Just in time for holiday shopping: Park downtown for free Dec. 15-25 and win $1,000

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 06:49 pm Updated: Oct 18, 2023 12:17 am

From Dec. 15-25, there will be no charge to park in a metered parking space on downtown Pensacola streets, the Downtown Improvement Board announced this week. Parking Amnesty Week, first celebrated in 2015, emerged from a desire to highlight the diversity of downtown shops, galleries, restaurants and attractions and to encourage “shopping locally” during the holidays.

For the week leading up to and including Christmas day, downtown visitors can shop, dine, play and enjoy Palafox Market, Winterfest activities and the holiday lights illuminating “Florida’s Greatest Place,” without having to worry about parking fees. The free parking applies to any on-street metered spaces under the DIB’s management.

With no tickets to write, DIB Parking Ambassadors will transform into ‘holiday elves’ during Parking Amnesty Week, available to help shoppers carry large purchases to their cars or offer other assistance. To reach them, call the “Elf Line” at (850) 434-5371.

"There are more than 150 locally-owned merchants downtown welcoming customers with unique gifts, special promotions and amazing holiday sales," said DIB executive director Lissa Dees. "Parking Amnesty Week gives the DIB the opportunity to support our small businesses downtown while giving a little something back to the community in the process." 

Parking Amnesty Week will also be the final chance for downtown shoppers to submit their downtown receipts online for a chance to win $1,000 in Downtown Pensacola gift certificates for the “All I Want” Giveaway. To enter, participants submit copies of their receipts from downtown merchants dated between Nov. 11 and Dec. 23. Contest entry form and complete rules are online at For every $10 spent in downtown shops, restaurants, bars and galleries, the participant will receive one contest entry. At the end of the contest period, one winner will be randomly picked and awarded $1,000 in “downtown cash” to spend downtown. 

The promotion is part of the Downtown Improvement Board’s First City Lights Festival that offers two months of music, parades, cultural events, shopping, food and nightlife in Pensacola’s downtown district. The festival kicks off on Black Friday with the lighting of half a million downtown lights immediately following the Winterfest Elf Parade. The event is supported by Gulf Power, Shops of Southtowne, JAH Power Services, Inc., Service Electric Co., Roberson Underground Utility, LLC, L30 Consulting, LLC and Visit Pensacola.