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State College Parking, Simplified

Parking at Penn State can be a nightmare. Whether you’re looking for a permanent spot or you’re just one for the night, it never comes without frustration. If you have found a permanent spot, chances are you’re parked in another zip code or paying a fortune. If this isn’t the case, congratulations, you have beaten the system. At my apartment complex, owned by A&W Sons, parking is $110 a month. Needless to say, I left my car at home.

There are lots of different parking lots and garages all over State College, but none come without a fee. Although the list isn’t all-inclusive, here is a guide that will help you keep your car from being towed and keep tickets out of your windshield:


Surface Parking Lots: There are four surface lots downtown with $0.75 per hour meter-parking. These lots include:  Beaver Avenue Lot (3-hour meters), Allen Street Lot (5-hour meters), Fraser Street Lot (3-hour meters), and McAllister Parking Deck (3 and 5-hour meters). The meters are enforced Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.–10 p.m., with Sundays free of charge.

Parking Garages: There are three municipal garages downtown located on 200 West Beaver Avenue, 100 South Fraser Street and 100 South Pugh Street. The standard rate is $0.75 per hour and $0.50 per hour overnight from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. On event weekends (football games, Arts Fest, etc.) the rate jumps to $1.25 per hour with a maximum charge of $24 for 24 hours. Sundays are free except for event weekends.


Parking Decks: There are three parking decks on campus intended for vistor parking. The HUB Deck (off Shortlidge Road), the East Deck (off Bigler Road) and the Nittany Deck (beside the Nittany Lion Inn) are all $1.00 per hour. Unfortunately, you must have a permit to park in the decks between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m.

A good majority of the parking lots on campus have free parking on weekdays after 5 p.m., and on the weekends. All of these lots have signs that indicate student parking hours.

Other Options

In the past, I have parked at the Wal-Mart on Atherton overnight on the weekends without any problems. I have also parked at the Bus Terminal, which is usually a safe bet after 5 p.m. on the weekends. Parking anywhere else is rolling the dice. Towing companies make a killing in this town, and meter maids are salivating at the thought of slapping a yellow ticket on your window. If you can’t convince your friend to drive you, then be careful, follow instructions, and save your money.

Did we miss any other viable parking options? Let us know!

About the Author


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