Feature Friday: Foursquare List Search

If you are looking for a restaurant, a bar, a cafe, a museum, or whatever, there are plenty of ways you can do that on your phone. You can use Foursquare (a USV portfolio company), you can use Yelp, you can use Google or Apple maps, you can do a Google search, or you can stop someone on the street and ask them.

I prefer to use Foursquare because its recommendations are personalized for me based on all of my history with Foursquare over the past eight years. Many others tell me they get the best recommendations from Foursquare too, even if they haven’t been using the app for the past eight years.

But last week, Foursquare launched something that makes searching with their app even better. They now let you search their lists and get user and brand created lists by topic. These searches are geolocated so you always get lists based on where you are.

Here’s a search for sushi lists (in NYC because that’s where I am right now):

Here’s a search for pizza lists:

Here’s a search for museum lists:

If you have never seen a list in Foursquare, this is what they look like:

And if you click on the map icon when you are on a list, you get my all time favorite feature, the list map view:

I find searching for and using lists better than searching for a single venue because a list contains multiple options for that single thing you are looking for. Lists have context, lists have options, and lists are fun.

So the next time you are looking for something local, try using Foursquare and searching by lists. You go to the list tab (second one), and hit the search icon. I think you will find it to be a terrific experience.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Maybe it is time to relook at this Fred.In the beginning I was a fan. We tracked each other for coffee places if you remember.Not on my phone.I’ll give it a shot.

    1. fredwilson

      It has gotten really good. Make sure to use the same login you used in the past. That way they will know more about you

    2. Rob Larson


  2. JimHirshfield

    Foursquare is definitely the best at discovery. I’m hooked on it when I travel.

    1. Twain Twain

      Hopefully, they’ll apply AI to it like Pinterest, UpServe and Clarifai.Then their recommendations will be even better.This was taken yesterday at AWS AI workshop in SF.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  3. Emily Steed

    Heading to D.C. today for the women’s march and using foursquare for lots of info – love it!

    1. fredwilson


  4. BillMcNeely

    Been traveling a lot and usually use yelp to find non chain places to eat here Baytown, TX. I’ll try foursquare again and see what happens

  5. petec

    Are these lists of lists available in their API?

  6. jason wright

    Lists are fun? Funny Friday.

  7. Jess Bachman

    How is Foursquare out in the suburbs and exurbs?

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      It’s great in my area, Asbury Park-ish, NJ.

  8. Sebastien Latapie

    Foursquare is by far my favorite – the recommendations are just better and I trust the ratings more. Love it when discovering a new city (like San Diego this past fall).

  9. PhilipSugar

    I will admit to really not using other than to see what it was, but this I can see. As much as I travel I search for restaurants every week. I haven’t found anything I love as of yet, so maybe this can become my go to place.

  10. William Mougayar

    Great feature & I’m a FS list maker for coffee, pastry shops & pizza places in Toronto. I’d like to be able to search for top lists in other destinations, not just my own Geo.

  11. mplsvbhvr

    Alright – this sold me. Going to give Foursquare a try after all these years.

  12. Francois Royer Mireault

    Been using and loving Foursquare since 2011. I even wrote a thesis on it! For me, it’s the ultimate life hack/time saver/risk reducer : you feel like a local in any city.Two things always surprise me: 1) the reaction people have when I show them the app – they’re amazed 2) the low adoption rate, nobody I show it to adopts itI stopped trying to onboard people. It’s the kind of product that will never reach the masses but delivers huge value to a niche. And that niche (us) redistributes value (recos & content) to the masses through the Foursquare integration in other products.I still think that if new company/new brand would release that exact product today, it could be much bigger than it is right now.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        (Sound of stampede coming your way in the not too far away distance.)

    1. ShanaC

      Why do you think the adoption rate is low?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        A lot people I know just haven’t heard of it or think of it as a check-in app.For me it feels more personalized than Yelp and more reliable than Google in terms of curation. I like being able to see if someone I know has been somewhere or recommends it. In 3 different cities, I have chosen where to go for coffee based on Fred having been there. 🙂

  13. JaredMermey

    I miss NY pizza

  14. Rick Mason

    So essentially it’s a listicle, but on my phone?

