The Big App-le

By staff

(Updated 03/22/2017)

Whether you're looking for a bite to eat or the nearest (and cleanest) public restroom, smartphone applications can help you explore New York City with ease. We've compiled a list of some of our favorite NYC-centric apps so that, wherever you are, you can have the City at your fingertips. And don't forget to visit's very own mobile site for great info on attractions, dining, shopping, events, deals and more.


Making your way through the streets of New York has never been easier thanks to these navigational apps, which provide detailed street and subway maps, transit information, the best corners for hailing a taxi and more.

BusBus NYC
Use with: iPhone, iPad
This live bus-tracking app shows you the location of actual buses on NYC streets, with green arrows on a real-time street map updating their location. This free app helps you know whether it's worth waiting or if a walk might be quicker.

CabSense NYC
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
CabSense NYC analyzes data from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission and other sources to help users find the best nearby street corners to hail a taxi based on where you are and when you need it. The app even comes with a built-in "cab hailer"—simply shake your phone and it will whistle and display a flashing message.

Exit Strategy
Use with: Android, BlackBerry and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Don’t waste time mentally calculating which subway car door will bring you closer to the exit at your destination—this app does it for you. It also provides detailed maps of the entire subway system, and bus maps for all five boroughs and an off-line street map of Manhattan. Note: The iPhone/iPod version includes the entire subway system but the Blackberry/Android versions include every stop in Manhattan but only some in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Get There By Bike
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
A useful tool to help cyclists, leisurely riders and daily bike commuters navigate the road. Powered by Google’s Bike There service, the app provides directions for users that account for traffic, hills and local off-street bike paths. Bike boulevards, lanes and routes are also included. Record your own routes and mark dangerous intersections, safe bike-parking options and bike-friendly businesses on the shared map, too.

Use with:or Android or iPhone
Gett has emerged as a rival to Uber, offering fixed-price rides in central Manhattan, advance booking and a few other features to entice City riders. A notable feature they offer is no surge pricing during peak traffic periods.

iTrans NYC Subway
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
In a rush? This app finds the fastest route between any two New York City subway stations, taking into account current schedules and service changes. iTrans NYC Subway provides users with detailed maps and walking directions, and even works off-line.

MTA Subway Time
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Track your train with this app, which provides live, up-to-date schedules for the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and L trains. Users can find nearby stations and receive alerts about any service delays to select lines.

Use with: Android, BlackBerry and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Find yourself longing for the nearest wireless hot spot, craft beer bar or pharmacy with late-night delivery? MyCityWay combines urban reference apps and app platforms with important City info and tips from its own user community to bring you a super-loaded City navigating tool.

NY Waterway
Use with: Android and iPhone
NY Waterway's East River Ferry offers frequent and fast service connecting Manhattan with locations in Brooklyn and Queens as well as Governors Island. With the NY Waterway app, users can consult route maps and schedules, get service advisories and look up bus options near ferry terminals. Best of all, the app allows users to buy paperless tickets and simply present their phone as proof of purchase.

Use with: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
This app provides you with schedule information based on the closest transit options near you; it includes everything from the bus to the subway to the PATH train and even Uber availability. Even better, this app travels well as it can be used in other participating US cities like Los Angeles, Boston and Washington DC.

Use with: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
MTA’s Trip Planner is a handy way to plug in your location and destination and find options for the quickest way between the two. You can add in personal preferences, like the maximum amount you’d be willing to walk. 

Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Uber took the car-service world by storm with its system of quick pickups by licensed, independent drivers. Get a fare quote, connect with your driver and let the automated system do the rest.

Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Have you ever found yourself standing on the subway platform on a Sunday night, tapping your foot frantically only to find out there was work planned on your line? Well, the Weekender app is your guide to getting around NYC when construction alters your weekend subway service. The app displays all service changes so riders can navigate around diversions.


Whether you're a lifelong local or a first-time visitor, there's always plenty to discover in NYC. These apps provide key information on the City's top tourist attractions as well as on lesser-known destinations that might not have been on your radar.

Central Park
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
The official mobile guide to perhaps New York City's most popular green space, this app from the Central Park Conservancy provides users with a wealth of information about the many attractions and activities in Central Park. View a fully interactive map, read up on the park's history, get the latest news on concerts and much more.

Downtown NYC
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
This is the official app of the Downtown Culture Pass, which offers discounts to Lower Manhattan cultural attractions as well as for the odd event and dining experience. Visit Wall Street, Century 21, the South Street Seaport and other popular destinations.

Empire State Building
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
The official app for visitors to the Empire State Building includes facts and figures about NYC's most iconic building. There's also an interactive map that viewers can use to identify other buildings and landmarks they may spot from the observation deck.

Explore 9/11
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
The official mobile app of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan offers information and insight regarding the tragedy. Users can view a timeline of that day’s events or take a walking tour of the area around the World Trade Center, accompanied by audiovisual narration and first-hand reports by first responders, rescue workers, volunteers and others. The app also includes an augmented reality mode, which overlays images taken by survivors and witnesses on your phone’s camera view.

I Love NY
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad
The state’s official tourism site has an app that will help you find attractions and events in every New York region, including, of course, NYC.

Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
This company focuses on themed routes in the City; samples include pizza slices, Sex and the City locations and ghost sites. Tours come with audio guides.

Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Do you know what time the Theory sample sale starts? Is it uptown or downtown? The ShopDrop app answers all those questions, plus informs you of dozens of sample sales throughout the City that you might be unaware of. The app also works in Los Angeles, Paris and London.

