Chances are, even if you’re a lifelong resident of a particular city, you don’t know every nook and cranny, every food truck location, or the lore of every interesting local building. Apps for smartphones, tablets and other gadgets are making big urban centers feel smaller than ever, making it easy to catch a ride, find cheap eats, check out street art and make new friends.
Eat Cheap – Roaming Hunger
Find out where your next meal is parked with Roaming Hunger, an app that shows real-time food truck locations in your area. The app not only displays the trucks on a map, with their hours at that location, but also allows you to sort results by meal, and browse menus. Additional apps are city-specific, like Street Food App, which currently shows schedules for Boston, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
Maps and Travel Guides – City Maps 2Go
Want access to maps while traveling abroad, without gobbling up roaming data or lurking in a spot that offers wi-fi? City Maps 2Go downloads maps for the cities of your choice for offline use, including millions of POI (restaurants, bars, hotels etc.), 500,000 Wikipedia entries for sites and attractions, and travel guides. It’s avaiable for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Connect – MeetMe
Among the most popular apps to show you who’s nearby and looking to meet new people, MeetMe gives both social butterflies and the shy an easy way to connect. You’ll probably find more people looking to date than to make new friends, and it might be easier to just walk up to someone and introduce yourself than spend your time scrolling through photos, but hey – whatever works.
Avoid Your Friends – Hell is Other People
Maybe, instead of making new friends, you want to avoid the ones you already have. There’s an app for that, too. Hell is Other People will show you where your friends are based on check-ins on Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram and other networks, and provide ‘safe zones’ where you can hang out without being recognized. Of course, it only works if your contacts are avid users of social media, and you might find yourself relegated to unexpected places in the city.
Find Street Art – 1AM Mobile
This free photo app called 1AM Mobile lets users pinpoint, share and discover street art in their own communities before it’s gone, as it often is within days or weeks of completion. Shoot photos of street art and the app will map them, date them and credit you as the photographer before sharing them worldwide.