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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 hungry? On a real vacation you might be forced to dine out, but on a staycation it's optional. If you don't feel like putting on pants just because restaurants require it, turn to a delivery specialist like Eat24 or Seamless. Better yet, grab a new cooking app and make the fanciest thing you can find, something you'd never take the time to do otherwise. Panna (free for iOS) features recipes by famous chefs like Rick Bayless and Anita Lo, with gorgeous videos to walk you through everything. It's a gorgeous interactive magazine, so you get one free issue with 7 recipes; a bimonthly subscription is $14.99 a year, and back issues are available as in-app purchases too.

Scope out fun stuff to do
When I was a kid and we'd whine to our mom that there was noooothing to do-ooo-ooo, she'd holler back, "Read a book!" Today's moms could just as easily say, "Check the LivingSocial app!" Because while you won't find literature inside, LivingSocial (free for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone) does have a huge range of deals around your city, including tons of activities. Two whole minutes of browsing the things to do category turned up everything from spa packages to flying lessons to horseback riding to beer tasting to movie passes to half-priced skee-ball at Dave & Buster's. It's easy to browse, buy, and share deals from right within the app, and you don't need to bother printing anything either. You're sure to find something cool to do that won't break the bank.

Besides integrating your Google Calendar, Outlook calendar, and Facebook events in one attractive and free iOS and Android app, UpTo features hundreds of niche calendars you can subscribe to, like the schedules for your favorite sports teams and upcoming shows at your favorite concert venues.

Look in UpTo's local section for some intriguing ideas for must-do activities in your area—although these calendars can be a little hit or miss. For example, we found San Francisco Family, but it's sponsored by Ticketmaster and only had two events. On the other hand, San Francisco Art Events was chock-full of gallery openings where you can check out incredible works of art—and hopefully fill up on wine and cheese. UpTo also it makes it easy to alert your friends to stuff it'd be fun to do together. You can have a friends list of UpTo users, or just rely on tried-and-true Facebook, Twitter, and email sharing.

Another app for finding stuff to do, Eventbrite (free for iOS and Android) has some cool categories like Festivals and Outdoors, and it can narrow down results to just this weekend. You can buy tickets to things in the app (some can even be sent to iOS's Passbook feature), and some events are even discounted. Heck yeah I want to save 30 percent on a ticket to the San Jose Bacon Festival!


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