Expert’s Guide to Parking in the NEON

Unlike many of the neighborhoods in Hampton Roads, which have been built from scratch in the last handful of decades, the NEON District is an evolving adaptation of a historic neighborhood. Horses and carriages used to travel these same pathways, as did early iterations of the cars we drive today.

Being part of an adapted historic downtown area is exciting. What is lost in convenience is gained in a sense of wonder and exploration. A three block walk from the car to the destination in the NEON often takes one past no less than a dozen pieces of public art, and a handful of historic buildings.

The experience of a neighborhood doesn’t begin at the end point destination; it begins when we park the car. In a neighborhood as visually stimulating as the NEON, the walk from transportation is an essential part of the fun.

Yes, more patience is often expected in an adapted neighborhood like the NEON, but that patience is more than rewarded. That said, it’s always nice to find a good spot. Here is how those who know it best handle parking in the NEON:

1. Try for street parking.

Other than in the most high-traffic parts of the day, there is almost always a street spot available on Granby Street or Olney Road, with most of those spots being free for two hours. This is an excellent opportunity to perfect your parallel parking skills.

The southbound side of Monticello Avenue by CHKD Thrift and Virginia Beach Boulevard between Granby and Llewellyn are also signed to accommodate on-street two hour parking after 6pm, so that’s another great option as well.

2. Check The Plot

There are a number of spaces that are available free to the public at The Plot, which is conveniently located at Granby and Olney.

These spots are open for public use Monday to Friday after 5pm, and all day Saturday and Sunday. These spots are directly across the block from NEON local businesses like Commune, Push Comedy Theater, La Brioche and Zeke’s NFK.

3. Harrison Opera House Parking Lot

There is, it turns out, a sea of parking spaces no less than a half dozen blocks from most NEON District destinations, including Chrysler Museum of Art and Glass Studio. The Harrison Opera House Parking Lot has 400 spots, which is plenty to accommodate the entire neighborhood on all nights there isn’t programming at the Opera House. 

Parking is available during the day at the Opera House using 35 metered spaces (4 hour limit), and is generally free after 6pm, provided there’s not an event scheduled. And good news for NEON entrepreneurs and shoppers: weekday permit parking is available for NEON businesses.

4. York Street Garage

The York Street Garage is located exactly three-tenths of a mile from Cardinal Skate Shop, Soiree Bistro, and Tender Heart Tattoo.

The crosswalk at Brambleton and Granby was refurbished with pedestrian safety and convenience in mind. Can’t get much more comfortable and convenient than this!

Alternative transportation options are also a great alternative.

The Tide stops just across the street from the NEON, by Scope on Monticello Avenue.

Lime scooters and e-bikes are readily available and there are several parking corrals in the NEON.

Your feet! It is 1.1 miles from the Naro to Chrysler Museum of Art. It is 0.6 miles from The Main to Stark & Legum. This is a highly walkable downtown we’re lucky enough to walk through.