Creating Interactive Apptivities for Downtowns

We don’t yet know what the new normal will be after the COVID-19 crisis winds down. But, we do know that keeping people engaged with places and people throughout the pandemic is a key to keeping them engaged in the future. One way to provide socially distant activities is through guided smartphone-based apptivities, such as scavenger hunts, tours or exercise trails using apps like Distrx, a location-aware mobile app designed specifically for Main Street communities

The Distrx app is free for users to download and free for Main Street managers to add information about businesses, cultural amenities and important resources such as parking and public restrooms. To create structured and unstructured tours, stops/attractions host a beacon or custom-programmed hardware by Distrx.

“Distrx has been great to work with! They make it easy to start up, and they’re flexible so that we can change things to keep the experience fresh in the future.” – Diana Schwartz, Executive Director, River District Association

RDA will implement a four-stage plan to build the elements into the app prior to launch. They’ll input information about COVID and current community/business requirements (1) available parking (2), a series of structured and unstructured tours (3), and, once those elements have been built, information about, by and for downtown businesses (4). RDA will begin with four tours for the app launch that are beacon based and free to the public; initial subject matter will be Black History, Sculpture & Mural,  Architecture and the story of the revitalization of the River District.  

“Once we have the first four tours in place, we can build on that further. For example, a family scavenger hunt, a local health or fitness organization could sponsor a ‘personal trainer’ exercise trail along the riverwalk, or maybe a local institutional partner, such as a university or farmers market, might want to highlight points of interest during a weekend event. We will have extra beacons available for rental opportunities down the road as an additional income stream to the organization.” – Diana Schwartz, Executive Director, River District Association

Here’s how it works:


  • Download the Distrx app for free from the Google Playstore or the Apple App Store.
  • Register as a new user.
  • See all the great places to visit all around the nation, and find customized apptivities and experiences in each place.


  • Request access to the app database for free as long as there is a Main Street program or manager to input information.
  • Collect information from businesses and cultural points to load into your downtown’s profile.
  • Organize tour spots and get consent from the location owners to host beacons.
  • Purchase tour stop beacons for $200 each.


  • Coordinate content for tours and app customizations with Main Street manager.
  • Configure the beacons with tour information provided by the Main Street program.
  • Include information about every community in the network to every visitor with the app all over the U.S.

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