News & Politics

5 Mobile Apps to Put Washington in Your Pocket

Plus—pro tips on how to use them.

Photograph via Shutterstock.

Chesapeake Bay

Basics: The National Park Service’s free directory of more than 400 hiking, boating, and camping spots in the watershed, spanning six states and DC.

Pro tip: Pair this with the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s field guide to plants and animals.

Rock Creek Park

Basics: At $5.99, this should do more than indicate the park’s restrooms, parking lots, and, strangest of all, maintenance sheds. Missing are trailheads and decent picnic spots.

Pro tip: Try a popular (and free) crowd-sourced app like MapMyHike instead.

National Zoo

Basics: This $1.99 GPS-enabled app suggests best walking routes, and it updates you on exhibit openings and closings.

Pro tip: Don’t miss the pandas IRL because you’re watching them on your phone.

National Gallery of Art

Basics: A host of info such as museum hours and current exhibits, plus high-res versions of 130 artworks, all free.

Pro tip: Keep the kids from ruining your visit and let them listen to the app’s children’s audio tour.

DC Restaurant Violations

Basics: The free app culls Department of Health data to show eateries that flunked inspection.

Pro tip: Nix your pals’ favorite greasy spoon with a well-timed health report.

This article appears in our December 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.