Finding a parking spot in downtown Boulder can be a challenge, and the rates to park aren’t always clear. If you’re wondering how much parking costs in Boulder, you’ve come to the right place.

In short, parking rates in downtown Boulder range from $1.25 to $2 per hour at street meters and municipal parking garages. Prices at private lots vary. Daily maximums and evening rates also apply at some locations.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down parking rates in Boulder by location, time of day, and type of parking. We’ll also provide tips for finding cheaper or free parking options.

Downtown Boulder Parking Rates

Street Parking Meters

Street parking in downtown Boulder is available through parking meters. These meters are typically located along the main streets and are operational during specific hours. The rates for street parking meters vary depending on the location and time of day.

On average, the cost of street parking in Boulder ranges from $1.25 to $2.50 per hour. However, it’s important to note that some areas may have higher rates during peak hours or special events.

Parking Garages

Boulder offers several parking garages located conveniently downtown. These garages provide a convenient and secure option for parking. The rates for parking garages in Boulder vary depending on the location and duration of parking.

On average, the cost of parking in a garage ranges from $1.50 to $3.00 per hour. Some garages may also offer discounted rates for longer stays or monthly parking passes.

Surface Lots

In addition to street parking and parking garages, there are surface lots available for parking in downtown Boulder. These lots provide a more affordable alternative to parking garages. The rates for surface lots in Boulder range from $1.00 to $2.00 per hour.

However, availability may be limited, especially during busy times or popular events.

University of Colorado Lots

If you’re visiting the University of Colorado Boulder campus, there are parking lots available for visitors. The rates for parking at the university vary depending on the lot and duration of parking. On average, the cost of parking at the University of Colorado ranges from $1.00 to $2.00 per hour.

It’s important to check the university’s parking website for specific information on rates and availability.

For more information on parking rates and availability in downtown Boulder, you can visit the official Boulder Parking Services website. This website provides up-to-date information on parking regulations, rates, and maps to help you find the most convenient parking option for your needs.

Parking Rates Outside Downtown

While parking rates in downtown Boulder, Colorado can be quite high, there are more affordable options available outside of the city center. Here are some alternatives for parking outside of downtown:

Neighborhood Street Parking

If you’re willing to walk a bit, neighborhood street parking can be a cost-effective option. Many residential areas outside of downtown Boulder offer free or low-cost street parking. However, it’s important to be aware of any parking restrictions or time limits in these areas to avoid getting a ticket.

Shopping Centers & Strip Malls

Shopping centers and strip malls in Boulder often provide ample parking spaces for customers. The majority of these parking lots offer free parking, making them a convenient and affordable option for those who need to run errands or do some shopping.

Just be sure to check the signage for any time restrictions that may apply.

Recreation Facilities & Parks

If you’re planning to spend some time at one of Boulder’s recreation facilities or parks, parking is typically available at a reasonable rate. Many of these facilities have designated parking areas where visitors can park their vehicles while enjoying the amenities.

The fees for parking at these locations are often quite affordable and sometimes even free on certain days or during specific times.

It’s important to note that parking rates and availability may vary depending on the specific location and time of day. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on parking rates outside of downtown Boulder, it’s recommended to visit the official websites of the city or the specific parking facility.

For more information, you can visit the Boulder Parking Services website.

Daily Maximums and Evening Discounts

When it comes to parking in Boulder, Colorado, understanding the daily maximum rates and evening discounts can help you plan your parking budget and save some money. Here is a breakdown of the parking costs in Boulder:

Daily Maximum Rates

Boulder offers various parking options, including public parking garages and metered street parking. The daily maximum rates for parking garages in downtown Boulder typically range from $5 to $20, depending on the location and duration of your stay.

These garages provide convenient and secure parking options for residents, commuters, and visitors.

Additionally, some private parking lots and garages in the city may have their own pricing structures, so it’s always a good idea to check their rates beforehand.

Evening Discounts

If you plan to visit Boulder in the evening, you may be eligible for discounted parking rates. Many parking garages and lots offer evening discounts, typically starting after a certain time, such as 5:00 PM or 6:00 PM.

These discounts can significantly reduce your parking expenses, allowing you to enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife without breaking the bank.

For example, the City of Boulder’s parking garages offer a flat $3 rate for evening parking after 3:00 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends. This is a great option for those attending events, dining out, or exploring the city during evenings.

It’s important to note that parking rates and discounts may vary depending on the location and time of year. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the specific parking regulations and rates for the area you plan to visit.

For more detailed information on parking rates and discounts in Boulder, you can visit the official website of the City of Boulder’s Parking Services department at

They provide up-to-date information on parking options, rates, and any changes or promotions available.

Tips for Finding Cheap or Free Parking

Use Off-Street Lots

One way to save money on parking in Boulder is to utilize off-street lots. These lots are often cheaper than street parking and can be found throughout the city. Some popular off-street parking options include garages, parking structures, and private parking lots.

These off-street lots may require a fee, but the rates are generally more affordable compared to on-street parking.

Park Further Away and Walk

Another tip for finding cheap or free parking in Boulder is to park further away from your destination and walk. While this may require a bit more effort, it can save you money in the long run. Consider parking a few blocks away from popular areas or using remote parking lots that offer shuttle services to city attractions.

Not only will you save on parking fees, but you’ll also get some exercise in the process!

Take Public Transportation

Utilizing public transportation is not only an eco-friendly option, but it can also help you save money on parking. Boulder has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and light rail.

By taking public transportation, you can avoid the hassle of finding parking altogether and enjoy a stress-free commute. Plus, you’ll have more time to relax or catch up on work during your ride.

Carpool or Vanpool

If you’re looking to split parking costs with others, consider carpooling or vanpooling. By sharing a ride with coworkers, friends, or neighbors, you can reduce the number of vehicles on the road and save on parking fees.

Additionally, many workplaces offer incentives for carpooling, such as preferred parking spots or discounted rates. Check with your employer or local carpooling programs to see if you can take advantage of these perks.

Remember, finding cheap or free parking in Boulder may require some planning and flexibility, but the savings can add up over time. By utilizing off-street lots, parking further away and walking, taking public transportation, or carpooling, you can keep more money in your pocket while enjoying all that Boulder has to offer.


Parking in downtown Boulder can get pricey, with rates ranging from $1.25 to $2 per hour at meters and garages. Outside the downtown core, parking is generally free or lower cost. Following tips like using peripheral lots, walking a few extra blocks, or taking public transit can help you reduce parking costs.

With this guide, you now have a detailed overview of parking rates throughout Boulder. Armed with this knowledge, you can find and budget for the most affordable parking option for your needs.

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