App-solutely Helpful: A Digital Guide to Boston

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Posted April 11, 2013 by Scott Kearnan in Eat & Drink
Boston Apps

Ah, modern technology. Thanks to that smartphone you’re (probably) holding, it’s hard to get lost. Whether you need the closest MBTA station, the best bartender nearby, or just a guide to Boston, there’s probably an app for that. Here are a few of our favorites. Let your fingers do the walking—er, tapping.

Uber: By now, you’ve probably discovered this ultra-handy service. Summon a luxury car to your doorstep or to the corner restaurant with the tap of an app. Not only is it a nice ride, but it’s uber convenient too: Your payment, including gratuity, is automatically deducted from an associated account.

More smart downloads: Hailo, which offers a similar service using Boston cabs, and Sidecar, where you can catch a “rideshare” with ordinary drivers in the area and leave them with a calculated suggested donation.

Freedom Trail Walking Tour: Downtown Boston is filled with history. How to find it? Follow the red line of the Freedom Trail, or just follow this guide, which outlines and describes the 17 stops, including their hours and admission fees.

More smart downloads: Check out Tour Boston’s Black Heritage Trail to discover a dozen more stops that include some of the most historic sites in New England’s black history, from the Underground Railroad to the African Meeting House, where such leaders as Frederick Douglass delivered speeches.

On the Bar App

A sreenshot from the On the Bar app, helping you find your favorite bartenders. Photo Credit: Scott Kearnan

On the Bar: Not all bartenders are created equal. So when you’re barhopping downtown, you want to know where your favorite mix masters—those who know how to make your signature martini just right—have taken a shift. This Boston-based app allows you to do just that: Follow your favorite Hub bartenders and you’ll know when and where they’re working.

More smart downloads: Sometimes you’re craving food from your favorite downtown restaurant but just can’t peel yourself off the sofa. That’s when Foodler comes in handy. Tap through favorite Boston restaurants, assemble a takeout order, and a Foodler driver will pick it up and bring it to you.

Street Food Boston: There’s only one downside to mobile restaurants: They’re mobile. The thing that gives food trucks their charm also makes them hard to peg down, and sometimes we just can’t remember when our favorite grilled cheese dispensary is scheduled to be hanging out on the Greenway. This app collects updated schedules from food trucks and tells you which are nearby. So next time you’re wandering through downtown with a hankering for a gooey grilled cheese, consider this your GPS.

More smart downloads: While it’s great to get restaurant reviews through sites like Yelp!, sometimes you need a guide to Boston scored by a well-known arbiter of taste. Solution: the Zagat Android app.

Spotcycle: Boston’s bike-sharing system, Hubway, makes it easier than ever to go green with your transportation, and build new leg muscles in the process. Actually, correction: Somehow Spotcycle makes it even easier. This multi-city app supports bike-sharing systems in several cities, including Boston. It allows users to find nearby bike stations in downtown Boston, see how many bikes are available, manage personalized routes, and track your rental time, among many other cool features. You officially have no excuse not to put pedal to pavement.

More smart downloads: Driving a four-wheeled vehicle to work? Download BestParking. It identifies the nearest, cheapest garages and parking lots, which will come in handy in downtown Boston, where on-street meter options can be tough to find.

OpenMBTA: At this point, there are plenty of T-related apps that let you browse schedules and get real-time updates on when your train will arrive. So why go for OpenMBTA? Easy. It’s free, easy to use, provides all the important info, and collects every type of MBTA line (bus, subway, commuter rail, boat) in one place. It’s also one of the first of its kind. If you were late to the party, download it now. You’ll never be late again.

More smart downloads: We can all play a part in keeping downtown Boston looking its best with Boston Citizens Connect. It’s a direct link to City Hall, and lets you report eyesores or safety issues, such as graffiti and potholes. You can even track the status of your report and find out when a service team has fixed it.

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