Bronwyn Thompson June 15, 2012
Technological revolution ... the Sydney Opera House will soon have its own app. Photo: James Morgan
Plan a great time out with these essential entertainment apps.
Smartphones haven't been just a technological revolution - they've also changed the way we tap into what's going on in the city in which we live. There's a world of information to pull up in seconds, which is particularly handy when planning a big day (or night) out. From galleries big and small to movies, music and much more, you'll always have your finger on the pulse of Sydney culture as long as you keep one also on your smartphone and these essential apps.
This one-stop shop for art, music, entertainment and cultural events is ideal for when you want to see something but don't know what. View with a user-friendly scrolling calendar and click on the event to get a rundown of it, its price, a map and options to share on social-media platforms. You can use the guide as a guest, but if you become a member you can log events, make comments and more. Skip the hard work and view the popular events.
Feel like a spot of art gazing? This handy app will have you on the cutting edge of culture, with exhibitions split into what's on for that day, what's closing soon, what's coming up and openings. If you're not sure where to start, view featured events or see exhibitions close to you on a Google map. You can also browse galleries and add favourites. Gallery hours are also listed - important, since many smaller art spaces are closed a day or two of the week.
There's a lot more to the Art Gallery of NSW than pictures on white walls, which is clear when you take a look at its app. Browse film screenings, kids' events, artist talks, live music and the popular art.afterhours happenings, with a calendar that lists all the details - including the present day and what's on hour by hour. You can also split the calendar into events and exhibitions, which we think you'll appreciate just as much as a fine Picasso.
A handy guide for tapping in to what's cool in town, The Thousands homes in on dining and drinking (Eatdrink), unusual activities (Stray), shopping (er, Shop), music, art and more. An extension of the website of the same name, this is the app that will have you find a seat at the hottest cool bar quicker than it takes to muddle a mojito. You can also view a calendar of events, save favourites and check what's on in your neighbourhood.
The days of looking up film listings on paper are numbered, thanks to convenient apps such as this one. Watch film trailers, get on top of coming releases, read reviews from the excellent Rotten Tomatoes and add your own reviews to share on Facebook. But, most importantly, it has easy-to-use, accurate information on screening times. This may help you avoid going into a cinema blind and sitting through a terrible movie.
You'll never be stuck for ideas for family days out thanks to this great app, which has the smaller city-dweller in mind. Activities are split into regions - north, south, city and so on - and each has all the information you could need to plan a drama-free day out, right down to the food options on hand and recommended age limits. With everything from archery to plane spotting, we think there's a lot to discover for grown-up kids, too.
It's been an agonising wait for Spotify to launch in Australia but the world's biggest music-streaming service went live last month and it lives up to its reputation. Search for and listen to artists from mainstream to obscure. If you subscribe to Spotify's service you'll be able to listen to your favourites even without internet reception. It's a great way to discover new music, is super user-friendly and the go-to resource for song streaming.
Sydney Opera House
iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; free
Due for release at the end of this month, the new Sydney Opera House app will let you interact with the venue as if you were actually there. As well as the great practical aspects - particularly being able to buy tickets in a few easy steps - you can browse restaurant menus, tour the many venues such as the studio and concert hall and whet your appetite for performances with linked videos from the SOH YouTube channel.
A classical music fan's best friend, keep track of the Sydney Symphony's movements as it plays around the city, from the Opera House to the City Recital Hall. View coming concerts and past events, buy tickets with just one click and even listen to Sydney Symphony Radio, which has been integrated into the app. There are also videos to watch but they don't compare to the real thing. Lucky you don't have to look far to find the next gig.
It's a tough gig, finding the best pub grub in town every year, but someone has to do it. The critics have devoured thousands of kilojoules in the search. It's also an essential guide for meal options before or after gigs and movies. A choc-top and a large popcorn doesn't really compare with a top-notch gnocchi, right? Search by regions, pubs and prices so you don't lose your bearings as you make a beeline for the bistro.
Plan your month of art viewing with this easy-to-navigate app. It traverses the city's galleries, big and small, with current exhibitions. A handy app for a fast look at limited-run shows. Find something unexpected in the featured exhibitions, or head somewhere close by with the gallery map and explore a local art space. It's a stylish app, and the big-scale images will look particularly great on the large-screen iPad.
Not only has this app been lovingly assembled by coffee and cafe enthusiasts - and kept current by both the creators and users - it has one of the best interactive maps around. Not only does it show you the hot bean scenes near you (with photos), it also estimates how much it will cost to reach your chosen cafe in a taxi. Each cafe review also includes the style of food, parking options, opening hours and much more.