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Avoid the meters and park free in most city and county garages in downtown Charleston through New Year's Day with a voucher good for two hours' parking. A vehicle on Saint Philip Street is ticketed on Wednesday, Sept 18, 2019, in Charleston. File/Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff

People visiting downtown Charleston can park free in most city and county garages for up to two hours through New Year's Day, as long as they have a free voucher.

It's the return of an annual holiday promotion aimed at encouraging people to shop, dine and celebrate downtown, where parking can be more challenging than in the suburbs.

Now that parking meters in Charleston are more expensive — the city doubled the cost in 2018 — the vouchers are even more valuable.

In eight participating parking garages owned by the city or Charleston County, a voucher that can be downloaded, printed or scanned is good for up to two hours of free parking. 

It's one voucher per vehicle, but there's no limit on how many times they can be used. 

Two hours' parking is worth $4, and the vouchers are good through Jan. 1. Print some out and put them in your vehicle, or download a voucher to a mobile device.

The vouchers are available at charlestonarts.org/holiday-parking.

Here’s a list of participating garages: Visitor Center Garage, 34 St. Philip, Concord-Cumberland, East Bay-Prioleau, SC Aquarium, Midtown, Majestic Square and Queen Street.

The free parking is associated with the Office of Cultural Affairs' Holiday Magic programming, which includes the Holiday Market in Marion Square on weekends through Dec. 22 and the Parade of Boats on Dec. 14.

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Reach David Slade at 843-937-5552. Follow him on Twitter @DSladeNews.

David Slade is a senior Post and Courier reporter. His work has been honored nationally by Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Scripps foundation and others. Reach him at 843-937-5552 or dslade@postandcourier.com