Parking in New York

Parking in New York: 7 Things To Know

Parking in New York is a challenge. It can be stressful and expensive. Yet hundreds of thousands of people do it every day. At SpotHero, we’re making parking in New York easier for everyone. Even if you prepay for your parking spot, your experience won’t always be smooth sailing. But with these NYC parking tips, you’ll be ready for (almost) anything the Big Apple throws at you.

1. Everything is Valet Parking

Space is tight in Manhattan. An estimated 1.6 million people live in 23.7 square miles. That’s crazy crowded. If you’re used to parking your car yourself, it’s not like that in New York. When you arrive, an attendant will park your car. Entrances are narrow, and you won’t always see a typical valet stand. Usually it’s a valet garage. When you pull in, an attendant will take it from there. If they say the lot is full, oftentimes prepaying with SpotHero will be your golden ticket to park.

2. There Are Long Wait Times

Because 99% of locations are valet, there are long lines. Be prepared to wait at least 10-15 minutes at entry and at exit. Wait times vary depending on the event or time of day. Often there is one shared lane to enter and exit. Be careful you’re not trying to get in as someone else is leaving. Attendants try to park as many cars as possible as quickly as possible. They get whichever car is easiest first. There’s no special treatment. Be patient.

3. There Are Oversize Fees

Parking in New York
If you have a car bigger than a sedan (even a small SUV), there is an oversize fee on top of the regular rate. Oversize fees are generally $10-$20, depending on the car. The bigger your car, the bigger the oversize fee. Bring cash. It’s the fastest way to pay. Also, many locations do not allow large trucks, vans, and large SUVs. Read the fine print before you park. If you park with SpotHero, all of the important details are listed on our website and mobile app as well as your parking pass.

4. Attendants & Tipping

NYC parking attendants have a tough job. The work is fast and chaotic. You may not always get a friendly “hello.” A common question is: how much do I tip a valet attendant? Tips are not required. But if you get great service, tip! The amount is obviously up to you. Generally speaking a $2-$5 tip for a parking valet attendant is common for both drop off and pick up. So that’s $4-$10 total. Everyone likes getting recognized for top-notch service.

5. Heavy Traffic & Road Closures

Parking in New York
Traffic can be a nightmare in the city. We recommend using the Waze app. It analyzes traffic and road closures, then suggests the best route to your destination. Always give yourself more time than you think you need. The sooner you leave after your event, the less time you’ll spend waiting for your car.

6. Entrance Address vs. Garage Address

In New York, the address where you drop off your car doesn’t always match where your car is parked. When you prepay with SpotHero, pay attention to your entrance address. Show the attendant your reservation on your phone or a print-out. That’s the best way to clear up any confusion.


7. There’s No In & Out

When your car is parked, it’s parked. You can’t get it again until you’re ready to leave. Make sure you take your valuables and everything you need before you hand over the keys. Let the attendants know if you’ll be getting your car later that night or if you’re staying overnight.

Looking for things do to in NYC? Check out our 19 things you have to do in New York City.

Have questions about how SpotHero works? Give us a call any time: (917) 688-4397