Did you know there’s a free parking lot right in Downtown Colorado Springs? There actually two areas right in the heart of Downtown that most people don’t know about where you can park for free without any permits and there aren’t any parking meters to worry about. The funniest part about this, is it’s right in the middle of the other metered parking, and only a block or two away from several very expensive parking garages. But because they’re right out in plain view, you might not even notice them.
Free Parking Area #1:
The first free parking area is along the median in the middle of the the East/West road E. Vermijo right between Nevada St and Weber St (see below). It’s just south of the Colorado Springs Independent’s offices. Take a close look—do you recognize it from a birds-eye view?
Here a photo with a western-facing view (facing Nevada):
Here’s a view right down the median—no parking meters in sight.
Here’s a view from the southeast end looking to the northwest (note the Pioneer’s Museum behind the trees):
By my count, there are 28 free parking spaces in this area. Sometimes you may just get lucky and be able to park here, but usually it’s pretty full.
Free Parking Area #2:
The second parking area is right next to the first one, but actually an entire parking lot in a weird oval shape that’s almost hidden on the inside the block just south of the first parking area. It’s also sandwiched between Nevada on the west and Weber on the east. The northern border is E. Vermijo Ave, and the southern end is E Costilla St. If I had to describe it to anybody who’s lived in Colorado Springs for more than 10 years, I’d just tell you it’s just behind the old “Your Valet Dry Cleaners” on Nevada nextdoor to “Blueprints, Inc.” These days, the Your Valet cleaners are closed, and there’s an Arby’s that’s opened up on the south side of the block. See the photo below:
Believe it or not, this parking lot it actually its own street called “Pueblo Ave” (who knew?). Here’s a photo of the parking lot from a northeast vantage point:
See the old “Your Valet” cleaners? The parking lot is to the left in this photo (you can see some cars in the shot). Here’s another shot from the same vantage point:
You can see the rounded edges of the parking lot, and the row of cars. In all likelihood, most of the cars that park here are for employees of the Arby’s, and the CS Indy and other businesses right next to it. That’s my best guess anyway.
Here’s a view from the opposite end—you can see the Pioneer’s Museum in the upper right of the photo. By my count (from the aeriel view photos in Google Maps), there are 68 parking spaces here, which means that there are a total of at least 96 free parking spots right in the center of downtown if you combine the 28 from above.
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I have no idea why this is such a hidden secret, but there it is in all its glory. It’s no longer a secret to you. Both these areas have totally free parking, which is a big deal; in contrast, I used to work at Plaza of the Rockies just a block from here and I had to pay $80/mo for parking in the garage. So take advantage of this if you can! One bummer is that it’s often hard to find a parking spot here, depending on the time of day, which is no surprise, really.
If you know of any other free parking areas in Downtown Colorado Springs, please comment below or contact me and I will update this post as a service to others.
Please Note: there are numerous places you can park downtown for free if you’re very careful, but for the most part, they’re on private property and you’re always taking the risk of getting towed if you park there. I’m extremely respectful of private property rights, and though I know many people who park in private lots and say “Ehh, they’ll never find out,” I certainly don’t recommend trying that approach. The parking spots I’ve shared above are different because they’re on city property (as far as I know), but for whatever reason, the city doesn’t charge for parking here. That’s an important distinction.