The Gasparilla Invasion is the biggest outdoor festival in Tampa every year and is a citywide celebration bringing out Tampa's best to party in the streets and watch the famous Gasparilla parade. If you've been, you know; the event can be quite an awesome time, but Gasparilla parking can be a real pain if you go in not knowing what to expect. Luckily, we're here with a few tips for parking at Gasparilla when it goes down on Saturday, January 18th (Children's Parade) and the 25th (Invasion).
If you want a safe, hassle-free option parking for Gasparilla, park at the Centro Ybor Parking Garage or the Palm Avenue Garage in Ybor City, and take the TECO Line Streetcar into Downtown Tampa. Parking at either of these garages is inexpensive for the first three hours, and only slightly more if you go over. The streetcar is free and will take you all throughout Downtown, Ybor, and Channelside if you want to party in any of these great nightlife districts after the Gasparilla festivities are over.
Expect to pay around $10-12 for Gasparilla parking garages near the parade route in Downtown Tampa. These include the Tampa Convention Center Garage, Poe Garage (Ashley St., south of Cass St.), the Ft. Brooke Garage (Whiting St. between Franklin St. and Florida Ave.), Twiggs St. Garage (Twiggs St., west of Nebraska Ave.), Royal Regional Lot (Tampa St. & Fortune St.) and the Whiting Street Garage (Whiting St. between Florida Ave. and Morgan St.). The same goes for the Crosstown parking lots under the crosstown expressway. If you can find a spot, some of these lots only charge $5, but will definitely fill up fast. During the Children's Parade on the 19th, a shuttle will run from 10 am to 8 pm from the Fort Brooke and Whiting garages, delivering you and your scurvy crew to Bayshore Boulevard near Bay-to-Bay Boulevard, the beginning of the parade. Cost is $10 per adult, children accompanied by an adult ride free.
Also, check the Tampa Reddit page and search for parking for Gasparilla, as many businesses along the route pre-sell parking spaces for around $30 space. There aren't any posted yet, but they'll be coming soon. Check the websites for all businesses with a parking lot, you will find many pre-selling spaces. Try Oracle Insurance Group across from Datz or Flying Fish Bikes on MacDill as well.
With transportation options like the FREE Downtowner E-car service and the Pirate Water Taxi, moving around Downtown before, during and after the parade has become easier. Consider parking out of the area where you can park on the street, WaterWorks Park as an example, and take the Water Taxi downtown.
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Parking in the neighborhoods surrounding the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is prohibited and will definitely get your vehicle towed. But if you're willing to park a few blocks away and on the street, one plan is to find a legal place to park a few blocks from Bayshore on Friday night. Taking an Uber or Lyft home Friday night and back to the parade on Saturday morning is great if you don't plan on imbibing during the invasion. Getting an Uber or Lyft from home to Bayshore or Downtown is usually pretty easy... but really, really tough with the traffic, demand, and lack of cell service during and after the parades.
Also feel free to negotiate with friends who live in the neighborhood and have additional parking spaces. We accept gifts, generally something akin to the rum or mead variety to celebrate the holiday!
That basically sums it up when it comes to parking for Gasparilla 2019. Read our Gasparilla guide to get all you need to know about the parties and events along Gearing Up for Gasparilla: Where to Buy Pirate Style then head out, and have a great time at the 2020 Gasparilla Children's Extravaganza on January 19th or at the Gasparilla Invasion 2020 on Saturday, January 25th.
Collin Sherwin contributed to this article.