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SLO will offer 12 days of free parking in its downtown structures through the holidays

Get ready, holiday shoppers — San Luis Obispo is planning to offer downtown visitors free parking on select days through the end of the year.

The city announced it will offer free parking on 12 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, in an effort to spur shoppers to go downtown.

“Community members can enjoy the festivities and shopping in our vibrant downtown San Luis Obispo and park for free on certain days this holiday season,” Jennifer Rice, deputy director of mobility services, said in a news release. “We invite the community to explore the heart of San Luis Obispo and support local businesses in person and park for free in the downtown public parking structures for one hour every day plus all day on the 12 Days of Free Parking.”

Those free days are:

  • Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23

  • Black Friday, Nov. 24

  • Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25

  • Nov. 26

  • Dec. 3

  • Dec. 10

  • Dec. 17

  • Christmas Eve, Dec. 24

  • Christmas Day, Dec. 25

  • Dec. 26

  • New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31

  • New Year’s Day, Jan. 1

The free parking is valid only at the city’s three structures, located at 842 Palm St., 919 Palm St. and 871 Marsh St.

The 12 free days coincide with the return of a universal free hour of parking in SLO’s downtown structures. According to the release, that will go into effect on Thanksgiving Day.

This also means the end of the Park Local Pilot Program, which asked residents to sign up for a special permit to park free for one hour in the 842 Palm St. structure.

Instead, all who park in one of the city’s downtown structures will automatically get a free hour of parking.

For those parking in the structure at 842 Palm St., which recently switched to gateless technology, users must start a parking session via one of the in-structure pay stations or the Honk, ParkMobile or PaybyPhone apps within 15 minutes of parking to get their free hour.

Meanwhile, the city said it will discontinue the use of the ParkSmarter app starting on Thanksgiving Day to help improve customer service.

The city will also offer free parking downtown during the annual holiday parade Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.