Let’s go to the movies. It sounds so simple. Open the Fandango App, find theaters nearby, pick a time, drive to the theater, all set. Unless…
Unless it’s the first time ever going to the movies in downtown Saratoga Springs! I followed the same procedure. Fandango, Criterion Cinemas on Railroad Place, pick a time, let’s go. Check the Google map to see where it is and how to get there. No problem.
We get there. Where do we park? Saratoga Springs parking won’t be hard to figure out, right?
How ’bout on the street. Where are the meters? Forget it, if we can’t find the meters, keep looking.
There’s a parking lot one street over, closer to Broadway. Ugh, it’s for bank customers only. Wait, there’s another one right next to it. Sigh, it’s full. There’s a parking garage. I bet that’s expensive. Let’s keep looking. Can’t park at Stewart’s, especially not for an entire movie.
Ok, we should have left earlier so we could look for parking and not be late. We only have a few minutes left if we want to get there in time!
There’s an empty spot on Railroad Place, where the heck is the meter!? We are going to get a parking ticket if we don’t find the meter!
Hurry up and find a place to park, we aren’t going to make it to the movie!
Just park there! We’ll pay the ticket! Hurry up and get to the movie!
Fwew! The movie was great and no parking ticket on the car! Sweet! Strange. But Sweet!
A few weeks later, Child #2 and I had an appointment on Division Street, around the corner from the movie theater. I gave us some extra minutes to find parking this time. Park right on Division Street, nope, full. We turn down Woodlawn. On street parking, full. Parking lot on Woodlawn, full. Here we go! We’re going to do it, we’re going to pay for the parking garage. We pull up. There are two entrances. Or is one an exit? Which entrance do we want?
There is no gate. No ticket kiosk. What the heck? How do you pay for this parking garage? Take the right entrance, we pull in and somehow pull right out again onto a little alley-feeling side street. Crap. Turn left, turn left again into the parking lot. Let’s try this again. Pull into the parking garage. No gate. No ticket. Ugh!
Drive in, take the left entrance, go up a level, full. Go up a level, full. We get to the top and I need to do a 3 point turn to turn around and go back down. Going back down we find a spot! WhooHoo! We park and scurry to the appointment. In the back of my head, I’m trying to figure it out. How do I pay? Who do I pay? Geez, where do I pay? What is wrong with me? Downtown Saratoga Springs parking shouldn’t be that hard to figure out.
We get back in the car and I follow the signs to exit. As I’m driving slowly, I’m looking all through the garage for a box to put money in, a little booth with a person waiting for money, an atm-like machine to pay for your parking. Suddenly the signs lead me out onto the street. What are these shenanigans!?
I’m torn between feelings of confusion, guilt, and excitement for getting away with parking for free!
Where I come from parking fees range from $5-20, or a few dollars and hour. Parking garages always have gates, take your ticket, pay on your way out. I’ve parked at some parking lots where the parking spots are numbered and you stop by a mailbox looking thing on your way out and slip cash through the slot. There’s somewhere you get a ticket, then on your way back to your car, you pay at a machine that looks like an atm. You get receipt ticket that you use to open the gate to let you leave. And of course, everyone has heard of feeding the parking meter when parking on the street.
I HAVE NEVER PARKED IN THE CITY WITHOUT PAYING!
When I drive down Broadway I can’t see any meters. Why? There are NONE!
Ok Saratoga. What gives? Why is the parking in downtown Saratoga Springs free? Let me understand this. You WANT people to come and hang out in your downtown area so you don’t make them pay to park here? You’re cool Saratoga. You’re cool.
Here’s the stuff you need to know:
- No Meters
- Find a spot, park
- Public Parking lots and garages = FREE
Here are a few of the free, public parking lots that I have found so far (use google maps or something to find these locations):
For the Bow Tie Cinema on the corner of Railroad Place and Church Street use
- Woodlawn Avenue Garage and lot off Division Street
- Walton Street Garage
For places near City Hall use
- High Rock Ave Lot
- Lake Street Lot
- Broadway lot (be careful part of the lot is private, but there are signs)
The library has it’s own parking lot on Putnam Street, though often full.
Parking for Caroline Street, Putnam, Phila Street and Spring Street use:
- Putman Street Garage upper level – enter from Phila Street
- Putnam Street Garage lower level – enter from Putnam Street
- Spring Street Lot
Please be careful, there are 2 lots on Congress Street just off Broadway that are not FREE. They are parking lots open to the public, but they DO have a gate and you DO need pay. I’ll look into how much they cost.
I found an AWESOME interactive map of downtown Saratoga Springs Parking! Click on the different categories to turn them on and off. Then click on the symbol on the map for a bit more information. Parking has its own category.
Have you had success parking in Downtown Saratoga Springs? Me too! We could be best-ies! Let us know about good and bad experiences you have had parking all around town, in the comments.
Thanks for reading! I hope it helps! :o)