Parking is one of those things that we all have to do — at least those of us with a license who like to get behind the wheel now and then. (If you can get along in 21st-century America without driving, more power to you.) But the problem is, no one likes parking. It is, at best, a forgettable experience. Too often, it wholly and completely sucks — especially when all you want is a spot, and there just. Are. None.
But there are crappy places to try to park — and then there are the nightmare spots. These are the sort of places that make even the most adventurous among us think twice about heading out or at least Google map how long it would take to walk. Where in town are the terrible parking scenarios? Here’s a list of ten to avoid — if you can.
10. Cherry Creek North
There was a time in not-so-distant memory when parking in Cherry Creek North was not only free, but also not a big freakin’ deal. Sure, street parking was still iffy, but the Tattered Cover was still a looming presence, and the attached garage provided for plenty of places to pull in your Pontiac. Those were the glory days of Cherry Creek North, and as Bruce Springsteen reminds us, those days will pass us by. And they have.
LoHi shouldn’t be the bitch to park in that it is. For some reason, the whole place is full of parking hazards; there’s constant construction shutting down whole streets. There’s inexplicable flooding — and the damn place is on a hill, so gravity clearly isn’t doing its job — and there are orange cones scattered throughout the neighborhood that are either marking something unclear or have been moved by some fifteen-year-olds wanting to prank drivers.
8. Cap Hill
Capitol Hill was not created to house the high amount of people who call it home today — and trying to park along its streets makes that point abundantly clear. One wonders if this should be a lesson to the developers building all those parking-poor housing communities in Five Points. Well, wonder no more: The answer is yes, which is why that neighborhood is probably going to head up the 2027 version of this very list.
Just try to find a place to park down there these days. It was only about a year ago that it wasn’t too tough to find a spot, but what a difference a year makes. With the opening of the Denver Central Market and the growing acclaim of restaurants, shops, bars and the arts district itself, there’s less and less space available. This will certainly worsen as the neighborhood continues to explode in population and popularity.
6. Colfax Within Walking Distance of Any Music Venue
Colfax itself can be a challenge in some stretches, but just try to find a space near the Ogden, the Bluebird, Lost Lake, or any of the other spaces that host the amazing music for which Denver is increasingly becoming known. A good problem to have? Most definitely. But that’s small comfort when you’re just trying to park and get to the show.
Keep reading for more of the worst places for parking in Denver.
5. City Park on Sundays
It’s unclear what it is about Sundays — especially in the summer — that makes City Park so attractive. Maybe it’s the free City Park Jazz concerts, or volleyball leagues, or paddleboats, or just the sun and the grass and frisbees and footballs. Whatever the reason, expect to walk a ways before you’re able to spread that blanket and sit a spell.
4. Larimer Square
There was a time when you could easily find a space in Larimer to park your car, but you probably wouldn't want to take it, especially if it was a nice car. These days, between the crowds and the general traffic, spots are few and far between.
3. Red Rocks
Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of Colorado’s great gifts, no question. The performance is always worth it — which is good, because it can be a huge investment of time just to park or, more specifically, to get the hell out. There are plenty of fans who skip every encore to beat the traffic. These are the people you pity as they trudge out before the show is over and then feel intense jealousy toward when you’re sitting in a single-file line just to get out of the parking lot.
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2. Downtown Anytime
Sure, it’s worse on game days and during festivals, parades and marches. The Women’s March on Denver in January shut down the roads completely — even stopping the light rail! Is there a good time to park downtown? Sure: It’s about four in the morning.
Because let’s face it — it’s a parking lot at least half the time.