Chinatown Parking: Where to Find it – and Other Options
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Chinatown Parking: Where to Find it, & Other Options

A common question from visitors planning a trip to Z & Y Restaurant and the surrounding area is, "Where is the best place to park in Chinatown?" Many locals and frequent San Francisco visitors would likely reply with "nowhere." Truthfully, Chinatown is a densely populated neighborhood with extremely limited street parking. That said, there are numerous public parking lots and other resources for those looking to park in Chinatown.

Additionally, there are numerous ride service and public transportation options readily available to visitors that make parking in Chinatown an unnecessary task for many. Below is an overview of some of the many options available:


Street Parking

Some would compare finding an unoccupied parking spot on the street in Chinatown akin to winning a lottery ticket. While that may be a stretch, if you choose to attempt street parking in Chinatown, keep the following things in mind:

  • Most of Chinatown falls within San Francisco's "Residential Parking Zone C." Unless you are a resident with a "C" permit, that means you may only park in an un-metered spot for 2 hours at a time.

  • Many metered parking spots feature "dynamic pricing" based on demand, so rates may vary. Be aware that metering hours run from 9am to 6pm, so don't mistakenly pay for hours that you don't have to.

  • Sunday parking is free for all metered spots in Chinatown. If you're lucky enough to grab a metered parking spot on Sunday, pat yourself on the back (and maybe go buy a lottery ticket too!).

  • Chinatown is located in a hilly area (like most of San Francisco). Be advised that even if you find an open parking place on the street, you may face a parallel parking challenge with a very high degree of difficulty.


Paid Lots

There are several paid parking garages in the Chinatown area. Though sometimes expensive, the convenience and peace of mind that comes with having a secure and easy to access parking spot is worth the cost to many. Here is a list of garages in the area:

PORTSMOUTH SQUARE PLAZA GARAGE
Located at 733 Kearny St., the Portsmouth Square Plaza Garage is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and offers 505 parking spaces on 4 levels. Given its size and location, this is likely the most well-known garage in Chinatown. However, with its popularity comes high demand. The garage charges $4 an hour for parking with a daily maximum charge of $32 for parking up to 24 hours. Confirm current rates @ http://www.sfpsg.com/rates.html.

Distance to Z & Y Restaurant: 0.1 miles

ST. MARY'S SQUARE GARAGE
Located few blocks away, and also open 24/7, is the St. Mary's Square Garage at 433 Kearny St. The rates for this garage are a little more complicated, ranging from $1 per hour at night to up to $4.50 per hour in the early afternoon. The daily maximum charge is $39 and this location offers 414 parking spaces. Confirm rates @ https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/parking/parking-garages/st-marys-square-garage.

Distance to Z & Y Restaurant: 0.3 miles

CHINATOWN PARKING
Adjacent to the Miriwa Shopping Center, Chinatown Parking is located at 728 Pacific Ave., closer to the Broadway Tunnel side of Chinatown. This garage does not have a website, but online review sites show that the regular closing time is typically 8pm, and hourly costs can be as high as $6 an hour or possibly more. However, other reviewers praise the convenience and location of the garage. Call (415) 982-2888 to confirm rates and hours of operation.

Distance to Z & Y Restaurant: 0.1 miles

650 CALIFORNIA
This lot is open only on weekdays from 6a to 7p. With a max height of 9’6”, it can accommodate larger vehicles. Parking in this lot can be very expensive, with initial rates running at $3 for every 15 minutes. The daily maximum charge is $30. Confirm rates @ https://sanfranciscoparking.spplus.com/650-california-street.html.

Distance to Z & Y Restaurant: 0.3 miles

SUTTER STOCKTON GARAGE
While also a popular choice for visitors to Union Square, this massive parking structure is conveniently located for Chinatown visitors at 444 Stockton St., just a couple blocks from the Dragon's Gate. With a whopping 1,865 parking spots, there are almost always spots available in this garage. Hourly rates range from $1 early in the morning to $4.50 per hour in the early afternoon. Daily maximum is $36. Confirm rates and information @ https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/parking/parking-garages/sutter-stockton-garage.

Distance to Z & Y Restaurant: 0.5 miles

NORTH BEACH GARAGE
At 735 Vallejo St., the North Beach Garage is another parking structure open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With 203 spaces, availability is somewhat limited. Parking costs $4 an hour, with a $30 daily maximum charge. However, "early bird" pricing is available at $16/day for parkers arriving before 10a and exiting by 7p. Confirm rates and info @ https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/parking/parking-garages/north-beach-garage.

Distance to Z & Y Restaurant: 0.4 miles


Parking and Ride Sharing Apps

SPOTHERO
Launched in 2011, SpotHero is an app available for iPhone and Android users that allows drivers in major cities to find and reserve parking spaces in both private and public lots. A quick search of mid-day parking options from 10:30a to 1:30p near 655 Jackson St. on a Wednesday revealed five different parking options at various smaller parking lots (not mentioned in the section above) within 3 blocks. The rates for a 3-hour parking reservation at these locations varied from $12 to $25.

Download the SpotHero app through the App Store or on Google Play to check current rates and availability.

UBER
Uber is the world's most popular ride-sharing app, with drivers operating in 630+ cities worldwide (as of Uber website in July of 2017). Being founded in San Francisco, the Uber application is very popular in the city, and Uber drivers are everywhere. Though rates can fluctuate during periods of high demand, the general consensus is that hailing an Uber through their smartphone app is exponentially easier than hailing a taxi in San Francisco. Added bonus: No tipping is necessary with Uber.

Download the Uber app through the App Store or on Google Play to check current rates and availability.

LYFT
Lift is a competing ride-service to Uber. Though not as many drivers offer rides through Lyft, this service and corresponding app is also very popular in San Francisco. Many drivers actually drive for both companies. Due to many recent stories highlighting various ethical issues related to Uber management, an increasing number of riders today opt for Lyft.

Download the Lyft app through the App Store or on Google Play to check current rates and availability.


Public Transportation

Last but not least, there are a variety of public transportation options available for those looking to visit Chinatown for the day.

MUNI
San Francisco's city-managed MUNI bus system runs multiple lines through Chinatown including the 1, 8, 10, 12, 30, 41, and 91. Download a MUNI system map online and find schedule information at https://www.sfmta.com/maps/muni-system-map.

CHINATOWN PARK AND RIDE
Z & Y Restaurant is a proud participant in the Chinatown Park and Ride Program. Park your car at the Golden Gateway Garage and be sure to take your garage ticket with you. Board the complimentary shuttle service through Chinatown at the corner of Washington and Davis or walk four blocks west to Chinatown. Present your ticket at Z & Y Restaurant or any other participating merchant (minimum purchase $3) and receive validation for the discounted $3 weekend parking rate at Golden Gate Garage. Learn more about the program at http://www.chinatownparkandride.com/.

HISTORIC CABLE CARS
San Francisco's picturesque and historic cable cars are another great way to get to Chinatown. With starting points major tourist hubs such as Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square, both the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines run through Chinatown. Find information on pricing and how to ride San Francisco's cable cars at https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/transit/how-ride/how-to-cable-cars.


Parking in Chinatown can be difficult, but with all of the above options available, getting here isn't as daunting as many think. We hope you find this information useful. Please be sure to visit our restaurant during your next visit to Chinatown at 655 Jackson St.!


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