Many neighborhoods in Sacramento have a shortage of parking spaces on the street. The problem is worse during the day, but it's mitigated by restricted parking spaces and city-issued neighborhood-specific parking permits. When looking for a parking spot, be sure to note street cleaning performed on different days, even on different sides of the same street. Also consider different types of meter maids (chalk versus the automatic/photo ones, etc). During certain events, such as the Art Walk every 2nd Saturday, finding a parking spot in midtown is nearly impossible.

Parking lots and garages

Free parking

Here are some free parking locations in Sacramento:

Metered parking

Many of the City's curbs have parking meters. (See the City's page on parking meters. See also the City Map of on-street and off-street parking. Click on sections of the map for close-ups. This map does not include all private parking facilities.)

Paid garages and lots

See the City Map of on-street and off-street parking. (Click on sections of the map for close-ups. This map does not include all private parking facilities.)

Parking fines

The Sacramento Department of Transportation sets fines for parking violations. They maintain a list of these fines.

How to pay a ticket

You can view a photo of your violation here, and you can pay for a ticket here.

How to avoid a ticket

The City provides some helpful advice on how best to avoid a ticket:

  1. Do not leave vehicle parked for more than 72 hours. The maximum on-street parking time limit in Sacramento is 72 hours (three days). This rule also applies to vehicles with residential parking permits. Stationary vehicles parked beyond 72 hours can be cited and towed. In addition, street construction and other special events can sometimes require removing parking from a street with as little as 24 hours notice, so it’s a good idea to check your vehicle every day to ensure that no temporary restrictions have been posted on the street.

  2. Always check for parking signs. Before parking a vehicle look 100 feet in both directions for any parking signs. Also check the curb to see if there are any color curb markings. A majority of Sacramento streets have street cleaning signs that restrict parking for street cleaning or garbage or leaf pickup weekly, including holidays. Many streets have daytime parking time limits, including Residential Parking Permit areas. On major streets and in the downtown area, also check that morning or peak hour tow-away lane restrictions are not in effect. Please call 311 to report any defaced, deficient or missing parking signs.

  3. Watch for street cleaning regulations. Street cleaning violations are among the most common citation in Sacramento. Street sweeping is done Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Street cleaning parking restrictions cease being in effect after the street has been mechanically swept by the Department of Utilities. Do not park on a street during street cleaning hours if you are not sure the street has already been swept.

  4. Respect all posted time limits. After exceeding the parking time limit on a street, avoid parking on the same block while the time limit is still in effect that day. A vehicle can be cited for a time limit violation even if its owner moved the vehicle from one side of the same block to the other. The City employs license plate recognition technology to scan license plates on vehicles from block to block, then officers return to rescan for the same license plates still present on the same block. To avoid being cited, consider using long-term parking in a nearby parking lot or garage or be prepared to move the vehicle completely off the block.

  5. Obey parking meter time limits. The purpose of a parking meter time limit is to indicate the maximum time that any vehicle can remain on that parking space and encourage parking turnover. Feeding parking meters is illegal, and will not prevent a ticket from being issued as the City employs license plate scanning technology. Vehicles that exceed the parking time limit of a parking meter can be cited regardless of whether the meter has been paid or not.

  6. Do not block driveways. A driveway begins at the curb cut, or the point at which the curb begins to slope downward toward street level. A vehicle parked within curb cuts can be cited by parking enforcement officers or towed by police. Even partial encroachments into the driveway area can result in a citation. You may also be cited for blocking your own driveway.

  7. Do not park on sidewalks. A vehicle parked on any portion of a sidewalk can be cited for a sidewalk violation. A sidewalk citation can be given even if the pedestrian travel path is partly clear or if the vehicle is parked across a driveway. Sidewalks are the area between the curb and the building property line. Motorcycles are not exempt from sidewalk parking regulations. Bicycles can be parked on the sidewalk but their owners must ensure that the pedestrian path is safe and clear.

  8. Use of disabled placards. The State of California issues disabled placards or license plates that exempt vehicles from parking time limits so long as the person to whom the placard is issued is being transported and is within a reasonable proximity of the vehicle. See details about the use of the disabled parking placard and also about the misuse of a placard.

  9. Use of commercial yellow zones. Yellow zones are in effect as indicated by signs or stencils on the curb. Standard yellow curb zones (or yellow metered spaces) are available for commercial vehicle loading for a specified time period, which in Sacramento is 30 minutes. While the vehicle is parked in the loading zone, officers will be looking for active loading. Unattended vehicles may be cited.

  10. Use of passenger white zones. White zones are for loading and unloading with a maximum time limit of five minutes. If a sign is present indicating "No Parking Passenger Loading Only" the driver must remain with the vehicle at all times. Do not leave a vehicle unattended at this type of white zone or it may be cited.

  11. Parallel parking. California law requires that the two right wheels of a vehicle be parked no more than 18 inches away from the curb. The only exceptions are (1) one way streets, where the left two wheels must be parallel to and within 18 inches from the left-hand curb, or (2) places officially designated with signs or pavement markings for angle or perpendicular parking.

  12. Do not block crosswalks. A crosswalk is the extension of a sidewalk through an intersection and exists whether it is painted or not. It is illegal to park in marked or unmarked crosswalks. Never block disabled curb ramps located inside or adjacent to crosswalks.

  13. Commercial parking restrictions in residential zones. Commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating are restricted from parking in residentially zoned areas.

How to fight a ticket

You can contest a parking ticket. The City provides information about how to do this. Once you've looked that information over, you can contest the ticket here, or fill out a citation contest form, attach any supporting evidence and mail or bring in-person all paperwork within 21 days of the citation issue date to Revenue Division, 915 I Street, Room 1214, Sacramento.

Parking permits

There are several types of permits available. Find some information about applying for a temporary construction permit, or how to apply for some other special permits here. The types of permits available:

  • Residential Parking
    • Resident Permit
    • Visitor's Permit
    • Temporary Permit
  • Non Residential Parking:
    • Temporary Construction Zones (Signs)
    • Emergency
    • Delivery
    • Mall
    • Special Events
    • Construction (on dash)
    • Carpool

Requiring permits in your neighborhood

The Residential Permit Parking program allows neighborhoods to apply for restricted parking within their area. The program is set up to help people who have trouble finding parking near their homes, usually because parking spots are taken by commuters. Parking restrictions are installed in neighborhoods that are accepted into the Residential Permit Parking program, and residents can apply for permits to park beyond the posted time limits. For example, a neighborhood with heavy commuter parking might have signs posted limiting parking to two hours at a time, with an exemption for residents with a permit.

Other resources

Other miscellaneous parking resources:

Information from the City's parking website.