How to Park in Little Saigon, San Francisco

Last Updated: August 10, 2016


In This Guide

In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know for parking in Little Saigon. These pointers include:


About Little Saigon

One of the great things regarding San Francisco is the exceptional mixture of cultures from around the world. Little Saigon, a small extension of the Tenderloin neighborhood, is an excellent example of it. Made up originally of immigrants from Vietnam, it is a thriving community, full of life, street vendors and yes, naturally delicious Vietnamese food. Little Saigon is a beautiful little community to take in.


Things to Know

Little Saigon is just a small enclave carved into the larger Tenderloin neighborhood. This area only became known as Little Saigon in 2004. There are 13,000 Vietnamese-Americans in San Francisco, and nearly 2,000 of these residents live on this smaller strip of town, making up nearly 80 percent of the entire population in the community.

Now, where the community lacks in general attractions it boasts in food and drink. This is a fantastic location to visit if you want authentic Vietnamese food. The food is inexpensive compared to what you’ll spend in most other places, and there is Vietnamese coffee served throughout, which is really a great beverage to give you that jump start to the day (or after lunch). If you haven’t had it before, which is an extra-strong beverage that also uses condensed milk and a few other ingredients to give it a rather delicious flavor, make sure to try one out (at least once).

Find more on general parking information for all of San Francisco, like the details of the curb/meter colors, how to retrieve a towed car, and of course, how to park on a hill.


Best Places to Park

Best Parking Spots: The problem with Little Saigon being so small is exactly that. It is so small there is only one off-street parking option within the neighborhood itself: the 655 Ellis St. Lot. If you are comfortable with parking a block outside of Little Saigon, you can take advantage two California Parking Inc. locations at 530 Turk St and 200 Hyde St.


Lots and Garages

View the map below or directly on Google for a list of off-street parking lots and garages in Little Saigon. Expand the map to find more options outside of the neighborhood.

655 Ellis St/Cova Hotel Lot
655 Ellis St
  • Known For: being the parking lot for Cova Hotel, but the lot is also available to the public.


Top Little Saigon Parking Tips

  • Street parking for motorcycles can be found on Willow St, east of Polk St.
  • In some locations on Larkin Street, there is no parking from 6am until 8am Thursday through Sunday, so if you find an open parking space, make sure to check for signs. 


Street Parking

Street Parking Overview

Street parking is available throughout the neighborhood. However, it is important to pay attention to curb colors here. Depending on the business, the curb might be painted red or yellow. If the curb is painted red or yellow, you cannot park there.

There are no major tourist attractions, so the parking does not fill up for events, which means you are likely going to find a spot most of the time. Just remember Larkin Street is north bound, and most of the better parking options is on the right-hand side (more red-curb on the left), so while it might take a few passes, you will likely find a street location.

Best Bets for Street Parking


Willow Street
Willow and Larkin

  • Try Willow Street for a good spot if Larkin is full. It’s essentially an ally with street parking on the left that many people don’t bother with.


Little Saigon Parking Meter Locations and Rate Areas


Street parking in Little Saigon is completely metered (the blank spots in the meter map are bus stops).

  • Red: “Area 3” – meters enforced between 8/9AM-6PM Mon-Sat, $.25 – $2 per hour; limit 1 hour to unlimited
  • Blue: “Area 5” – meters enforced between 7/9AM-6PM Mon-Sat, $.25-$6 per hour; limit 2 hours to unlimited

See meter locations and rate areas for all of San Francisco on the city’s website.


Paying for Metered Parking in Little Saigon

Like all parking meters in San Francisco, parking meters in Little Saigon accept coins, credit cards, PaybyPhone, and pre-paid SFMTA Parking Cards. Read more about the street meter payment options.


Smart Pricing Street Parking in Little Saigon

Prices at the meter can fluctuate with demand in Little Saigon via San Francisco’s Smart Pricing Program. This is in the Blue “Area 5” metered zone on Eddy Street. Be prepared for inconsistent meter rates between $.25 and $6 per hour, and limits between two hours and unlimited.


Learn more about how the program works, or use the live map to find availability, pricing, as well as street sweeping and other restrictions.


Little Saigon Residential Parking Zone

There are no residential parking zone restrictions in Little Saigon.


Free Street Parking in Little Saigon

You can park for free anywhere in Little Saigon after meter enforcement hours (typically 9AM – 6PM Monday through Saturday. Parking is free on Sundays. Parking is limited to 72 hours. Of course, look out for street cleaning signs as well.



  • The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) – The official transportation authority for all of San Francisco, making it the end all be all for all things transportation and parking. Whether you have more questions about specific parking laws or you just want to know when a certain line is running, you’ll have all your questions answered here.
  • Parknav – Helps parkers find the best street parking with real-time predictive data.
  • ParkMe – Helps parkers find off- and on-street parking using full-time researchers and a predictive algorithm.
  • – City website with live parking availability and pricing.
  • SpotHero – Find and reserve parking in advance in Little Saigon with this free on-demand parking app.
  • Parkopedia – Browse street and off-street parking rates with an interactive map.



Hi San Francisco City Center Hostel: If you are interested in staying in the heart of Little Saigon, this is an excellent option. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet people from all around the world, and you’ll be surprised as to the quality of the hostel itself. HI is a “chain” of hostels that operates throughout the United States. While hostels are not as big in the U.S. as in Europe or other regions of the world, this provides a more economic option for visitors who want to experience Little Saigon first hand.

Great American Music Hall: Located right around the corner of Little Saigon, this is a great little music venue for catching a show. It isn’t as large as some of the other options out there in San Francisco, but for a more intimate experience, this is the way to go. It is at least worth checking out who will be in town and what kind of acts are coming up. Typically is is more of an indie flavor of the month, but you never know what might pop up.

A bit outside of Little Saigon you can find the Asian Art Museum. This is a beautiful destination to learn about Asian art styles, how cultures came to create very unique and beautiful styles of art. It is one of the largest Asian art collections in the world, so while it is a short walk from Little Saigon, it is well worth it.