Like in most metropolitan cities, finding a parking spot anywhere near downtown is difficult. Those who choose to drive in San Francisco instead of taking public transportation like Muni or BART are now faced with the challenge of locating that elusive real estate. Street parking is also scarce, made all the scarcer by weekly (or twice- or thrice-weekly) street cleaning. If you park in these areas during a street cleaning, you might find yourself with a parking ticket. Other times, you might find yourself with a fake parking ticket.
Unlike many other cities, though, many locals see an ecological and social advantage in making parking difficult. With parking being difficult, residents and tourists alike are much more likely to take advantage of alternative and more environmentally sound transportation methods, including public transport, bikes and carshares.
Garages and Lots
24-hour garages and lots are marked with an asterisk.
- 17th and Castro lot
- 18th and Collingwood lot
- Golden Gateway Garage (250 Clay Street)
- Portsmouth Square Plaza Garage* (733 Kearny Street)
- St. Mary's Square Garage* (433 Kearny Street)
- Civic Center Garage (355 McAllister Street)
- Performing Arts Garage (360 Grove Street)
- Lombard Street Garage (2055 Lombard Street)
- 3252 Pierce Street lot
- Mission Bartlett Garage (3255 21st Street and 90 Bartlett Street)
- Mission Otis Garage (1660 Mission Street)
- 16th and Hoff lot (Valet only)
- Mission and 24th lot
- Mission and Norton lot
- North Beach Garage* (735 Vallejo Street)
- Vallejo Street lot* (766 Vallejo Street)
- Fifth and Mission Garage* (833 Mission Street)
- Moscone Center Garage (255 Third Street)
- Seventh and Harrison Garage (415 7th Street)
- Sixth and Irving lot
- Seventh and Irving lot
- Eighth and Irving lot
- 20th and Irving lot
- Polk and Bush Garage (1399 Bush Street)
- Japan Center (1610 Geary Blvd.)
- Ellis O'Farrell Garage (123 O'Farrell Street)
- Sutter-Stockton Garage* (444 Stockton Street)
- Union Square Garage* (333 Post Street)
- Claremont and Ulloa lot
- West Portal and Vicente lot
Also, the San Francisco General Hospital has a 24-hour garage.
In July 2008, the city of San Francisco started an 18-month pilot program to replace at least 6,000 traditional parking meters with centralized electronic pay stations. The project is intended to study how people's driving habits will be affected by longer payment hours, variety of payment methods and changes in parking fees, with the long-term goal of relieving traffic and the hassle of finding parking, through text message and email notification of available spaces. An unintended result of these parking meters' removal is the possible loss of thousands of parking spots for bicycles. More information about the program can be found here.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority's website has helpful information for those seeking out parking.
See Driving for more tips on getting around the city in a car.