No one likes trying to find an ATM when they’re out and about. To avoid that hassle, here are some of the top mobile apps to help you better plan your days of fun in Chicago.
Fun on Two Wheels
If you need to take short trips around the city, consider the Divvy bike program. You can sign up for a 24-hour pass for $7 or an annual membership for $75 and grab a bike anywhere between Andersonville and Hyde Park. There are thousands of bikes and hundreds of stations (there’s an app that lets you know the closest Divvy stations, and how many bikes and docks are available), and a bike comes especially in handy during festival season when it can be difficult to park or find a taxi.
Bottle Service Made Easier
Think you need your wallet for a night out on the town? Think again. Night Club Deal has connections to some of the more popular hot spots in the city, including The Mid, Sound-Bar, Transit, Underground, Vertigo Sky Lounge, and Y Bar. All you have to do is choose a venue, enter how many people are in your party, your available budget, bottle selections, and the date you’re planning to go. They’ll negotiate with the club on your behalf to get you the best deal. You pay everything in advance (including the tip), so all you’ll have left to do is show up and party.
The Perfect Valet
Looking for parking in the downtown area can be exhausting, and dealing with valet services can be a pain. Parche is a new app that allows you to request your car and pay for valet parking (including tip) all from your device, without even leaving your table. You can thankfully use the service at a number of restaurants and bars known for long valet waits. You’ll no longer have to stand out in the rain or cold at Au Cheval, Girl & the Goat, Japonais by Morimoto, Paris Club, or Summer House.
Go Cashless at the Salon
The last thing you want to do after a cut, color, or mani-pedi is fumble around in your handbag for your cash—thankfully, top mobile apps can save your freshly painted nails. Pretty Quick is a pretty sweet idea, as it allows you to pay for your spa services (including tip) with your mobile device. Some of Chicago’s top beauty editors are responsible for choosing the app’s featured spas and salons, so you’ll know you’re in good hands.
A Concierge for Culinary Types
More than 40 restaurants are on board with Reserve, a concierge-style app designed to snag you that impossible-to-get table and let you pay for dinner without ever opening your wallet. The best part about it is that, during prime dining time—when your server is nowhere to be found—you can tap the app to pay and leave.
Paying Made Easier on the CTA
What’s cool about Ventra is that it doubles as a prepaid Mastercard and payment method for the Chicago Transit Authority. It certainly beats holding up the line because you’re searching for the correct amount for fare. You can keep track of your balance and load funds online, by phone, or at various retail locations.