Moving into a new apartment in an urban area, say Atlanta, can be rather daunting at first. But with ratings and reviews apps, you can quickly get the lay of the land. Whenever I move to a new neighborhood, I like to walk around with my smartphone, exploring the area and checking out online reviews.
Nowadays with a smart phone, there are many free applications to help you get settled into your new neighborhood. Walkscore is a personal favorite of mine. On a scale of 0 – 100, this app ranks the walkscore of your home, based on how close you are to schools, coffee shops, restaurants and more. It can also detect your current location on Google Maps and show you the exact distance to desired locations – restaurants, parks, bars, shopping areas, etc. It’s not all about walking though, as WalkScore can also point you toward the closest subway, light rail, or bus station as well. In conjunction with a review site like Yelp, Walkscore can really be a lifesaver when you first set out to explore your new neighborhood.
If you’re looking for a new salon or restaurant to try out, many people use Yelp, a review site where users can post reviews and search for businesses in their neighborhood. The Yelp app is great for finding nearby businesses, writing and reading reviews on the go and even checking-in so your friends can see where you are.
Another great app for finding businesses in your area is Foursquare. Foursquare allows you to check-in at different locations as well as see where your friends have visited and read tips from friends and regulars. Foursquare turns checking-in into a game, awarding users with points and badges when they reach certain levels. Badges include the Gym Rat badge, which is awarded when you’ve checked-in to a gym 10 times in a 30 day period and the Baker’s Dozen badge, which is awarded when you’ve checked in at five different bakeries. You can also follow companies on Foursquare, allowing you to unlock even more badges. Additionally, both Foursquare and Yelp often partner with businesses to offer deals and coupons, giving users even more reasons to check-in with their apps.
If you have kids, a new application has emerged on the market called KidScore. Backed by the same investors that funded WalkScore, KidScore also ranks locations on a 0 – 100 scale, but the ranking is solely based on how kid-friendly the places are. As of today, this app ranks restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, retail stores, dentists and activities and attractions. Although the app is still in Beta mode, the KidScore algorithm apparently already incorporates tons of parents’ reviews – essentially making it a Walkscore/Yelp hybrid application.
Another app worth checking out is Judy’s Book. This particular social search tool can provide insight into a wider range of businesses in your area, such as electricians, auto mechanics, dry cleaners and beauty salons. In addition to consumer reviews, Judy’s Book also offers deals, discounts, and coupons.
Amazingly, in our current technological state, all is takes to get acquainted with your new neighborhood is a smart phone and a pair of sneakers.
This is a guest post from John Donegan, a writer at SpareFoot, the online marketplace where you can find and reserve a self-storage unit with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals. John lives in Austin, TX and occasionally directs videos for rap artists.