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Where is parking most expensive? New study shows cheapest, priciest US cities to park in

Cars are parked in the parking lot of the Wilmington Airport in North Carolina.
Cars are parked in the parking lot of the Wilmington Airport in North Carolina.

The holiday season is upon us, which means many Americans will be preparing to travel to and fro while shopping for gifts and visiting love ones.

And unless travelers are walking or taking a subway, there's a good chance they'll be hunting for parking spots − and maybe even paying for them − when they arrive at their destination. Pricy parking is a hidden cost of living that many vehicle owners might not strongly consider.

But a recent study released by FINN, a vehicle subscription company, accounted for which of the United States' biggest cities offer the most affordable surface lots and parking garages with the best amenities to boot.

To arrive at its conclusions, FINN turned to SpotHero, an online parking reservation service, to study parking costs in the most populated U.S. cities, as well as the type of amenities and services the cities' car parks offer − such as electric vehicle charging stations.

Here's what they found:

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Cars and pedestrians navigate the parking lot on Black Friday at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ.
Cars and pedestrians navigate the parking lot on Black Friday at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ.

What US cities have the most expensive parking?

It may come as no surprise that the most expensive city for parking by a decent margin is New York City, where drivers can pay as much as $443.51 per month for parking, the study found.

San Francisco, where drivers can pay up to $300 a month to park, came in second, followed by Seattle and Philadelphia, where monthly parking averages $250.

Here's a list of the other cities that ranked in the top 10 of FINN's list for priciest monthly parking costs:

  • Washington ($225).

  • San Diego ($200).

  • Cleveland ($179).

  • Boston ($150).

  • Miami ($150).

  • Chicago ($143).

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Where is parking cheapest in the US?

Not all big cities command such high prices for the luxury of parking your vehicle in them.

Of the big U.S. cities studied, FINN found that Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the most affordable for drivers hunting for a parking spot. Monthly costs there average just $21.70 a month.

Parkers in both Dallas and Memphis, Tennessee, pay about $40 per month on average, while it costs about $50 a month to park in Nashville, Tennessee; Houston; St. Louis and Riverside, California.

Here are the other cities where parking was found to be affordable:

  • Phoenix ($51).

  • Milwaukee ($65).

  • Pittsburgh ($65).

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A vehicle searches for an available spot Monday in downtown Ventura, California. parking structure.
A vehicle searches for an available spot Monday in downtown Ventura, California. parking structure.

What cities have the best and worst parking availability?

For some drivers, more important than parking costs is parking availability.

Fortunately for them, FINN studied that as well.

To start, the company counted the number of "excellent" rated car parks − both surface lots and parking garages − in each city with at least 50 reviews. After calculating the number of car parks with 4.5 stars or higher per mile, FINN then assigned each city a score out of 10 based on how plentiful parking spaces are.

Here's a list of the cities with the best parking availability, along with FINN's assigned scores:

  • Baltimore (8.34).

  • Chicago (8.26).

  • Washington (7.88).

  • Seattle (7.61).

  • Oakland, California (7.22).

  • Denver (6.87).

  • San Francisco (6.49).

  • Los Angeles (6.22).

  • Milwaukee (6.22).

  • Dallas (5.56).

And here's a list of cities with the worst parking availability and their scores:

  • San Diego (.66).

  • Fort Worth, Texas (1.27).

  • Long Beach, California (1.27).

  • Indianapolis (1.58).

  • Cleveland (1.81).

  • Riverside, California (1.85).

  • Cincinnati (2.08).

  • San Antonio (2.12).

  • Detroit (2.20).

  • St. Louis (2.24).

A woman charges her Tesla in June 2022 at an electric vehicle charging station in Austin, Texas.
A woman charges her Tesla in June 2022 at an electric vehicle charging station in Austin, Texas.

What else did the study find?

FINN also analyzed the prevalence of other parking amenities in major U.S. cities, including electric vehicle charging stations and wheelchair accessible lots.

Chicago was found to have seven lots with available electric vehicle charging station, the most in the United States, FINN found. Washington and Baltimore each had three.

Los Angeles was found to be the most accommodating to those who use wheelchairs, with 14 handicap-accessible lots. Oakland came in a close second with 13, while Chicago and Baltimore each have 10, the study found.

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at elagatta@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Where is parking most, least expensive? How US cities rank on price