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10 Apps for a Great Night Out

While smartphones and tablets can be great entertainment devices in their own right – watching movies, streaming music, reading e-books are just some of the things you can do – they also provide a quick and convenient way to arrange a good night out.

Whether you are looking for a great restaurant, buying movie tickets, or trying to find out which bands are in town, smart location-based apps and lightning-fast networks can help you plan the perfect evening in mere seconds. Here are a few of our favorite apps:


Long regarded as the #1 restaurant-booking app by business people and regular consumers alike, OpenTable allows you to reserve a table at over 25,000 restaurants in the US and Canada. You can browse listings by location, menu, price or rating, and many restaurants also allow you to review specific tables. An OpenTable loyalty system allows you to accumulate dining points, which can be cashed at any OpenTable restaurant for instant savings on your bill.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
Price: Free

Fandango Movies

Whether you are a movie buff or just make the occasional trip to the multiplex, Fandango Movies has everything you need, including reviews, ratings, high-quality trailers, show times, and a sophisticated ticket purchasing system covering over 21,000 screens nationwide. You can search by title, location, genre, rating and more, and you can even sign up to receive FanAlerts when new releases come to town.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
Price: Free


A great app for finding out what’s going on in your local area, Eventbrite lists everything from music festivals to food and wine tastings to charity fun runs. A location-based search tool will tell you what’s happening nearby, or you can search for events by location or activity. You can also check in with Facebook to find out which events your friends are going to. Eventbrite not only lists events but it can help you organize one too!

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free


Purposely avoiding the big national chains, LocalEats instead concentrates on the best independently owned restaurants, as recommended by food critics, bloggers, local dining web sites and more. LocalEats covers virtually every metropolitan area in the US and over 50 international cities. You can search by cuisine, neighborhood, features, price range, and opening hours. LocalEats prides itself on featuring thousands of “undiscovered gems” frequented only by knowledgeable locals.

Platform: iOS
Price: $0.99


The top concert and live music listings app, Bandsintown makes sure you never miss your favorite band, while helping you discover dozens of new and up-and-coming artists. Bandsintown includes complete concert and venue listings for every city; tour schedules for individual artists; notifications for future tour dates; and dozens of reviews and recommendations. You can connect to hundreds of ticket buying sites and share all your finds with friends via Facebook and Twitter.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free


If you like a little more spontaneity in your dining selections, then you can try Urbanspoon and its much-heralded restaurant-finder feature. Just shake your phone and Urbanspoon will use GPS and local networks to suggest a nearby eatery. If you want a little less randomness, then you can search by cuisine or price, or browse recommendations from your friends. You can also use Urbanspoon to make reservations and track your dining history.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free

DrinkedIn Barfinder

If you’re more interested in the pub scene than a movie or a fancy restaurant, then DrinkedIn Barfinder will definitely be to your liking. Part social network, part reference guide, DrinkedIn lists over 150,000 bars in the US and around the world, and includes hundreds of reviews of whiskeys, wines, beers and other adult beverages. DrinkedIn also encourages members to post their drinking profiles and join in the lively forum discussions!

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free


If you’re looking for something a little different, then you might want to try Gravy, which promises to provide you with “the most relevant event ideas based upon your mood.” Gravy tracks your location to provide details of what’s going on around you, or you can use the search feature to plan ahead for a trip. The maps feature helps you plan drive times, and all your events can be saved to your own personal calendar.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free


Once you’ve decided where to go, you’ve now got to find somewhere to park! BestParking is a parking search engine that will help you find the cheapest and most convenient parking garages and lots in 85 cities and 115 airports throughout the US. Details of each location include hours of operation, pricing, indoor/outdoor, self-parking/valet, etc. BestParking also includes special discounts and coupons for additional savings at hundreds of parking establishments.

Platform: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Price: Free

Taxi Magic

If you don’t want to drive, then you can always take a taxi. (Particularly recommended if you are downloading the DrinkedIn Barfinder app!) Taxi Magic allows you to book your taxi electronically, track its arrival, and pay with your credit card. Magic Taxi works with 80 taxi fleets in over 55 major US cities. The Taxi Magic booking service is completely free, with a $1.50 credit card processing fee if you pay through the app.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free

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