The invasion of Gasparilla brings citizens from cities and towns all over America, but it means we all patiently wait each year for parking and transportation. For the locals in Tampa, it's important to find parking days in advance for this day-long celebration that brings over one million people from out of town to their city. Tack on the NHL All-Star Game this year, and it's more important than ever to have a plan for parking for Gasparilla and the NHL All-Star Game, as well as a plan for how you want to get around during the weekend.
Though parking is not allowed on the streets near Bayshore as of Friday afternoon, the street parking on Kennedy and throughout Downtown are free on the weekends. Over 1,600 street spots are located throughout Downtown, but be sure to get here early if you’re looking for street parking as those spots will likely be long gone before 10 a.m. Various lots and garages in Downtown will have parking available for the use of the public. There are four public parking areas that the city is advising the invaders to use: the Poe Parking Garage, the Park Tower Garage, the Madison lot and the Kennedy lot. All of which are relatively cheap with $2.00-$25.00 flat rate for events. To find specific prices for each garage go to the city map for details.
For a cheaper option, consider checking private lots for parking signs in the neighborhoods surrounding West Kennedy. Often house-owners and students renting properties in the Bayshore neighborhood sell parking spaces in their driveways and lawns to make some extra bucks before they celebrate! Most of the time spaces in private lots go for $5-$10 for all day parking.
Find exclusive deals on parking near your event venue of choice through Parkway Parking. Simply reserve online or call their agents to book your parking. Stress less knowing your parking spot is guaranteed and ready for you.
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These suggested spaces are close enough to the parade where you could walk, but if you’re feeling lazy then take advantage of the Downtowner, In-Towner Trolley, Streetcar or bike rentals to reach the parade in style.
The Downtowner is a free service that you can either call, use their app or hail on the street like a cab. There are twelve, six passenger cars driving in the Tampa area. If the wait time is long the day of Gasparilla, the trolleys and streetcars will be running all day, with 11 stops throughout the city. Bikes are also available to rent throughout the city and may prove to be a faster way to get from one place to another.
Uber and Lyft provide other popular options for transportation but warning: the fares will be high and the wait time long because of their high demand, and that's assuming you can get a cell phone signal with the towers overloaded. However, if you are 21 years or older and enter the promo code "LIKEACAPTAIN" into Lyft a $20 coupon will appear. Likewise, Uber is offering a similar deal for those using the code "PIRATERESPONSIBLY". Neither will be allowed to travel within blocks of the parade in an effort to try and reduce traffic near the parade route but each is allowed within walking distance. Here is a map showing in green the areas they cannot enter:
For more up to date information on Gasparilla 2018 parking and transportation, text GASPARILLA to 888-777 and the City of Tampa will text you with updates what is going on throughout the day on Saturday.
Cover photo by Hengstream on Unsplash