San Francisco Travel Apps of the Month
San Francisco is the city for innovation. That means there's always a new tool for you, the visitor, to plan, explore and eat your way through the city. Here are our previous apps of the month. Download them now.
March/April App of the Month - de Young
The de Young Museum is one of San Francisco’s most iconic museums. Located in the heart of Golden Gate Park, the building houses everything from paintings to sculptures from the 17th to the 21st centuries.
It’s a must-see for any art lover visiting the Bay Area. Also, a must: downloading the de Young app before you go. Designed specifically for the de Young, the location-aware app can pinpoint where you are within the walls of the museum and help you navigate to particular pieces you don’t want to miss. Even better, the app includes exclusive audio explanations of some of the museum’s best pieces narrated by de Young’s curators. When you approach a piece that has additional information available in the app, your phone will vibrate, prompting you to take a few minutes to learn more.
If you plan on spending the day, the app can also point out things like the restrooms, cafe and the museum store, where you can pick up a memento of your trip to take home with you. - Emily Price
February App of the Month - Road to 50
Walking around downtown San Francisco this February you might notice something is a little different: it’s been transformed into “Super Bowl City.” While the actual game might be being played in Santa Clara, we’re got a ton of Super Bowl activities available in city as well. From free concerts and autograph opportunities, to visual displays — there’s something going on for everyone.
The Road to 50 Super Bowl app is a quick and easy way for you to keep track of everything going on downtown, and find the events or activities you’d like to attend. The free app displays everything that’s happening, organized by day, in both Super Bowl City and the NFL Experience in the Moscone Center. As you find things you like, you can add them to your own personalized itinerary.
A built-in map shows you where each event is located, when it's open, and whether or not you need tickets. Tickets for many events can be purchased within the Road to 50 app, and if you’re hoping to go to that big event in Santa Clara, you can collect “badges” within the app for participating in certain activities downtown that might ultimately translate into free tickets to the big game. - Emily Price
January 2016 App of the Month - Detour 2.0
San Francisco has a ton of great, organized tour options for exploring the city. However, if you want to check it out on your own, it can be a bit difficult to figure out where to go and what to see.
That’s where Detour comes in. The mobile app offers audio tours of the city curated and narrated by some of the people that live here. Rather than traditional stops like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate, Detour takes you places like Haight-Ashbury, where you can relive the Summer or Love through the voice of luminaries like Peter Coyote, who experienced it, or San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, an area rich with history that is often overlooked by travelers.
Instead of launching new single walks, the recently-released 2.0 version of the app will launch cities as fully realized sets of Detours, with each walk revealing an important aspect of the city's identity. Think of a multi-part documentary that isn’t just about a place, it's in the place. The app allows you to sync your tour with three friends, so you can enjoy the journey together. The app also highlights the best places to shop and eat along each Detour, as well as hidden gems in the area, in case you want to hit pause and do a little additional exploring. - Emily Price
November/December 2015 App of the Month - Shyp
From the small craft vendors at the Ferry Building to the high-end designer shops in Union Square, San Francisco has a little something for everyone when it comes to holiday shopping. If your eyes are little bit bigger than your suitcase this season, we also have a simple way to get your purchases back home using your smartphone.
Shyp is a San Francisco company that handles the shipment of your purchases, no matter how big or small, for you. To send something, all you have to do is snap a photo of it. Shyp will come to your hotel room or Airbnb within 20 minutes armed with packing supplies, and package everything up safely for you. The Shyp employee then handles mailing your stuff through a traditional carrier like USPS, FedEx, or UPS. They take care of all the shipping materials (you didn’t realize you’d need boxes and bubble wrap when you left home, did you?), and will ensure that your package is shipped in an affordable way, all for just a $5 fee.
Since they’re handling the search for packing materials and the trip to the post office, you’ll have more time to explore the city, and maybe pick a gift up for yourself in the process. - Emily Price
October 2015 App of the Month - DogVacay
Traveling with your favorite canine can be a lot of fun, but what do you do when you want to spend the day checking out attractions that might not be the best environment for Fido? DogVacay is a SF-born app that allows you to send your favorite furball off for a vacation day of his own, with a local San Francisco resident as a companion. The service offers both daycare and overnight options, with literally hundreds of different dog sitters to choose from located across the city.
Individual pet sitters on the site are vetted by DogVacay, and have reviews posted from previous guests to give you a feel for how the experience has been for other dogs. Pricing ranges from just $15 to $100, depending on the host you choose. Some hosts work from home, and can offer your pet a day at the park or playing in the backyard with other dogs. Some of the more expensive options offer accommodations with licensed dog trainers, who can ensure your pooch not only has a good time, but comes home with a few new skills as well.
Every reservation through DogVacay also comes with premium pet insurance, so if anything does happen, your furball can get medical attention right away. Even better, hosts will send you photos of your pup throughout the day so you can see just how much fun they’re having without you. - Emily Price
September 2015 App of the Month - Maps.Me
When your travels take you a bit off the beaten path, you’re likely going to need a map. Something like Google or Apple Maps is great when you’re looking for quick turn-by-turn directions to a new lunch spot. If you plan on spending the day exploring; however, then constantly using your Maps application can be brutal on your mobile data plan. If your travels take you to a crowded street fair or a remote area, then you might also run into connectivity issues that can make loading those maps slow if not impossible.
Maps.me allows you to download maps onto your iPhone or Android device and then access them while you’re out and about without using data. Maps work just like the online versions you’re accustomed to, and include walking and biking directions as well as the ability to bookmark particular points of interest.
Since the maps are stored on your phone, they’ll load a lot faster than maps you’re having to pull from the web, they also don’t require an internet connection, so you’ll be able to access them no matter where your city adventures take you throughout the day. - Emily Price
August 2015 App of the Month - Localeur
From the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz, San Francisco has a number of iconic stops that every tourist needs to hit when visiting the city. Beyond the traditional highlights, San Francisco also has a ton more to offer. However, finding those hidden gems can be a bit difficult if you don’t know where to look.
That’s where Localeur comes in. The mobile app compiles advice from locals and offers suggestions on things to see, places to eat and what to do while you’re visiting the Bay Area. Recommendations are presented in the form of lists. Some popular compilations include Desserts That’ll Make You Want To Skip Dinner, Spots with Lines Worth Waiting In, and the Most Reservation-Worthy Restaurants. Destinations are ranked within each list, and you can tap on individual recommendations to find out more information, view contact information and get directions.
If you end up trying something out and enjoy it, you can vote it up within the app so that a particular destination is ultimately ranked higher in the list for future visitors. Likewise, you can vote down suggestions you think weren’t quite worth it, ultimately causing them to drop in the ranks. If you’re just looking for something to do right now, the app also offers a Nearby feature where you can simply check out what hot spots are near your current location. - Emily Price
July 2015 App of the Month - Guidekick
There’s a lot to explore in San Francisco. Many of the city’s most iconic tourist destinations are packed with rich history. Guidekick helps you learn about places like Alcatraz and The Ferry Building not only while you’re visiting, but also once you get home.
The app has 3D maps of each destination you can navigate and explore on your phone, and is packed with a tremendous amount of interesting facts and historical information on each spot. For instance, the Golden Gate Park section of the app has narrated information about large destinations like the California Academy of Sciences as well as detailed information and audio narration explaining the countless statues and monuments in the park. It’s an experience comparable to having your own tour guide, but you can explore at a pace you’re comfortable with.
Individual guides within the app are available for $2.99 each as an in-app purchase, or you can buy all of the guides for San Francisco as a package for $5.99. - Emily Price