May 22, 2017

Spotted by Locals: 50+ City Guide Apps (DC is Free This Week)

spotted by localsHave you started to plan out your family vacations and weekend getaways for this summer? There’s still snow on the ground here in Northern Virginia, but I’ve been busy planning out family trips for weeks. At the very least, it’s a good way to take my mind off of the cold and ice.

With this in mind, I was excited to learn about a new (or maybe just new to me) app called Spotted by Locals, which is a city guide app featuring maps, articles and insider tips. The app is free, but you’ll spend $3.99 per city as an in-app purchase for each of the 50+ city guides inside the app.

Spotted by Locals AppHowever, one city is free each week through the iPhone app. This week (through March 9), the free city is Washington, DC, and next week I hear it will be Boston. For Android, you can get the DC city guide for only $.99 this week. You can also pay $.99 to get the content as a .PDF file.

From within the city guide on the Spotted by Locals app, it’s easy to sort articles by category, like “Relaxing” and “Theaters,” though it would have been nice if there was a “Family” category. Still, I liked that the app gave me new ideas. For example, I knew about The Improv for stand-up comedy, but I had no idea that there was a place called Topaz that featured amateur stand-up comedy on Thursdays. Fun.

The DC-specific app has maybe 50 to 75 “insider” articles on various attractions and restaurants around town. Each article is maybe 150 words, so you won’t get a comprehensive overview of what you’ll find at a certain spot in town, but you will learn a few quick highlights, what to bring, what not to miss and, in some cases, what to order.

Spotted by Locals AppAs a bonus, the app lets you know what’s nearby and also lets you favorite individual attractions and restaurants if you want to stop in on your visit. The app even plots out each spot on a map.

It appears as though Spotted by Locals originated in Europe since there are 40+ in-app city guides for European cities from Paris to Vilnius (this is in Lithuania; I had no idea). There are nine city guides for North American cities, including Chicago, New York and Montreal.

While you can see much of the content for each city on the Spotted by Locals website, it was helpful to have it all on my iPhone, along with maps and directions. I’m headed to Boston in July with some friends so I’m looking forward to grabbing the Boston city guide shortly. Be sure to check out the app and let me know what you think.


  1. Thank you so much Erin for this nice article about Spotted by Locals! Hope you get to enjoy our app “live” in one of our cities sometime!

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