10 must-have apps for newbies in NYC

Download these to ensure you’re thriving – not just surviving.

Editorial Team

By Editorial Team

view of buildings in lower Manhattan in New York City

For NYC newbies, must-have mobile applications make it easier to move around independently and to get to know where to go. Downloading the right apps can help you navigate the city like a pro and find your local go-to spots. It can be difficult to decide which apps to install on your smartphone – these days there are just too many. So we’ve selected 10 essential apps to give you a head start with your fresh start in New York City.


The must-have app for moving around

NYC subway entrance


Okay, so you don’t know the city by the back of your hand yet. But knowing how to make your way around the city will make you feel more confident. Citymapper is not your typical navigation and bus app – it’s a one-stop-shop for your transportation options. On their app, it lists getting around by bus, train, subway, bike, ferry, walking or ride-sharing services. Billed as the ‘Ultimate Transport App’, it has an arsenal of tools to help you master New York’s transit landscape.

Integrated with trips, the app tells you where to board the train so you can be close to the exit when you get off. It also has live service alert notifications for the subway, LIRR, Metro-North, and subway trips can be saved offline. The multi-modal super router combines all transit modes, but if you’re opting for an Uber, you can check for the best deals. Citymapper shows all the different Uber options for your A to B with price estimates and estimated arrival.

Sit Or Squat

The handy app for when nature calls

SitOrSquat is a free app for finding a public restroom near you. If you’re dashing around the city bursting to go, there’s no need to urgently ask if you can use the restroom. On this app, you’ll be able to see the nearest public bathrooms in list or map view. You can be picky, checking out cleanliness ‘ratings’ marked on the app with a green or red toilet paper roll. Or scroll through users’ snaps and filter searches by ‘handicap accessible’ or ‘baby changing table’. Rest assured, you’ll find a restroom.


The best NYC app for coffee-lovers

CUPS helps you discover and patronize NYC’s best independent cafes. A cup of coffee is an everyday essential. A great local coffee shop can also be a base to work from or a place to catch up with friends. It’s also a good spot to take a break when exploring a new neighborhood. All of the coffee shops listed are independent businesses to encourage supporting the local community. Who knows? Some may become your new favorite hidden gem in NYC. The app features prepaid plans for discounted drinks at listed vendors, with 15% off for frequenting participating places.

Chairish Buy & Sell Home Decor

The most exciting app for home décor

Arriving in a new apartment comes with the task of making the place your own. If your apartment isn’t furnished, you’ll be looking to get the right pieces to fit the space. Or maybe you’re downsizing and looking to let go of some stuff – ergo, declutter. A home decor app can assist you in all of these areas from the comfort of your phone. The Chairish app sells unique vintage items. From art to furniture, you can view items in your room, save your favorite products, and make offers directly to sellers for those items you want. And, you can sell your own items on the app as well.

While home decorating can be fun, it’s also a hassle having to buy new furniture, especially if you are on a short-long term stay. Blueground apartments in NYC come fully furnished and equipped so guests can settle in straight away. You won’t have to deal with coordinating two movers and a van during your arrival, nor fret overselling your $1500 bedframe on departure. More about this relocation lifesaver is below.


The simple app for going Dutch

Splitwise takes the trouble out of sharing expenses – with friends, with roommates, with anyone. It’s likely that you’ll be throwing yourself into accepting social invitations to meet people. With this comes dining out, and the inevitable bill-splitting that comes with it. These moments don’t have to be so awkward if you use a bill-splitting app as a group. Stay organized when splitting month-long expenses with roommates or dividing costs during group travel. Splitwise organizes shared expenses in one place for everyone to see who they owe and sends reminders on outstanding debts. 


The in-the-know app for a theatre fix

There’s always plenty of performing arts to discover in NYC. Todaytix offers same-day discounted ticket deals for the best shows on Broadway and off-Broadway. A great option for a last-minute entertainment option and ideas for things to do with new friends you’re getting to know. You can browse curated lists of shows around themes like ‘Bang for your Buck’, ‘Critics’ Pick’ and ‘Boundary Breakers’. With something for everyone, from musicals, dance, comedy, opera, or immersive theater, the shows are bookable up to 30 days in advance.

Cool Cousin

The secret app for living like a local

Cool Cousin builds communities of captivating locals (aka “Cousins”) who are passionate about their city and sharing it with others. Playing the role of the friend you wish you had on arrival at a new destination, the app connects users with ‘cousins’. They share curated guides of their top picks, places, activities and personal insights. This comes visualized in up-to-date maps with highlighted hot spots. This is one of the top apps for those new to NYC and looking for up-to-the-minute recommendations. Who knew you had such an extended family!


The complete app for meeting like minds

A fast way to connect to like-minded people in a new city is by attending or creating a Meetup group. Maybe you’re interested to start a local running group or organize some networking drinks. On the Meetup app, you can explore and discover groups in your area focused on your interests. Volunteering when you’re new in a city is also a great way to connect to the community and meet people. Meetup also features groups that connect users to local volunteering opportunities. Use the app to discover a neighborhood with a Meetup group like Exploring NYC Neighborhoods.  Or link up with some fellow crafty people at a hobby based Meetup group like Knitting Around New York. There are often day trips and overnight excursions on Meetup, perfect if you want to get away for the weekend on an organized trip with a particular theme.

Central Park Entire

The go-to app for visiting Central Park

Lake in Central Park NYC with skyscrapers in the background


Green spaces in urban cities give you some space to breathe. Central Park is a world of its own that attracts 40 million visitors a year. But don’t be put off by the crowds, there’s plenty of space, 843 acres to be exact. The United States first landscaped public park offers New Yorkers access to outdoor amenities navigatable by the app. The Central Park Entire app features beautifully illustrated guides around the park. On the app, maps identity 20,000 trees and 300 individual park sites to access historical facts and practical information.


The all-in-one app for household management

When you’re new in town, it can be a challenge to make time to keep on top of household tasks. You’ve got laundry and dry cleaning but aren’t sure where the local laundromat is? Or perhaps your thinking of hiring a cleaner, but don’t have any local contacts yet. To make household tasks easier for their guests, Blueground apartments come with a Guest App. On the app, you can do everything from paying bills to scheduling in on-demand cleaning.

The Blueground Guest App is created for tenants holding a booking and available for iOS and for Android.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The Blueground editorial team covers the best things to see, do, and experience in our cities around the world.