It can seem like smartphones and tablets are a ubiquitous part of life–why not use them to get the most out of your Illinois experience? Here are a few cool apps for Illinoisans, though certainly not all of them. What other Illinois or Chicago smartphone or tablet applications do you use?
Use this application to stay up to date to on General Assembly news and search for your district’s state representatives and senators to find their contact information, bios and sponsored bills. Available for iOS and Android.
Illinois Legislative Roster–Free
Search for state and federal Illinois legislators. Available for iOS.
Past Chicago History–Free
See old photos and drawings of Chicago side by side with current pictures, read historical blurbs about the city, plot photo locations, explore historical maps and match old locations and photos with a new map of the city. Available for iOS.
Know Your Rights: Illinois–$0.99/Illinois Constitution–Free
Read the Illinois constitution. Know Your Rights is available for iOS and allows users to read the Illinois constitution side by side the United States Constitution. The Illinois Constitution app includes the constitution in Spanish and is available for Android.
From WGN-TV, live traffic information and interactive maps help Chicago-area commuters find the best driving routes, especially during rush hour. Available for iOS.
Updated traffic and weather information and alerts for interstates in Illinois. Upgrade within the apps for access to traffic cameras for $2.99. Available for iOS.
Transit Stop CTA Tracker–Free/$1.99
Tracks El trains and CTA buses to estimate arrival times at every station and stop around the city. Users can also save frequently visited stops to reference quickly. Choose between a free ad-supported version or a paid ad-free version. Available for iOS. Check out these CTA trackers for Android, Windows, and BlackBerry phones.
Users will find maps, Metra train arrival and departure information, routes, trip planners and service advisory alerts in both apps. Both available for iOS here and here. Check out these Metra tracker apps for Android, Windows and BlackBerry phones.
All three apps allow users to flag cabs from their phones based on a GPS location or address, track them as they get nearer and then pay using a credit card through the app so no money is exchanged in the taxi–the companies will email you a receipt. After the ride, customers can rate their drivers. Uber customers can also request a black car or SUV or an UberX, a ride-share service. Uber is available for iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Hailo is available for iOS and Android. TaxiMagic is available for iOS and Android.
SpotHero compares open parking spots throughout Chicago based on proximity and price and then lets users reserve parking spaces from their phones. ParkWhiz also compares nearby spots based on price, and booking through the app can be cheaper than booking at the parking spot itself. Parknav will calculate the best route for drivers trying to find free, metered or permit parking and save parking locations so drivers can find their cars later. SpotHero is available for iOs and Android. ParkWhiz is available for iOS and Android. ParkNav is available for iOS. Check out Parking Panda for Windows and BestParking for BlackBerry.
Chicago Sun-Times Breaking News–Free
Chicago Sun-Times: Today’s paper–Free
Access Chicago Sun-Times digital subscriptions. Available for iOS.
Chicago Breaking News–Free
Peoria Journal Star–Free
Fox Chicago News–Free
ABC 7 Chicago News–Free
NBC 5 StormTeam–Free
ABC 7 Chicago Weather–Free
WGN-TV–Chicago Weather Center–Free
The hockey team’s official app includes stats, team standings, schedules, live scores, videos, photos, backstage content, player cards and push notification alerts. Available for iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry.
Chicago Free and Frugal–$2.99
Information about what’s free and cheap in Chicago, including free museum day schedules, free comedy show schedules, information about inexpensive sports tickets, free music event schedules, restaurant reviews, and free listings for books, classes and tours. Available for iOS.
WiFi Free Illinois–$0.99
The app offers a map of locations in Illinois that have free WiFi. Available for iOS.
Chicago Crime Watch–$0.99
Users view a map of the city overlayed with crime location information, categorized by type of crime or location. It does not include homicide. Available for iOS.
The official app from the Illinois Lottery allows users to buy lottery tickets, check jackpot amounts, check winning numbers, get winnings under $600 deposited directly into an Illinois Lottery account and request winnings be transferred into personal banking accounts. Available for iOS.
Chicago Festival Finder–Free
See lists of Chicago festivals based on location and date. Get directions to festivals and information such as cost, description and hours. Available for iOS.
Art Institute of Chicago Tours
This app provides 50 tour routes through the Art Institute using the museum’s “indoor positioning system.” Users are also able to customize tours based on types of artwork, location and duration. Available for iOS and Android.
Illinois Campgrounds Guide
The app helps users find campsites within the state available for RVs and tents, sorted by location, amenities or campground type. Available for iOS.