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Does Trader Joe’s Allow Overnight Parking? (Explained)

Does Trader Joe's Allow Overnight Parking

Trader Joe’s is a popular American grocery store chain known for their low prices and seasonal events. They offer a wide variety of products ranging from self-care to common groceries. Trader Joe’s has their own brand that makes them stand out from other stores.

One common issue at most chains is parking. Parking lots are often crowded thanks to the high demand for groceries, particularly over the weekend.

Not many stores offer overnight parking due to state laws, although these laws vary depending on your location.

Overnight Parking Policies

In general, grocery stores do not want customers hanging out overnight. They want all customers out within two and a half hours. Some chains will go as low as one to one and a half hours, but two to two and a half is more reasonable due to busyness and size of order.

If you violate that rule, you are risking getting towed. However, since grocery stores are so crowded, this is rare if you go during busy hours.

If you go at night when there are less people, your car is more noticeable therefore you’re more likely to get towed if you loiter.

The reason why stores do not allow overnight parking is due to safety concerns. Along with that, most parking lots are considered private property, which means you are not allowed on the premises for longer than the owner allows.

The main concern is who is parking and why. If a stranger is staying overnight, it looks suspicious to the store. They have no idea who or what is inside the vehicle, which gives them every right to be cautious of it. For that reason, most stores do not allow overnight parking.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any ways to park overnight, however. If you are shopping at a store you are familiar with, you can speak to the store manager to inquire about parking overnight.

If the store manager is comfortable, they may let you park overnight after asking you questions about your vehicle and why you need to stay. Although this is rare, it is possible if you provide valid reasons and let the manager know in advance.

Trader Joe’s Parking Guidelines

Just like most grocery stores, Trader Joe’s does not allow overnight parking due to state laws. The one interesting thing about Trader Joe’s is that their parking lots are small. There were conspiracy theories trying to come up with a reason for why the lots are so tiny.

However, it was explained by a representative from the company that since the stores are small, they have small parking lots. If they had bigger stores, they would adjust their parking lots accordingly, but they have no plans to increase the size.

Thanks to the small size and location, it doesn’t make much sense to allow overnight parking. Like most chains, Trader Joe’s is private property that has the right to kick anyone out, including parked vehicles in the lot.

Although they do not allow overnight parking, there are accounts from customers who have left their cars there outside operating hours and were not towed. You can find these stories on Reddit through the Trader Joe’s subreddit.

It is not worth the risk to leave your car overnight unless it is an emergency. If you are going to leave your car there for an extended period of time, it is recommended that you have someone you trust check in on your car to ensure it hasn’t been towed or fined.

Alternative Overnight Parking Options

Overnight parking is difficult to find due to how many places are private property or state law requires no overnight parking for certain spaces. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, especially considering how many places are now open 24/7.

For starters, there are plenty of gyms around the United States. Gyms have increased in popularity in recent years, and the best part about gyms is that they’re open 24 hours. Not every place open 24 hours allows overnight parking, but most gyms do.

Along with that, Walmart is well known for allowing free overnight parking. You will not get towed, and you can even leave something as large as an RV there.

They have no strict parking policies and since Walmarts tend to have giant parking lots, that is the best alternative.

You can also consider parking at a casino, farm, arena, or movie theater. All of those places, for the most part, provide free overnight parking.

Farms are harder to come by depending on where you live, but casinos and movie theaters are very common.

If you are looking for a place to park near Trader Joe’s, Google “movie theaters near me” or “Walmarts near me” to find the closest ones. If that doesn’t work, try Googling all the other alternatives mentioned on this list.

For more information, search through community forums on Quora and Reddit to find customer testimonials. On those sites, you can ask questions about parking and if anyone has any experience parking overnight.

Lastly, if you need a place to park overnight, consider parking at a gym, a movie theater, an arena, a farm, or a casino.

Final Thoughts

Trader Joe’s is a beloved grocery chain due to its cheap prices and unique products. They offer seasonal cuisines and a wide variety of goods that are hard to get anywhere else. They have their own brand which makes them stand out when compared to other competing chains.

Based on the testimonials from customers and state laws, Trader Joe’s does not allow overnight parking, but there is a chance you can get away with it if you stay at the store outside of operating hours. However, it is not worth the risk of getting fined or towed.

Unless it is an emergency, you should avoid parking overnight at Trader Joe’s. Even if you have to, you should get someone you trust to check in on your car every once in a while depending on how long you are leaving it there.


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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