Parking Options in Uptown Waterloo and Downtown Kitchener
Kitchener-Waterloo (as well as Kitchener and Waterloo) is a lively place; throughout the year, you’ll be able to find something interesting and/or fun going on somewhere.
And the two major hubs of activity in Kitchener-Waterloo are Downtown Kitchener and Uptown Waterloo.
‘But how,’ you might be asking, ‘does one get from one interesting and/or fun thing to the next?’ As you may know, Kitchener-Waterloo’s local public transit service (GRT [Grand River Transit]) is great, but there are times when public transit just isn’t an option.
And on those occasions, thankfully, driving is easy and affordable, particularly with the generous parking options available in both Downtown and Uptown. So now, without further ado, let’s dive headfirst into the thrilling world of parking!
Parking in Uptown Waterloo
Uptown Waterloo has it all: the natural beauty of Waterloo Park; hip and trendy cafés, restaurants, and bars; plenty of shops and public events; and so much.
Uptown Waterloo is a great place to visit (be sure to check out the UpTown Loop, self-guided walking tours throughout the area) and a great place to work.
But what about the parking situation? Well, I’m glad you asked! In a word, it’s great. Waterloo has done a fine job of ensuring its popular Uptown is easily accessible to drivers, and there is a variety of public lots throughout the area, as well as season-specific options.
Short-term Parking in Uptown
In several lots, Uptown Waterloo offers free 2-hour parking from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There are six primary parking lots owned by the City of Waterloo that everyone should be aware of.
The City Centre Lot is located by the intersection of William Street East and Herbert Street, and it has around 160 spots. The Museum Lot is by the intersection of Father David Bauer Drive and Erb Street West, and it has around 100 spots.
The Station Lot is located by the intersection of Erb Street East and Regina Street South; it has around 110 spots. Temporary Lots A and B are located further north, by the intersection of Regina Street North and Bridgeport Road East.
Finally, the Shops at Waterloo Town Square has two lots (North and South) off of Caroline Street South (near Erb Street West and William Street West, respectively). These lots each have over 200 spots available.
There are several other smaller lots in Uptown Waterloo that serve permit holders from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but they also offer free parking outside of these hours (evenings and weekends).
You can see each of the lots on this map.
Evening, Weekend and Overnight Parking in Uptown
Uptown Waterloo has free parking on weekday evenings between 5:00 p.m. and on weekends all day until 3:00 a.m. Several of the lots offer overnight parking for permit holders.
The Alexandra and Caroline Lots (located by Alexandra Avenue and Caroline Street South) overnight parking for $49.25 a month; the Caroline North lot offers 24-hour parking.
The UpTown Parkade (a massive structure with over 400 spots) offers overnight parking.
Waterloo has also unveiled a great new system called Park It and Leave It. If you’re planning to head to Uptown, and intend to indulge in the vibrant nightlife, it might not be safe for you to drive yourself home.
If you park in the Station Lot, City streets (across Waterloo), or the Waterloo Town Square, you can register for the Park It and Leave It program by 1:30 a.m. and park for free until the next morning at 6:00 a.m.
You can register on your computer, by calling (519) 747-8559, or using the Pingstreet App. The UpTown Parkade (located on Willis Way) also has the Park It and Leave It program.
Long-term Parking in Uptown
If you need to park for longer than a brief visit – or, especially, if you’re going to be in Uptown Waterloo multiple times throughout the month – there are monthly parking permits available. The prices of these permits vary by the lot.
Typically, the higher tier permits are further from central Uptown.
Uptown Waterloo has also integrated its parking services with the Honk Mobile App.
Honk Mobile is a free app (you just need to register an account and provide your licence plate number and payment info) that enables you to top up your parking time once the free two hours are up (or, if you’re not using a 2-hour free lot, just to pay).
If you’re about to run out of time for parking, there’s no longer any need to rush back to your vehicle – you can just add an extra hour from wherever you are.
Parking in Downtown Kitchener
Downtown Kitchener is a bustling hub of activity; like Uptown, it has a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and activities to enjoy, as well as the Charles Street Transit Terminal and the thriving tech sector.
Also like Uptown, Downtown Kitchener has some great parking options for those visiting or working in the area.
Short-term Parking in Downtown
Downtown Kitchener offers free two-hour parking in three City-owned parking garages: they are located at the intersections of Charles Street and Benton Street; Ontario Street and Duke Street; and near Kitchener City Hall, off of King Street West between Yong Street and College Street.
Note that to qualify for free parking at these lots (outside of evening and weekend hours), you’ll need to shop at a participating retailer to get a free voucher, which you’ll insert after leaving the lot.
There are also over 300 parking spots along the streets of Downtown Kitchener that offer the free two-hour parking; the best way to find which one will serve you best is to have a look at the handy Downtown Kitchener Parking Map here.
The wide variety of other lots (including those at the downtown branch of the Kitchener Public Library) have competitive rates for parking throughout the week.
Long-term Parking in Downtown
Kitchener has quite a few parking facilities that offer monthly rates – over 3400 spots!
The prices and locations, of course, vary, and some lots currently have waiting lists (though many still have spots available for rental).
Written by Will Kummer