Whether you’ve lived in New York or visited as a tourist, you have an idea of just how crazy and overwhelming NYC can be! But luckily for us, we’re living in the year 2015 so there are plenty of apps to make our NYC experiences so much easier. These are the top 10 apps that I think are essential to make everyone’s day-to-day life in New York just a little less hectic:
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve used this app since moving to New York. Whenever I had someone visiting or I was out with friends, I would always use Yelp to find good restaurants for us to go to. You can search for spots close to your location and filter the search by type of food, price, distance, etc and read reviews that other people have left. You can even search for specific things like happy hour specials, ambience, outdoor seating, free wifi, and pretty much anything you could imagine. I have used Yelp for sit-down restaurants, take out, coffee shops, bars, brunch…everything, and everywhere I went following the advice of Yelp was delicious! While food and drinks are the main categories to search, you can even find nearby shopping, tourist attractions, pharmacies, and nightclubs. Of all the apps on my phone, I don’t think I can recommend any more than Yelp!
2. Embark NYC or HopStop
No matter how long you have lived in New York, let’s face it: public transportation in NYC is complicated. Whether you are a tourist or a local, you will definitely need an app to help you navigate. I use Embark NYC to navigate the subway, and I have some friends that have a similar transportation app called HopStop. Both are good and are pretty similar. The only difference is that Embark is specific to the subway while HopStop also includes information on buses. You enter your current location and where you want to go, and the apps will tell you the quickest and easiest way to get there.
You can’t live in NYC without seeing a Broadway show every once in a while! TodayTix offers discount tickets to almost every show on Broadway, even for same-day tickets. The prices are about the same as you would pay at the TKTS booth in Times Square, except you don’t need to wait in line! I have bought some discounted tickets through TodayTix, but the best part of the app: mobile lotteries. Some Broadway and Off-Broadway shows do a ticket lottery right through the app. The shows on offer are being changed all the time, and all you need to do to enter is type in your name and email address and submit. Later that day, you’ll be notified if you won or not. I got into the habit of entering the lottery every day, and ended up winning tickets to both On The Town and Fuerza Bruta through TodayTix, so if you enter a lot, you are bound to win eventually! It’s definitely one of my most-used NYC apps!
Even though the subway runs 24 hours a day, at a certain point of the night, it can get a little sketchy so it’s best to just take a taxi home. Of course you could get a taxi the old fashioned way by trying to flag one down on the street, but the much easier option is Uber. You enter in your current location and your destination and a driver is sent to pick you up. In a city as big as New York, there are thousands of Ubers at any given time, so you will rarely be waiting more than a few minutes for one to get there. I feel a lot safer in an Uber rather than a taxi, because you can see ratings and information about your driver. You can also pay right through the app which is so much easier than paying with cash.
If you are apartment hunting in New York, you need to download StreetEasy. You can see apartment listings throughout the city that fit your preferences of price, location, number of bedrooms, etc. Although I didn’t actually end up finding an apartment and entering a lease while living in New York (I started off in a temporary sublet, but then extended that stay month by month), I spent a lot of time looking through the app. There are some really great apartment listings on there, and if you see one you like, you can easily contact the real estate agent to set up a time to view the apartment.
6. TimeOut New York
As it’s turning into summer, you’ll be looking to get out and do things and TimeOut will definitely come in handy! My favourite part of the app is the listing of popular events for the current week. It’s a great way to find out about fun events that you might not have even heard of otherwise, and a bunch of them are free! Some examples of events listed this weekend are the Museum Mile Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, and the Jazz Age Lawn Party. In addition to listing up-coming events, you can find some cool new bars and restaurants and see the editors’ picks on everything from museums and theatre to nightlife and food. And even if you don’t live in New York, this app is offered in so many different cities around the world, so you might be able to use it to find out what’s happening in your city!
Oh Tinder, you never fail to entertain. If you haven’t heard of Tinder, it is a dating app where you set up a profile for yourself, and then you can swipe through the profiles of other people in your area. If you both say yes to each other, you can chat. Even if you aren’t looking to date anyone, Tinder can be a pretty fun app. Obviously New York isn’t lacking in interesting people, and Tinder is no exception! It can be fun to take screenshots of the most outrageous profiles to send to your friends. Some examples I found were a guy dressed as a unicorn, a guy in his underwear named Candy, and a guy wearing a rubber horse head. And even if you don’t want to date, you could end up making a couple friends. I even connected with a club promoter through Tinder who gets people into nightclubs for free! It’s definitely one of the more entertaining NYC apps!
After a long day of work or class and dealing with public transportation and the busyness of the city, sometimes the last thing you want to do is cook dinner for yourself. You use Seamless to order food and get it delivered to you from nearby restaurants. You can filter by price and choose from pretty much any food ethnicity you can imagine. It’s a great way to find out about different restaurants in your area rather than just getting delivery from the same few places. Just be careful, because I’ve heard from a few people that once you start using Seamless, it can become pretty addictive!
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This is such a cool app and another great way to discover new places in the city. First, you select a category, which include food and drinks, shopping, and grooming. Then you can customise by time of day, all of NYC or a specific neighbourhood, what you are looking for, and who you are with. Once all that information has been entered, the app will give you a bunch of places it thinks you may be interested in. You can even customise it to say you want to go somewhere hipster or with a nice view…the possibilities are really endless with UrbanDaddy! I especially liked to use this app to find cool brunch spots in specific neighbourhoods of the city.
10. The Scoop
This app by the New York Times tells you about all the hot spots to check out in the city. You can search for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, music, theatre, and different events that are happening all over New York. Most of the places and events that come up on the app are new and trendy, and they are all hand picked by New York Times critics and writers, so you know you are getting the best information on the newest hot spots!
Now over to you! What apps to you think are essential to have in New York (or in the city that you live in)? And if you’ve used any of these apps, let me know what your experience has been like!
Hi I’m Christie, a 26 year old girl originally from Boston who has spent time living in New York City, North Carolina, France, Australia, and New Zealand. I love moving to new places and exploring them as a local, and I can’t see my nomadic expat life stopping any time soon! I have no bigger passion than travel, and when I’m not exploring I spend my free time reminiscing on past trips and daydreaming about future travel.