Los Angeles has been a car-centric place for most of its history. The city is known for its network of huge freeways, and its many wide boulevards. The city’s car culture has been celebrated in pop music since the Beach Boys. Unlike most other big American cities, driving in Los Angeles is the default way to get around. Pedestrians and public transportation are an afterthought.
Los Angeles’ love affair with the auto made rush hour last most of the day. It also produces stunning visuals of endless streams of headlights or taillights for as far as the eye can see at night. One thing it never seemed to produce was a parking shortage. Unlike other big cities, Los Angeles always seemed to accommodate an unlimited number of parked cars. Part of this might be due to the essentially suburban streetscapes in most of the area. The number of high rises in the city is growing, but it’s still mostly spread out. There have always been lots of on and off-street parking available.
Los Angeles Is Growing. Parking Spaces Aren’t
The days of free and easy parking in Los Angeles seem to be drawing to a close, however. The population of the city is booming, and while there was a lot of parking spaces to go around, the supply wasn’t endless. For the first time in recent memory, driving in Los Angeles sometimes involves driving in circles looking for a parking space.
Our company specializes in car rental in Los Angeles. Drivers from out of town often wonder, What time is rush hour in Los Angeles? How do I avoid traffic in Los Angeles? How long does it take to drive across Los Angeles? Increasingly, asking Where do I park? is gaining in popularity. While we’re happy to help, it’s hard to point out available parking spaces in advance. That’s why we’ve come up with this handy list of 10 Parking Apps for your Android smartphone that offer real-time info that ends the worry about finding a prime spot at the curb.
Airport Parking Reservations
For many travelers, parking begins and ends with airports. LAX does have a lot of parking lots, but it can be hard to figure out which one to use, and the cost can be jaw-dropping. People who fly in and out of LAX all the time learn the system after a while, but what about the airports at the other end of your trip? The Airport Parking Reservations app is great for most airports in the US, the UK, and Canada. It can even help you find deals on parking. Reviews of parking garages are useful, too.
Best Parking has parking info in more than 100 cities in the United States. To use the app, you can simply type in your existing location or your desired location, and a map with available lots and garages. It’s easy to compare prices and conditions on the app. Many participating parking lots let you make reservations in advance and pay using the app, which is very convenient for travelers who prefer not to carry wads of cash around. The app will also give you turn-by-turn directions from where you are to the parking lot you’ve selected.
Honk isn’t really a parking app. It specializes in assisting drivers that require roadside assistance or towing. It can hook you up with fuel if you run out, or a wrecker if you get stuck. Drivers who have AAA insurance probably wouldn’t give this app a second look, but it does have a nifty side feature. It also allow you to find and book parking for your car. You can pay for the service right in the app, which is convenient.
Inrix Park Me
Park Me supplies parking info and related services in more than 500 cities in the US and abroad. It has easy to read maps that have markers for all the parking lots and garages in your selected area. While their real time info is limited to a minority of garages, the info on the app is updated regularly with things like open hours and rates. If you decide on a metered spot on the street, you’ll appreciate the Park Me timer that counts down the minutes until you’re out of time.
Parker offers a little more functionality than some other apps, but restricts itself to helping you find a parking space. The app tracks GPS coordinates in addition to finding you an open space. This allows the app to remember where you parked your car, with directions back to it from where you’re standing. That’s a definite plus for new visitors to Los Angeles, or any of the other cities the app covers. Parker has a bunch of payment options, including some forms of gift cards, making it even easier to find, park, and pay for a space.
Bonus: What Driving in Los Angeles Is Like
Parking Panda (SpotHero)
Parking Panda, now called SpotHero, services more than 40 cities in the US, including driving in Los Angeles. It’s a straightforward app that helps you find parking near all the major landmarks, and helps you to determine what you’ll pay before you get there. There’s a better selection of in-app payment options than you’ll find in most parking apps. The app also offers 24/7 phone support, a real rarity for apps like these
Parkopedia isn’t big — it’s huge! Unlike many of the other apps we’ve mentioned, it’s hard to find a major city in the US or Europe that it doesn’t cover. Parkopedia claims to track over 60 million parking spaces in 8,000 cities and towns all over the world. The app has powerful filters that help you decide where to park based on details like payment options, rates, and availability. Great direction finder, too. Unfortunately, unlike many apps, Parkopedia doesn’t let you pay for parking directly in the browser.
Spot Hero helps you find, reserve, and pay for parking in many major cities in the United States. The app only tracks lots, garages, and valet parking services. Spot Hero offers discounted parking in many locations. They buy up unused spaces in bulk and resell them to their app customers. Spot Hero is a favorite with business travelers. The app lets you set up multiple profiles, so you can keep your business expenses separate and easy to track. It even automatically updates some expense account software.
Park Whiz started out in NYC, but it’s expanded to many more cities, including Los Angeles. The app specializes in finding longer-term parking rate discounts. It also helps travelers who like to book a space well in advance of their travel dates.
If you’re looking for a popular app for parking, Parkmobile fits the bill. It’s got over 13 million users in 350 cities, including Los Angeles. The app makes it easy to find and reserve parking. It also has a built-in timer that reminds you when your parking is about to expire. Parkmobile is another app that helps you to keep your business and personal expenses separate, and it gives you a detailed history that makes it easy to claim business deductions on your expense account or tax forms.
If you’re in Los Angeles near LAX or Pasadena for business or pleasure, long or short term car rental from Value Rental Car is the smart way to get around. Enjoy free pickup and dropoff within 7 miles of their convenient locations. Drivers under 21, debit card and cash customers welcome!