3 Love It

The best apps for New York City

Make your life easier in every way with these essential NYC apps

We’re all agreed that NY is the greatest city in the world, right? We’ll admit that sometimes the sheer size of the city can be intimidating, but once you shrink it down to the size of your smartphone, it’s a lot easier to manage. Fortunately, there’s a whole universe of apps out there that help you do just that—here are twenty of the best. Of course, none of them beat the all-purpose Time Out New York app, but who could expect them to? Feast your eyes on our selection of the greatest Gotham apps right now, then get busy with our list of the best NYC life hacks. The city is your oyster.

RECOMMENDED: Best of 2014

Food and drink


What it does: Gets you great deals on coffee drinks at independent shops all over the city at several subscription levels, including $120 for all you can drink for a whole month.
Why you need it in your life: You need your coffee in the morning, and there are places to get it other than Starbucks— Gotham is a veritable treasure trove of damn fine indie coffee shops.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: cupsapp.com


What it does: Consider this app your personal stopwatch for any-hour-happy-hour at select bars in ‘hoods like the East Village, LES, Williamsburg and Fort Greene. Just open the app, check-in to the bar and hit the "start" button for discounted beverages.
Why you need it in your life: Need a drink and need it fast? If you love half-priced drinks—and seriously, who doesn’t—then you understand that the 4­–7pm happy hour restriction can be downright annoying. So, forget that—happy hour happens when you make it happen, dammit!
Works with: Anroid, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: happyanyhour.com


What it does: Lets you order booze from local purveyors, and plenty of it (there’s a $25 minimum), which is delivered to your door in less than an hour for no delivery fee.
Why you need it in your life: The convenience of New York’s famous Chinese takeout is great and all, but is sorely lacking in alcohol content.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: minibardelivery.com

NYC Wifi + Coffee

What it does: Exactly as it sounds! NYC Wifi + Coffee offers a curated list of spots, from small cafes to parks, with both free wi-fi and easy access to hot, delicious java.
Why you need it in your life: Because what says New York like conspicuously laptop-wielding coffee drinkers sitting around in public?
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: everplaces.squarespace.com


What it does: Lets you swap cash for hard-to-get restaurant reservations, tickets, and even spots in line for all kinds of exclusive stuff from consumers who don’t want them anymore.
Why you need it in your life: In a city of 8 million people, all vying to experience the same sources of entertainment and culture, Shout renders the notion of “sold out” forever obsolete.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: useshout.com

Getting around


What it does: The most comprehensive one-stop guide you’re liable to find, iTrans includes maps, up-to-the-minute departure and arrival schedule, service alerts, neighborhood maps, and more.
Why you need it in your life: You sure don’t want to risk squinting at one of those wall-mounted maps in the station and risk looking like a tourist. Plus it will be nice to know when your train is coming for once.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: itrans.info/landing/NYC

Exit Strategy

What it does: Subway and bus maps for all five boroughs are merely an added convenience—the real selling point is a guide to entrance/exit locations for every subway station in NYC, along with suggestions for where exactly to stand on the platform before boarding your train to minimize the distance you’ll have to walk to emerge back on the sidewalk once you reach your destination.
Why you need it in your life: Think of all time and effort you’ll save on your morning not having to traverse the entirety of the platform while (barely) avoiding subway preachers and oblivious headphone-wearers.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Blackberry
Get the app: exitstrategynyc.com

CitiBike app

What it does: Locates the closest CitiBike station to you, generates biking routes to other stations, and even suggests places to dine, shop, and sightsee near those stations.
Why you need it in your life: A bright blue bike is the hippest way to get around the city, and this app will help you get to Point B as directly as possible so you don’t incur any of those nasty overtime fees. Cool as a cucumber.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: citibikenyc.com/get-the-app


What it does: Takes data from ticket machines in all the parking lots in your general vicinity and spits back the number of available spots in each, along with rates and suggestions for the best place to park based on cost and distance from your destination; you can book a spot right on your phone before arriving to ensure that the lot doesn’t fill up while you’re sitting in Midtown traffic. The app also generates forecasts for the best places to find street parking in the city at a given time.
Why you need it in your life: What’s the worst part of living in NYC? If you answered “Ebola,” then take off the tin foil hat—the correct answer is “parking.” ParkMe eases that epic hassle just a little.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: parkme.com



What it does: Connects you to every eligible bachelor and bachelorette in New York City and the rest of the known universe. No, seriously; everyone you know is on it; once they reboot Sex In The City (you know it’s coming), the entire show will just be people going on OKCupid dates.
Why you need it in your life: What, you still think you’re going to meet someone at a bar? Get online and ignite that big city romance you’ve always dreamed of already!
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: okcupid.com


What it does: Lets you swipe, swipe, swipe away until you’ve exhausted every coitus candidate in the city (conceivably, anyway). Also provides endless fodder for New York Times thinkpieces on “hookup culture.”
Why you need it in your life: NYC is DTF. Don’t get left behind.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: gotinder.com


