If you’re living in the Bay Area or Silicon Valley, and you have a smart phone…there’s an app for that…
You’ve arrived! You’re here in the technology capitol of the world, some say, so embrace technology and let it help you get settled. Here are some of our favorite apps for getting around, exploring your new community, and trying new things.
WAZE: This is a super charged satnav app that will not only get you from point A to point B, but redirect you while you’re driving if conditions change. When you initially put in your destination address, you can select between 2 or 3 route options, so if you hate driving the 101, and the route via the 280 is only 5 minutes longer, you are free to choose that one.
You can also interrupt your journey, or add a stop, say if you need to drive from San Jose to San Francisco, but you want to stop and get a coffee half way, you can search for a Starbucks or Pete’s that en-route. WAZE also learns, so if you get in the car everyday at 8am to drive to work, it will automatically load up directions to work and ask you if that’s where you’re headed each morning. WAZE works by crowd sourcing data and seeking driver input, so if you see an accident, or an object on the road, you can alert the other drivers behind you, via the app.
YELP: This is like the old telephone books, but again, with an element of user input. Use YELP to search for ‘Mexican restaurants near me’ you’ll get listings based on proximity to your location, but also reviews and tips from customers who’ve eaten there. You can use YELP to find all kinds of businesses from restaurants and gas stations to hair salons and hotels.
It’s a great way to find local hidden gems in your own neighborhood, or when your traveling to somewhere new.
GROUPON: Are you up for a bit of adventure, wanting to try something new, like yoga, or want to check out that new restaurant that just opened up down the street from you. Check Groupon before you go. Groupon is basically an app for coupons. New businesses will often offer special deals, like 2 for 1 dinner, ½ price yoga classes and more to get new customers in the door. It’s a great way to try something new, without paying full price. There are lots of thing to do with kids, the Bay Area Discovery Museum and San Jose Children Museum offers discounted admission regularly, as do other local attractions like the SF Aquarium, USS Hornet and more.
I-STANFORD: Whether or not you’re studying or conducting research on campus, if you’re living in the Bay Area, you should visit the Stanford Campus at least once. If you’ve already been, you’ll know how huge the campus is, and while it is all one campus, rather than building spread across the city, it can take a 30 minutes to walk from one side to the other. I’ve been working and volunteerting on campus for 3 years now, and I still get lost. The I-STANFORD app includes a satnav map, that you can use when walking or driving on campus. It also includes an events calendar, schedules and news for campus athletics, as well as a ‘ticket office’ for buying tickets to sporting events, workshops, concerts and more. If you’re not already aware Stanford also has a free shuttle (The Marguerite), which is open to the public, just hop on and off for an easy way to get around campus. I-STANFORD has a link to the Marguerite schedule with a live map showing when the next shuttle is due to arrive at your stop.
If you’re a student, then you can also use the app to keep track of your Stanford account and course work.
RED TRICYCLE: If you follow Life in the Bay on facebook, then you’ve probably seen some articles that we’ve shared from Red Tricycle:San Francisco. Red Tricycle is a nationwide blog for parents, which offers funny articles and suggestions for keeping your little ones busy in your local area. Their app is a great way to find out about local events that are kid friendly, and also discover indoor play places, parks, library story times and more. Check out their app, and their blog for the best of the bay, that’s just for kids.
What are some of your favorite apps? How have they helped you get settled in the Bay Area, or get out and explore your new neighborhood?