What's the one thing that can put a damper on downtown holiday shopping? Paid parking!
Let's face it: no one likes pulling into those downtown parking spots, fishing for change in your pockets and car seats, and then attempting to keep track of time while you're shopping so that you don't arrive back at your car to find the dreaded parking ticket.
But yesterday on my visit to the Urbana library I was reminded of the City of Urbana's yearly holiday gift to its residents and visitors: free downtown parking. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the little bags covering the parking meters that read "Happy Holidays" and "Free Parking" and my day got just a little merrier :-)
It's the one time of the year when parking just about anywhere in the downtown area and a few places in the campus district won't cost you a thing, so take advantage of it! Simply look for meters that have been covered with the City of Urbana holiday bags.
In some locations, there's a two-hour parking limit per day, and in most cases that should be plenty of time to visit your favorite shops or restaurant. But if long-term parking is what you need, park in the parking garage which is also reportedly free for the holidays!
Champaign city is doing something similar this year by offering free parking for up to four hours in the Hill Street parking garage to anyone who spends at least $5 at a downtown business or restaurant. Just hold onto your receipt to give to the parking deck attendant on your way out and your parking fee will be waived. This little gift from the city is valid Monday through Friday throughout the month of December (parking is always free at the parking garage on Saturdays and Sundays)!
To the cities of Champaign and Urbana, many, many thanks! And to the rest of you, happy shopping!!!