With the Stray Boots app, play a scavenger hunt that’s really a city tour

If exploring a new city is daunting, make a game out of it with this new app.

Name: Stray Boots

What it does: It’s a walking tour disguised as a scavenger hunt.

Available: In the App Store, requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In Google Play, requires Android 4.0 and up. Available for 40 cities in the United States and around the world. Rated 12 years and older for adult references.

Cost: Free to download; tour cost varies by city, $4.99 to $11.99.

What’s hot: The app is designed for corporate and group tours as well as individual tours. I tested the app in Newport Beach as part of a work-related conference. It was a great bonding exercise to explore an area with people I didn’t know well. We walked block after block, performing tasks and typing in answers to the questions and clues the app prompted. Sometimes we were asked to find a quote or saying on a sign at a restaurant or bar; other times we were to take group pictures in front of statues or landmarks. My favorite tasks were trivia-related. Some of the questions had us connect famous people or news about historical figures to the landscape. If I could have that many laughs with strangers, I expect I’ll have even more when doing it with my family in a city we don’t know.

What’s not: I tested it during a competitive group challenge. Although the app indicated the hunt would take about an hour, it took our group much longer to answer the 28 questions. Maybe that’s because we kept passing great bars, but we would have preferred to end the activity about half way through. Although we had more questions than we wanted, we came in second place and had just one wrong answer.


—Jen Leo