What it does: Unlike Grindr, Scruff is for more than just hooking up. Its more extensive profile-building features allow gay guys communicate for just about any purpose, from one-night stands to networking.
Why you need it in your life: Seeing the same old fellas at the same old Village bars can get fatiguing—expand those horizons.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Windows Phone
Get the app: scruff.com


What it does: This new app puts the power in women’s hands: Only men can join the network once they get invited by one of their female friends, who are each given 10 invites apiece. And only dudes you approve can contact you and view your profile.
Why you need it in your life: Unlike, say, OkCupid, Wyldfire goes above and beyond to weed out the creeps. And the app is LGBT-friendly: Any woman can join and set her preferences to women. Ditto gay guys who get the green light from a lady pal.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Get the app: wyldfireapp.com


What it does: Think of CitySocializer as a singles mixer crossed with MeetUp. Powered through Facebook, it strives for group dating at its best, hosting events daily and even allowing you to create your own. Initially launched in the U.K.—it debuted stateside in September—CitySocializer works by tagging your profile with your likes and the neighborhoods you visit.
Why you need it in your life: Custom events make this app the closest you can get to artisanal dating (think: an afternoon at the Dumbo Arts Festival or a Lower East Side food crawl).
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Get the app: citysocializer.com/new-york/meet-people


What it does: If you’re the person on Tinder who directs viewers to your Instagram, this is the app for you. Now in its second iteration, Glimpse uses your Instagram photos’ metadata (like geolocation and hashtags) to connect you with users who have similar interests. Wait, what the what? How does this work? Basically, if you’re, say, way into food porn, you’re shown nearby people who also take too many snaps of that to-die-for dinner. You can check out their photo feeds and message them in the hopes of, you know, meeting in the flesh.
Why you need it in your life: Unlike Tinder, it awesomely allows you to go back and change your mind if you reject someone initially.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Get the app: itsglimpse.com


What it does: There’s no shortage of apps for gay men looking to get some on the fly (SCRUFF. Grindr. Recon…). But what if you’re hoping for something long-term? Distinc.tt caters to LGBTers (although you can join if you’re straight) looking for relationships, not hookups, tipping subscribers off to community events where they can mingle.
Why you need it in your life: The social network allows you to browse nearby singles who you can message—and you can even get groups together for trips to the museum.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Get the app: distinc.tt


What it does: Just looking for a nice Jewish boy or girl? JSwipe is Tinder crossed with JDate, and it’s quickly gaining steam, with 50 million swipes and 2.5 million messages exchanged. Chosen users are given an 18-day countdown to make an interaction with each match, after which your phone will announce “mazel tov!”
Why you need it in your life: For the quirk factor. A swipe right leads to a green smiling Star of David; a swipe left a red-star frowny face. You can also let your matches know if you’re kosher, conservative, reform, orthodox or “just Jewish.”
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Get the app: jswipeapp.com

How About We

What it does: For those tired of the usual drab first date, How About We connects singles who are more interested in creative outings. If you use the app’s “speed dating” option, like Tinder, you see a person's full-size picture, age and location, but you also get to see their idea for a date before you swipe left or right. The dates vary, like the extravagant “go to the opera,” fun “take an improv class together” or traditional “grab a beer in the West Village.” To receive messages and view popular dates, you have to pay to play.    
Why you need it in your life: If your first date is an adventure, you’re not likely to get hung up on the same old, boring first-date banter.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Get the app: howaboutwe.com/about


What it does: The classic dating site, Match.com has been pairing couples since the 1990s, and some people swear by it. The app matches you with others based on key words from your profile, such as your listed interests. Nonpaying users can browse and “wink,” but you have to pay for a subscription to get chatting. Though if you don’t find a match in your first six months, you can get another six months free.
Why you need it in your life: Because it can be pricey to receive messages (a six-month subscription is $24 per month), the website tends to appeal to people more seriously looking.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Get the app: match.com

Taking care of business

Sit Or Squat (Lifehacks)

What it does: An interactive map of public restrooms near wherever you happen to be (ie in the middle of the sidewalk trying desperately to hold it in). Most toilets are helpfully rated “sit” or “squat” by other users; some even come with pictures.
Why you need it in your life: When you’re out in public and it comes time to answer nature’s call, there’s nothing worse than bursting into the facilities at the pizza joint on the corner and finding it looking like GG Allin had just passed through. Never go in blind again.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: sitorsquat.com

NYC Condom Finder

What it does: A locator for every establishment in the city that carries the free “NYC” brand condoms that the city health department introduced in 2007.
Why you need it in your life: This app could mean the difference between getting some red-hot (and safe!) action and spending the night cold and alone. Again.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: findnyccondoms.com


