Chicago Parking Tips

Chicago Parking Tips


Meter Polygon

Loop:  Meters enforced 24 hours/day Monday – Sunday. Price is $6.50/hour from 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM and $3.25/hour from 9:00 PM – 8:00 AM.  Boundaries: Lake Michigan on the East, Chicago River on the North and West, Congress on the South

River North (Extended) :  $4.00/hour and meters enforced 8:00 AM – 11:59 PM Monday – Sunday.    Boundaries: Chicago River on the West and South, Lake Michigan on the East, and Division on the North.

Central Business District: $4.00/hour and meters enforced 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM Monday – Sunday.  Boundaries: Halsted on the West, Lake Michigan on the East, Roosevelt on the South, and North Avenue on the North (Excluding River North and Loop Areas)

Everywhere Else: $2.00/hour and meters generally enforced 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM Monday – Saturday.  FREE SUNDAY PARKING  for most of Chicago.  However, some north side areas have Sunday Meter enforcement from 10am-8pm.  Our App is updated to reflect this.

General Notes:  Some meters in residential areas are only enforced 9 AM – 6 PM Monday-Saturday.  Some meters have other restrictions such as permit requirements, no overnight parking (River North) and more.  We’ve included these restrictions and others into the App.


Loading Zone

These signs vary throughout the city but check the enforcement periods and don’t be intimidated.  The loading zone pictured above means you can park there after 7 pm and before 9 am on weekdays and anytime on weekends.  Just make sure there aren’t any other restrictions.


Meter Avoidance

Meter After stoplight










For our more risky parkers, above are examples of spots sometimes overlooked in Chicago.  One spot is before the meters start and the other is after meters end.  Make sure the arrow is pointing away from your car and be careful about regulations for parking near crosswalks, stop signs, and stop lights.  In general, once you cross an intersection, you shouldn’t  have to worry about these restrictions.  However, we consider these types of spots risky, because we have received (but beaten) tickets for “Parking outside a metered space” (violation 9-64-200b).  Unfortunately, just because you are parked legally doesn’t mean you won’t receive a ticket.

Below are some helpful regulations found in the Chicago Municipal Code:

Stoplights:   No parking within 30 feet of an official traffic signal on the approaching side.  Even though there are meter spots that technically violate this rule, we recommend being very careful when parking close to an oncoming stop light.  If you find a spot after the light (like the first picture above), you should be in the clear.


No crosswalk sign posted: If your car is under 6 feet tall and no sign is posted (example: the yellow sign with a person/people walking), you can park as close as you want to a crosswalk.

Crosswalk sign or your car is over 6 feet tall: If an official crosswalk sign is posted or your car is 6 feet tall and over, you cannot park within 20 feet a crosswalk.  You can never park in a crosswalk.

Stop Signs:  No parking within 20 feet of a stop sign.

Fire Hydrants:  No parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.

Fire escapes, bridges, and viaducts:  No parking underneath a fire escape, in a viaduct or underpass, and no parking on bridges (except you can park on bridges on Stockton from North Avenue to Diversey)

Yellow Curbs:  Yellow curbs do not necessarily mean no parking.  Think of them as a caution sign.  They are frequently used to warn drivers of one of the restrictions above. However, yellow curbs may be left over from when a no parking sign previously existed.  If you see a yellow curb, check if there are any restrictive signs or if you are in violation of one of the rules mentioned above.  If not, you are most likely in the clear!

We hope you find this information and our App helpful.  We’ll continue to make updates but if you notice bad data or have other feedback, please let us know!