Assuming you’re already here in the fabled City of Angels, you won’t be in want of housing apps (such as Zumper, Redfin, RadPad, etc.). But you will need a lot of help in other areas – from getting around in our insane traffic, to having fun hiking the drought-dried hillsides – so here are my 10 most-fave fingertip finders.
Waze is a godsend. You may think you don’t need another map app, since every smart phone comes with its own (and Google Maps is pretty sweet with its option to avoid freeways altogether). But Waze is mapping gone social — with more than 30 million active users chiming in, Waze stays on top of traffic so you can get real-time stats. Pop ups tell you of traffic hazards, such as stalled cars. It even warns you of potholes!
Of course, my favorite feature is the cop-alert (visible, and hidden speed traps). Waze helps guide you around the most congested traffic, using some rather interesting and scenic routes. Even though I was born and raised in LA, Waze has opened my eyes to some beautiful drives I never would have otherwise known existed. Another plus: When my native iPhone app fails in Downtown LA (because of the tall buildings interfering with GPS), Waze never steers me wrong 🙂
2. Gas Buddy
Even though you may not be in traffic for as long thanks to Waze, you’re still going to be feeding your gas tank like it’s the hungry maw of an insatiable fuel-monster. And with petrol prices skyrocketing this summer, you’re going to feel the pain. It’ll hurt just a little less with Gas Buddy. It’s easy to use: just open the app and it will automatically detect your location. It then gives you oodles of options either in list format with the price of gas, the address of the station (which you can hold down with your finger to open in Maps) and how far it is from you; or you can view it on a grid which shows the station along with the price.
Don’t feel like getting behind the wheel? Be sure you have the Uber app. Founded in 2009 in San Francisco (a city that’s even harder to get around in than LA), Uber is a car service which employs local folks who can pick you up in their car at a moment’s notice and take you where you need to go. Since our public Metro system is pretty shoddy to say the least, Uber has found a niche and it’s fundamentally changing inner-city transit.
4. Park Me
Now that you’re all gassed up and ready to go the path of least resistance, you’ll probably need to park once you reach your destination. Here’s where Park Me comes in handy. Just tell the app where you’re headed, browse garages and lots nearby, and compare rates. What’s more, there will be no “Dude, where’s my car?” dilemma: Park Me also pinpoints your parked car and remembers where it sits by using automatic detection technology to mark the location as soon as your leave your vehicle.
Postmates is basically the same as Uber, but for anything you want delivered. They employ local independent contractors as couriers, making it so you can get whatever you like without ever having to leave your cozy couch. Simply open the app, search for a restaurant, fast food joint, store, dry-cleaner, etc., select or type in the item, and checkout. Once you’ve submitted your order, the call will be sent out to all available Postmates couriers, you’ll be shown a photo and name of the person who accepts your delivery, and bam! it’s yours within an hour or less (track the progress real time on the map). The delivery fee is built in, so while you can tip extra, it is not mandatory.
6. My LA 311
With My LA 311, quickly pinpoint public facilities such as pools, tennis courts, golf courses, parks and libraries. Your nearest fire and police stations are also just a screen-swipe away.
Five fab, cool, or educational things to do in Los Angeles, every day – not tomorrow, not next week, but today! Curated by a brain trust of local artists, musicians and designers, this is a calendar created especially for urban exploration and speaks to your inner spontaneity like no other app.
8. KRCW Radio / KRCW Fringe Benefits
Most of you listen to KCRW in your car, but did you know now it can come with you on walks, to the gym, and everywhere else? The KCRW Radio app streams all three KCRW channels (On Air, Music and News). Music shows include real-time track lists for each show with the ability to purchase from iTunes. Or, you can choose the Listen On Demand option. It’s sister app, Fringe Benefits, gets you loads of deals all over the city, and app keeps the list handy for you to click and collect your discounts anytime.
9. Every Trail
Who needs a poseur gym when you’ve got LA’s stellar weather and knockout natural resources? Locate a hike that fits your fitness level and gives you a heads-up on sights to see (Griffith Park has the Hollywood Sign, but Runyon’s got the famous Bat-Caves, and some even have observatories with telescopes!).
10. California Farmer’s Market Finder
Have you been to the produce section at your local supermarket? Not so super, is it? With the Farmer’s Market Finder in your palm, you’ll never have to squeeze sub-par pears again. Sort the markets by neighborhood, day of the week, and hours of operation.