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Narrow, 18th-century streets have resulted in a 21st-century challenge: parking.
Your best option for the Historic District and Center City—especially if you plan to park once and walk or take public transit—is to use a garage.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority. The Philadelphia Parking Authority operates several garages in key locations, including 5th and Market streets (near Independence Mall), and offers some of the city's most competitive rates. 215/683–9600. www.philapark.org.
Central Parking System. Central Parking System has many garages around Independence Hall and Center City. 215/563–3650 or 877/717–0004. www.parking.com.
Parkway Corporation. Parkway Corporation has 48 parking garages in the Philadelphia area. 215/569–8400. www.parkwaycorp.com.
Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. Hotel packages offered through Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. often include free parking. www.visitphilly.com.
If you plan to move your car over the course of a day, or if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, try for on-street parking. Meters and restrictions in some parts of Center City are Monday through Saturday only, but many areas also have limits on Sunday, so be sure to read signs carefully.
Most meters have been converted to kiosks, from which you print out a small ticket to display on your dashboard. These machines typically cost over $2 per hour, payable in cash, credit or debit cards. Traditional meters also accept a Smart Card, which is available in $10, $20, or $50 denominations, Smart Cards are sold through the Parking Authority Web site, or by calling 215/222–9100.
While most meters restrict parking to two hours, there are longer-term (at least four hours) metered spaces in the Historic District on Front Street, between Market and Dock streets, and on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 20th and 26th streets.
Let the street parker beware: meter attendants track spaces regularly during posted hours. Never leave your car unattended in a no-parking or tow-away zone.
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