We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Parking Validation?

Jessica Ellis
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At SmartCapitalMind, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Parking validation is a co-operative effort between businesses and local parking laws that gives customers the ability to waive parking fees. Garages and parking lots will often offer validation to customers of nearby shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The goal of this system is to promote business by offering free parking, while the businesses return the favor by paying the city a small premium.

Validation is usually offered at city-owned or operated lots. The organization in charge of managing the lots will set prices for available parking and give local merchants the chance to offer their customers free parking as a reward for shopping with them. Some cities or towns charge merchants by the number of times the validation is used, while others impose a monthly fee for the service. Ideally, the merchant will see increased business for a nominal fee, and the city will still be getting paid for the use of its parking facilities.

In many garages and lots, signs are posted stating that participating merchants should be visited for parking validation. Most garages offer a limited amount of free parking with validation, usually between one and four hours. Not all merchants offer it or advertise that they will validate, so customers should be sure to check with the business they are visiting before leaving.

Some merchants require the purchase of goods or services before agreeing to validate a parking ticket. In movie theaters and other entertainment businesses like arcades or skating rinks, typically the price of admission will serve as expense enough for this benefit. At restaurants, it is usually available after finishing a meal.

In some larger malls or shopping centers, self-validation machines are also available. These machines will be in various locations throughout the mall, and often do not require purchase to be used. Since a shopper must be in the mall to be using the machine, he or she is most likely a customer and therefore receives the benefit of free parking in the shopping center’s lots. Systems like this encourage visitor loyalty, as customers may feel relieved or grateful that they don’t have to pay for parking simply because they couldn’t find anything to purchase.

Drivers should be sure to bring their parking tickets with them to receive parking validation. Most businesses use either an automated machine to give free parking or will stamp the parking ticket as proof. If the local businesses use automated systems, customers can often just insert the ticket into the machine in the garage or lot, and the validation will be verified. Stamped or signed tickets will usually need to be checked by a parking attendant at the exit.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for SmartCapitalMind. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By anon998306 — On May 12, 2017

Wait?! You mean some business will charge you just to leave?

By anon996103 — On Jul 10, 2016

The Harvard Dental School has "validated" parking for patients, but it's only a reduced rate. You still have to pay $12.

By anon968279 — On Sep 02, 2014

Extremely useful for people who didn't grow up with a car. Thanks!

By anon346235 — On Aug 26, 2013

They reference getting parking validated all the time in TV and movies, but I've only ever seen the process done once in downtown Trenton, New Jersey. I was shopping with a friend who got his ticket validated at a shop.

By anon334696 — On May 14, 2013

And here I felt dumb not knowing what it meant to get your parking "validated."

By anon128411 — On Nov 19, 2010

Now I finally get it! For years and years I wondered but today I finally looked it up and Eureka!

By anon95861 — On Jul 13, 2010

i was always wondering what that was. thanks for the info.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.