St. Patrick's Cathedral Tour
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
While visiting this massive landmark, you can listen to a guided tour given by Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Monsignor Robert Ritchie, the church rector. Originally built in 1858, the cathedral is one of the City's most spectacular architectural sights, boasting altars, stained-glass windows and a giant organ with more than 7,300 pipes. This app gives users in-depth information about this and more.

Time Out New York
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Time Out's app provides up-to-date event listings as well as reviews of art exhibitions, concerts, bars and restaurants. Listings can be further broken down into the Critics' Picks and Free & Cheap categories. Users can also save their favorite venues and locations and send listings to their friends.

Top of the Rock
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
The Top of the Rock app makes taking photos from one of NYC’s most recognizable vantages a snap. Get postcard-esque pictures of the view, using special effects to mimic shots from years past. Options date back to 1933 (a time machine that does work!), and the app allows users to share and upload their images via social media outlets. The app also includes a guide to nearby stores and restaurants.

UrbanWonderer Audio Tours
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Uncover new finds on themed City routes with UrbanWonderer Audio Tours. This free iPhone app offers GPS-driven, self-guided sightseeing tours for first-time visitors and business travelers, as well as native New Yorkers.


With some 24,000 eating establishments and a plenitude of bars located within the five boroughs, New York City has a dining destination for every budget and taste. Use these apps to browse some of the City's finest restaurants, find reviews by critics and locals and more.

Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Look up menus and restaurants by cuisine type, neighborhood and price range. The app also allows users to download delivery and takeout menus from participating eateries.

Use with: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Windows Phone
The perfect app for the foodie on the go, OpenTable allows users to search for restaurants, see menus and reviews and make reservations. Users can also earn rewards points redeemable for "Dining Cheques" good at any restaurant on OpenTable.

Use with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Windows Phone
This app allows users to search for nearby restaurants, bars, businesses and stores and also provides photos and—as you'd expect—plenty of opinionated user reviews of venues.

Arts and Culture

The importance of NYC's role as a center for art and culture cannot be overstated; with hundreds of world-class museums, galleries, concert halls and theaters to choose from, there's something for everyone. These apps can help you navigate and explore some of the best cultural attractions New York City has to offer.
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
With this app, you can browse current and future Broadway productions, as well as see show info, curtain times and ticket prices. Users can also find hotels and restaurants in the Theatre District.

Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
This app serves as a personal tour guide through the halls of this world-renowned museum, providing users with customized information and step-by-step directions to exhibitions. Users can also share their discoveries with family and friends via email, Facebook and Twitter. The American Museum of Natural History also offers some exhibition- and collection-specific apps, which you can find at

Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
The next time you're planning a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, use this app to plan the best way to navigate the museum's permanent collection and current exhibitions. You can thumb through thousands of works, take multimedia tours, learn about featured artists and even take a photo via MoMA Snaps to send to family and friends. The museum also offers a books app.

New York Philharmonic
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
With this app, you can listen to the New York Philharmonic's weekly radio broadcast, hosted by Alec Baldwin, and also access podcasts, videos and event information.

Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad
Find listings of shows on Broadway (and off) for which you can buy discounted tickets at TKTS—there's real-time info on what's available at the three ticket-agency booths.

Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad
This app provides alerts for same-day discounted deals on Broadway and off-Broaday tickets. You can also submit through the app for rush tickets now available to some shows. Additionally, this app is active in other cities like Boston, Chicago, San Franciso, Philadelhia and Los Angeles.


Grade Pending
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Grade Pending is similar to the NYC Health Ratings app in that it provides graded restaurant results for users, but this app takes it a step further, showing eateries on a map with color-coded dots that reveal their rating—green for good, red for…not so good. You can also search by restaurant name, street or cuisine type and bookmark your favorite dining spots. There’s even detailed information for restaurants including walking directions, phone numbers and weekly inspection result updates for the app.

NYC 311
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
This app gives you City government-related info, like alternate-side parking updates. There is a host of other official City apps, including NYC Events and NYC Stuff Exchange.

NYC Health Ratings
Use with: Android
The NYC Health Ratings app provides restaurant health inspection results for 24,000 establishments throughout New York City. This app is also integrated with FourSquare, so you can easily check in and share restaurant ratings with friends.

Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
This simple app allows users to calculate the tip for meals or services and includes standard tipping percentages. It works with all international currencies.

Red Rover
Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
A social events tool, Red Rover allows parents to discover great activities for kids and to invite their friends to participate. The app allows users to share photos, make plans and tell fellow parents where they are (to make playdates on the fly). Note: it even includes a feature that highlights clean public restrooms.

Refill My MetroCard! or Metroptimizer
Use with: Android or iPhone
Do you have a hard time figuring out how much money to add to your MetroCard (and want to avoid the $1 card-replacement fee)? These apps will help you come up with an exact amount to add, so you don’t have a leftover balance after the MTA’s 5% bonus.

See Something, Send Something
Use with: Android and iPhone and iPad
Have you seen something suspicious but weren’t sure how to report it? Use New York State’s new app, See Something, Send Something, to alert authorities to a potential threat. For more info, visit

Use with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
When nature calls, you'll be glad you have this Charmin-backed app. Pinpoint your exact location with the press of a button—or you can enter an address, intersection or zip code—and find the nearest public restrooms. Users can even see which bathrooms are currently open and which have changing tables, as well as browse ratings to find the cleanest facilities.

Spot Hero
Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Find and book parking spots in garages with this handy app.

Use with: Android and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Conveniently consolidate your trip plans and store them in your pocket (or wherever you keep your phone). This app allows users to organize everything from hotel and restaurant reservations to flights, meetings and even museum trips.