Photos courtesy of Spotted by Locals

Michelle Schusterman checks out what some locals recommend for eating, visiting and shopping in Glasgow.

There’s something about the word “local” when it comes to traveling. As if it changes from simply meaning “resident” or “pertaining to a place” and becomes the magic key to truly experiencing a destination in a way that no other traveler has.

When I visit a new city, I’ll readily admit there might be a few “touristy” spots I want to check out. Yep, I went up the Eiffel Tower. Yep, I walked around Times Square. But I absolutely want to see, eat, drink, do things the locals do.

Which is the idea behind Spotted by Locals, a set of apps designed to help you “experience cities like a local.” Every entry – restaurants, bars, shops, museums and more – are entered by city residents. I was happy to receive a promo code for the Glasgow Local Tips app to check out for review. Entries are divided into four categories – Eat & Drink, Art & Culture, Shop and Relax – which you can search both by list and by map. In the list mode, you can also narrow down your search by area or neighborhood.

What sets this app apart from the (many many) other travel apps out there is that it’s offline. (AT&T users, can I get an amen?) You can open the map, view pinpoints of all the locations or narrow them down by those four categories, zoom in and get addresses and contact info, even if your 3G access is hating it.

After selecting an entry either from the list, the map or by using the “Nearby” option, you’ll see a nice picture of the place and a brief description by a local with tips on what kind of ice cream to order or which vintage shops have the best deals. Tap “Maps & Details” to see the place on a map and get the address, phone number, hours and approximate cost.

One important point to note is that you can’t search by type; for example, if you specifically want to find an Indian restaurant, you just have to scroll through the Eat & Drink list until you see one. Personally, when I’m in a new city I prefer finding places to eat (or do anything) on a whim rather than seeking out something specific, and for that, this app is ideal.

Spotted by Locals currently offers apps covering 33 major cities, each at the price of $4.99. For city trekkers, it’s a great option if you’re looking for that magical “inside scoop.”