Published On: December 10th, 2023Categories: Hawaii News

Yes, free parking in Waikiki remains available and can even come with picturesque views. Locating these prime spots, alongside affordable parking in Waikiki, has been a longstanding commitment of ours at Beat of Hawaii.

This week, once again, we scoured Waikiki parking to see what had changed. Saving up to $50 or more per night in Waikiki hotel parking garages is a substantial sum not to be overlooked.

Public parking directly at Waikiki Beach is limited, as detailed below. Garages can be very pricey; some require a stroll from the parking area to reach Kuhio Beach Park, Queen’s Beach, or other Waikiki beaches. However, numerous free parking options still abound in Waikiki.

Whether lodging in a Waikiki hotel or simply parking for the day, keep reading and find ways to save enough for an enjoyable activity or evening out!

Honolulu finally completed an upgrade to 4G parking meters.

A problem arose that perhaps cost the city $2 million when credit card payments stopped working to pay for parking in Waikiki and Honolulu. The city had failed to timely rectify the problem that arose when Verizon finally shut down its ancient 3G network. When that happened, all bets were off regarding if or how to pay. We drove around with many quarters and, in most cases, found we didn’t have to pay. But now, that’s all changed.

Over the summer of 2023, the city initiated the installation of advanced 4G-enabled parking meters with added functionalities, providing Waikiki visitors and residents with secure and swift parking payments. Some meters may still be in the final stages of upgrade, with the city promising they’ll all be complete before the end of this month. Let us know if you find any meters that haven’t been upgraded, as we did not.

Over 4,000 New Waikiki parking meters cost $3.5 million.

At the last update from the city, in September, 2,100 machines had been installed; they were quickly working through the remaining installations that enable all on and off-street parking meters to accept credit cards and other payment methods. You’ll find the new parking meters throughout Waikiki, as well as in Honolulu.

Parking payment via phone app, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

In January, digital parking meters with 2G and 3G technology went offline after a Verizon shutdown, resulting in about six months of free parking at those stalls. During this period, the city experienced a loss of approximately $1.7 million in revenue.

To pay for your spot, your phone will use the Park Smarter phone app. The meters have QR codes on-screen that lead to the app for payment. Meters accept credit/debit card payments and three additional innovative payment solutions.

Important changes to prices and hours of enforcement.

The parking rate for Waikiki, Honolulu downtown, and the civic center area is now $3 per hour.

The rate for all other parking zones is $1.50 per hour.

Enforcement hours for Waikiki are 6:00 am to 10:00 pm on any day.

For Honolulu downtown and civic center, the hours of enforcement are 7:00 am to 6:00 pm on any day except Sundays and public holidays.

Free parking at Ala Wai Boat Harbor is still available.

There remains abundant free parking at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor area near Hilton Hawaiian Village. Proposals for changes are still pending. Using smart meters, one would eliminate free recreational parking and convert all prior free parking to paid. Another proposal would restrict free parking to an area that fronts the Hilton Lagoon, a significant reduction.

In addition, the paid parking rate is likely to rise from $1 to $2 per hour, and free parking time limits could be reduced from 6 to 3 hours. For now, however, there is still significant free parking behind the Ilikai Hotel, at the Hilton Duke Kahanamoku lagoon, and nearby. At least for now, these free Waikiki parking lots have a 6-hour maximum. Check Google Maps for location. The lots can become quite crowded, and people queue for parking to become available.

The paid parking lot in the same area is open 24/7 and charges $1.00 per hour (no in/out privileges). For those staying nearby in Waikiki, there can be free parking during the day and $1.00 per hour available overnight. It can still be considerably less money than hotel parking.

Tip: We have always been able to find free parking in this area.

Cheap parking Waikiki/free parking Waikiki 2024 update.

There are still convenient alternatives to avoiding higher parking fees in Waikiki. Here are seven preferred parking locations in Waikiki and some essential tips.

1. Ala Moana Beach Park.

Hawaii Beach Safety TipsHawaii Beach Safety Tips

If you’re staying at hotels near Ala Moana Center, there’s free all day but no longer overnight parking alongside the park on Ala Moana Park Drive and the beach parking lot. Please read the signs carefully.

Tip: Parking at Ala Moana Beach Park can become unavailable due to crowds, especially on weekends. You can still head to the mall across the street for covered free parking during the mall’s hours only.


2. Ala Wai Canal.

Except for certain restricted parking times, Mondays-Fridays, if you are an early bird, you may find limited but free parking along the Ala Wai Canal. We’ve discovered parking and enjoyed this location countless times. So we can confirm it works. But we have a Plan B because we also become frustrated when no parking can be found.

3. Waikiki Shell.

On the Diamond Head side, at the Waikiki Shell, you’ll find free unlimited parking, almost always available on Montserrat Avenue. You can park overnight, too. Do watch for signs indicating occasional closures for special events. We’ve parked overnight here many times over the years without issue.

Tip: This works great for day and overnight parking at nearby Waikiki Hotels. See the location on Google Maps.

4. Diamond Head Road area.

There’s abundant metered parking all along Diamond Head Road at Kapiolani Park.

5. Kaioo Drive and Wai Nani Streets.

Free parking can still be found on streets at both ends of Waikiki.

6. Side streets off Kalakaua Avenue and Kuhio Avenues.

Here you can find metered parking.

More tips.

1. Check hotel and resort self-parking fees when booking. The Waikiki Banyan still provides reasonably priced paid parking for non-guests. The rate is $30 per 24 hours, including in/out privileges.

2. When pulling into a Waikiki parking lot, avoid surprises by checking rates, in-out privileges, and availability first. Some lots charge depending on the time of day you park.

Do you have any tips to share for Waikiki parking?

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