We love traveling to Chicago, and in fact, these ways to save on parking in Chicago are some we’ve discovered during our many visits to the Windy City. There is no better city to experience amazing food, culture, and family-friendly attractions, but if you are paying tons of money just to park at your destinations, it kills the desire to travel. These tips make it more affordable than ever!
Real Ways To Save Money On Parking In Chicago
The first question in this post is going to be whether or not you are renting a car or driving yourself to Chicago. If you are driving yourself, then you’ll definitely want to work hard to save money on parking in Chicago since many hotels charge per day for you to park in their lots. If you are renting a car while in the area, you may find that it is actually cheaper to use public transportation and taxies rather than paying a daily fee to park everywhere.
The second question is whether or not you will be staying inside the city or in one of the suburbs that is nearby. While staying outside the city can be less expensive, it may cost you more to commute in and park for your site-seeing. You really need to look at all of the costs involved before you book your hotel to make sure the $5-$10 savings outside the city is really a saving at all.
Now on to the real ways to save money on parking in Chicago:
Buy parking passes online.
There are a multitude of sites that feature bulk passes for parking in lots and garages around the city. Sometimes the online purchase is simply a matter of convenience. Other times it can actually save you money by offering a discount an in-person purchase doesn’t offer. Spot Hero is a reputable site, but it can be hit or miss on the savings. If nothing else, it can give you a good look at the area and the best places to find the lowest prices while you are out and about.
We have saved tons of money ourselves using Spot Hero, and have booked parking for $17 for 6 hours, when the lot wanted $45. Download this app to your phone so you can start saving money when you head out to the city.
Park Whiz is a similar site that offers practically the same thing, but checking both is worth your time since you never know what might be different from one to the next.
Use your hotel shuttle service
Did you know that many hotels actually offer free shuttle service to specific parts of town? Not only do they shuttle to and from the airport, but many will also shuttle to landmarks or specific areas of the city. It’s usually a central location you can walk around for a few hours and then grab a taxi or wait for the next shuttle to arrive. When booking your hotel, ask about their shuttle offers. Even if they aren’t free, the fee for the shuttle during your stay is often much less expensive than a taxi or rental car would be.
Use Uber codes for free or discounted rides.
Uber has really become a popular alternative to a taxi. While this isn’t always the cheapest way to get around a city, you can always save up those free and discount codes and use just when you need it most during your stay. You can plan ahead of time and sign up with the site if you haven’t already to receive a discount on your first fare.
Use Chicago City Transit.
This public transit system is one of the best you can use. While you may wish to avoid certain areas of town during your stay, the daily cost of $10 for a pass can easily be cheaper than parking in various parts of the city. Plus it saves you money on gas or a rental car. Their website is a great resource for information about daily and weekly passes, as well as all of the areas of town the train and bus routes stop at each day. There are tons of options for single ride costs, multiple day passes and even some discounts available.
Park in a central location and walk.
Sometimes it is just unavoidable. You have to shell out the money to park in a garage or lot in the city. When that happens, take advantage and park in the most central location possible for your plans. You can use some of the sites above to find the best lots around where you plan to visit.
Plan your entertainment around each other for best parking.
If you plan to go out all day long, then plan for all of your attractions, meals and entertainment to be in one similar location. This makes it easier for you to simply park in one lot or garage and pay the daily fee instead of parking in multiple lots throughout the day and paying multiple fees. Usually, the daily fee is much less than the hourly rates would be over the course of the day.
Extra tips for savings in Chicago:
When you are trying to save money on your trip to Chicago, don’t forget to check for discounts on specific area attractions. You may also want to check out sites like Groupon for great hotel and restaurant deals for when you are in the area. These ways to save on travel to Chicago make any parking fees even easier to manage.
These tips for parking in Chicago on a budget give you a lot of great options that can fit into any budget. Remember that planning ahead is the best way to save money while traveling with your family to any location.