If you live in Los Angeles, you probably hate parking (and if you’re new, congratulations! It’s only a matter of time). It’s at least a piece of why you (maybe) moved from your small town to the big city: the music, the food, the culture. There’s always something to do and chances are it’s more enjoyable than roaming your local Wal-Mart at midnight.
You wanted to do this thing called life.
Then you met the $76 dollar parking ticket and it changed you. You’re darker, now. Worn. Cynical. Parking is the gray cloud looming over every evening plan and suddenly Postmates and Netflix are looking pretty dang good.
But Angelenos, let us not forget the Podunk from which we came. Rage, rage against the dying of the nightlife with these parking hacks for some of LA’s most popular venues.
Hear me when I say this: you do not have to pay to park at The Echo. Repeat: you do not have to pay to park. Plenty of baton-wielding attendants will try to guide unwitting drivers into their lots, but not you. No, you will drive right on by, up Reservoir Street onto Alvarado where you will you find free-for-nothing street parking.
Echo Park can be a bit of maze, so put the Echo Park United Methodist Church into your maps and it will drop you right at the intersection. Walk Reservoir down the hill to a set of steps that will take you underneath the overpass, half a block from the lower entrance.
If driving isn’t an option, Uber and Lyft are your best bets. If you’re in Hollywood or the Westside, you can take the 2/302 bus to the Montana/Glendale Layover, but that trip is an hour and two hours, respectively, and at that point are you really up for a show?
Troubadour, West Hollywood
The hack that inspired this article now worships at the feet of the permit-only gods, and for that I’m truly sorry. Free residential neighborhood parking has gone the way of the dodo in West Hollywood, but there are still better options than the venue’s valet.
Metered spots on both Melrose and Santa Monica can be hard to snag and only allow two-hour increments well into the evening, but if you arrive early and only plan to stay for the opener, this isn’t a bad option. For those of us who like long, spontaneous nights, I recommend the valet at Flavor of India on Santa Monica and Nemo Street. The price fluctuates, but on weeknights, I’ve paid as little as $3 (cheaper than some meters).
If you’re coming from anywhere other than the west side and aren’t willing or able to drive, I’m afraid there aren’t any great public transit options—for your sanity, I’d go with Uber. Westsiders, you can catch the 704 Rapid Metro Bus. It will take you straight up Santa Monica; just hop off at the Santa Monica/San Vicente stop.
Not nearly as high maintenance as the Troubadour, Avalon is easiest to get to by public transit. Take the Red Line train from either the Valley or DTLA to the Hollywood and Vine station, then dodge tourists for a block up Vine to arrive at the venue. If you’re fundamentally opposed to paying for parking, both the Universal City and North Hollywood metro stations in the valley have huge free parking lots and are only two and three metro stops, respectively, from Hollywood/Vine.
That said, the lots around the venue are fairly reasonable. The lot next door regularly runs about $7 if it’s not School Night (it could cost you that in gas to get to the metro stations in the Valley) and being in the heart of Hollywood, there are other smaller, competitively priced lots on both Hollywood Blvd and Gower Street. Take a lap before you commit.
Of course, there are metered spots on Hollywood Boulevard, but the parking signs are tricky and contradictory and only allow you to park for two hours. Read: not worth the headache.
The Regent, Downtown
Reopened in 2014 a hundred years after its initial opening, the renovated movie house draws a mixed bag of acts. I’ve seen everyone from Cold War Kids to Say Anything here and will be at the Tribute to Sharon Jones on April 7th (and you should be, too) by way of the Pershing Square metro station.
Pershing Square station is a godsend. If you’re in Hollywood or the Valley, you can take the Red Line to the Pershing Square station and Westsiders can take the Expo Line to the same stop. From the station, it’s a fifteen minute walk to the venue. The Metro is always your best bet when you’re headed to a show downtown—a lot of the parking garages look straight outta the Saw movies—and the cheapest lots are farther than the Pershing Square station. If you insist on driving, try the PacMutual garage on Olive near 6th. It’s usually in the $4-$7 range.
Regent Theatre pro tip: dress in layers. It gets toasty in there.
Parking tips and tricks? For the love of LA nightlife, let us know on Twitter!