  15. kirklove

    Nice add. Still frustrating I can’t sort list by score.

  16. Grace Schroeder

    Last I heard, they had 8B data points. Are they still getting much new? Is Uber using them for the last steps of location to the pickup?

  17. Lawrence Brass

    I recall that Foursquare was using Mapbox for its maps, when did they switch to Google maps?

  18. Vendita Auto

    I’m such a cynic not interested in anyone knowing what I like/ my habits or preferences. Ratings for sure, images, video for sure. information trail/trawl (facebook) no.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      We have, consciously or not, traded trust for free apps….. now, let’s hear Donald Trump’s oath.

      1. Vendita Auto

        swearing come naturally to Nellie

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Heh.I really hope that office illuminates him for the good of the US and the World.

          1. Vendita Auto

            From an timelined hippy I agree : )https://www.brainpickings.o…

      2. Donna Brewington White

        The elephant in the room today.

  19. Vendita Auto

    As this is an advertising pitch have to say I Love “The Hustle” newsletter just love the approach / attitude

  20. Mendy Yang

    I’m an avid Yelper and have noticed that most yuppies my age (early-mid 20s) stick to Yelp, which has basically all of the functionality you talked about in this post. Curious to hear if you think certain age groups use Foursquare more or if there are unique scenarios where one app would be significantly better than the other.

  21. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Lists! So simple yet so powerful. And so neglected by a certain other social network that I love…Foursquare absolutely does have the best reco’s. And I’m shocked to discover that I like their location-based push notifs.Funny though, that blue feels so Internet 1996. It somehow makes the app feel old or low-budget or something.

  22. ShanaC

    Note to self: go to that coin musuem #thingsIneverknewaboutnycThis could be my killer feature, I just wish it was also desktop accessible

  23. LE

    Opentable satisfices for me. Just checked foursquare and the info is honestly of no value where I am located unfortunately.The scale of major metro areas is such that the info is much better than it is in less traveled places. If I say “Italian” in my area I get a slew of places that are not relevant including at least one that isn’t even a place (just a person who put up a page). So it’s obvious there is no manual curation where I am.The other issue is discovery. If foursquare is better and gets better how is it that people find that out? I would not even know to check w/o your blog post. Lastly the name doesn’t relate to what is being offered here. Given all other cylinders firing that is not a problem but it is if that’s not the case.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Satisfice. You made that up? (Do I vaguely remember a discussion about this “word”?)

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Foursquare is a broader app than OpenTable, not just for restaurants — although I use it a lot for finding food or coffee. I relate to your point about “how do people discover 4sq?” and “are they invested enough to read the notifications?)I must say that I have been in some fairly obscure places and 4sq has saved the day . It is definitely my first go-to when traveling. Especially since I need to find places that serve gluten free items.

      1. LE

        Wrote a reply for this but disqus ate it!

  24. george

    Rarely use foursquare these days, there are simply too many other outstanding Apps available which specialize in servicing my specific needs. The foursquare evolution has been steady 55M MAU but I’m still trying to understand how their mission (discover places and locations) really fits into todays marketplace. Foursquare’s technology is solid but fundamentally, they have only succeeded at building a really good pipeline and not a really great platform. Google and Apple have proven, the value is built on top of the pipeline, creating a rich app community. Outside view, their strategy seems off to me, the market has/is moving beyond the production side of things (lists and geolocation features).

  25. LJL

    I was just asking 20 people I know in NYC and California from various age ranges, influence levels and other demos if they use Foursquare. Not one and since many years now. Calling the demise on this one. This is as relevant now as it was then: https://johnsmackenzie.word

  26. fredwilson

    Instant follow. I’ve never been to Bali but now I’ve got what I need when. I go

  27. mplsvbhvr

    This is a great idea – both for crowd sourcing and working with friends.

  28. Twain Twain

    Were you in Bali for work or hanging out after you read/watched ‘The Beach’?

  29. fredwilson


  30. rdschouw

    Yes! I always expected 4SQ to become a mapping app. Search, directions, checkin, rate / review.