10 Travel Apps for Visiting New York City

Smartphone Travel App Showcase

What can I say about New York that hasn't been said before? New York is the city that needs no introduction and definitely warrants a visit at least once in a lifetime. Whether you're sightseeing, museum hopping, shopping in luxury, catching a Broadway show, or just taking in the energy of a city always alive, the options are seemingly unlimited. It was difficult to narrow it down to 10 apps, but here are my favorites for navigating the city that never sleeps.

Getting Around & Accommodations

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Left: Exit Strategy - Right: HotelsByMe

Exit Strategy
The MTA subway map can be intimidating for first time tourists visiting NYC. Think of the Exit Strategy as a local NYC local yokel with all the subway answers to your mass transit concerns. Boasting a colorful and simple interface easy to navigate, the app offers layouts for each station so you know exactly where the nearest exits are located. Exit Strategy also shows users above-ground maps for finding subway entrances and points of interests surrounding each station. $4 - Also available for Android

HotelsByMe
In my experience, I've seen both some wonderful and truly horrifying hotels in New York. With HotelsByMe's, travelers can reduce the possibilities of staying at nightmarish accommodations, listing detailed search results based upon price, star ratings, location, and amenities. Browse the top picks, read user reviews, or thumb through pictures of rooms, hotel interior, and exterior. Users are able to book rooms from the app, but some users note lowers fees are available when calling in. Free - Also available for iOS

City Maps & Shopping Guide

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Left: NYC Map - Right: NYC Sample Sales

NYC Map (NYC & Company)
The NYC Maps app hopes to make navigating NYC neighborhoods a visually engaging outing by adding an overlay of stores and restaurants on top of maps. Oftentimes, finding retailers or restaurants is easier using graphical indicators rather than reliance upon smaller street signs, and that's exactly what NYC Maps offers. The app also offers the added bonus of displaying points of interest throughout neighborhoods. Free

NYC Sample Sales
When one thinks fashion, we tend to gravitate to London, Paris, Milan, and of course, New York. High fashion can be a costly affair, but it doesn't have to be if you're in the know about sample sales. Sample sales happen when fashion outlets make room for new items and sell old ones at a significant discount. NYC Sample Sales lists these sales with time, date, and location, alerting users as they happen so you won't miss a great deal. Fashion trends may come and go in a New York minute, but they'll still turn heads back home. Free

Tourist Attractions

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Left: Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History - Right: New York City Essential Guide

Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History
One of New York's most valuable and irreplaceable assets are the city's museums. And the Museum of Natural History is arguably amongst the most famous. The museum's app gives users the freedom to explore and learn about exhibitions by offering visitor's customizable walking tours through over a hundred exhibits, complete with turn-by-turn directions (the museum is large enough to warrant it). Select and check off the essential exhibits like the T-Rex or Barosaurus skeleton, the Cape York Meteorite, or the Giant Sequoia without the need or hassle of scheduling for a tour guide. Free

New York City Essential Guide
Take some advice from a New York native as offered in the Essential Guide to New York app, a 100% offline key to the city. Go on one of the twelve self-guided walking tours directing visitors through popular spots with some unique to NYC flavor. Discover the best landmarks, historic bars, shops, hidden gems, and neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens based on the advice of the author who lives, breathes, and loves New York inside and out. If you have a question, submit your query from the app and get a prompt response from your virtual ambassador to the city. $3 - Also available for iOS - Equivalent for Windows Phone

Wine and Dine

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Left: Real Pizza of New York - Right: NYTimes The Scoop 

Real Pizza of New York
A trip to NYC isn't complete without an authentic slice of pizza pie. Real Pizza of New York offers only the best pizzerias across the city and strips away the tourist traps worth avoiding. For those occasions when sudden hunger strikes, Real Pizza locates nearby possibilities, and serves up details such as reviews, prices, contact info, and photos submitted by those who've come before you. Order up! $3 - Also available for iOS

NYTimes The Scoop NYC
The New York Times offers their 2 cents about the best theatre, bars, cafes, art galleries, and of course, restaurants. The NY Times own app reduces the clutter and noise for navigating the endless options offered while visiting The Big Apple thanks to a fun graphical UI dotted with illustrations. Restaurants are displayed on the map as pins, with additional information about the cuisine type, price range on a scale of 1-5, and a morsel of a review. This app not only works for finding dinner spots, but additionally notable cultural and city events. Free - Mobile Site

Nightlife and Traveling Necessities

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Left: Going Ons: New Yorker - Right: Packing Pro

Going Ons: New Yorker
In a dense and large city like New York, finding "where to go?" is first complicated by "what to do?", especially when it comes to nightlife. If you want to know where the cool kids go, Goings On by the New Yorker can nudge you in the right direction. Discover the best activities for nightlife, dancing, drinking, music, art, or food, and absorb New York's nightlife. Free - Also available for iOS

Packing Pro
When you pack for a trip far from home, do you create a mental checklist? I do. However, I can get forgetful and dwell on the specific contents of my luggage. I downloaded Packing Pro to remove all doubts about forgetting one thing or another, and where I packed it. Packing Pro organizes a list of what I packed and which bag it was placed in. Sure, I can use Evernote, but Packing Pro has clever additions like a smart list assistant which permits me to create checklists based upon the number of adults/children traveling, the trip duration, temperature, and even weight restrictions of carry-on and checked-in luggage. $3 - Equivalent for Android / Windows Phone

Honorable Mentions
New York on the Cheap: iOS / Android
MoMA: iOS / Android
CultureNOW: Guidebook for the Museum Without Walls: iOS / Android
Top of the Rock: iOS / Android
ILoveNYTheater: iOSAndroid

(Images: Jason Rodway; as linked above)

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