Whether you want to get to know your own city on a deeper level or explore secret spots in unfamiliar places, this collection of smartphone apps will take you on adventures you’d otherwise miss. Check out these scavenger hunts, walking tours, history lessons, interactive tasks that take you on random routes, user-submitted local favorites and other ways to interact with urban environments in fun and unexpected ways.
Derivé: Random Tasks Send You on an Adventure
Explore your city – or an unfamiliar city – in a totally new way with the Derivé app, which randomly assigns you a task to do, like “find your favorite building”, “follow a hat,” “sit for two minutes” or “find a tree.” Refreshed every three minutes, the task cards lead you on a single-person scavenger hunt that will encourage you to take routes you’d never take otherwise and experience your environment in a new way.
History Pin: See History in Real Time
This user-generated history map lets you see what cities used to look like thanks to submitted historical photographs, which are pinned onto their real-life locations. The app uses Google Maps and Street View technology to overlay the historic photos onto the live camera view. Just hold up your phone in the street, and it’ll give you a glimpse of the past.
Spotted by Locals: Get the Inside Scoop
When you’re traveling, it’s easy enough to wander randomly without the use of a smartphone or simply go by tourist guide recommendations, but finding out what locals love can be more challenging. The Spotted by Locals app tells you what’s popular in any given spot, and it’s constantly updated to keep track of business openings and closings.
Geocaching: Treasure Hunting Challenge
The classic treasure-hunting app that has explorers digging for cleverly hidden containers called ‘geocaches’ remains the most popular way to participate in the adventure. The Geocaching app shows you geocaches near your location, allows you to message other players for hints and log the treasures you’ve found.
Geo Street Art Apps for New York City & London
Available for major cities like New York City and London, the Geo Street Art apps feature hundreds of local and international street artists, pointing you to their work so you can see it in person. ‘Street Art London’ and ‘Street Art New York City’ provide a “comprehensive reference point” of the street art scene, including artist biographies. The London version boasts over 600 images from over 90 artists in 270 locations.