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Ongoing Improvements Make Downtown Parking Easier and More Accessible for All

Parking Tips for an Easy, Stress-free trip Downtown

We recently talked to the City of Olympia's Parking Services office to learn about recent improvements to make parking Downtown easier and more accessible. Here's what we learned:

Visitors & Customers

Convenient on-street parking is available north of the Capitol Campus and in downtown Olympia at two, three and nine hour meters. All meters accept coins and Pay by Phone. Newer model meters also accept credit/debit cards. Meters are monitored Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You do not have to pay to park at the meters weeknights after 5:00 p.m., on weekends or City-recognized holidays.

“We’re really looking to transition to using more of a mobile, pay-by-phone system long-term,” says Garth Edwards, Supervisor of the Office of Parking Services. “This will be more cost effective and reduce the need and expense for additional meters and maintenance.”

Downtown Employees & Businesses

Olympia offers a variety of permits for those who work, do business or offer services in and around downtown. Visit the Permits/Leased Lots page to see all available options.

“One of the changes we’ve made during COVID-19 is removing some meters downtown located in front of businesses and converting them to “15 minute pick-up” spots. These spots are clearly marked and designed specifically for customers to pick up take-out or to-go purchases with ease without having to worry about finding parking,” says Edwards. “If you’re just coming downtown to pick up take-out, you should be able to do it without having to search for parking. We want to make sure people are still coming downtown to support businesses and want to make it easy to do so.” 

In addition, business owners may purchase “load zone” permits, for deliveries of supplies or merchandise. Once the permit is purchased, the business owner can use it for loading or deliveries or even let a customer use it for a pick-up. Permits must be valid and be clearly visible while using.

Another option Olympia has to make parking easier is discounted or “free parking” tokens for customers.  The Parking Meter Token Program provides a means for downtown businesses to offer one hour of 'free' parking to their customers. Participating businesses can pre-purchase one hour free parking tokens at a 50% discount off regular parking rates.

Token Details

  • Tokens are for customer use only*
  • 1 token provides 1 hour of parking
  • Tokens are only valid at 2-hour (purple-domed) meters in the downtown core. They will not work at the old style three and nine hour meters.

“Another change we’ve made is to enforce ADA compliant spaces to four hours maximum,” says Edwards. We were receiving some complaints that people were staying in these spots for long periods of time, so we’re making sure there is an enforced four-hour maximum time frame so there’s enough parking to go around for everyone.”

Vehicles with a properly displayed disabled placard or license plate may park free for up to 4 hours at any meter, timed zone or disabled stall in the City of Olympia (excludes leased and private lots.) Vehicles must abide by all other parking regulations. RCW 46.19.050

“We’re really aiming to continue to make improvements so that parking is not a hassle and people can enjoy all downtown has to offer. It’s constantly changing, but we are looking to create the most user-friendly experience possible,” says Edwards. “We recently converted some spaces that were designated for City-only use in a few lots around town, including at the Artisan Well lot, and converted them to nine-hour spots for public use. We strive for continued improvement and would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.”

To learn more about parking improvements and updates, visit and contact Parking Services at 360.753.8017 or



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