By Markus G. Moore
Downtown Annapolis is magical this time of year. The shops and streets are decked out, the carolers wander up and down Main Street during Midnight Madness (Dec. 7, 14 & 21). What can the City of Annapolis do to make it even better?
Offer free parking!
That’s right - between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the City is offering two hours of free parking at metered spaces in downtown - and to celebrate the inaugural year of the new Noah Hillman Garage, we’re offering the first hour free there too.
Offering free parking is an annual rite in downtown, something we have done to support local businesses for more than two decades. This year, the program will look slightly different, but the new features are designed to offer improved customer service now and into the future.
Downtown Metered Spaces. Parking at downtown metered spaces (individual meters and kiosks) will be free for the first two hours. To get the two hours free, use the code ParkDTA on ParkMobile (web or app). With the app - if you decide to stay longer - you don’t need to return to your vehicle to re-feed a meter, simply add additional time on the app.
Hillman Garage: The all-new Hillman Garage reopened in June of 2023 with more parking spaces, EV charging, and no waiting in line to enter or exit. Paying for parking in the new garage works just like street parking. Pull in, use the QR code, ParkMobile, or the payment kiosk to select the amount of parking you’ll need and you’re on your way. Since the garage is new this year, we’re offering your first hour free during the holidays - use ParkMobile with code ParkDTA.
Park, Shop & Dine: In this program, downtown businesses purchase discounted garage parking for patrons. Ask your favorite shop or restaurant if they participate!
Resident’s Park Free: Visit AnnapolisParking.com to learn about garage incentives for residents of the City of Annapolis. With the Residents Park Free program, Annapolis residents get two hours of daily free parking at Hillman, Gott’s, Knighton and Park Place.
Park Place, Gott’s, and Knighton garages: The outer garages are all about value. Park Place costs just $1 for the first hour, $3 for two hours, or employers can purchase $3 all-day vouchers for staff. Both Knighton and Gott’s garages are $3 for the first hour. All three city garages are serviced by the downtown magenta shuttle, which is free and runs in a continuous loop. Starting Dec. 1, the magenta shuttle operates Monday through Thursday 6:00 am until 11:00 pm, Friday 6:00 am until midnight, Saturday 8:00 am until midnight and Sundays 8:00 am until 8:00 pm. During Midnight Madness, the shuttle will run until 1 a.m. Download the “TransLoc” app and track the shuttle’s location in real time.
Ten-minute trolley (Maryland Ave/State Circle and Eastport): On Saturdays and Sundays, two electric GEM carts run from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Catch the free Maryland Avenue/State Circle trolley at Gott’s Garage, Whitmore Garage, or Calvert Street Garage (which offers free parking on evenings and weekends). The Eastport trolley makes a continuous loop between Norman Drive, Chesapeake Ave, Chester Ave., Second Street, and Bay Ridge Ave. Transit passengers can connect at the Eastport Shopping Center via the Green, Brown, Red and Purple (evenings and Sunday only) transit lines. Flag the trolley down anywhere along the route (for safety reasons, operations are limited to daylight hours and good weather).
Other Parking Deals: Park free at City-owned garages (Gott’s Court, Knighton, Park Place and Hillman) on Sunday mornings (enter after 6 a.m. and exit before 2 p.m.). Make sure you have a plan to see historic Annapolis this holiday season, named one of Conde Nast Traveler’s “10 Best Cities” and Travel & Leisure’s “25 Best Christmas Towns in the US.”
Markus Moore is the director of the Department of Transportation.