Chicago is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the third most populous city in the United States, with approximately 2.7 million residents. The city is traversed by the Chicago and Calumet rivers. Chicago's extensive parklands, including 3,000 hectares of city parks attract an estimated 86 million visitors annually.
The city has many nicknames, which reflect the impressions and opinions about historical and contemporary Chicago. Some of them are: The Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, the Second City, and The City That Works.
Parking in Chicago
Metered Parking in Chicago
Chicago Parking Meters (CPM) is the third-largest metered parking system in the United States and the largest system privately operated under a concession agreement.
CPM is responsible for the operation, management, maintenance, and rehabilitation of Chicago's on-street parking, and since 2009 has invested over $35 million in system modernization and customer service improvements. With electronic pay boxes at most of the approximately 36,000 metered spaces in the city’s downtown and neighborhood areas and maintenance processes, it is one of the most sophisticated parking operations in the U.S.
By limiting the time that a vehicle may park in a particular space, meters play a vital role in facilitating traffic management, promoting business, and reducing congestion and pollution.
Meters are free during evenings in most places except for City parking lots and the Loop. Days and hours of operation should be posted on the meters. Generally meters operate from: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on residential streets; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on business streets, and 24 hours in the Loop and City parking lots. There are, however, exceptions.
Parking at broken meters: You may park at the broken meter for free if you report it as broken within 24 hours by calling 877.242.7901.
Residential parking in Chicago
Chicago's Residential Permit Parking program is designed to restrict parking on designated residential streets during specified hours, except for the residents of that street, guests of the residents or those who provide a service to the residents. This program helps to ensure that residents of densely populated areas have reasonable access to parking near their residences. Cars parked in violation of this ordinance are ticketed.
Vehicles parked in a residential parking zone during applicable days/hours must display a City Vehicle Sticker with Annual Residential Zone Parking or an unexpired Daily Residential Parking Permit. The zone number on either the City Vehicle Sticker or the Daily Residential Parking Permit must match the permit number posted on the street signs.
Daily Residential Parking Permits are valid for 24 hours, from the time entered on the permit, for the residential zone number indicated on the permit. They must be displayed on the lower passenger side corner of the windshield.
A sticker with Annual Residential Parking feature can only be purchased by a resident who lives at an address that is located within a residential parking zone for passenger vehicle, large passenger vehicle or small truck.
Off Street parking in Chicago
There are a number of Parking lots and garages in Chicago downtown. Like other major cities, it could be a challenge finding cheap parking downtown Chicago. There is essentially no free parking in Chicago Downtown, but there are some good Chicago parking options that allow you to avoid the hassle of stuffing a meter with quarters every two hours.
There is an abundance of Chicago parking garages Downtown that charge a reasonable daily rate. Also, most Chicago parking Downtown is available 24/7, thus leaving no space to worry if you need to park in the city of Chicago even after hours. Also, nearly all Chicago parking garages accept both debit and credit cards.
Visit BestParking.com for a full interactive map online showing all parking garages available in Chicago.