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8 Best New York City Apps for Travelers

SmarterTravel

The city so nice they named it twice! New York is different things to different people, but two facts are certain: One, there’s always something to do in New York; and two, if you don’t get clued in on the when, where, and how of the city, you’ll find something you didn’t want to do sucking up all your free time (like waiting for a cab). And that’s where the following New York City apps can help.

The Best New York City Apps for Travelers

Here’s a collection of New York apps that can help you stay ahead of the game on your next trip to the Big Apple. This is by no means a comprehensive list because, like New York itself, there is too much to investigate in one pass. But the New York City apps here should cover most of your general needs (and a few specific ones) to help you navigate your Gotham adventure.

Citymapper New York

Unless you’re Spider-Man (and if you are, call me), you’re going be using New York’s impressive and sprawling bus and subway system to get around. Even if you’re from a metro area that has a mass transit network, New York’s can be daunting. The New York City app from Citymapper should be your first tool in using and understanding the public transit system. Not only does it have full maps that can be used offline, but it also shows real-time bus and train departures and lets you combine public transit with other modes such as bike shares and cabs.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

Exit Strategy NYC

Sure, Exit Strategy NYC has both a complete subway and bus map for all five boroughs of the city, but as the name implies, its focus is about accessing these options. Exit Strategy also provides the locations to all station entrances and exits, making it easier for you to transition between street and subway. Add to that tips on where to stand on the platforms (a skill some longtime residents of the city still haven’t mastered) and you’ll be in great shape for all your subway hopping needs.

Cost: $3.99
Platforms: iOS, Android

ParkMe

You might be one of the few extremely … let’s say “brave” people who are willing to drive to New York and deal with the cough cough joy of parking there. That means you’re going to pay for parking, be it for a space, for a meter, or to get your car out of impound. ParkMe is one of the best New York City apps for this endeavor. It scans data for lots near your location to show you availability and rates, and lets you prepay and reserve a spot ahead of time. It may sound like I’m overselling how bad the parking is, but trust me: You’ll want to be prepared.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

The Metropolitan Museum of Art App

One of the most famous museums in the world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has three New York locations and is a must-visit for any art lover. This app offers a map of the main museum on Fifth Avenue, collection highlights, a list of today’s events, and information on current exhibitions.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

Time Out New York

A staple for locals and tourists alike, Time Out New York can show you all the latest concerts, exhibits, events, and everyday happenings at any and all times. Using this New York app, you can check ticket availability, show times, and even reviews for those two shows you’re trying to decide between. (If I were you, I’d go for the one that isn’t likely to be touring next year.) If you’re on a budget or have simply spent too much money on Fifth Avenue, make sure to use the “cheap” and “free” filters on this most useful of New York City apps.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

Citi Bike

Want to zip around New York City on two wheels? Citi Bike is the city’s official bike-share program. The app will help you find the nearest docking station, save your favorite stations, purchase a day pass, and track your ride stats.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

TKTS

Millions of people go to New York every year to see shows on and off Broadway. And while there are numerous ways to purchase tickets, few are as useful as the TKTS stands in Manhattan and Brooklyn. This app lets you avoid the lines, check ticket availability, and read reviews of shows. Known for both last-minute tickets and big discounts on day-of tickets, TKTS is a must have for anyone who wants to take in a show on the Great White Way.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

Yelp

Odds are if you do any traveling or dining, you’ve got Yelp on your smartphone. While Yelp isn’t always the best app for every location, for major cities like New York it certainly proves its value. Besides reviews, listings, maps, and menus for every type of food you can imagine, it’s a great backup for all the other apps on this list. You don’t always have to be a local to find good stuff in a new town.

Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

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Jason Flynn is a freelance writer, editor, and geek of all trades. Follow him on Twitter @flynntendo.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

(Photo: Thinkstock/Digital Vision)

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