Search for Places in an Area

What You Need To Do

You’ll need your client ID and client secret to make a userless venue search or explore request ("venues" are what we call places on Foursquare). This is essentially the simplest way to interact with the Foursquare API—there’s no need to use OAuth. If you choose not to use a client library, you can directly make HTTP requests to the venues/search or venues/explore endpoints and get back a JSON response.

In the HTTP request, you need to pass in your client ID, client secret, a version parameter, and any other parameters that the endpoint requires:

Things You Should Know

Explore vs. Search

Both explore and search allow you to find venues in an area, but their methodologies are slightly different. Explore is better at answering the question “what are some popular coffeeshops in this area?” whereas search is better at “where is the nearest Joe’s Coffee?” or “where am I right now?” When using venues/search, you ought to pay special attention to what the intent parameter does and what values you should pass in order to get your desired results.

Rate Limits

You are allowed to make 5,000 userless requests per hour—that is, any request you make that uses a client ID and client secret instead of an OAuth token will count towards this limit. See our docs on rate limits for more information.

Personalized Results

For even better search results, you can give your users personalized recommendations that are influenced by their Foursquare history. Want to show your users the best restaurants in an area? If we know they go to a lot of French restaurants, we'll be sure to bubble these results up and not return any fast food chains. Rate limits are also a little more favorable in this case—by default, each of your users gets 500 requests per hour instead of 5,000 per hour for your whole app.

To retrieve personalized search results, you need to make authenticated venue search or explore requests. For more information, see the section on interacting with Foursquare users.

Common Endpoints