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If you're set on driving (and thus parking) in Cambridge, make sure to give yourself plenty of extra time and cash.
Here are your options for where to and where not to park:
1. Residential parking - If you do not have a local parking sticker, you will most likely get a parking ticket if you park in a residential area overnight. If your local host has secured a visitor permit for you to place in your car, then you can park without worries. These permits can be obtained from the City of Cambridge after showing proof of residency.
2. Meter parking - Metered parking exists throughout Cambridge, but is in short supply in high density areas such as Harvard Square. Feed the meters with quarters or you most likely will get a parking ticket. If you park overnight at a metered space, keep in mind the meters go into effect at 8am in the morning.
3. Parking lots - Parking lots and garages are the priciest option, but also the only option for many visitors. The upside is that your car will be protected from snow if you are visiting Cambridge in the winter months. Expect to be set back approximately $20-$30 a night.
4. Taxi/Bus stands - If you park in a taxi or bus stand, you will most likely get a parking ticket. These can be pricier than tickets for parking in residential areas so avoid the temptation.
5. Street cleaning - Street cleaning occurs once a month on all residential streets. The exact day of the month varies by street and a schedule can be found on the City of Cambridge web site. Emergency vehicles circle the streets with warning announcements on street cleaning day. If you do not remove your vehicle, it will be towed (not just ticketed!).
6. Snow emergencies - In the most severe winter weather, the city may pronounce a snow emergency. If one is declared, parking is restricted on certain streets or to certain sides of the street. Your car will be towed if you violate the emergency restrictions. Certain parking garages are free to Cambridge residents during snow emergencies, as listed on the City of Cambridge web site.
As you may guess from reading this descriptions of the parking challenges as well as the other transportation articles about Cambridge, visitors are strongly encouraged to take public transportation, taxis...or best of all, walk and enjoy the local scenery.
Reference for this article: City of Cambridge - Parking, Traffic and Transportation
For more tips and tricks about parking in Cambridge, visit BostonParking.org.