Think hard about the last time you consulted a folding map or looked up a number in the phone book. If you can’t remember, that’s because we’ve all got smartphones with applications that put handles on the urban experience. Las Vegas is served well by global apps: Google Maps, Foursquare and Yelp are fully functional both on the Strip and off. But that’s not enough. We need apps to make it easier to live here, and five apps spring to mind immediately.
1. One that tells you exactly when the bus is coming. We’ve got a nice transit system coming together, and a real-time arrivals app like Seattle’s OneBusAway or San Francisco’s Pocket MUNI might encourage more of us to use it.
2. One that uses GPS to find the nearest decent happy hour. There are a few of these, but none serves Las Vegas as well as Cocktail Compass serves New York City; Portland, Ore.; Chapel Hill, N.C., and other cities that aren’t this one. It truly is an essential “tool for the hyperlocal lush,” and Vegas needs one just like it.
3. One that explains off-Strip Vegas to interested tourists. Seriously, we tell everyone who visits us here to check out Fremont East, Red Rock Canyon, Frankie’s Tiki Room … but how many of them actually listen? Put these destinations in an app and let the weekend warriors feel like they’ve discovered them on their own.
4. One that fully connects with the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. The Seattle Public Library app allows you to look up books, reserve titles and even have them transferred to a branch closer to you. Our library needs one just like it, because we fucking read—and often. I don’t care what Central Connecticut State University says (Google “America’s Most Literate Cities”).
5. One that judges the First Friday crowd level, and helps you to decide whether or not to come downtown. Just a simple meter that runs from “Still Room at the Griffin” to “Summerlin Has Arrived.” It would be nice to know that.