How to Find the Best Parking Spots in Columbus
If you have ever receive a ticket for parking on a permit only street, or paid $40 to park on a coed’s front yard a mile from Ohio Stadium, the title of this article might come off as a bit of an oxymoron. But take a second and see why Columbus truly is one of the more car-friendly major cities.
When we think about driving as being a hassle, it usually comes down to a few key issues, traffic and parking. Say what you will about Columbus drivers, but compared to other cities, we’re not that bad. Have you ever driven in Manhattan? A heavy rush hour commute in Columbus would be a 15 mile journey from Downtown to New Albany. In no traffic, this commute should take you roughly 22 minutes. During heavy rush hour in Columbus, you can expect this commute to turn into a whopping 35 minutes. That same 15 mile trip in Los Angeles traveling from Downtown would take you roughly 25 minutes in no traffic, but here’s the kicker, it will take you 1 hour and 15 minutes during rush hour.
When you consider the parking hassles in Columbus, it really comes down to a very small area. On a map, if you circle the area between the Crew Stadium and Campus down to the courthouse including the Downtown arenas and all of the Short North neighborhoods, you come up with an area roughly 13 square miles. That’s quite a large, and important, area of town. But this is really the only part of Columbus were parking is an issue. Compare that to Chicago. Chicago metro is 234 square miles, all of which has virtually no parking. If you are a local, you can expect to find parking within a train ride to your house. A resident of Victorian Village could understandably be upset if they had to park more than one block from their house. While an over-night stay in a parking garage in Chicago is around $42, an overnight stay in a lot within close walking distance of Nationwide and Huntington Park is only $10.
Residential parking aside, there are a handful of events in Columbus that can cause parking concerns. Nationwide Arena, Huntington Park, Crew Stadium, OSU sporting events and the Short North and Arena Districts are the six major areas of contention when it comes to you parking your car, and availability. Let’s take a look at some of the best parking options in these areas.
There is an abundance of parking garages around the Arena. Quite literally, there is a parking garage on every side. But which ones are the best? For ease of access and sheer size and availability, Front Street Garage, on the south west corner of Nationwide and Frost Street, is a great choice. Plan on leaving your car there overnight? The gravel parking lots located between Vine and Spruce St., just east of Neil Ave., is your best option. Depending on the event, all night parking can run you between $5 – $15 dollars.
Follow the guidelines for Nationwide Arena. Huntington Park is located just a stone’s throw away.
Crew Stadium has their own parking lot that is more than large enough to accommodate enough vehicles to fill the stadium seats. The biggest hassle with Crew Stadium is the traffic leading from the freeway. The average spectator coming off of 71 tends to take the Hudson Street exit. There are access roads running along the west side of 71, that can take you straight to the stadium, which actually allow you to exit at 11th Avenue, 17th Avenue, Hudson Street or Weber Road.
Centered around the 315 and Lane Avenue area of campus, both Ohio Stadium and The Schottenstein Center are most easily accessible by exiting Ackerman NOT Lane Avenue. The largest lots available for basketball or football games are the lots at the corner of Ackerman and 315. Should those lots be full, your next best option is CampusParc, on west campus, at the corner of Kenny Rd and Lane Ave. If you are not from the area, don’t get stressed. Accept that fact that you can easily drive your car to the game, but that you will not get that magic parking spot right next to the stadium and that there are easier options than ramping your car into a student’s yard for $20.
Short North/ Arena District:
This is easily one of the areas of town where people fear parking the most. But fear not! There are some simple parking solutions that will make your next downtown trip a breeze. When you think Short North, three things should come to mind; valets, parking garages and meters. Going to dinner and don’t mind the $5 for a valet (one of the best deals for parking), then simply pull up to your favorite restaurant and let them do the work. Nearly every restaurant in the area has valet. Want to park it yourself for a short trip? Then find a meter. Now that all of them have been converted to digital, you can simply use a credit card. No more need for cup holders full of change. Meter parking is located throughout the area and there is always a spot about to open up. Goodale Boulevard, between High Street and Neil Avenue is always a sure bet. And lastly, not only are the Arena District parking garages are always available, but now there is a brand new garage in the middle of the Short North at High Street and Hubbard Avenue. This is part of the new “Hub” building and is prime parking right in the middle of the Short North.
So, the next time you start to get frustrated by driving in Columbus just remember, there are simple parking solutions out there and there is no where you can’t go and still enjoy the luxury and comfort of your own car.
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