Free street parking locations vary based on the metropolitan area, but travelers can generally use smartphone apps or search for low-traffic areas to find a spot. Travelers can use a general app such as Parker, or they can find apps specific to the city they're visiting.
Parker is a free app for iOS that uses GPS navigation to guide travelers to the nearest available space. Although the app includes garages and metered spaces, users can filter results to locate only free spaces. PrimoSpot is designed for users in New York City, Seattle and Boston, helping them to find the best areas to park near their destination. Although it doesn't show whether spaces are available, the app contains ample information for free street parking, paid lots and paid garages.
Travelers can also choose to hunt for free street parking without the aid of a smartphone, keeping in mind that downtown areas and tourist destinations as well as high-traffic areas around universities, sports venues and hospitals tend to have fewer free parking options. Travelers should head to lower-traffic metropolitan areas or nearby neighborhoods to find free street parking before walking or taking public transportation to their destination. Some neighborhoods require a permit to park, and streets may have certain restrictions concerning length of stay, street sweeping days and parking hours. Travelers should examine all signs and curb paintings carefully before leaving their cars.