There seem to be three types of on-street parking in Chicago: Metered parking, Residential Zone parking and all other areas.

I am right in understanding that there is no charge or permit required for street parking in the "other" areas (unless specifically posted)?

It looks like overnight parking in those areas can be restricted by the Winter Overnight Parking Ban and a possible 2” inch snow ban (December - March), or for a street sweeping (April - November). Are there other blanket restrictions, like maximum number of hours or days parked, for these areas?

Could I leave a car parked for a week in an area that is not metered, not part of a Residential Zone parking area, not affected by a Winter Overnight Parking Ban, and not subject to the 2” inch snow ban? Or respectively outside of Winter, an area that isn't up for street sweeping?

1 Answer 1


It would be very difficult for you to find such a spot. About a year ago, any of the free and clear parking I knew of was sold off, and meters were installed.

Even if you do find a spot, there are a lot of reasons in the city for which your car would be towed. Construction pops up with little notice. If you're more towards downtown, parades and other temporary permits will block off streets. Street festivals are a problem in summer months in neighborhoods.

I would recommend snagging a parking spot with SpotHero, Park Whiz, or one of the similar parking services. They're a lot cheaper than a typical lot, and you know where you can park ahead of time. I usually would go for the spots under the CTA tracks, as they were cheapest and there was always parking available.

  • doesn't that depend where in town you are? According to this map (shua123.github.io/zone-parking) there aren't zones for instance on most of the South Side - I'd be surprised if that large of an area was all metered.
    – Carl
    Jan 9, 2017 at 20:29
  • I used to live on the south side, and can tell you that there are definitely metered areas not on that map. I've found areas that weren't metered before, but they were always filled with cars. It's not uncommon to have to go a couple miles out of your way to get lucky enough to find a spot.
    – Brad
    Jan 9, 2017 at 21:19

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