The Best NYC iPhone Apps

Since I’ll be visiting the Big Apple again this year, I’ve been scouring the web for iPhone apps that will help me. I am particularly interested in apps that list restaurants, have transit maps, contain transit map schedules, and list free attractions in the city. Oh, have I hit the jackpot this week. Here are best apps I’ve found so far.

Note: I have the iPhone so I am especially interested in iPhone apps– but realize that many of these app creators have made compatible apps on other phones, such as Android and Blackberry. Therefore, I link to the main app website where possible so you can check out the full app no matter what phone you use.

NYC Way is my new favorite app. Wow! The description says, “Get the app that is endorsed by the Mayor of New York City!” Yeah, no kidding. I could probably write a shorter review of what this app does NOT do…


Here’s a very brief breakdown of all the things this app has:

Locate restaurants by neighborhood, cuisine, GPS location, menus, and more.
Locate coffee shops the same way.
Find nearby Banks and ATMs.
View the list of nearby attractions.
View lists of free attractions.
Find restrooms.
Check out local deals and offers by stores.
Find museums, hotels, places kids like, and more!

What I like about the app is the ability to find things either by browsing or by viewing that’s nearby by GPS. This is definitely a must-have app. And it’s free!

HopStop is a city transit directory. While i have many NYC transit directories on my phone, I always go back to HopStop. It’s so easy to use, it’s so versatile, and I can save my future trips so easily, too! Believe me, the last thing you want to do when you climb out of Penn Station is try to locate a subway station while masses of humanity swirl about you.


HopStop doesn’t just cover the subway– it will check the MTS bus schedules, taxi routes, bicycle trails, and pedestrian paths. It’s an excellent app. Again– free!

NYC Mate
The NYCMate shows all the subway routes in one easy map. I LOVE that I can pinch the screen to zoom in close on the map.


The app also has a NYC street map with icons showing stations for transit. While this app is not for scheduling routes like HopStop is, it’s great for viewing the subway routes and getting an idea of where you are.

MyBus is kind of like HopStop for the city bus. Technically, the subway is the fastest way to travel Manhattan’s busy streets, but the bus is much more enjoyable because you see more of the city this way (albeit, through tinted windows). The bus and subway fare, according to this writing, remain the same charge so it’s not any cheaper to ride the subway. When I have a long way to travel, I take the subway. When I only need to travel a few blocks, I take the bus. This app helps you find the best bus to get to where you need to go!


iPhone Compass

The Compass app comes preloaded with the iPhone. I include it here because it can be very, very helpful when you need to find your way around the city. For example, your HopStop instruction may say, “Get out at Penn Station. Walk 1.2 blocks southwest.” Ummm…. where the heck is southwest?! It’s very easy to get discombobulated when you come up from a subway station– it’s like walking into a human tornado. Cars, buses, people, lights– all swirling around you! The compass helps you get an idea of where you are and where you need to go.

Onavo isn’t a travel app, not exactly. It’s a wireless-bill saving app. Onavo compresses wireless data, saving you bucks on your wireless plan. When visiting New York City, you will no doubt be using up a lot of data just to get around. Onavo helps condense the data and thus the bill. I have been using Onavo for about a year now, and I never go over my data plan anymore. I think it works great.


Thus completes my “best of the best” New York City apps. I have loved these apps and they work well for me. What apps have you found useful for travel? Please share!

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (4)

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  1. Soshal says:

    Hi guys, really nice apps! Thanks for the review.

    We’ve just launched a new free app about 1 week ago that we would love to send you for consideration! 🙂

    It’s called “Soshal”.

    Soshal connects you to people in your local area. The free app encourages users to meet and start an adventure with people who love the same things as you. The creators, Susanna, Jessica and Sarah, wanted to make an anonymous app because they felt that other women also found navigating privacy and security made other social confusing, complicated and unsafe.

    We want everyone in the world to be on Soshal so that everyone can reach out and connect with everyone around them and create more vibrant communities. Soshal wants to be the most fun, unpretentious and safe app for people to connect with people around them. We believe anonymity is important in creating safe and vibrant local networks.

    Our business is model is to allow users to inexpensively create and freely take advantage of coupons, deals and specials nearby.

    The app is currently available on iPhone and will be launched on Android, Blackberry and Desktops (website) in March 2012.

    Many thanks again for the review and hope Soshal also makes the grade soon in the future 🙂

  2. Lenie Smith says:

    This post really helps me a lot. I hope I could still read its related post so that I can also be helped with it someday.

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