Many are dull functional spaces with little to recommend them in the way of design.
But when judges started examining car parks from all over the world they found many were far from bleak concrete spaces.
And a car park in Yorkshire –known as the “cheesegrater” – has seen off thousands of rivals to be named one of the finest on the planet.
The car park in Charles Street, Sheffield, came in third place in the international poll, behind 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami, Florida and Park de Celestins, in Lyon, France.
Designed by Allies and Morrison Architects the “cheesegrater” is often referred to as such because of its jagged, cubed exterior.
Lincoln Road, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, was considered a “brave work of architecture that shows off its function rather than attempting to hide it”.
With no exterior walls “the cars parked inside become an ever-changing feature of the building”.
Locals love it so much there have even been weddings and yoga classes there.
Dave Greenbrown, founder of Stress Free Airport Parking and one of the judges, said: “Selecting a winner for the inaugural World’s Coolest Car Park Awards has not been an easy decision. Having started with thousands of car parks from all over the globe, we have seen so many awe-inspiring parking buildings that are worthy of praise.
“In an industry perceived as purely functional and dull, we created these awards to highlight some of the fantastic design and creativity that exists in car parks around the world. 1111 Lincoln Road, is just such a wonderful building with the addition of a great community programme, that it had to be our winner.
“It’s also fantastic to see the UK well represented and make it in to the top three. At first glance Charles Street Car Park in Sheffield appears to be a chic contemporary apartment block, when in fact it is a sleek and stylish parking building.”