United Center parking

The Ultimate United Center Parking Guide + More

Heading to the United Center? With a capacity of up to 23,000 people, you can expect big crowds streaming through the gates for any given event! Here is everything you need to know to make your trip as easy and fun as possible!


The United Center is located at 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois. It is the home of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks, plus plays host to numerous special events throughout the year. The venue covers 960,000 square feet in the West Loop and has a capacity of up to 23,000 people.

Getting to United Center

Free parking near the United Center during events is extremely limited and in high demand. Pay very close attention to posted signs and warnings when street parking to avoid a ticket or a tow. 

United Center offers official parking lots listed on SpotHero with rates that start at $22. Purchasing an official parking spot guarantees you a spot in the following parking lots: Lot A, B, D, E, F, J, L, and the MXC garage. 

**Please note: If the United Center Official lot you arrive at is reported full, the attendant will direct you to the next closest official lot.

  • The SpotHero Official United Center Lot reservation is NOT valid at the C, H, or K lots
  • All Official Lots open 2 hours prior to game time
  • No in/out or re-entry privileges are allowed
  • No overnight parking allowed unless pre-approved

**Please note that you cannot reserve specific parking spots and that all prices are subject to change without advance notice.

Download the SpotHero app on iOS or Android.

You can also book parking at other facilities near the United Center, or pay at the facilities directly. 

If you are planning on taking a rideshare, there is a special zone for pickup and drop-off. You can learn more and view a map here.

Public Transportation to the United Center

The United Center is accessible from the CTA via the green, pink, and blue train lines, as well as the 20 and 126 bus lines.  You can find transit schedules and maps here.

Plan your Visit: Tips, Tricks, and On-site Policies

Event tickets are delivered digitally via email and can be scanned on your mobile device upon arrival, or you can pick up and purchase physical tickets at the box office. They are open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. On event days, the box office opens at 11 a.m. and closes one hour prior to the event start time. 

The United Center is a cashless venue. They accept all major credit and debit cards, as well as cashless payments via mobile devices.

The United Center has multiple entrances to ensure visitors can enter and exit in a timely manner. Check your ticket to find the entrance that is most convenient for your seats. You can find seating and arena maps here

Hungry? Outside food or beverages are not permitted inside the arena, but don’t worry, there are multiple on-site restaurants, as well as numerous on-site concession options to choose from! Mobile ordering is available via the United Center app. You can find a full list of concessions vendors here.

United Center Bag Policy

Large bags and backpacks are not allowed in the United Center. Small bags are permitted and must be 10’’ x 6’’ x 2,’’ slightly smaller than a standard piece of paper. All items are subject to search. A bag check is available on-site for a fee. 

To streamline your visit, we’d recommend downloading the United Center App. This allows you to view upcoming events, save your tickets for easy entry, and even order concessions! Download here.

For more Chicago parking tips, check out these other helpful posts:

14 responses to “The Ultimate United Center Parking Guide + More”

  1. Barry Avatar

    This is great to know. I had always been going to the $20 lots, with the con man in the orange vest running it like a Shmo. Those lots are not even that close to the United Center, anyway, so I’m glad that I have a much better alternative.

  2. julie Avatar

    I’ve parked outside of the united center for a concert for free before. But then I saw a woman who lived there come outside to find her windows broken. I then walked around the block and moved my car into the united center’s parking lot. Obviously this could happen anywhere but much of the surrounding area is dangerous…

    1. Mark Avatar

      You are right, there is a risk of parking on the street. The area has gotten much better over the past 5 years and definitely in the last 10 but is by no means “a great” area.

      Parking on the street is definitely “at your own risk” like it is in any area. For the duration of the games, it seems there is an elevated police presence on the streets which is some consolation, but anything is possible. I just had a bunch of my friends park last night at the corner of Washington and Wolcott for free. (That’s my tip for best free parking on the map). Thanks for dropping by and hope you enjoyed the concert.

    2. Keith Avatar

      The lot attendants don’t protect your car. If you read the signs as you enter the lot, it’s just as likely someone will smash your car in the lot as on the street.

  3. Jeremy Avatar


    This is a great point your bring up. They are there only to funnel you in like cattle and it is park at your own risk. Hopefully it wasn’t your car that was damaged!

  4. […] issues, answer emails, spend time going door to door in key parking spot areas, on the ground event parking research, learn how to code Python, apply for startup funding from a place like Y Combinator, or schedule […]

  5. Anthony Avatar

    Depends on the lot, I used to park at the ‘SCAM’ lot, advertise $18 then pull in and they say blocked in, which is jammed in, or $25 easy out. I came out just before the game started to see one of their guys checking door handles, he said he was security. I have never parked there again. The ‘Official’ lots at least have security guards walking around.

    1. Mark Avatar

      Anthony, there are many different pay lots, some much better than others. You bring up a good point here about many of the pay lots. How cars are just jammed in and blocked by other cars and that it’s difficult getting out of the lot when leaving a bulls game or blackhawks game.

      Someone can “check door handles” whatever part of the city you are in. If you park anywhere you should check to make sure your car is locked and that no valuables are left on the seat.

      The map we provide here is for free street parking options. If someone feels more comfortable with a pay lot, that option exists also. We aim to provide the information on free parking in the area, so someone can make a parking decision as best they see fit.

      1. Anthony Avatar

        For me, leaving my car on the street to save $20 just isn’t worth it. Now, if my car is worth less than $20, then thats a different story. After seeing what I saw from the scam lot employee, I certainly won’t risk just leaving it unattended on the street. I guess the piece of mind knowing that at least the Official lots have roving patrols helps. Thanks for the info on the free parking.