Parking—the joy and bane of many city dwellers’ existence. While some find joy in squeezing into a tight street spot or finding a little-traveled side street with free parking, others find the fierce, street-to-street battle for daily parking maddening.

As far as resources go, real-time San Diego parking maps are available to check whether the spot you’re scoping out is priced the way you think it is. Be sure to watch out for alternate side parking and street parking time limits!

Whether you rent a car or are visiting with your own set of wheels, you’ll quickly find that there are few cities in the U.S. where finding parking is more irritating than in the city of San Diego. What makes the irritation worth it, however, are San Diego’s amazing and one-of-a-kind attractions. Here are some suggestions of where to park near San Diego’s hottest spots!:

San Diego Parking

USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway Museum is widely considered a necessary stop for anyone who appreciates history, aircraft, or carriers. Parking in this area is fairly accessible, with over 50,000 metered park spaces available throughout Downtown San Diego and in the Marina area. If you’d rather not walk a few blocks, you can park on-site for anywhere between $10 and $20. There’s also ample public transportation if you’d rather avoid parking all together.

SeaWorld San Diego
A 15-minute drive northwest of downtown San Diego, SeaWorld San Diego is one of the state’s most beloved attractions and popular places to visit, and that’s even apparent through the price of parking. Because of its location, you’ll most likely need to park on-site, but you can save money and time by purchasing parking in advance. It’s $22 per vehicle for general parking, but if you’d prefer to limit your amount of walking in the parking lot, you can pay an additional $5 for Up-Close Parking or an additional $13 for VIP Parking.

If you happen to be an annual pass member, however, your parking is free. Because of its proximity to downtown San Diego, it might be cheaper to find an alternative mode of transportation to SeaWorld San Diego, or if you have multiple cars, to just take one car.

San Diego Parking

Balboa Park
Parking in Balboa park is a hot topic among both visitors and Park officials. District court judges have been gotten involved over the matter.
While the attractions throughout Balboa Park aren’t typically free, parking at Balboa Park, as well as entrance into the Park itself, is free. Not as many people, however, will know that if you park in the Inspiration Point parking lot, you’ll be much closer to the free tram. For those requiring it for any variety of reason, you can also pay for valet parking in front of the Prado Restaurant, even on weekends.
The primary issue you’ll run into when coming here to park is finding a space to do so. Try renting a compact car to squeeze into tight spots and make sure you arrive early so you can get a good spot.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Parking fees for San Diego Safari Park are expensive compared to what typical San Diego parking cost: it’s $15 per vehicle, with preferred parking on weekends and holidays costing an extra $18. Even with those parking fees, you’ll still have a good bit of walking to do to get to the safari area. While there are shuttles for the parking lot, they’re known for being a bit slow and crowded on busier days.
Unfortunately, because of the Safari Park’s location, you’ll be hard-pressed to find nearby parking that’s much cheaper or practical for your day’s plans. There are, thankfully, public transportation options available, allowing you to avoid the headache of parking on-site.

La Jolla Cove
One of the first things someone will tell you about La Jolla Cove, outside of its beauty and the great nearby shopping, is not to park at La Jolla in the summer. While there is free parking along Coast Boulevard, it’s limited to two-hours in most parts, which is entirely too brief an amount of time for you and your friends to thoroughly enjoy themselves. If a short visit is all you’re looking for, there are some close spots along Prospect Street, which is only a five-minute walk from the Cove. There are also all-day parking spots at hotel garages for $10. If you do find street parking along a hill, make sure you curb your tires!

Old Town, San Diego
Some neighborhoods are so unique and packed full of things to do that they qualify as attractions, and San Diego’s Old Town is one of those neighborhoods. Within its 230 acres, you’ll find history in the form of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and spectacular annual events like the Dia de los Muertos celebration. To accompany the richness of Old Town’s activities, you’ll find an ample amount of free parking, including around Old Town’s Transit Center, the San Diego Union Newspaper Building, and just a block down the street from the San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site.

San Diego Parking

Next time you’re on an adventure around San Diego and need great parking, I hope these tips come in handy! Do you have any other suggestions near any other places with impossible parking spots? Comment below and let us know!!