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Travel Guides 21 Sept 2020

SFO Short Term Parking

If you are meeting loved ones or taking a short trip from San Francisco Airport, then your primary SFO short-term parking options are the Cell Phone Waiting Lot, Kiss & Fly, Domestic Garage, and International Garages. The option you choose depends on your length of stay, budget, and terminal. We have assembled this guide to help you quickly choose an SFO Airport parking option based on your preferences.

For quick pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport, utilize the Cell Phone Waiting Lot and Kiss & Fly facilities. There is no cost to park, but vehicles cannot be left unattended. For longer goodbyes, or to stop for coffee, then it's better to pay a few dollars for short term parking in one of the garages. Given that the rates are similar, the parking facility you select will largely be dependent on whether you need to access the Domestic or International Terminal. Check out the SFO short term parking rates in the table below and scroll down to find more information for each parking option:

Parking Facility Hourly Rate Daily Rate Covered? Type
Cell Phone Waiting Lot Free - - Picking-up
Kiss & Fly Free - - Dropping-off
International Garage A & G $8.00 $36.00 Park and Walk
Domestic Garage $8.00 $36.00 Park and Walk


San Francisco Airport Short-Term Parking Map

SFO Airport Short Term Parking Map

Cell Phone Waiting Lot

Cell Phone Waiting Lot, located in North McDonnell Rd. and San Bruno Ave., is 2.3 miles from the International Terminals and 2.6 from Domestic Terminals. Even though it is a free-of-charge facility, you can only park here a maximum of 60 minutes. You may not leave your vehicle unattended or else your car will be towed.

This is an ideal place to park to wait for people arriving at the San Francisco Airport. Since you can't park at the curbside of the terminals, you can pull into this parking lot to wait for your loved ones while they make their way through the airport and get their luggage. Once they are ready for pick-up, they can call you, and then you can conveniently drive to the front of the terminals to provide curbside pick-up.

The SFO Cell Phone Waiting Lot is closed from 1:00 am to 5:00 am, so if you are picking up someone at this time, then you will need to park in one of the paid parking facilities. All parking spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you arrive, the more chances you have to find an empty parking space. On a final note, which may be useful for some of our readers, commercial vehicles are not permitted.


Kiss & Fly

Dropping off friends and family at the San Francisco Airport can be quite chaotic, due to the traffic congestion around terminals. For a more leisurely goodbye, drop-off departing passengers at the SFO Kiss & Fly area, located off North McDonell Road at the Renala Car Center. Passengers can conveniently take the AirTrain to the SFO terminals within minutes. The AirTrain operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for your convenience. 

As an added bonus, domestic flight passengers can check-in bags and print their boarding passes at the Rental Car Center so they can avoid the long lines at the airline counters.


Domestic Parking Garage

If you would rather greet your loved one in the airport or spend more time with them before they jet off, then the Domestic Parking Garage is a great solution. It is within walking distance to the Domestic Terminal and has affordable SFO hourly parking rates, at just $2.00 per 15 minutes, which adds up to $8 per hour.

As its name suggests, the Domestic Parking Garage is intended for customers on domestic flights. Park in the appropriate color-coded area for maximum convenience, which is designated by airline and gate. If you’re interested in electric vehicle charging, you’ll be glad to know that there are 60 charging stalls on Level 1. In each section of the garage, they are adjacent to the elevator lobbies 6. No extra fee is required for electric charging.

If you are looking for short term parking for more than 24 hours, then you should know that the daily rate is considerably more expensive, costing $36 per day. The increased price is partly justified by the fact that this parking facility is connected to the domestic terminals with internal tunnels. Thus, you don’t have to spend extra time waiting for a shuttle to take you to your terminal. 


International Parking Garages A and G

For travelers coming or going from the International Terminal, then International Parking Garages A and G are ideal for San Francisco Airport short term parking. Parking at the International Garages is charged in 15-minute increments, until the daily maximum is reached. It costs $2 per 15 minutes, up to $36 per day. If you are traveling abroad for a longer period of time, then it might be worth considering the various SFO long term parking options to save money.

Both parking structures are easily accessible from the International Terminal using pedestrian walkways. If for some reason you need to access the Domestic Terminal, then the AirTrain connects the International Garage to Domestic Terminal 1, 2, and 3. For travelers with electric vehicles, you should know there are EV charging stations on Levels 1, 2, 3, and 7.


Parking Tips for SFO Airport Short Term Parking

When parking for a short period of time, it's important to consider the price and convenience of each parking option. If you’re picking up someone, it’s best to park as close to the airport as possible. If this is not possible, because of limited parking availability, you’ll have to check for the second most affordable choice. If you depart from SFO and you want to park close to the airport, then we suggest you first take the price into account. You’d want to find parking in a location not far from the airport, but for a reasonable price. 

  • Check out the airport’s map: Familiarize yourself with the location of terminals, gates, and the closest lots. For instance, in case you don’t find an empty space in the free Cell Phone Waiting Lot, then it’s best to choose the lot that is closest to your terminal. See below.
  • Security of your car is always important. You wouldn’t want to come back to a damaged car. On-site parking facilities are secure, but they don’t always take responsibility if something happens to your car. That’s why it’s best to also check off-site parking providers. ParkFellows help you in finding the most reliable off-site providers near US airports.
  • Price: No one wants to spend a fortune in airport parking, especially when parking for a few days. It’s best to find a garage that offers reasonable prices and doesn’t hide any additional fees. Check out our blog article on the SFO parking prices for more information.


Prices are subject to change. This article was updated in September 2020. Please note that it is not possible to book at any of the official SFO Airport parking lots through ParkFellows at this moment.

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