Freshmen may only be realizing this, but parking downtown in this city sucks. Don’t do it. Find a way to ride your bike. It’s easier, more cost efficient, and it’ll help you work off all that beer.

But if you do have a car, there’s still hope for those who missed the June 29 deadline for turning in the College of Charleston parking permit application. Parking Services will dole out any available spaces Aug. 16 at 8:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. In previous years desperate students have spent the night on sidewalks outside the Joe E. Berry, Jr. Residence Hall storefront on Calhoun Street with vehicle registration and photo ID in hand, praying for a garage to call home.

Make sure to double-check your bank statement before you go because CofC parking permits will cost $250-$600, depending on the prized space.

The cheapest garage has students parking at the Aquarium and jumping on a “free-of-charge with a student ID” CARTA-operated shuttle that, for the most part, shows up at various bus stops en route to CofC every 5-10 minutes. Check out for times and pick-up spots.

Also, some area businesses and hotels offer alternate parking options with cheaper fares. Go to CofC’s Parking Services website, click on “Students,” and scroll to “Alternative Parking” for names, fees, and phone numbers.

Students not wanting to give more money to their school could park in city-metered spots for $1.50 every two hours. But be warned: Meter Maids troll these parts looking for violators. Parking in a spot a minute past meter expiration will most likely result in an $8 fine. Not paying these city fines will still get you a diploma, but discovering an immobilizing boot on your back tire will only take away from precious time that could be spent at the library, or more realistically, sitting on a buddy’s couch staring at a Bob Marley poster.

Lots & Fares

Where to park, and what it will cost you:

  • City Residential Parking ($7.50/semester)
  • Core Surface Parking ($400/semester)
  • Rutledge-Rivers Residence Hall
  • 13 Coming St.
  • 97-107 Wentworth St.
  • 298-300 Meeting St.
  • Warren Place
  • Core Garage Parking ($450/semester plus $20 refundable card deposit)
  • 81 St. Philip St.
  • Premium Core Garage Parking ($600/semester plus $20 refundable card deposit)
  • George St. Project, between George and Liberty Streets
  • Motorcycle Parking ($150/semester)
  • Designated spaces in PP lot and north side of Berry Residence Hall next to McAlister.
  • Perimeter Garage Parking ($250/semester plus $20 refundable card deposit with shuttle)
  • Aquarium Garage at Washington and Calhoun Streets (fourth floor and above only)
  • Student Handicap Accessible Parking ($225/semester)
  • Student Evening Permit ($100/semester)
    Valid in any student surface lot after 3 p.m. every day

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.