Lonely Planet Writer

See the world's subway maps illustrated with their most popular hashtags

Navigating transit in a new city can be a challenge, especially when you are trying to find some of the biggest attractions from the depths of a subway station. But new maps – which swap the names of subway stations for the most popular Instagram hashtag in the area – could make urban exploration a bit easier.

#tagsandthecity is a project from journalist Tin Fischer, designer Jug Cerović and developer David Goldwich. The project covers Berlin, London, New York, Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the creators, the stations are named based on the most popular hashtag, to give people an idea of what is happening in a city and where, particularly in relation to travelling, shopping and food. 

“We wondered how you could visualise how people see a city, what they visit and where they eat, especially on holidays. In order not to make it too abstract we needed a grid which everybody knows, which everybody has in his or her mind when thinking about a city, and stick the data to that grid – which is of course the subway map,” Fischer told Lonely Planet. 

The choices are made based on the most significant hashtag within 300 metres, but they note that if the most popular hashtag is the same name as the station or the neighbourhood they’ve opted for the next most popular.

This means that in a city like New York, the map will skip the confusing street-based subway stop names and get straight to the info you want to know. For example, the 49th Street subway station is renamed #timessquare, as it’s one of the closest stops. It’s the same for big attractions like the #flatiron (23 St.), #waldorfastoria (51 St.), or #manhattanbridge (York St.). It will also help with finding spots from your favourite shows and movies, like the stop at #ghostbusters (Franklin St.), which is near the fire house made famous in the film. It’s also a good way to find out where a good snack is, as you can just head to #cronut (Spring St.) or #eataly (23 St.)

In London, the hashtags are matched with tube stations, which similarly cut to the chase on what travellers want to see. Westminster is replaced with #bigben, Lancaster Gate station is replaced with #kensingtongardens, and Sloane Square is replaced with #saatchigallery.

Also, due to changes to information released by Instagram, the data is from 2014, but it still paints a pretty accurate picture of the city’s top spots.

If you want to check out the city maps in detail, check out the website here.