Let me start by saying that I love Yelp. I found my dentist on Yelp, I discover the best fabric stores through Yelp – heck, I mostly planned my wedding using Yelp – yes. I'm a fan. Confession time: I wouldn't call myself a "Yelper", however – I don't write reviews or vote on reviews. I am a Yelp observer; I read reviews checking for repeated themes like terrific or terrible service or to see how hard it is to get a reservation. Yelp is only as strong as those who write the reviews so maybe we can vow to all be better involved in the future. Maybe.

For now, let's just agree to use the free app on our iPhones, because it's terrific. Especially if you use Yelp regularly on your desk or laptop – this is an app for you. To the uninitiated with an iPhone, you should download it, too, and get ready to have all your local business questions solved.

Yelp by Yelp, Inc. is a free app that makes your iPhone an even better assistant in your daily life. It's a massive community of folks who frequent local businesses and write about them, usually giving some anecdotal information along with a 1-5 star review. It's up to you how to interpret the information provided, remember it's subjective, and I strongly suggest looking and noting common themes. Chances are if 20 reviews out of 25 had a wonderful (or terrible) experience, the majority is often right. You can join Yelp for free and write reviews if you really want to get in on the action.

If you just want to use the mobile app on your iPhone, there's plenty for you to check out. With a simple navigation pane at the bottom of the screen, you can see what's in your immediate area (tap "Nearby"), find deals, search for something specific, check your bookmarks if you have a Yelp account. The app really is easy to use and the clean design allows you to get the information you need quickly. Once you tap on a business, all the pertinent information you need appears on the next screen. Here you can see business hours, phone numbers and even map it to your current location using your phone's GPS system.

The coolest thing about the iPhone app is a little thing called "Monocle". If you're in the "Nearby" section, you'll notice a little button in the upper right-hand screen. Tap on "Monocle" and then point your iPhone in the direction you'd like to go in. Instantly, all the businesses around you will populate and the app will literally guide you in the right direction. Below is a screenshot of what Yelp found outside my bedroom window here in San Francisco. Pretty neat, right?

Yelp is great to have on your iPhone when you're out and about and need to find dinner, a movie, a doctor, or really any business need. Recently my husband and I used it for a long weekend in New York. We just walked down Broadway following the many suggestions for restaurants serving brunch. The Yelp app is helpful for everyday information (where's that gas station, again?) as well as on vacations and trips. It helps you feel less lost when you're in a new place. With a few easy taps you can find your way to a great eatery, library, music store or movie theater – all starting with a simple search on Yelp.

Get the free Yelp app on your iPhone today, and go see what's out there.

Yelp by Yelp, Inc.

Yelp logo courtesy of Yelp, Inc.
Screenshots courtesy of Kate Holt's iPhone.