When I was growing up in Boise, you could find plenty of free parking in downtown Boise. Those days are mostly gone, but there are still some things you can do to not pay and arm and a leg just to be able to experience the downtown Boise area. Here are our tops for parking downtown Boise, and is there such a thing as free parking downtown?

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Metered parking downtown Boise
ParkMobile App
20 Minutes Free Parking
1-Hour and 2-Hour Parking
Parking Garages
Free Parking downtown Boise

Metered parking downtown Boise

Parking in downtown Boise - Boise parking meters.

The meters have very much taken over the downtown Boise area. Not only have they gotten more expensive over the years, but they also expanded the hours the meters are in effect.

Metered parking hours

The hours vary per zone, as does the cost. As you get closer to the city center, the hours of the meters are longer in the day and more expensive.

Zone 1

Zone 1 is considered premium parking. You can find these meters by the orange sticker on each meter.

Monday through Friday:

  • 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • $2.00 per hour
  • 2 hours max

Saturdays:

  • 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • $0.50 per hour
  • 2 hours max

Zone 2

Zone 2 is considered “standard” parking. You can find these meters by the pink sticker on each meter.

Monday through Friday:

  • 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • $1.25 for the first hour, $2.00 for the second hour
  • 2 hours max

Saturdays:

  • 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • $0.50 per hour
  • 2 hours max

Zone 3

Zone 3 is considered “value” parking. You can find these meters by the aqua sticker on each meter.

Monday through Friday:

  • 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • $0.50 for the first and second hours, $1 for the 3rd and 4th hours (3rd and 4th hours available through Parkmobile App only)
  • 4 hours max

Saturdays:

  • Free

See the interactive map at the City of Boise website here.

Parking downtown Boise: Navigating the meters, lots, and free parking?

Credit: City of Boise

ParkMobile App

Parking in downtown Boise - parking meters Zone 1.

ParkMobile is a great addition to downtown Boise. The sign up process is not quick (although it will not take you longer than five or 10 minutes), but once you get signed up, it will make your life so much easier.

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To use the ParkMobile app, download it on your phone and go through the sign-up process. Once you do that, all you will have to do when you park is to find the zone on your meter and input it into your app. You will then select the amount of time you will want to park and click Ok.

The app will remind you when your parking time is running out and you can add more time on there (re-feeding the meter is technically illegal, so I am not sure why the app let’s you do this — but it does).

20 Minutes Free Parking

Parking downtown Boise: Navigating the meters, lots, and free parking?

Boise is proud to say they are the only city in the country that offers 20 minutes for free at each meter. Just hit the button that says “Ok” and you will get that first 20 minutes for free.

1-Hour and 2-Hour Parking

If you expand your downtown Boise parking search outside the main core, you will find plenty of one-hour or two-hour parking. If you are looking to save some money and don’t mind walking (we’re talking two or three blocks), then this is a great option.

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There is always plenty of parking in these areas, and it gives you a chance to enjoy the downtown Boise area while saving you some money.

Parking Garages

If all else fails, there are plenty of parking garages in downtown Boise where you can pay for parking. If you are willing to pay for it, then this is always a great option.

Free Parking downtown Boise

There are still a few truly free parking spots in downtown Boise, but you will not find many. You will be walking quite a few blocks to get to where you need to be, but you can find them.

There are days when parking is not enforced, including on holidays.

Holiday Parking

According to the City of Boise, parking is free on these holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Parking in downtown Boise is not difficult, especially when compared to other cities. And if you are living in Boise, you will quickly learn your favorite parking spaces and how much it will cost you (or if it’s worth it to walk a little further to save some money).

Learn more about parking downtown Boise at the City of Boise’s website.