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Where's the cheapest parking in downtown Minneapolis?

Parking can be a real pain downtown, particularly when you get stung.

Anyone else find themselves wanting to go to a restaurant downtown but drop these plans when parking enters the equation?

I know it puts me off, which is why for the first Bring Me The News Tip Jar column I've taken a look at what your best bet is for cheap and convenient places to leave your car when wining and dining in central Minneapolis.

On-street parking

This will likely be the cheapest way to park downtown – the issue is finding a space.

The best thing about on-street parking is that most spots are free over the weekend – but even during weekdays range from $0.25 to $2.50-per-hour, which is far cheaper than paying in a ramp.

You can find the prices of on-street parking in downtown here.

City-owned lots

The City of Minneapolis owns a handful of surface parking lots that are considerably cheaper than municipal and private-owned ramps.

The cheapest of these within reasonable walking distance of downtown is the 3rd Avenue North Lot, by the Northstar station near Target Field. It charges daily prices ranging from $3-7.

The Glenwood Lot by the Farmer's Market is a bit of a haul from downtown, but charges only $1 for the first hour and $3-$10 for event parking (good for Twins games).

If you're in the Loring Park area, the Basilica Lot charges $5 a day.

Private ramps/lots

If you go into downtown without a plan and pick the first parking ramp you see, you could get stung by some pretty steep private ramp prices.

You can search the prices of downtown parking lots using sites like Parkopedia, and using this I've found some private lots that aren't priced too badly.

  • 500 S. 3rd St. Lot – $4 for 0-2 hours, $6 for 2-3 hours, $8.75 for 3-12 hours. After 4 p.m. $2/hour. Weekends $2 all day.
  • Hennepin County Government Center Garage – $4 for 1 hour, $5 for 1-2 hours, $7 for 2-3 hours, $9 for 3-4 hours. Closed on weekends.
  • Minneapolis Central Library – $4 for 1 hour, $5 for 1-2 hours, $6 for 2-3 hours, $9 for 3-4 hours.
  • NRG Energy Center, 324 9th Street S – $3 for 1 hour, $6 for 1-2 hours, $7.50 for 2-3 hours. $5 all day Saturday and Sunday.
  • 729 Portland Ave. S. garage – $5.50 daytime Mon-Fri (8 a.m.-3 p.m.), $2.50 evening parking, $2.50 on weekends up to 24 hours.

City-owned ramps

The city also owns 15 ramps downtown that vary in price, with those most centrally located likely to cost you more.

Ramps A, B and C aren't too pricey at $4 an hour, $12 for the day on weekdays –though that'll change to event pricing on Timberwolves/Lynx/Twins game days.

The best ramp closest the center of downtown is the Hawthorne Parking ramp (31 N. 9th St.), which charges $4 an hour and $9 for the day.

The following city-owned ramps charge $3-an-hour and either $5 or $7 for all-day parking. The only issue is they're in the Warehouse District and by the Walker Art Center.

  • Riverfront Parking Ramp, 212 9th Ave South.
  • Mill Quarter Municipal Ramp, 711 South 2nd Street.
  • Vineland Place, 727 Vineland Place.

By a light rail station

Here me out here – but the light rail takes you direct into downtown and in most cases won't cost you a penny to park at.

Plonk your car in one of the streets near to the 38th Street station in south Minneapolis, for example, and save money by getting on the light rail and paying only $2 each way.

The Tip Jar is BMTN editor Adam Uren's advice column on how to spend, save, and live with confidence. Read past columns here.

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