It is possible to park free in downtown Ann Arbor at certain times of the day, week, and year. Here are some tips.
For background on the corrosive effects of free parking, see Donald Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking.
Free parking structures
- All Ann Arbor DDA lots and structures are free on Sundays.
- The underground structure and surface parking at the Washtenaw County Courthouse is free after 6:30 pm and on weekends and holidays.
Near the Ann Arbor Farmers Market
- The Washtenaw County Courthouse and the county parking lot at N Fourth Ave and Catherine are free for the Saturday market.
- There is a neighborhood parking district to the north of Beakes Street which has two hour parking on Wednesdays and free parking on Saturdays.
- To the west of Main Street and north of Kingsley Street, there is two hour parking on Wednesdays and free parking on Saturdays.
- Comerica Bank and Bank of Ann Arbor lots on Washington Street are also free after hours.
- Ann Arbor State Bank on W William Street is free after hours. "If you like parking here, you might like banking here."
- Some Washtenaw County lots are free after hours and on weekends. These include the lot across from the People's Food Co-op and next to the Washtenaw County Courthouse.
- A number of loading zones in the city are enforced only until 6 pm, and after that they revert to free parking. Other loading zones change to taxi stands, despite the dwindling number of actual taxis in the city.
Metered city lots
All downtown parking meters are free after 6pm, and on Sundays and after noon on holidays. This includes both on-street meters and meters in parking lots, including
- The lot next to Palio, which, on nice summer evenings, sees cars idling in wait for a space, even while the Fourth & Washington Parking Structure has space available.
- The Farmer's Market lot, which tends to be fairly empty by 6pm.
- Detroit St. across from Argiero's Italian Restauraunt
- The lot behind Aut Bar at 4th and Catherine
Park and ride
- Pioneer High School park and ride is served by several AAATA bus routes.
Several downtown Ypsilanti and Depot Town parking areas provide free two hour parking spaces; most on-street and lot parking is metered, however:
- Michigan Avenue street parking, between Huron Street and Adams Street, is free for 2-hour parking
- The Huron Street Lot, on the left side of Huron, between Michigan and Pearl Street (behind Dalat), is free for 2-hour parking
- Most Depot Town parking lots and street parking is free, though be careful of private parking spaces that are contiguous with public lots
Ann Arbor's Art Fairs are notorious for their lack of free parking. Your best bet is to park for free at Briarwood Mall and take a shuttle in.