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Living in or visiting the Windy City means one thing: The potential for a bad hair day increases exponentially. Luckily there’s Whittl, an app that lets you book appointments at your favorite salons and barbershops (nail salons and spas, too) throughout the city. Search your spot, make an appointment, and even pay in-app. Bad hair day? What bad hair day?
Millennium Park, Shedd Aquarium, lots of beaches—Chicago is full of great parks and public spaces. Get the scoop on what’s happening in parks all over the city with the My Chi Parks app. Browse events and see what’s close to you. Then grab your shades and head out.
From fine dining places like Alinea to white-hot spots like Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat, DINE by Tasting Table finds the perfect restaurant for you every time. Search using filters, like neighborhood or cuisine, or scroll through one of their curated lists, like best Mexican food, best brunch spots, classic restaurants or Hot Tables, their always-fresh list of where to eat right now. Download it here.
You could order Seamless again, but that’ll make a solid week of eating dinner on your couch. Get a home-cooked meal with Feastly, a web service that lets you book meals from experienced chefs in their homes. Sign up, join a meal or request one, and show up for some tasty eats and good company. Netted readers get 10% off a meal with code:
Divvy runs the bikeshare system in Chicago, and one enterprising Chicagoan created Chivvy to help people use it: Get the app to locate bike stations and see available bikes and dock space, and type in a location to see nearby stations and get directions. Now get out and ride.
When it comes to Chicago’s best, summer always wins. Don’t waste a single second of it searching for where to go. Instead, turn to Belly. This app uncovers local favorites and earns you points when you visit. Belly members can redeem points for rewards and access exclusive offers. Download the Belly app and get rewarded for doing what you do best: being a loyal customer.
Sometimes you just need the answer to a simple question. If you’re wondering why you’re standing on the platform and your train is nowhere in sight, get Is Metra Late?, which will tell you if your train is behind schedule. (It will not, however, help you with your relationship issues.)
Now let’s get you a table at one of Chi-Town’s finest restaurants: a totally feasible goal, thanks to Table Savvy for iOS and Android. Not only does this service get you last-minute reservations at the best spots for a measly $5, but it negotiates your bill down by 30%. Plus, sign up now and your first reservation is free. Is that your stomach growling?
Residents and Chicago tourists alike may find themselves uttering (screaming?) these words: Where is the #$%ing El train?! Don’t yell into the darkness. Get QuickTrain for iOS, an app that uses your location to tell you exactly when your train will arrive.
You know the public radio game is strong in the city that gave us This American Life. Catch up on that and a whole lot more with WBEZ’s app for iOS and Android: Listen, rewind, and record live programming while out and about, follow shows to have new episodes automatically added to your queue, and browse curated playlists to discover something new.
Phew, you just barely made the train. And you bought a ticket, right? Whoops. Make sure you’re paid up and ready to go with the Ventra app, which allows you to buy Metra commuter rail tickets, look up train and CTA bus schedules, check your Ventra card balance, and more.
The DoStuff team has the scoop on the best way to spend your Saturday (or any other day) in cities across the US, Canada, and Mexico—and Chicago is no exception. Pull up the Do312 app (iOS + Android) to browse concerts, plays, happy hours, and more; buy tickets, and spend your weekend doing something awesome.
Need to move your stuff from Rush Street to your new pad on Belmont? Skip the generic movers and download Dolly. Create a post about the item(s) you need moved and where, and a background-checked truck owner will move it for you. Moving is no longer the pits.
Don’t miss that concert at Metro on account of transit delays. Download Transit App, map your route, and see departure times for all nearby buses, trains, and even bike share locations. In Chicago, that covers, CTA, Pace, Metra, and NICTD. Rock on.
We know you’ve got places to be. One problem—where do you park once you get there? For help finding that perfect spot, get Meter Beaters, a map of all the free parking in downtown Chicago. With useful features like street cleaning notifications, it’ll help you avoid any parking mishaps, too.
Visiting a new city usually involves a lot of looking around and wondering, “What’s that?” If you’re visiting Chicago, though, you don’t have to wonder: Get 312Go, and you’ve got a tour guide in your pocket. It tracks your location as you wander and gives you brief audio clips about landmarks near you. Oh, that’s a giant stainless steel legume.
You’re finally home after a long day, can’t wait to relax with a cold beer and… dammit! Fridge is empty. Don’t go back out there. Download Foxtrot (iOS and Android) to shop a curated list of wine, beer, snacks, and other essentials, and they’ll be delivered to your door in under an hour.
Speaking of delivery, Chicago is one of the few lucky cities to be home to Sprig: an app (iOS and Android) that lets you order delicious, chef-prepared meals from a daily-updated menu and have them delivered to your door in 20 minutes.
Chicago is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking architecture. Whether you’re a resident or just visiting, interested in International style or Frank Lloyd Wright, check out the Chicago Architecture Foundation to discover all available city tours, events, and to book your tickets.
You visited the Windy City and realized “this is where I want to be.” Find your dream apartment with Chicago’s own Domu. Chat directly with landlords, get instant emails and text alerts, and find a place in no time with certified, real listings. Soon enough you’ll be jogging along the lakefront.
Guide • May 9, 2016