Best Places to Park On Campus


CSULB parking stock photo

Oh parking, sigh

One of the first things you will hear fellow classmates complain about is how difficult it is to find a parking space on campus. In fact, that was one of the first things I was warned about during my new student orientation. So, when my first day of classes arrived I was ready to spend a good 15 to 30 minutes looking for parking. But to my surprise I found a space pretty much immediately.

I am now about to go on my fourth semester here at CSULB and trust me, it’s really not that bad. I’ve had classes start at various times of the day, and I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than 10 minutes looking for a parking space.

I think the main problem is most people fixate on parking in a specific area and as close as possible to their class, so the don’t have to walk so much. But, here is the thing, no matter where you park you will still have to walk. And honesty the few extra minutes you could save in walking aren’t really worth the stress of circling around looking for a spot. Or even worse, stalking people walking out of the elevators, and asking them if they are leaving, or if they want a ride to their car. Besides, if you really don’t want to walk there is always the campus shuttle, which makes several stops all around campus.

Places to park for 8 a.m. classes

At this time of the day you have plenty of choices. Honestly, you can park pretty much anywhere. I personally like to park in the parking structure 1, the one right next to the pyramid. But that’s because I often spend the entire day on campus and I rather leave my car inside the structure than out in the open lots under the sun.

If you have classes on the northeast side of campus, parking structure 2 and 3 are pretty empty during that time as well.

Now if you want to park as close as possible to upper campus Lot 1, which is located right next to the Nursing Building on Beach Drive, will usually still have open spots at this time of the day.

Places to park for 9 a.m. classes

At this time you can still find plenty of open spots in many of the lots and in any of the parking structures. However, forget about Lot 1, at this time it will already be full.

Places to park between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

This is the time when it starts getting a bit more complicated, but don’t worry you can still find a spot. During these hours the open Lots are pretty full, specially Lot 16 and 18. So unless you want to test your luck and risk waiting a while for somebody to leave, I suggest going straight to the structures.

Parking Structure 1 has never let me down, I always find a spot here. The secret is to not waste your time looking for a space in the lower levels and go straight to the upper levels. Be aware that even though the first elevator only goes up to the fifth level, there is a sixth level. And even though is not my favorite level to park on because is the last one and there is no more roof, you can always find a spot there.

The other two structures can be a bit trickier because at this time of the day they are normally pretty full due to the gym goers. But, if go to the top levels you can find a spot. And many people are leaving the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, a.k.a. the gym, so there is always the chance of finding a spot in the lower levels too.

During these hours of the day I do recommend to plan ahead and give yourself those few extra minutes to walk to class, in case you have to park far. But don’t worry parking at the top levels really only adds two to three extra minutes to your walk.

Places to park between 2 - 5:30 p.m.

During these hours parking gets easier again. A lot of students leave during this time of day. The lots will begin to have several open spaces, Lot 1 will still likely be full, but the structures will have plenty of open spaces.

Places to park after 5:30 p.m.

Yes, not a lot of people like to have classes this late, but sometimes you have no choice. At this time is actually the best time to find parking on campus. Not only will there be a ton of open spaces in any of the general parking Lots and structures, but after 5:30pm you can also park in any of the employee/restricted parking lots. With the only exception of Lot 5, there you have to wait until after 7pm. These lots are much closer to upper campus and to the library. And if you have classes in any of the Liberal Arts Buildings or the Language Arts Building, Lot 7 has plenty of open spaces around this time and is also fairly close to those buildings.

So there you have it. If you are new to the Beach and find yourself struggling to find parking, be sure to follow these simple tips and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and frustration.