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Staycation, all the apps I ever wanted

Susie Ochs | Sept. 2, 2013
Everyone loves a long weekend, and these apps can help you make the most of it by finding great activities, events, meals, and hotels in your city.

Still standing?Gravy (free for iOS and Android) lets you search for events based on your mood. Red Rover (free for iOS) specializes in family-friendly fare in San Francisco, New York and the Hamptons, Boston, and Atlanta, and even suggests nearby things to do before and after. And Groupon (with free apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone) is still the granddaddy of daily deal apps, but as with LivingSocial, if you find a new favorite spot, make sure to go back and patronize them again at full price someday!

Catch some live music
Sure, it's fun to travel for a big concert, but once the music starts playing, if it's good, you'll forget what city you're in anyway. So you might as well see some bands in your own backyard. As long as you have a safe ride home, go ahead and cut loose—after all, you're not working tomorrow.

Applauze (free for iOS) has listings for concerts, sports, theater, and community events all around you, and lets you buy tickets without leaving the app. Its slick design features a big, beautiful image for each event, and the green ticket icon gives the price you'll actually pay, fees included.

Flip Applauze's category ring to Community to zero in on events more likely to be free, including street fairs, films, and lectures. You can even invite friends via Facebook, SMS, or email, and you both get $5 in credit for the referral. It's currently in 41 cities, and you can preview the selection online.

If you've ever checked out your local concert listings, and thought, "Geez, I've never heard of any of these people," don't automatically assume it's because you're old and lame. (You're totally not.) Just grab Timbre (free for iOS and Android), and as you scroll through its list of upcoming shows in your area, tap a name for more details—including a preview of that band's music, and of course, the opportunity to buy more of it from iTunes. Genius!

Still dancing?BandsInTown (free for iOS and Android) can scan your music library and let you know when your favorites are coming to town, or recommend local shows you might like based on your taste. And Thrillcall (free for iOS and Android) specializes in last-minute tickets, but it's currently limited to San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Seattle, with more cities on the way.

Rest your weary head
Starched white bed linens, tiny bars of soap, a Do Not Disturb sign for the doorknob, and of course maid service: Staying in a hotel is awesome, even in your own city. But you shouldn't pay an arm and a leg, especially when you could be sleeping in your own bed for free.


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