With horse drawn carriages, cobblestone streets, and classic architecture, Charleston is as charming a historical city as America has to offer. But although those narrow streets are quaint, they make parking a terrible pain in the ass. If you’re new to these parts, get used to it. With tourists and workday traffic during the week, and bar hoppers and shoppers during the weekend, coming across a parking space can be a near impossibility. Luckily, we’ve got some tips to make sure you don’t miss class, or, more importantly, happy hour, looking for a space.

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College of Charleston

As the CofC campus expands, swallowing up block after downtown block, metered street parking has increased. But don’t think that means finding a spot will be easy during the day. Your best bet is to stay away from busy streets like Calhoun, St. Philip, and King, and instead try the ones slightly more removed from the commercial part of downtown, like Coming, Wentworth, and Bull streets. If you have the cash, fork over $400 to the school for a student parking pass. Student parking spaces are still hard to come by, but you will have a better chance of grabbing a spot closer to your bio class. Also, don’t forget about the Cougar Shuttle, CARTA, and Dash buses. Not only are they free for CofC students, but they’re quick, easy, and you can’t get a DUI for riding them drunk.

Art Institute of Charleston

Thanks to the Art Institute’s location at the foot of Market Street, you are pretty much screwed when it comes to parking. With the constant stream of tourists, shoppers, and bar goers, you’re not going to have a very easy time finding a spot. Parking lots on Wentworth Street save spaces for Ai students, as do lots on Cumberland and Concord, but you will have to walk a bit to get to the campus. And you may want to use your artistic talents to make a cool change holder for your car, because unfortunately, you are going to have to feed meters often.

The Citadel

Making it through three years at the mentally and physically draining military academy means a senior year on a campus with entire parking lots reserved just for you. But if you haven’t done a thousand days worth of pushups, campus parking can be difficult to come by. A few visitor spaces line Summerall and Wilson fields, but be careful where you park: Campus police are very strict about not parking in certain spaces without the proper decal on your car. Luckily, the campus’ neighborhood location means plenty of streetside parking if you are willing to make a quick walk to campus.

Trident Tech

Tucked between Aiken and East Bay, parking on Trident Tech’s downtown Palmer campus can be a challenge. The limited number of parking spots mean you aren’t guaranteed a space to park even if you have a decal. And you might not want to role the dice and park on the street, because the area is notorious for strict monitoring. Even the school’s website basically says, “Eh, well, we have plenty of bike racks.” Tech also recommends snagging a CARTA bus pass ($42 per semester). Beats riding a Huffy in the Charleston heat.

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