BlackBerry, iOS, Android | Free
When the summer sun’s too hot to handle, there’s one remedy we can all agree on: cold drinks on a shaded patio. Unfortunately when everyone has the same idea at once, getting a choice table becomes a bit of an issue. Rather than wandering around, searching aimlessly, the Open Table app allows you to make reservations from your phone wherever you are. Just choose the date, time you’re after and number of guests. The app will then provide you with a list of nearby restaurants fitting your criteria in real-time. If you have a specific place in mind, you can search by name, or get specific by price and cuisine. Additionally, you can track all upcoming reservations, earn reward points and even invite friends to dine through email.
Android, iOS | $0.99
So you prefer beating the heat by cooking outdoors on your barbecue, but you know that things can get overwhelming if you fancy yourself the next Bobby Flay. Rather than panic, save time by relying on the Grill-It! app, designed to provide you with valuable instructions for bbq perfection. Included are recipes for all your fave proteins – beef, lamb, seafood, chicken and more, as well as handy photos to go along with everything. If you need a fast solution, you can scan the recipes for ingredients or keywords, and the tips and advice articles are invaluable.
iOS | $5.99
There’s no better time to walk around than on a beautiful summer day, but if you’re in a pinch for sights to see, an app such as the Lonely Planet’s Toronto Guide may be just the ticket. Included here are tons of recommendations including everything from shopping and tourist sites to restaurant suggestions, public spaces and even hotels. Along your journey, the app includes lots of helpful and informative tidbits, as well as user reviews and genuine editorial content meant to give local flavour to individual neighbourhoods. Additionally, GPS tracking enables you to discover must-see destinations from wherever you are. It’s like having a tour guide in your pocket.
Windows, iOS | $0.99
Chilling out with a couple of fancy drinks on a hot summer night sound like the perfect thing to do, unfortunately if you’re fumbling around trying to make the perfect cocktail then you’re not outside enjoying your friends’ company. Become a master of refreshments with the Mixology app – it provides you with a database of more than 4,000 recipes, offers a Liquor Cabinet feature that enables you to list your current ingredients and then search for applicable recipes, and offers a bartending guide full of useful phrases, stocking tips and other helpful hints. Additionally, you can rate recipes depending on what you love, and the app is constantly updated with a list of top-ranked drink ideas. If you’re looking to impress your friends this summer, the Mixology app is a great place to start.
iOS, Android | Free
The great summer road trip is a beautiful thing. There’s nothing better than driving off into the distance with the wind in your hair, although there’s nothing worse than desperately searching around for a good deal on gas before departure. That’s where the helpful Gas Buddy app comes into play, and the concept couldn’t be simpler: use it to search for a list of gas stations (and their current prices) that have been provided by a community of Gas Buddy users. Better still, if you decide to get involved and contribute price updates, you can earn points and qualify for prizes. In the summer months when gas prices always spike, save some time with this app.
iOS, Android | $0.99
If you’ve got your sites set on a day at the beach or a picnic in the park, it’s best to stay on top of the weather rather than experience the appearance of a freak storm. With the Weather+ app, planning ahead gets a lot easier thanks to an extended 5-day forecast complimented with details on humidity, precipitation, wind direction and video loops of current conditions. The app also provides you with weather estimates in three hour intervals, meaning that if the sun’s shining at noon and it’s looking wet and stormy at 3 PM, you’ll know better than to try and get an afternoon of suntanning in.
BlackBerry, Android, iOS, Windows | Free (subscription required)
Great tunes are a huge part of the summer, and whether it’s The Summer of ’69 or Sleepwalk, we’ve all got our favourites. When the sun’s in the sky and you just have to hear a certain tune, it’s good to know there’s an app like Rdio out there. Basically it’s a service that allows you to listen to as much music as you can handle from wherever you’re at. Over 15 million songs are available (so chances are what you’re looking for is searchable) for you to add to your playlist. Better still, it has a social component – you can follow your friends and other users to see what they’re jamming out to. New albums are added weekly and the app allows you to sync music when offline.
iOS | Free
Planning a big summer bash this season and want to get a little bit fancy with the invites? Don’t worry about getting bogged down with the task thanks to Red Stamp – an app that helps you create invitations (as well as greeting cards and any other celebratory announcement you can conceive) and send them directly from your mobile via email, text, Tweet, Facebook and more (you can also arrange to have cards printed and mailed on eco-friendly paper if you want to go snail-mail style). With lots of templates, personal photo integration, and designs to choose from, the app takes all the worry out of getting your invites out efficiently. And that just means more time to lounge on deck chairs waiting for the big soirÈe to kick off.