Square shopping district:

Fifth and Mission Garage - Enter at 833 Mission - Cheap with (wow!) 2,586 parking spaces, but a little walking. Phone for details - (415) 982-8522 Typical daytime rates are $3.50 per hour, and vary by time of day.

Union Square Underground Garage- Very convenient to Union Square with 800 parking spaces. Typical pricing is $4.00 per hour and varies by time of day- Enter at 333 Post. Phone for details - (415) 397-0631

Sutter-Stockton - Up a steep hill from Union Square, but with great parking avaialbility and close to Chinatown. 444 Stockton. $3.50/hour, varies lower at off-peak periods. 415-982-8370

Ellis O'Farrell - Also close to Union Square, can be a sketchy area so be aware of your surroundings, $3.50/hour, varies lower at off-peak periods:. 123 O'Farrell, between Powell and Stockton. 415-986-4800