COLUMBIA, S.C. — While we’re all looking forward to March Madness, we all want to avoid the madness around downtown parking, too.

We’ve done some digging to find out all the options for you. 

Some of you may want to park right by Colonial Life Arena, and the best way to do that may be with parking garages. 

Vista Parking Garages
City of Columbia Parking Services

For those of you wanting to go to open practice on Thursday, you can get free parking right by the arena. The only garage where you can park for free that day will be at the Park Street Garage right across the street from the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

At the Lincoln and Park Street garages, you will be charged $30 for event parking on Friday and Sunday. All the other garages will have the normal rates they typically do. Click here for more info.

Now, what if you’d rather not spend money to park?

There are three different spots around Columbia where you can park for free.

Two of those parking locations are near Williams Brice-Stadium, one being at Gamecock Park on Bluff Road and the other in the grass lot located at 1308 Rosewood Drive, right across the street from the State Fairgrounds. The other is at 405 Gervais Street in the grass lot beside the South Carolina State Museum.

You may be thinking, " how will I get to the arena if I parked over two miles away?"

There will be shuttles provided between the lots and the basketball court. 

According to Experience Columbia, SC, the shuttles will run from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on March 21, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. March 22, and two hours before the first game begins and two hours after the final game ends on March 24. See the shuttle routes here

Some of you may want to try your hand on parking on the street. The one thing we can tell you is Green Street between Lincoln and Gadsden will be closed. Also, Lincoln Street will be closed between College and Greene Street.These two streets are right in front of Colonial Life Arena.

Check out Experience Columbia for the latest information on parking and transportation.