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Best of ASU: Parking lot edition

Live, laugh, lot


Best of ASU: Parking lot edition

Live, laugh, lot

You may be thinking, "Who would want to read a 'best of 'list about parking lots?" To that I say, shut the hell up! This is Arizona — our main attraction is parking lots! How else are we supposed to maintain our glorious reputation as an urban heat island? Don't underestimate the grand and glorious world of ASU and ASU-adjacent parking lots.

Think about it: You spend so much time in them, regardless of whether you even own a car. Sometimes, it feels like ASU campuses are 75% asphalt, especially when you're walking to class and feeling the 110-degree heat searing your skin. 

As a public service, I decided to definitively rank the best parking lots on or near the ASU campuses because cars are king of the concrete jungle, and you'll inevitably walk across 25 of them to reach a dorm party on the other side of the Tempe campus anyway.

Best parking lot to be violently ill in: Raising Cane's on Rural Road and University Drive in Tempe

Let's start on a high note. This Cane's is in a prime spot for ASU students who are craving chicken fingers and Texas toast during the late hours of Friday and Saturday nights — foods that are made for blackout-drunk students to devour in 35 seconds after not eating for seven hours straight. Unfortunately, greasy chicken mixed with all the vodka cranberry C.A.S.A. buckets in your stomach is a recipe for disaster. Pro tip: At least try vomiting behind the "Raising Cane's" sign in the parking lot before entering your Uber home. The Uber cleaning fee can get up to nearly $200, and I know you don't have that kind of money lying around after a night out on Mill and two Box Combos.

Best parking lot to reevaluate your life in: Roosevelt Point's parking garage in downtown Phoenix

If you attend the Downtown Phoenix campus, you for sure know someone who lives in this rathole lovely residential complex. Not only is it the go-to apartment for students on the Downtown campus due to its concrete-core aesthetic, prisonlike dormlike appearance and the constant sound of people screaming through the halls, but it also houses the go-to parking lot to have an existential crisis while sitting in a car talking about nothing — and everything — until 3 a.m. If you're feeling edgy, feel free to discuss deeply rooted childhood trauma on the top floor in the rain while smoking a drunk cigarette. Your secrets are safe here between you, God and the rats.

Best parking lot to stare at while slowly cooking in 120-degree weather: Gammage parking lot

Waiting for the ASU shuttle should be a punishment in the seventh circle of hell. No matter what the weather's like on any given day, the area around the Tempe campus's shuttle stop is always 98 degrees. To top it off, it's filled with hordes of sweaty students getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, and everyone else is just as pissed off as you are. The only way to grasp onto your last sliver of sanity is by staring out at the vast Gammage parking lot across the street. Spice up your wait by seeing if you can spot a giant Broadway poster with white people grinning widely at you. Even better, try judging everyone's shitty parking jobs. Sometimes, people actually get in their cars and drive! I'm so excited for them that I occasionally feel the need to get up from lying on the concrete in a fetal position to cheer.

Best parking lot to "hang out": Chase Tower Garage

This is the best place off the Downtown campus to engage in totally school-sanctioned activities! University President Michael Crow would be so proud. Please don't look into any cars parked off in a corner. They are NOT fogging up, and there are NO handprints on the windows. That would be preposterous! Also, there's no reason why this garage smells like cigarette smoke and the shittiest weed on the planet! Why would you even think that? You're crazy. This is absolutely not the prime spot for freshmen to congregate in the late hours of the night. No, of course I'm not lying. Do I look like someone who would gaslight you? What are you talking about? Chase Tower Garage doesn't even exist in the first place...

Best parking lot to wait for your "21-year-old" friend who is totally named "Wormman Wigglebottom": El P's

You know those C-list safari excursions led by some underqualified teenager armed with a BB gun where people hunker down in a near-broken Jeep and watch wild animals walk around sluggishly for hours? That is how I would describe the experience of camping out in the El Paisano parking lot for 20 minutes while your friends make small talk with the cashier to distract them from the Trader Joe's gift card they're calling an ID. You're trusting someone extremely unqualified to provide for you, and you're left with only the thin metal of a vehicle's doors to protect you from the wild creatures wandering around the ol' Tempe watering hole.

Maybe I should stop talking about illegal things in this list. Whatever!

Best parking lot to (insert joke here): 

Look, I tried. I wanted to make this whole list inclusive for all ASU students and have some funny little jokes about a stupid parking lot on every campus. But after spending two entire days racking my brain, I really can't think of anything for the West Valley or Polytechnic campuses. What the hell even goes on over there? Does anyone reading this know a single person who lives there? Have any of you ever even been to either of those places? Honestly, I'm starting to think they don't exist and Crow has been lying to us this whole time. Secretly, these campuses are giant voids with tumbleweeds rolling around. If you actually exist on one of these campuses, email me at, and I'll write a whole other list about their parking lots. For $100. Pay up.

Best parking lot to realize that life is worth living: Parking lot behind Songbird Coffee & Tea House in downtown Phoenix

Let me paint you a picture. A cute little coffee shop housed in a white cottage with spring-green accents. A chair swing attached to the porch. Gorgeous flowers. A bunch of queer baristas making your coffee. A black cat roaming the parking lot in the back who happens to be the shop mascot and often sneaks inside to sleep on the couch. This is the beautiful sight you'll behold from Songbird's parking lot. Surrounded by the concrete jungle of downtown Phoenix, this place seems like an oasis in the deep desert (actually, it kind of is if you think about it). No matter how much those B-session classes make you want to drive into Tempe Town Lake to never be seen again, seeing that little cat sitting on a car while lightly sniffing your hand can make it all worth it. Trust me.

With all that being said, I hope you can find your emotional support parking lot. Next time you're crawling on all fours from exhaustion after wandering through Phoenix's desolate sea of asphalt, just remember, it’s not like you have anything better to do. I mean, you just spent your time reading a whole list about PARKING LOTS for God's sake. You must have a lot of time on your hands. Anyway, every place on this Earth has a story, even the ones you'd never expect. Walk through this asphalt sea with pride. Just remember — live, laugh, lot.

Edited by Camila Pedrosa, Savannah Dagupion and Madeline Nguyen.

This story is part of The Best of ASU, which was released on April 30, 2024. See the entire publication here.

Reach the reporter at and follow @iamGibManrique on X.

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