How to find cheap parking in the CBD

Your guide to affordable parking in the city for every type of situation

CBD parking is stressful!
The one way streets, loading zones, congested roads, road works, no stopping signs, 1 hour parking zones.
Did you know the City of Sydney issues $35 MILLION DOLLARS worth of parking fines each year!? That’s the reality of parking in Sydney CBD.
So here are some tips from the Oscar team to find cheaper and more affordable CBD parking.

best parking in the cbd


Hourly parking
A recent study by RACQ reported that it costs on average $56.22 to park for 2 hrs in the CBD on a weekday. Although street parking is $7.20/hr and commercial parking lots start at $9/hr, if you’re going to stay for more than 2 hours, it is often cheaper to find all-day parking instead (see below).

All day parking
Some parking lots have early bird rates – but they run out early! Arrive after 8:30am and you’re chances of finding a park at that rate is slim. And often the fine print means your $30 early bird parking could very quickly turn into $80.

If you have unpredictable work hours, need to drive in and out of the city for a few hours or need to leave your car overnight, the best option is to book ahead for 24-hour parking, however, be careful, many car parks in the city charge an additional fee for overnight stays.
We recommend checking out the car parks below:
– Centro car park (behind George St Cinemas) offer a flat 24 hour rate of just $25 (Book here)
– The Mercure (near central station) offer their spots for a flat rate of just $30 (Book here)
– The Cambridge Hotel (in Surry Hills) offer their spots for just $5 per hour or $30 per day (Book here)

Street parking
Many streets in the CBD are off limits for parking during the work week – reserved for loading zones. Where there is street parking, its usually $7.20 per hour, and maximum 2 hours of parking during work hours (8am -6pm), and then 4 hours maximum after 6pm at $3.90 per hour. The off-peak rate of $3.90 also applies on weekends. The City of Sydney has a map of the pricing of parking meters (see here), but honestly, we wouldn’t take a chance on finding street parking mid-week.

Weekday parking
If you drive into work everyday, monthly parking is the way to go. Monthly parking is often cheaper than paying for parking on a daily basis but it also means you’re locked in for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Monthly parking rates at the commercial car parks in the city start from $400 per month or $100 per week. If this is a suitable option for you, ask the Oscar team as we have long term rental options for less.

Evening parking
Evening rates are often much cheaper than daytime rates, however there are various pockets in the city where evening rates are just as expensive. These areas include the likes of Circular Quay, Barangaroo, Chippendale and Surry Hills.
If you’re heading into Chippendale, the restaurants will tell you how hard parking is to find and can cost as much as $12 per hour or a $60 flat rate. Mercure offer have a flat rate of $30 which means you can take your time with your meal (Book here).
By the way, we hear Bistrot Gavroche on Kensington St is a must try! 😉
If you’re dining near Oxford St or Surry Hills, Cambridge Hotel offer parking for just $5/hr. The team are also very friendly and you can leave your car overnight for just $30 (Book here).

Parking for larger vehicles
If you drive a larger vehicle over 1.8m tall, you’re probably not a big fan of driving in the city and street parking might seem like the only feasible option. The majority of car parks in the city have a max vehicle entry height of 1.9m or 2m if you’re lucky. The parking lot under the Opera House can fit vehicles under 2.2m and if you’re able to get the early bird, is only a flat rate of $16.

Alternative ways into the city
If the above options don’t work for you, you can always break up your journey and drive and park at a train, ferry or bus stop, and catch public transport. Alternatively, if you have a friend(s) or colleague(s) that is heading in the same direction, why not car pool and split the costs.

Have a question about this article? Send the team a note at contact@sharewithoscar.com