Parking downtown Portland has been made as easy, convenient and inexpensive as possible. That's just the way we treat people. ;)
Finding parking in a big metro city tends to be a real bear no matter what, but Portland strives to make it as nice a process as possible. Honestly, it's really not bad.
Of course, during work hours, Monday through Friday, it's going to be more difficult than any other times. That's to be expected. You just have to roll with the punches if you're trying to get downtown then.
Parking on the street will run you $1.60 per hour and you can stay from 15 minutes up to 5 hours, depending the meter you purchase your ticket from (or drop your coins in, if it's an old-style meter).
The older meters take nickels, dimes and quarters only. No Canadian coin. Sorry.
Parking downtown Portland is a lot easier than it used to be even a couple years back. More and more of the older style meters are being replaced by the solar-powered SmartMeters.
With the SmartMeters, you simply park close to one, plug it with change, a Visa, Mastercard or debit card and adhere the printed receipt to your windshield on the curb-side.
You can stay from 15 minutes up to 5 hours. Another sweet advantage of the SmartMeters is that you can park anywhere you like...doesn't even have to be near the meter. As long as you have the sticker attached to your window, you're golden.
Also, say I grab a SmartMeter parking sticker while I'm lounging at Floyd's Coffee, over on NW Couch. I got it from a 2-hour meter. I decide to leave after only an hour. Not a problem! I can go and park anywhere else I like in the whole city and the sticker is still valid for that next hour. Cool, eh?
If you have a Smart Card, you can use that to plug the meter, as well, making parking downtown Portland even easier.
Smart Cards are like prepaid phone cards that you can refill when you need to. They have an embedded microchip with your cash balance on it. Simply insert them into the SmartMeter and you're off. Click here for a map of locations that you can purchase Smart Cards at. (PDF)
You can also call (503) 823-7733 to have one mailed out to you. Get it re-filled for any amount you wish at any of the map locations.
Parking In Downtown Portland - Hours Of Operation
Hours of parking downtown Portland run from Monday - Saturday from 8am to 7pm and Sundays from 1pm-7pm. Before and after those hours, you can park your vehicle for free. Be cautious when pulling into a spot around the Oregon Convention Center, Rose Quarter and the Lloyd Center areas; parking hours extend to 10pm around those extra busy places.
Can You Ever Park For Free in Portland?
Most holidays you needn't worry about plugging the meters...parking in Portland is free on those days.
The free parking in Portland holidays are:
There is a ton of parking, especially for hotels, churches, and theaters in downtown Portland, as well as delivery vehicles. In other words, READ THE SIGNS! You don't want to end up getting ticketed for parking somewhere you're not allowed. Fines tend to run from $12 and up, depending upon the parking violation. Once a ticket is started, it's yours. Just be careful.
During special events such as the Rose Festival, there will be streets and parking spaces specially marked and marked off which will make parking in downtown Portland a bit more of a challenge...another time to be careful about where you park. You can also opt for public transportation.
Portland Parking Garages
Using a parking garage to stash your car is an alternative to fighting for a parking spot on the street. You'll find garages all around the city, as well as a good many outside Portland parking lots. The garages and lots run from $2.00 an hour to $10 an hour. I tend to avoid the regular private garages when possible, just because of the prices.
The ones that I really do like are the Smart Park garages. Smart Park is a great benefit to take advantage of when parking downtown Portland. See my SmartPark page for all the information.
To keep up with our reputation of being the greenest city on the planet, we even have charging stations for plug-in hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles. How cool is that? ;)
No Car? Not A Problem!
Hit up my Portland car rentals page and I'll provide you some solid information and advice on grabbing a rental vehicle.
So, that's the down and dirty of parking downtown Portland. Once you've done it a few times, it gets pretty second nature. Just be sure to watch your time! ;)