A Golden Gate Adventure: 10 Apps to Guide You Through San Francisco

A Golden Gate Adventure: 10 Apps to Guide You Through San Francisco

Jason Rodway
Feb 20, 2013

San Francisco is a city of rich history and culture, and as anyone planning a visit to the City by the Bay realizes, it can be difficult to narrow down all the places to visit and thing to do while there. Aside from the usual tourist spots like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco also offers historic architecture on nearly every corner, a serene Japanese Tea Gardens, the glorious Golden Gate Park, alongside countless cultural and artistic institutions. Need help fitting it all into one vacation? You might need an app for your smartphone (or tablet) to serve as your guide.

Getting Around & Accommodations

Left: MobileMuni - Right: TripAdvisor
MobileMuni What's a trip to San Francisco that doesn't include a ride on the infamous cable car going down Powell Street? MobileMuni is a complete guide to getting around San Franciscos transit service that lets you know when busses or street cars will be arriving as well as assisting you in getting around the city. Free Available for iOS ($2) / Android / Windows Phone

When researching your vacation, Trip Advisor has probably appeared multiple times. This popular service is an all in one guide for flights, restaurants, points of interests and most helpful, hotel reviews. TripAdvisor delivers intuitive options to take the stress out of finding a hotel room in any given city with reviews, prices, detail breakdowns and photos. Free
Available for iOS / Android / Windows Phone

City Maps & Shopping Guide

Left: Tourist Eye - Right: ShopNear.me

Tourist Eye
Those who plan out their trips beforehand will more than likely get the most out of their time, for those Tourist Eye is an absolute must download. Featuring offline map download ability, you can also pin point places you want to visit beforehand, journal every part of your day and flawlessly execute a preplanned itinerary. For those occasions when the unforeseeable gets in the way Tourist Eye will help find restaurants, tourist sites and more on the fly. Free
Also available for Android

This app was designed for trendy shoppers and at the moment features the best places to get your shop on in the city by the bay with promise for more cities in the future. You can search either by item (shoes, blouses, dresses and more) or by shop and use the sale tab to find savings nearby. Fashionistas who live or are visiting San Francisco will find ShopNear.me an essential part of their app library. Free

Tourist Attractions

Left: San Francisco Guide - Right: San Francisco Travel Guide

San Francisco Guide
San Francisco Guide from mTrips gives us an app with an incredible UI. Although the priciest on this list, it manages to fit in a trip planner, offline map, nightlife guide as well but most incredible is the offline augmented reality function. You can see shops, restaurants, hotels and more around you by holding up your smartphone like a camera and seeing points of interest closest to you. $6
Also available for iOS

San Francisco Travel Guide
An app that neatly wraps up the must see locations of San Francisco is Triposos own travel guide. Although it has an offline map, weather info, nightlife and restaurant locales like some of the others on this list, it's the rich background information behind sites, museums and San Francisco itself that makes it fantastic for sightseeing. A unique ability SFTG possesses is a mini guide for day trips to optimize the full potential of a 24 hour vacation. Free
Also available for iOS

Wine and Dine

Left: MenuPages - Right: Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants

Are you in the mood for Japanese? Or maybe you'd like to try something vegan? Are you looking for a kid friendly place to eat? MenuPages will help find the perfect eatery for any meals of the day whatever the situation. Armed with menus for 30,000 restaurants in 8 major cities, it's easy to pick and choose your next meal with broad search criteria, user reviews, prices, hours of operation and current location at your fingertips. Free
Also available for Android

Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants
When travelling it's understandable to try the best of what a new location has to offer. The San Francisco Chronicler has compiled 100 of the best of eateries in San Francisco. Each restaurant entry includes a brief synopsis, prices, specialities, parking and noise level to tantalize your taste buds. Free
Also available for iOS

City Guides, Nightlife, and Traveling Necessities

The Bold Italic: the most difficult task in visiting a city so rich in culture like San Francisco is cutting through the layers of tourist-y spots and experiencing the SF the locals enjoy on a day to day basis. The Bold Italic is all about local discovery...for locals, written by locals (Bold Locals), spotlighting the best and most relevant people and spots in San Francisco on a daily basis. This app is like having a good friend who lives in SF to guide you to all the best spots all the others might overlook or miss.
iOS (Free)

Left: San Francisco Hot List - Right: WeatherBug
San Francisco Hot List Whether you're looking for a night of dancing or are looking to soak in the evenings atmosphere over drinks, San Francisco Hot List has your number. Supporting a robust list of 150 of the best bars, nightclubs, restaurants and handouts, you're guaranteed nothing but the creme de la creme of San Franciscan nightlife. Additional features include search criteria based on tidbits such as the best Bloody Mary in town or best Rooftop bar and up to date guides on weekly special events. $3 Also available for iOS

What's worse than getting caught in the rain? Getting caught in the rain while on vacation. While we can't control the weather we can at least anticipate it's ups and downs before leaving the sanctuary of our hotel rooms. Weatherbug is a fantastic lightweight weather app that neatly wraps up daily weather forecasts so you'll know weather or not to dress warm or to take that umbrella along just in case. Free
Available for iOS / Android / Windows Phone

(Images: Gregory Han; as linked above)

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