parking meter in St. Armands Circle near Sarasota Florida
Photo: City of Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota Offers Free and Low-Cost Parking Options

One of the biggest traveling challenges frustrating visitors can be parking. Read up on the free and low-cost parking options in Sarasota before you come to town.

“Variety is the spice of life” is a colloquial phase we are all too familiar with and is often used when referring to one of the many happy moments in our lives, but more so when we are vacationing in such a beautiful place as Sarasota.

TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards has named Siesta Key as the United States’ second-best beach partly because of its “renowned eight-mile stretch of sugar-fine, quartz-white sand,” and has deemed it as a “great spot for kids to collect seashells and sand dollars.”

In addition, The U.S. News & World Report has voted Sarasota as the #18  best place to live and the #3 best place to retire in 2019.

Such high rankings mean a lot of people share our wonderful destination at the same time, and a caveat to all of this is more commuting and parking.

To ensure everyone is welcome in the City of Sarasota, the Parking Division is continually developing free and low-cost parking options in popular areas of town, so the fun never has to end for residents and visitors alike.

Paid Parking Options

parking enforcement carts in a parking garage in sarasota florida
Photo: City of Sarasota

In downtown Sarasota alone, there are approximately 4,000 public parking spaces including curbside parking, parking lots and parking garages. 

Paid parking has been implemented in Sarasota on St. Armands Circle, Main St., Palm Ave., Ringling Blvd. and the First St. parking lot.  There are 43 pay station machines and 35 pole-mount model meters featuring user-friendly payment options for the $1.50/hour parking fee.  Visitors can pay by credit card, debit card, coins or through the ParkMobile app. Reminders can be sent when parking session nears expiration and time can be extended via the app as well. 

The State Street Garage and Palm Avenue Garage will still remain free for two hours, and 88% of total parking spaces will remain free around downtown. As for quick stops—perhaps for a cup of coffee or an in-and-out errand—the first 10 minutes of paid parking is complimentary.

The City of Sarasota offers a digital map of downtown Sarasota and surrounding areas on its website that serves as a guide to everyone seeking a public parking space including handicap and motorcycle. 

Covered Parking Garages

The City of Sarasota currently operates four parking garages: three are centrally located around downtown, while one serves St. Armands Circle near Lido Beach. These combined 1,300 parking spots have various pay schedules, and during busy periods or special events, a $5 pay on entry fee may be charged.  More information about pricing and potential special event times can be found on the City of Sarasota website.

State Street Garage – 1538 State Street

Exterior shot of state street parking garage in sarasota florida
State Street Garage [Photo: City of Sarasota]

There are 400 parking spaces available near Sarasota downtown’s premier shopping, dining, and business locations. Parking is free for the first two hours followed by a rate of $3.00 for an additional hour, and $1.00 for each hour after - up to $23.00 daily. Handicap parking spaces are near the elevators on each level and there are motorcycle and bicycle spaces on level one. Four electronic vehicle charging stations are located on level two.

The Palm Avenue Garage – 1289 North Palm Avenue

exterior shot of palm avenue garage in sarasota florida
Palm Avenue Garage [Photo: City of Sarasota]

This award-winning garage is “located one block from Main St. on North Palm Ave., only steps away from 5 points intersection in downtown.” There are 729 available spaces including handicap parking on each level near the elevators and six electric vehicle charging stations on level two. Parking is free for the initial two hours followed by a rate of $3.00 for an additional hour, and $1.00 for each hour after - up to $23.00 daily.

The 2nd Street Garage at Whole Foods Market – 1400 Block of 2nd Street

exterior shot of parking garage in sarasota florida
2nd Street Garage at Whole Foods [Photo: City of Sarasota]

The first level parking is designated for customers of Whole Foods Market and levels two and three are open to the public where permitted. A public parking access ramp is located on 2nd St. at Central Ave. Free parking is available for up to two hours on level one and up to four hours on levels two and three, which are enforced by citations from the City Parking Division.

St. Armands Parking Garage – 57 North Adams Drive

exterior shot of parking garage in sarasota florida
St. Armands Garage [Photo: City of Sarasota]

St. Armands Circle is home to shopping and dining galore and recently opened a new four-level parking garage at 57 N. Adams Drive. The garage accommodates up to 480 cars with an additional 23 spaces in an adjacent outside lot.  The facility is equipped with five electric vehicle charging stations, a bicycle storage and repair station and public restrooms. The garage rate is $0.50 per hour Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays.

In addition to the new garage, 40 pay stations and six parking meters, as well as nearly 200 public parking spots scattered throughout, provide additional parking for St. Armands visitors. A new partnership with the free app “ParkMobile” allows meter parking from your mobile device.

Additional information about all available parking options can be found on the City of Sarasota’s website. For the latest updates follow the City of Sarasota’s Parking Operations Division on Twitter @SRQParking or visit its page on Facebook. You may also contact its administrative office via phone at 941-954-7057 or by email at [email protected].

Downtown Driving Service

Gotcha car driving in front of restaruant in sarasota florida
Gotcha Rides will take you anywhere in the city for $3

Lastly, Sarasota offers Gotcha, a $3 flat-fee ride service to connect people with places in the downtown area. The Gotcha is a six-passenger electronic vehicle with daily services between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. and midnight on Friday and Saturday (hours are subject to change). It provides point-to-point transportation within certain service boundaries. Learn more and download the app through the Gotcha website.

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