Shot of a group of young friends using gps on a smartphone during a road trip

Free Must-Have Apps When Coordinating a Group Night Out

These days, being busy isn’t just a temporary thing — it’s a permanent state of being. Scheduling plans for one busy person is hard enough, but arranging a night out with a whole group of busy humans? It can be a true nightmare. 

Thankfully, the same technology that helps keep us all busy bees can also step in to help make having a social life, well, if not easy, at least a doable thing. Here are five apps you need when planning a night out. 

1. Howl 

Howl is built on top of the Foursquare API, so you know it has “IRL social planning” in its DNA. 

The app gets its name from the idea of wolf packs and puts you in the role of “pack leader.” Basically, the app lets you create different “packs” from the people in your phone contacts and then, with a single click, send invites out to the entire group to arrange a night out. It’s a great way to organize your different friend groups, whether it’s “work friends” and “college friends” or by interest, like “music-loving friends” and “film buff friends.” 

Then, once the invite goes out, Howl also makes it easy for your potential guests to RSVP with a single tap or slide on the alert on their phone (assuming they have Howl too, of course). 

2. Skorch

If your problem isn’t getting the group together so much as figuring out what exactly the group should do, then Skorch is for you. 

The app helps connect you with the trendiest places in your city to hit — with real time data to prove the trend factor. Skorch uses a heat map to show which bars and clubs are the hottest in your city at any given moment. Right now the app is only available on iOS, but the Android version is in the works. 

Two friends having coffee looking at smart phone
(Photo: Getty)

3. Nightlife

Planning the crew and the place is only part of planning a perfect night out. If you’re like a lot of people living in cities, looking for things to do, then cost is also a big factor for you. Sometimes, finding a great happy hour deal or other promotion can be the difference between a yes and a no RSVP from several people in your group. 

This is where Nightlife comes in. The app helps users find the best specials and events in their city. Just plug in your location and Nightlife works its magic to find the best deals on drink specials, concerts, events and more.

4. OpenTable

OpenTable is a little more old school as night out-planning apps go, but it’s still an essential piece of the puzzle — especially if going out for dinner tops your list of going-out activities. 

OpenTable lets you make reservations (even at the last minute) at places all over your city. When you’re trying to squeeze in some structured downtime for a group of busy professionals, waiting for a table is a devastating waste of time (and sometimes a night killer). 

5. Citymapper

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When you’re planning a night out, especially in a bigger city, one of the biggest questions (and potential headaches) is centered on how exactly to get to the place you want to go. Should you Uber? Drive and park? Take a train? The options can be endless. That’s where Citymapper comes in. 

The app lets you navigate like a true pro and lays out the cheapest, fastest ways to get from where you are to where you’re going using all means of transportation — from cars and cabs to public transit and even walking, if that’s truly the best option available. Citymapper lets you maximize efficiency and minimize your travel budget. Win-win. 

6. Goldstar

And of course we can’t do an app story without plugging our very own Goldstar! Not merely a convenient tool to purchase tickets, it’s also a terrific way to discover fun things to do in your town that you probably never knew existed. Goldstar’s got tickets to big-ticket events as well as lesser-known gems. There’s something for theater lovers, music buffs, foodies, stand-up comedy fans, and those who love (a-hem) adult entertainment after dark. Plus, you earn points that can get you rewards every time you purchase. Who else rewards you for having fun? Check it out.

Kayleigh Roberts lives in Los Angeles with her best friend and soul mate, her dog Sidekick. She's a Ravenclaw, but would do great things in Slytherin. To learn more about her, Google "Leslie Knope eating salad GIF."