Best New York City Apps for Locals & Visitors Alike

Make the Most of Your Manhattan Experience with these 11 Essential Apps

Apps have made our lives easier. You can now plan your week, find a nice spot to eat, set fitness goals, chat with friends, check the weather, and pinpoint precisely where you are with just a tap of an app. Whether you make your home in Manhattan or are just visiting, having the right apps on your phone can be a real game changer. Sadly, there isn't an app to weed through all of the apps! Yes, it can be a real chore figuring out which apps are truly essential, but that's why we've compiled this list of apps that you absolutely need if you're in New York City.

You probably have some of the basics covered by now (e.g., Seamless, Uber, Yelp, etc.), but don't miss these 11 best NYC apps (for iPhone and Android) that will help you get the most out of your Manhattan experience. 

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MyTransit NYC

best NYC apps
Photo credit: Pamela Moore / Creative RF / Getty Images

MyTransit NYC is a great app to consider if you're trying to figure out how to get around. The app offers real-time information on subways, buses, the Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, and major roadways. MyTransit NYC is only available for Android devices, but iPhone users can consider Embark or KickMap to cover their mass transit needs. All of these apps afford a helpful supplement to Google Maps because of their added features and info.

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Exit Strategy NYC

A lot of New Yorkers who ride the subway obsess over which car to take so that they can get off the train at the right spot to exit onto the street as soon as possible. It can take years of city-living to figure this out. With Exit Strategy NYC, all it takes is a download. This app tells you which car is best for transfers and exits, which can save you some crucial minutes if you're in a hurry. (FYI, the iPhone version of this app works better than the Android version.).

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Central Park App

Even the most jaded native New Yorker has a soft spot for Central Park. Frederick Law Olmsted's sprawling landscapes attract up to 40 million visitors a year. Navigating such a massive park (843 acres) can be daunting. Thankfully, there's an official Central Park app, which can serve as a handheld guide. In addition to a map with GPS, the Central Park app lists more than 200 points of interest, provides audio tours, and has an updated events list.

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Downtown NYC

Only available on iPhone, the Downtown NYC app is the official application for the Downtown Culture Pass. It provides discounts to a number of events and attractions around Lower Manhattan. It's great for tourists visiting the city, as well as for native New Yorkers who haven't had a chance to explore what's in their own backyard.

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Best Parking

Whether you own a car in New York or are just using a ZipCar or rental, you know how painful it can be to park in the city. That's why having the Best Parking app can be a real time-saver. Best Parking helps you locate nearby parking garages, parking lots, and other parking spots in major cities. Best Parking can also save you money since the app provides a good idea of how much your parking will cost.

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Price Per Pint

If you're wandering New York and feel like a drink, it's always helpful to know how much you're going to pay for one before you enter a bar. That's where Price Per Pint can help. The app uses a real-time database of drink prices, letting you know how much you're likely to pay for beer, wine, or mixed drinks at a given time of day. You can also filter bars based on the type of establishment you're looking for, helping you to find just the right spot to let loose.

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Open Table

New Yorkers are spoiled when it comes to the sheer number of food options available. You can go out for almost any type of cuisine you can think of, though getting a table is another matter. That's why Open Table is a must for foodies. The Open Table app helps users make quick, easy, and free dinner reservations at participating restaurants. The app also allows people to earn points that can help them save money on future dining. There are more than 8,300 restaurants listed for the New York City area alone.

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If you love good coffee and are trying to find the best independent coffee shops in New York City, CUPS is a definite must-have. This app features prepaid plans for coffee, tea, and other beverages at participating vendors located in and around Manhattan. The prepaid coffee plans will save regular coffee drinkers money in the long run, and the app might help you find a new favorite place for pour-over coffees and lattes. Using CUPS is a great opportunity to locate and support the kinds of local businesses that make NYC a great place to live.

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Sit Or Squat

When you're on the go and nature calls, knowing where to find the closest public bathroom can mean the difference between relief and potentially mortifying embarrassment. Unless you know the city like the back of your hand, finding that public restroom can be easier said than done. That's where the Sit Or Squat app steps in. The app was created by Charmin (how fitting) and lists public facilities in various cities.

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NYC Condom Finder

New York City's Department of Health distributes free condoms throughout the city to promote safe sex. These free, NYC-branded condoms are available at bars, coffee shops, and even some bookstores, though sometimes it's difficult to find free condoms when that's exactly what you need. That's why the NYC Condom Finder by NYC's health department is so useful. Better to have this app and be safe than not have the app and be sorry.

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NYC 311

While New Yorkers have a reputation for cold hearts, most people who live here love their city and want to make it a better place. That's why many call 3-1-1 to report nonurgent issues, such as illegal dumping, rodents, potholes, and noise. Rather than calling 3-1-1, the NYC 311 app allows you to send complaints via your smartphone. You can even attach photos of the incident you're reporting. Your complaints are logged and you can keep tabs on updates through the app, as well.