What it does: Replaces getting your mom to come over as the only means of getting your laundry done more than once a month. Use the app to order a pickup for your washing or dry cleaning anytime between 6 am and midnight and someone from FlyCleaners will come pick it up. You'll get a notification once the load is done so that you can schedule a delivery (which, along with pick up, is free for loads of $15 or more).
Why you need it in your life: Odds are your local laundromat is the least hip place in your neighborhood to hang out. Let someone else venture in there for you while you spend your time on more productive pastimes.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: flycleaners.com


PS Dept

What it does: Simply leave a message on the app describing a piece of clothing or accessory that you’re looking for and employees at dozens of the city’s most fabulous fashion outlets, including Stella McCartney, Barney’s, and Bergdorf Goodman, will send you pictures of what they’ve got in stock. If whatever they show you is to your liking, you can buy it straight from your phone.
Why you need it in your life: Combines the otherwise unattainable glamour of having your own team of personal shoppers with the ease of sending a text message.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: psdept.com


What it does: Sends you instant alerts whenever you’re close to a store that’s holding a can’t-miss sample sale, along with a full map of ongoing sample sales in the city.
Why you need it in your life: Seems like you never hear about the best samples sales until they’ve quickly come and passed. With ShopDrop, you’ll be clued in before anyone else.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: shopdropapp.com


What it does: You know when you’re walking down the street and you pass by a fabulous fashionista and think, “I simply must have that coat!” Now you can have it without that whole awkward “Where did you get that?” ritual with ASAP54—which has been dubbed “the Shazam of shopping”. Take a picture of the desirable item on your phone and ASAP54 will tell you where you can find it (or something similar).
Why you need it in your life: It’s an extensive fashion database with the added lurid thrill of covertly snapping photos of random people on the street (or you could ask permission, but where’s the fun in that?).
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: asap54.com/#!/

Parks & rec

Central Park App

What it does: Condenses those famous 843 acres of green space in the middle of Manhattan down to the size of your phone. Comes complete with a map (including a GPS locator), event listings, and audio guides to over 40 of the park’s most popular attractions narrated by celebrities and NYC luminaries ranging from Michael Bloomberg to Yoko Ono.
Why you need it in your life: Even for lifelong New Yorkers who have been there, done that, it’s worth really savoring a few hours in Central Park every once in a while.
Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: centralparknyc.org/tours

Avoid Humans

What it does: Provides assessments of the crowd level at restaurants, bars, parks, and more in your area based on data gathered from Instagram and Foursquare.
Why you need it in your life: There are a few places in NYC that aren’t constantly packed to the gills, you know. With Avoid Humans, they’re easier to find.
Works with: All smartphones, online
Get the app: avoidhumans.com

Dog Park Finder

What it does: Lots of info on the best places to take your furry canine friend to get a little exercise. The nationwide dog park database features locations, user ratings reviews, photos, and plenty more details, including hours, fees, and amenities.
Why you need it in your life: City dogs yearn to roam free like their country brethren, but urban dog parks can be pretty hit or miss. Dog Park Finder will help you avoid the jankier ones.
Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Get the app: doggoes.com/iphone/dog-park-finder-plus


Micheal T
Micheal T

There’s this awesome app called GrabPoints. In a nutshell they pay you for trying out new apps and answering a couple of surveys. I love using it because they are always active on social media giving out points and the rewards are always fair. Like just for signing up you already get $1 then if you use a friend’s invite code you get 500 PTS and easy AND your friend gets points in return too! See even simply inviting people earns you money. If you ever happen to try GRABPOINTS please use my invite code: S6FMAC Hope this helps!

Cj K
Cj K

BYBER should be on this list, it's a dating app mixed with local bars and best of all it's free

Jonathon A
Jonathon A

Is "Avoid Humans" an app? Or "just" a website?

Cam G
Cam G

An app and website are the same thing. That one isn't a "standalone app" though.

Brin C
Brin C

Tablelist (tablelist.com) is another great app for NYC natives and visitors. It let's you instantly book VIP tables without having to talk to a promoter or call a club. They have all the best places and their concierges are great.

You can use my link to check it out and get $50 to spend on the app: tablelist.com/signup/brinvip

Diane B
Diane B

Check out Besto app. It is great to discover best places in NYC recommended by friends. bestoapp.com

Tamarah R
Tamarah R

Kick Map and Hop Stop really should be on the list.

Alex S
Alex S

I'd definitely throw in Cover and maybe Resy on the list. Shout is totally useless.

Tig B
Tig B

Number 1 on the list is the real thing!! I'm totally hooked on CUPS app. If you are a Ney Yorker, and drink coffee (ie. human), you better run to get your CUPS plan!

Changed my life, seriously.

www.cupsapp.com/download from any mobile device. Or just search for CUPS app on your app store.

Ignatius M
Ignatius M

>>>A bright blue bike is the hippest way to get around the city,>>>

There is no universe where riding a bicycle with the logo of a giant bank is "hip."