14 Apps to Download Before Your Next Trip to New York City

New York City is a city that captures the imagination as an urban destination. Many movies, songs and legends have made it the #1 choice for many travelers around the globe, and the number 10 for countless other travelers.

If you are one of those travelers planning your first trip to New York, the best piece of advice is to try not to see it all in one trip. New York is filled with as many attractions as you can imagine. It’s impossible to see all of them. Prioritize the top things you are most excited about and only focus on them.

This is a tie-in to the second piece. Be prepared. It’s possible that you have too much to carry, even when your list is reduced to the essentials. The better you can navigate the city with the help of others, the better.

You don’t have travel insurance yet for your trip from New York. An excellent policy will cover you in all situations including medical emergencies, cancellations, lost luggage and theft. We have used World Nomads for almost a decade.

Your smartphone or tablet can help you in these areas. It can be used to help with everything: finding your way, looking for a place to eat tonight and getting tickets to Broadway shows. Here’s how.

Tables of Contents

Transport

ParkMe

ParkingMe will save your sanity, if your bravery allows you to drive into a city. Driving isn’t the problem. But, when you’re stuck in traffic during rush hour you might question the truth. Finding somewhere to park your car is the most important problem.

This app will direct you in the right direction. The app uses data collected from ticket machines in parking lots all around the city to display available spots and rates based on proximity and cost.

It allows you to reserve a spot and pay directly from the app. Are you a maverick? The app will also predict when street parking may be more likely at any given point.

iOS & Android, free

Exit Strategy

The NYC subway has a unique concept of “pre walking” which is entering the train exactly at the exit in your destination. Locals will have their regular stations memorized and all of us will have exit strategy.

This app can show you where exits are located at every station. It also shows you which side of the tracks they are. Because service below ground is limited, it even works offline.

iOS, Android, $3.99

CitiBike

Want to see the city on two wheels, but don’t have the time? Locals and tourists alike are getting more out of it, and the city caters to them. There are many places where you can rent a bike. Get a DayPass from CitiBike. Then, download the super-useful App.

It shows you where CitiBike stations are closest to your destination right now. It also indicates the best station to reach your destination.

iOS & Android, Free

CabSenseNYC

New York’s symbol, the iconic yellow cabs, is always mentioned. Taxis are less popular than they used to be due to Uber and other ride sharing services. However, it’s likely that you’ll still ride one of these taxis.

CabSenseNYC helps you find the best place to stand in order for you to hail one. The app analyzes data provided by the taxi commission and points you to the nearest one.

It will make it even easier to grab attention from cabbies by allowing you to whistle and flash a message while you shake your phone. Yes, really.

iOS, only. iOS is free.

Food & Drink

NoWait

Did you find the right place to eat at? Great. Before you go out, would you not want to know how long you will wait before you are able to enjoy the meal? We don’t mean how much time it takes to get to the table.

New Yorkers love to dine out. But you will quickly realize this when you are told that you have to wait an hour for your reservation. Stop Wait is the way to avoid this (the surprise and not the announcement).

The app lets you know how long you will wait at the restaurant you choose, allows you to add your name to the waiting list, and sends a text when you are ready to eat. As if you were a VIP, enter like one.

iOS & Android, free

QuickTip

Figuring out how much you should tip is one of the most difficult things about visiting New York City, especially if you’re not from the US. Some sources suggest 15%, others 20%, and others double the tax. Even if you decide which of these pieces of advice is best, you will still need to do the math.

Enter QuickTip. This app calculates the exact amount you should tip, based on what percentage you choose. Enter the total amount of the bill and the app will calculate it for you. It is simple.

iOS, only. iOS is free.

More Info

ILoveNY

The name of the app is reminiscent of the famous New York Tshirt. It promises lots of information for NYC lovers, permanent and not.

This is actually the official New York travel board app. There’s no better place to get information on the city’s happenings, services and must-knows. The app also contains information about New York City’s surrounding areas, in case you wish to travel beyond the five boroughs.

iOS & Android, free

Sit or Squat

You have to go where you’re called to. You can’t ignore the fact that you may be located in the middle or farthest reaches of major cities around the globe. When nature calls, you will answer.

Sit or Stand shows you the nearest public restroom within the area. You’ll also see a rating by other users of the “sit/squat” option (you can guess which one they mean)

Tickets, Events and What’s Up

TKTS

Remember the following four letters TKT to help you choose Broadway shows from your NYC list. It operates three booths throughout the city, with its flagship in Times Square. This location sells discounted tickets to Broadway shows.

You can download the app to get an overview of what’s happening in your area. The app offers up-to-date information on all the booths and wait times.

While you can’t purchase online and bypass the lines completely, at least you’ll have a better idea of how to plan your day.

iOS & Android, free

Today Tix

Today Tips sends alerts for tickets on sale for same-day Broadway shows.

Tickets can be bought through the app (no lines, yay!) but not in advance. You won’t know the exact show schedule until you go to the event. It is quite surprising but it is part of what makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

iOS & Android, free

ShopDrop

It’s time to admit that you had a goal in New York City: to shop everywhere. If this is you, then it’s time to check out sample sales in the area. You all know the drill: Designers, stores, and brands offer their excess products at ridiculously low prices to shoppers who are able to take it.

Shopping Drop will make you one lucky shopper. The app can help you locate the most sought-after sample sales.

iOS, only. iOS is free.

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Museums & Tours

Museum Apps

The majority of museums in the area have apps that provide audio guides and information on the exhibits. Some of these are:

  • MoMA – The official app for the museum allows you to plan your trip through the permanent collection and the current exhibitions. The museum has a map showing the locations of all artworks and multimedia tours.
    iOS, only. iOS is free.
  • Met The app features listings and recommendations to help with prioritizing what to see. You can’t possibly take in all of it in one visit.
    iOS, only. iOS is free.
  • AMNH: explorer, an official app of American Museum of Natural History acts as a personal digital tour guide. The app provides step-by–step directions and customized tours to specific exhibits.
    iOS, only. iOS is free.

Images via MM (feature image), Filippo Diotaveli (NYC cabs), Jim Yi (bagels), Diego Torres Silvestre (Broadway), all night avenue (painting), Wallula (Times Square), Jörg Schubert (smartphone Brooklyn Bridge)

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