6 ‘Must Have’ iPhone Apps for Visiting New York City

by Carrie McLaren with 2 comments

Visiting New York City can be overwhelming. Between the subways, taxis, restaurants and numerous neighborhoods, it is easy to get flustered while visiting the big city.

This past week, during my visit I decided to rely heavily on my phone for information – from transportation to dining and just learning my way around the city. Here’s a look at the ‘must have’ mobile apps that helped me navigate New York City.

6 'Must Have' Apps for Visiting New York City - blog


One of my favorite parts of traveling is eating and OpenTable is one that I spent a lot of time using to research restaurants. From checking out menus, reading reviews and making reservations directly on the app – this is a ‘must’ for foodies and wannabe foodies.

The OpenTable app allows you to sort by cuisine, restaurant names and even search for places near specific places. Just type in an address and it will show you restaurants near your location. Snag a seat at the ‘hot spot’ with this free app – it is super easy to use. Download OpenTable for iPhone.


The Uber app is taking the world by storm and changing the way people navigate cities. No need to worry about hailing a taxi – just ‘Uber’ it. Open the app, find an Uber car nearby you and let it know your location – they’ll be there to pick you up in minutes.

What I love about it – no money physically changes hand. Everything is done via the mobile app – even payment. Easy, safe and fast. Download the Uber app for iPhone.  Pro Tip: Use Uber code – UberCarrieOnTravel and get your first ride free, up to $20. And I’ll get a ride credit too!

iPhone Apps for Visiting New York City


I actually discovered the Way2Ride app while riding *in* a New York City taxi. Once you download the app, securely enter your credit card information (sounds scary, but it isn’t. Promise) and you’ll be ready to pay via the app.

While you are in the taxi, you can enter the car’s Way2Ride number into the app and it syncs up to your account. Once you’ve reached your destination, you are good to go! Easy peasy. I like to think of it as the taxi’s version of using Uber. No money physically changes hand and you can choose the amount of tip to add via the in-taxi monitor. Download Way2Ride for iPhone.

Google Maps

Plug in your location and your destination — and you are ready to explore! Google Maps was my lifesaver as we walked our way around the city. From this app, you can choose your mode of transportation – walking, cab, subway, etc. – and it will show you the suggested route and estimated travel time. Download Google Maps for iPhone.

iPhone Apps for Visiting New York City

Hotel Tonight

If you’re looking for a deal and don’t mind waiting last minute to book a room, check out Hotel Tonight. Use this app to book a discounted hotel rate for today, tomorrow or anytime over the next seven days right from your phone. I watched the rates vary in the days leading up to our visit — definitely some great deals out there. The app will also track rates for you, letting you know when there is a jump in price. Download HotelTonight iPhone app.

CityMapper NYC

Ready to kick up your vacation a notch and navigate the New York City subway and bus system? CityMapper NYC is your guide to learning how the locals live and make their daily commutes. Plug in your starting point and destination and you’ll be on your way. You can also use this to find bike paths and the best walking routes. It will even tell you an estimate of how many calories you can burn during travel.

My sister uses this app exclusively each time she visits the city. It offers real-time updates and traffic patterns, it is a great tool to have on hand. Download CityMapper on iPhone.

CityMapper NYC - Mobile Apps for Visiting New York City

There are so many helpful mobile apps out there – especially traveling. I really felt more comfortable visiting New York with these apps on my phone. I love seeing how technology helps me discover ‘new to me’ places and allows me to explore easier.

What apps do you use when visiting New York City?

** I received no compensation for this post. I’m sharing these apps with you because they were helpful to me. Thoughts are my own. ** 


  • Anastasiya Safonava

    Hi Carrie,

    Great post and very useful apps!

    You should try “Eric’s New York” app. It is a great find for travellers and locals. To describe it in short:

    What does it do?
    It provides you with a map of New York City containing information, points of interest, tips, tricks and everything that you could possibly want to do in New York. There is also a subway map and a tool to book tickets directly. It should be your go-to when navigating around NY. You’ll be able to use the (subway) map offline which gives you the advantage of being able to see where you are at any point. Also, if you have any questions, use the app to contact Eric via email or WhatsApp.

    Why do you need it?
    It saves you a lot of time when navigating in New York. Everything you would need in NY as a tourist is in one app.

    Who is it for?
    It is for people who travel to New York for the first or second time.

    What makes it stand out?
    Available in 12 languages!It is very simple to use for any age. It is free.

    Just try it!:)

  • Niki A

    Hi Carrie,
    Thanks for this post! I find another useful app for nightlife is LineUp. LineUp tells you the current wait times outside of bars and clubs in NYC. We use this to chose the best bar/club to visit since we can avoid waiting in long lines. It also tells you useful information like what vibe to expect, the age of the crowd, and how hard/easy it is to get in – helping us to explore new places.

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