As the capital of Texas, Austin is a city that lives up to the state's infamous motto, "Everything's bigger in Texas." As one of the largest metropolitan cities in the country it is no doubt true that everything really is bigger in (Austin) Texas, and that includes the parking problems! Help yourself avoid a BIG headache by reading our parking tips to help you find parking quickly and easily, as well as find some of Austin's cheapest parking rates.
Searching for parking in a particular neighborhood? Click the links below to find the best parking spots in Austin!
Bigger City, Bigger Lots: There are tons of parking lots and garages scattered around Austin, and these lots live up to Texas's BIG reputation, with each lot having an average of 531 parking spaces!
Downtown Parking: Parking around downtown Austin can be tough to find on a budget, with many lots charging $2-$3 for every 20-30 minutes. Looking for something cheaper? If you don't mind walking around a bit, head towards the outer edge of downtown, the lots farther away from the core of downtown are much cheaper, having daily rates of $4-$8.
Nighttime Parking: Heading out for a night out on the town? Park your car at a lot that offers a flat evening rate, it's cheaper than paying per hour. It's also a good idea to park your car in a covered lot that you can leave your car in overnight in case you find yourself unable to drive home at the end of the night.
Street Parking: There are thousands of street meters scattered around Austin. These meters charge $1 per hour with a 3-5 hour time limit.
Real Time Availability: ParkMe has some of the best real time data for Austin parking. Check the ParkMe map to find lots with the most available spaces or to find out which blocks have the most open street meters!
Pro Parking Tips:
Pro Tip 1: Be careful about parking your car overnight on the street in downtown Austin. Though street meter parking is free in the evenings (usually after 6pm, but can be after 12am in certain areas), auto theft is a common occurence downtown. The safest place to park is in a covered lot.
Pro Tip 2: The Austin parking enforcement is VERY efficient at their job. Be sure to read ALL the signs around you before leaving your vehicle to check that you are not parked in a "no parking" zone and that you have enough money in the meter. Austin parking officers are super quick at issuing tickets and getting your car towed, and can (and will) give you a ticket minutes after your meter expires.
Austin Parking Tickets
“Everything’s bigger in Texas,” is a statement that is truly represented in the capital city of Austin. So it’s no surprise that a majority of Austinites own and frequently drive their cars to get around the sprawling city. With so many cars on the road and in need of parking spots, the City of Austin has seen an increase in revenue from paid parking as well as through parking fines. If you find yourself with a ticket read our information on Austin Parking Tickets to find out what to do.
Austin Parking Ticket Types:
In Austin, there are several parking violations that will warrant you a citation. Parking citations in Austin serve as a summons to appear in court and all citations will provide a date for you to appear in court, so the total amount you pay for each ticket will differ depending on your course of action. If you choose to opt out of appearing in court you can pay your fine on or before your appearance date and pay a reduced “Early Payment Fine” fee. If you pay after your appearance date or on your scheduled hearing date you will have to pay the “Standard Fine.”
Most Common Austin Parking Tickets:
Common violations such as parking at expired meters or incorrectly or not displaying a pay station receipt can cost $20 (Early Payment Fine) or $30 (Standard Fine). It’s important to note that parking at an expired meter is not the same as parking over the time limit, and the difference will show in the citation fine. Parking at an expired meter, or a meter that has run out of money, will warrant you a $20-$30 fine, but parking over the time limit posted will cost you $25-$40!
Most Expensive Austin Parking Ticket:
The most expensive ticket you can get in Austin, however, will cost $255-$300 for parking in or blocking a handicap spot without a valid disability placard or plate. If you receive a citation for this type of violation because of an expired disabled parking placard, you can petition for a reduced fee if you get your placard renewed within 20 days from the date of the violation. Check out the full list of Austin violation types and fines for more information.
Getting Booted/ Towed In Austin:
If you have 3 or more unpaid parking tickets your car will be eligible to be booted and a $10 fee will be added to your debt. To get the boot removed you will need to pay all your unpaid tickets in full as well as any penalty or late fees that have been applied. If you have 3 or more unpaid parking tickets that have accumulated within 1 calendar year your car will be in danger of being towed. If towed you will have to pay all your unpaid tickets and fines in full to get your car released. There will also be an extra $193 fine added when towed ($150 towing fee, $20 impound fee, $20 storage fee, + tax).
Paying an Austin Parking Ticket:
If you decide to pay your ticket, you have 20 days to take action before a late fee is applied. There are 5 ways to pay: online, in person at court, by mail, by phone, and through Western Union. If you cannot afford to pay in full, you can also apply for a payment plan or alternate payment option.
Pay your ticket online using any major credit card. You will need your citation number or license plate number to access your citation information.
In Person at any Court Location
Pay your ticket in person at any of the four Austin Municipal Court locations using cash, check, money order, or credit card. The courts are located at:
Main Court House
700 E 7th St.
Monday-Thursday, 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday, 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
12425 Lamplight Village Avenue
Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
5700 Manchaca Road (Cherry Creek Shopping Center)
Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Downtown Austin Community Court
719 E 6th St.
Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
There is a drop box located near the front doors of all court locations if you are not paying with cash or credit card. Put your payment in an envelope and be sure to write down your case/citation number on your check or money order.
Pay your ticket by mail with check, money order, or cashier check made payable to the City of Austin and, using the envelope provided with citation or reminder notice, send payment with plea to:
Austin Municipal Court
P.O. Box 2135
Austin, TX 78768-2135
Make sure to write your case/citation number on your check or money order.
Pay your ticket by phone using credit card by calling (512) 974-4640, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Pay your ticket via Western Union. Complete the Blue quick Collection form from Western Union and have them send your completed form with the following “codes”:
Pay: City of Austin
Code City: AustinMunicipalCourt (no spaces)
State: Tx. (case sensitive and need the period)
Account number: case number or name, date of birth and DL # (if applicable)
If you cannot afford to pay in full, you may be eligible for a payment plan or other options but you must contact the court to determine eligibility prior to making a partial payment.
How to Contest a Ticket:
You have 20 days to contest your ticket. After 20 days you lose the right to have a hearing and have no other option but to pay. There are 2 ways to contest a ticket: in person or by mail.
Go to the downtown Courthouse for a hearing before the appearance date noted on your citation.
700 E 7th St.
Monday-Friday, 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM (time for hearings)
Write to the court requesting a hearing and send any evidence you have with the letter no later than the appearance date.
Tips For Fighting Citations:
Look over your citation very carefully. Are there any mistakes or discrepancies? Most parking tickets are dismissed due to technicalities. Check out this example of an Austin driver who got his ticket appealed over a technicality!
Don’t wait to take action. The quicker you take action the more likely you are to not forget about the ticket but the cheaper it will be for you as well. The more time that goes by without any action the more fees that are piled on. The City of Austin will not hesitate to send outstanding citations to a collection agency, which will not only add 30% of your ticket to your ever increasing total, but it will negatively affect your credit.
Know Your Parking Rights:
There is no “feeding the meter” allowed in Austin. They adhere to strict time limits on public streets.
There is no parking in bike lanes. The Austin Police Department as well as the Austin Public Works Department Bicycle and Pedestrian Program staffers all have the authority to ticket you for this violation. First time offenders will get a $40 ticket.
After paying at a pay station be SURE to properly display your receipt in your windshield. Display it face down or in a hard to see place and you will get a ticket.