Best App for Local Recommendations



Yelp Screenshot

Bursting With Businesses: Yelp gets you started with a selection of popular categories. Make a selection, and Yelp lists the businesses closest to you. Restaurants, bars, and coffee shops headline the category list (and earn the vast majority of reviews), but Yelp offers ratings for just about any service you might need, from acupuncture to veterinarians.


Yelp Screenshot

The Skinny: When you've got something specific in mind, tap the Search icon and enter a business name or keyword. Like the category search, Yelp lists matches by proximity and shows the address, rating, and number of reviews for each. Tap the Filter button to winnow results by price or opening hours, or tap the Map button to see the results pinned down around you.


Yelp Screenshot

Directory Details: Yelp offers to map, call, or give directions for any of its listings, which just on its own makes for a useful resource. Yelp's big draw, though, is its deep collection of tell-it-like-it-is reviews from local customers. The business page shows a snippet from one review; tap for more, or contribute your own quick tip, add a photo, or start drafting a longer review.


Yelp Screenshot

Local Color: Yelp's listings feature wall-to-wall commentary, with popular venues running to hundreds of impassioned reviews. (Entire dissertations have been written on why a Chinese restaurant's kung pao chicken deserves three stars instead of four.) The app keeps this manageable by capping the display at 50 reviews, featuring shorter "quick tips," and highlighting reviews that include popular terms or phrases for the business.


Yelp Screenshot

Dish Your Experience: Yelp encourages you to add your two cents, too—but not a penny more. The app accepts only short, Twitter-style quick tips of 140 characters or less. The app lets you draft longer reviews, but you can publish those from the website only, not the app itself. Either way, you'll need a free account to share your wisdom. An account also lets you bookmark listings and track friends' reviews.

Top Pick


Version reviewed: 2.0.2
Yelp is the kingpin of grassroots review resources, featuring 6 million reviews of businesses across the US, Canada, the UK, and Ireland. Let the site's official app point you to a great bite, a spirited watering hole, a reliable oil change, or a brainy bookstore. Choose a category, and the app lists nearby businesses, ranked and reviewed by a gaggle of irreverent (and voluble) yelpers. Find what's popular, or add your own voice to the mix.

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