This page is a Santa Monica parking guide from a local's perspective.
Searching for parking in a specific area? Click the links below to find all the best parking spots around Santa Monica.
City Lots: There are tons of parking lots and garages in Santa Monica that you can choose from, but if you are staying for just a short time, the best place to park is at any of the city owned lots. You get the first 90 minutes FREE.
Beach Parking: The parking lots along the beach offer reasonable flat parking rates, but they fill up FAST. A better option would be to park around 3rd street, which is within easy walking distance to the beach and pier.
Street Parking: Santa Monica has a lot of metered parking in the area. Meters typically charge $1-$2 per hour with a 2 hour time limit. This 2 hour time limit is a strict parking maximum for Santa Monica streets. You CANNOT park at the same spot for more than 2 hours, even if your meter hasn't expired. If you are parked for more than 2 hours without moving your car, you will get a ticket!
Real Time Information: ParkMe has amazing real time data for Santa Monica. Most of the parking garages as well as the parking meters are automatically updated to show the real time availability of parking spots in lots and on streets.
Pro Tip 1: There's a narrow strip of asphalt running between the "hidden lots" behind Main Street. If you can find a spot, it's FREE parking.
Pro Tip 2: If you're going out for a night on the town, Ocean Avenue (the north-south street closest to the ocean in the area of the Third Street Promenade) offers free street parking from 6pm-9am.