Downtown Austin parking is usually not a big challenge in a car-friendly city. Still, even long-time Austin residents would need some help figuring out the best spots near popular attractions and busy neighborhoods.
Downtown is the heart of Austin, pulsing with vibrant destinations like the Sixth Street, Rainey Street, and Red River district. Late 19th Century architectural landmarks blend with modern museums, high rises, bars, clubs, and theatres to give the thriving neighborhood its distinct identity. Apart from the rich history and renowned LIVE music hubs, Austin's government and business centers are also a part of the downtown area; there are residential sections like Judges Hill too. To the south, it is bordered by Lady Bird Lake, while the central business district is located along the Colorado River's north bank. The Interstate 35 to the east, Lamar Boulevard to the west, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the north makes downtown Austin quickly accessible from all directions. The University of Texas is also close by. You can always expect high demand for parking spaces in downtown Austin, especially for those conveniently located close to popular destinations.
Although street parking and off-street public parking facilities are fairly easy to find, the best option for a hassle-free experience is finding the perfect Downtown Austin parking garage near your destination. Make it one step easier, and book your spot in advance to save more time and money. How do you do that? Use an Austin parking app or a website that helps you to pre-book a garage space online. Austin downtown parking rates can be cheaper when you book your spot online in advance, rather than paying drive-up rates at the gate. All you need to do is download an app on your smartphone!
Check out the best parking spots in some of the most popular neighborhoods and attractions in downtown Austin:
Parking near Congress Avenue Austin
Austin's most prominent street is well-known for the Congress Avenue bridge, where tourists and locals hang out to watch spectacular sunsets. But did you know that Congress Avenue is also a historic district stretching from North First Street to Eleventh Street in downtown Austin? You will find the Texas Capitol building, the iconic Paramount Theatre, the Telephone Building, and other famous landmarks here.
If you are driving out to watch Mexican free-tailed bats take flight at sunset, remember to book your parking spots at a garage near the Congress Avenue Bridge. It can get pretty hectic close to sunset hours, especially from May to October, when the seasonal urban bat colony nests under the bridge. Even when there are no bats, the view from the bridge is worth a quick stop. Finding a parking space close to the bridge could get tricky at the last minute; you can try your luck at Cesar Chavez Street or downtown Austin parking lots nearby.
The Austin Convention Center is just a three-minute drive or 10-minute walk from the Congress Avenue Bridge. Down Austing parking space demand is always high around this event hub, with a steady flow of visitors throughout the year. Onsite parking at the Convention center lot costs $5 for two hours – you find entrances to this lot at 201 East Second Street and 601 East Fifth Street. There are around 1500 parking spaces at this garage, which might not be enough to accommodate all visitors during a large event. So, it's better to keep your options open with a pre-booked spot at an off-site parking garage nearby. It's possible to find street parking in the area, but due to time limits, it's not a good idea when attending an event.
The Texas Capitol on Congress Avenue is only a 4-minute drive from the Austin Convention Center and Congress Avenue Bridge. It's is popular on downtown Austin tours as visitors are allowed to explore the 22-acre grounds and see the monuments. It's easy to save on Austin downtown parking rates here – parking is free for the first two hours at the Texas Capitol Visitors garage on weekdays. Every additional hour of parking costs $1, with a daily maximum of $12 – overnight parking isn't allowed at this garage. When special events are held during weekends, a pre-paid parking fee is charged, and the daily maximum can go up to $25. Check out Trinity Street and Colorado Street for more cheap downtown Austin parking lots nearby.
Downtown Austin Parking near Sixth Street
The most famous street in Austin is a downtown landmark and entertainment district stretching from Mopac Expressway to Interstate 35. When Austin is referred to as the "Live Music Capital of the World," it's the Sixth Street historic district that gets the honor. It's a complete package with excellent restaurants, cheap bars, speakeasies, and world-class hotels – mainly within a nine-block area between I35 to the east and Lavaca Street to the west.
On weekends, holidays, football home games, and special events, traffic is typically closed on East Sixth Street. Vehicles could also be prohibited between Brazos Street and Red River Street from 9 pm to 3 am, from Thursday to Saturday. The Sixth Street neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, and you'll find good parking lots on nearby blocks. Check out San Jacinto Boulevard, Sabine Street, East Seventh Street, and Brazos Street for some of the top-rated downtown Austin parking garages.
Parking in Rainey Street Historic District Austin
Just five minutes away from Congress Avenue, the Rainey Street Historic District has many old bungalows with backyards and porches, now converted into stunning bars, lounges, and eateries. The trendy nightlife district is next to Lady Bird Lake and I35 on the southeastern side of downtown Austin. You might not find many parking lots on-site, but 1-17 Rainey Street Parking and LAZ parking at 703 River Street are the closest. There are a couple of parking garages near Driskill Street too. Rainey Street is less than a mile from Congress Avenue; if you are into walking, no better option than to leave your car at the cheapest downtown Austin garage and explore on foot.
When parking on the streets in downtown Austin, make sure to check signage for time limits or any restrictions to avoid a ticket. Keep an eye on street cleaning schedules and other regulations. At parking lots, it's best to book your space ahead of your visit for a guaranteed spot that saves you time and money.