Welcome to beautiful, bold, Boulder, CO! This city is amazing with tons of activities for the year-round athlete to the weekend vacationer. If you want to engage in activities, particularly off College Ave aka “The Hill” or the Pearl Street Mall, you will want to make sure you have your parking plan ahead of time. The parking officials are as unforgiving as the 14 footers.

First off, why should parking matter?

If you plan on visiting Boulder (hence the googling of this theme) the last thing on your rocky mountain mind is where you are going to park your car. Thankfully, I have paid enough in tickets and have been through numerous conversations—or verbal arguments as the parking enforcement agents would call them—to help you find the best parking in Boulder.

Your parking spot is the first and last thing you do when in a city: why not make that moment easier on you? I find that parking can sometimes throw off the mood of a car instantly. One moment everyone is singing a throwback jam and the next everyone is screaming different directions to turn. Parking can be made fast, simple, and easy in the city of Boulder if you follow just these few words of advice.

Or you could get a ticket…

…Or get your card towed…

Seriously, I would listen to the advice.


Make sure you read (or someone with you can read, no judgement here) the numerous parking signs listed throughout Boulder. The parking memos vary depending on where you are, what day it is, what your mother’s maiden name is, and how long you think you will stay. If you plan on touring the University and having lunch on “the Hill” afterwards, you have a few options on where you can park. If you would rather start with the Pearl Street Mall and shop until you drop, there are different parking options available as well.


Have quarters, or a credit card with a well working magnetic strip (you know who you are) if you plan on PAYing to park.

—Although Boulder is a WONDERFUL city, not all of the receipt machines are in perfect working condition.

—If the first machine does not seem to accept your card, look for another nearby. (Do NOT think you can get away without paying…they do not know you…but they will find you.)

—The restaurants and coffee shops canNOT provide everyone with four quarters for a dollar. Be sure to plan ahead for this!

—When you finally have a receipt be sure to display it proudly (you have earned it!) on your dashboard


Remember where you parked and any time limits you need to be aware of.:)

It sounds silly, but Boulder is such a beautiful and wonderful town to visit that you can truly become lost within time. I hope this list helps you make the best decision on where to park when you come visit beautiful, bold, Boulder, CO.


—There are “pay to park” options here, but they typically have a time limit. The ticket can be broken down into individual hours or purchased for the whole allotted time. Typically five hours is the max.

—Farther behind the “pay to park” lays the neighborhood. Most streets off College Ave will have “permit parking.” (This mean you can park all day every day without anyone named Dennis, from the parking authority to harass you.)

—You CAN park in “permit parking” for up to TWO hours Monday through Friday withOUT the actual permit. Make sure you remember TWO hours.

—Down College Ave and past 9th Street is a continuation of the neighborhood where there are no permit signs or meters. It is completely FREE to park in this area. (Be sure however to look for No Parking signs, unbelievable people think things are disputable.)


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Above is an example of a Pay to Park sign that is frequent in Boulder. Be sure to look at the time and date (on the white part) to keep yourself from receiving a ticket. 



Above is an example of a Permit Parking sign within the neighborhoods. The colors and times may differ, but this is the general look. As you can see, the time allowed with a permit is on top of the sign. (Notice the No parking sign next to it.)



Once again, Pearl Street Mall has the “pay to park option.” These are like the ones on The Hill. The required time to pay is 9am-7pm.

—Double check the required time of payment for each new parking spot.

—Make sure you do NOT pay when you don’t have to! (ex. after 7pm on a Friday night!)

—Behind the Pearl Street Mall there is a neighborhood that allows for some parking. These spots go quickly and are only good for TWO hours.

—Farther up into the neighborhood is again FREE parking.

—Be sure to double check the parking signs listed closest to your vehicle.

Above is the type of machine you will use to pay for parking. If the dashboard does not show the date, time, or express “Welcome to Boulder,” I am sorry to tell you but technology has failed you at this point. Move along to another one. 


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