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Road trips are great, but where do you put the car once you get there? Hotel parking lots and city garages are all well and good, but some places have taken their parking structures to another level. If you happen to be passing through the following towns and cities, take time to stop and park your car in one of the most unusual parking structures in the United States.
Automated Garage and Community Plaza at West Hollywood City Hall,
West Hollywood, CA
If you want to feel like you’re living in the future, visit the Automated Garage and Community Plaza at West Hollywood City Hall, where a robot will park your car. Sorry, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for from Star Wars and other sci-fi flicks. In a fully automated parking garage, you drive your car onto a platform, take your ticket, and leave while the platform carries your car away to its own space. No driving around looking for a spot—and when you return, the car is swiftly brought back the same way.
Michigan Theater, Detroit, MI
One of the most unusual parking structures in the United States wasn’t originally a parking garages, but was instead an old Detroit theater. Built long ago in 1925, the theater eventually fell out of use and began to fall apart inside. The exterior was still sturdy, however, and engineers calculated that demolishing the building might damage and destabilize nearby structures. Instead, the theater was hollowed out and turned into a three-story, 160 space parking garage. Many of the theater’s original elements, like the ticket booth and curtain still remain, and can be seen as you search for a space.
The Community Bookshelf Parking Garage, Kansas City, MO
Feel well-read while parking your vehicle in the Community Bookshelf Parking Garage for that city’s central library branch. While a standard garage, the exterior is particularly striking, showing the spines of gigantic versions of literary classics, like Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and many others. Titles were selected by the locals who clearly spend plenty of time among the stacks at their beloved library.
Marina City, Chicago, IL
A complex consisting of five separate buildings, architect Bertrand Goldberg came up with a unique solution to a problem common to most downtown areas: namely, how to build tall buildings that provide parking for the tenants. Most architects try to hide parking behind blank walls, but Goldberg incorporated 1,152 parking spaces in the two distinctive “corn cob” towers’ lower levels. A valet does the parking, but the sight of all those vehicles peeking out of the bottom levels makes for a striking image.