Where to Find Parking in Downtown San Diego

by Paul Joseph  |  Published November 4, 2022

If you’re visiting San Diego and have your own car, you might benefit from our top tips on where to park in the city’s busy downtown district.

A view over downtown San Diego (Photo: Simon Doggett via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Short-stay parking in downtown San Diego

If you’re visiting San Diego but staying outside of downtown, then you’re likely to want to visit the district at some point, with it being home  to many of San Diego’s most popular attractions. But if you’re planning to come in by car, then it’s fair to say that parking in downtown can be tough – especially at prominent hotspots. Nevertheless, for those who need to leave their car for short periods, there are plenty of options available.

The options for short-term parking, in downtown San Diego essentially come down to metred street parking or garages. There are a large number of metered street parking spaces available, with most enforced from 8am to 6om, Monday to Saturday, priced at $0.25 per 12/15 minutes.

Alternatively, if you prefer the security of covered parking and don’t mind paying that bit extra,  there are several multi-storey car parks and covered garages in downtown offering short term parking. Our top suggestion is Horton Plaza Parking Garage, where you’ll pay $2 for every 15 minutes, with a daily maximum charge of $48.00. As an alternative, we’d also recommend 5th & Broadway Parking, where rates are a touch pricier at $3 per 15 minutes, but cheaper for all day parking with a maximum of just $30 (including overnight parking from 6pm-5am).

You can book both garages on, as well as at several other parking lots in downtown San Diego.

Free parking in downtown San Diego

While downtown San Diego doesn’t have any designated free parking garages, certain street parking areas are free after 6pm – although vehicles cannot park on-street for more than 72 hours. So if you’re heading into downtown to enjoy some evening entertainment, you can usually find a free parking spot relatively easily. Additionally, for those staying in a downtown hotel, the hotels in this area usually offer free parking.

Long-stay parking in downtown San Diego

If you’re based in downtown San Diego for longer than, say, a couple of weeks, but don’t have any private parking at your accommodation, it may be cheaper for you to find a long-term parking spot, rather than searching around for metred parking each day or paying daily rates in a garage which can add up to hundreds of dollars. So, for example, at the 6th and K Parkade in the heart of the famous Gaslamp district, day rates are $15, but monthly rates start at just $80 – a saving of around $13 per day.

For the best parking rates in downtown San Diego, go to