A Curated List of 100 Cool and Fun Public APIs to Inspire Your Next Project

Humor, food, machine learning, crime, sports, and more

Angelica Dietzel
Mar 17 · 9 min read
Image by AndSus on Adobe Stock

As a beginner developer, some of the first questions you’ll ask yourself and others are:

  • What projects should I work on as a beginner?
  • What makes a good side project?
  • Where should I start?

If you aren’t fond of the basic to-do list, calculator, or some type of clone answers, then the perfect place to start is by building interesting applications around public-facing REST APIs!


What Is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Don’t worry about the Application Programming part — focus on Interface. You use interfaces all the time. Your keyboard is an interface. An ATM. A search engine.

An interface sits on top of a complicated system and simplifies things for you, saving you from needing to know every complex detail of what’s under the hood. It’s a simple way to use smart things.


What Is a REST API?

REST API stands for Representable State Transfer Application Programming Interface. Ultimately, you can think of them as a shortcut into a web service’s database. They provide a set of methods that a programmer can use via HTTP to send and receive data.

Companies won’t just let you log into their internal database and look around, but they will give you an easier way to access it in certain limited ways using their API. Some have limitations on the number of times you can call, some require signing up to receive a private API Key, and some require setting up OAuth for users to log in securely.


This List

These APIs are ones I’ve personally come across and thought were cool, fun, interesting, and different — giving you an edge on your next project!

They are totally free, don’t require you to figure out how to handle OAuth, and are super easy to get started.

Categories

These are the categories these APIs are under, in this order:

  • Animals (5)
  • Anime (5)
  • Art ( 5)
  • Crime (5)
  • Cryptocurrency (5)
  • Drink (5)
  • Food (5)
  • Games (6)
  • Health (5)
  • Humor (9)
  • Machine Learning (5)
  • Mapping (5)
  • Movies (6)
  • Music (6)
  • Space (6)
  • Sports ( 5)
  • Travel (6)
  • Weather (6)

Animals

Cat Facts

Send a daily cat fact via text message.

Dog API

Access and integrate over 20,000 dog images based on the Stanford Dogs Dataset.

IUCN Red List

List of threatened species and provides an evaluation of the conservation status of plant and animal species.

RescueGroups.org APIs

Live adoptable pet data queries including radius searches, animal-specific locations, animal-specific contact information, rescue and shelter searches, species, breeds, colors, patterns, and qualities lists.

The Whale Hotline

Explore marine mammal sighting data.


Anime

Anime News Network Encyclopedia

Holds over 20,000 anime and manga titles and returns key encyclopedia data in XML format.

Studio Ghibli

Access the catalogs of the people, places, and things found in the worlds of Ghibli.

Jikan

The most active online anime + manga community and database.

Pokémon

All the Pokémon data you’ll ever need in one place.

What Anime

Trace back the original anime by screenshot. Searches over 22,300 hours of anime to find the best matching scene.


Art

Burning Man’s PlayaEvents

Provides programmatic access to information describing events, theme camps, art installations, and streets.

Poems

Return poem of the day and random poems. You can also search for poems based on author, tag, and keyword, and you can access a private poem collection.

Harvard Art Museum

Explore and integrate the museum’s collections in your projects and access data about objects, people, exhibitions, publications, and galleries.

Queeky

Add QueekyPaint to your personal blog or website.

Svrf

Search and experience the largest database of immersive face filters, 360 videos, and 360 photos.


Crime

FBI Wanted

Easily get information on the FBI Wanted program.

Jailbase

Get access to a database of mugshots and arrest data sourced from many counties across the U.S.

NFL Arrest

Get NFL arrest data.

Sweat & Toil

Integrates information on child labor and forced labor taken from the reports “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor,” “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” and “List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor.”

BikeWise

A place to learn about and report bike crashes, hazards, and thefts.


Cryptocurrency

Blockchain API

Send and receive payment from Blockchain Wallets, transactions, and blocks data.

CoinAPI

Market data on 274 Currency Exchanges integrated under a single API.

CoinDesk

Access data from the Bitcoin Price Index, which represents an average of bitcoin prices across leading global exchanges.

ExchangeRate

Free currency conversion on 50 currencies used in 70+ countries.

Rates API

Current and historical foreign exchange rates.


Drinks

BARZZ

Quick and easy access to the most detailed information on bar and club venues across the U.S. with over 30,000 businesses.

BreweryDB

An open library of breweries and beers.

CocktailDB

Database of drinks and cocktail recipes from around the world.

Untappd

Allows users to socially share with friends the beer they’re currently enjoying as well as where they’re enjoying it.

Wine-Searcher

A search engine of the price lists of 24,909 wine stores around the world.


Food

FatSecret Platform

Complete access to a comprehensive database of accurate food and nutrition information as well as exercise and weight management tools.

Fruityvice

Provides data for all kinds of fruit!

Street Food App API

Add food trucks’ scheduled stops to an app or website.

TacoFancy

A community-driven taco recipe repository.

Zomato

Access to the freshest and most exhaustive information for over 1.5 million restaurants across 10,000 cities globally.


Games

CheapShark

A service that tracks the prices of PC games on sites like Amazon, Steam, and GamersGate and shows shoppers the best deals.

Fortnite Tracker

Provides Fornite BR player stats, match history, score, and active challenges from Fortnite.

Magic: The Gathering

Provides access to game card information like boocard ID, name, type, statistics, printing information, rating and votes, and more.

Overwolf

Create extensions for video games, which are then made available via the Overwolf Appstore.

Pinball Map

Access data on pinball locations for public pinball machines.

Smashlounge

Provides a compendium for Super Smash Brothers Melee, associated with groups, techniques, characters, and attacks.


Health

BetterDoctor

Detailed information about doctors in your area.

EndlessMedical API

Using artificial intelligence, this API lets you connect users’ symptoms and complaints with test results and a doctor’s examination. It then provides a list of possible diagnoses.

FluTrack

Data on influenza symptoms from processing and displaying influenza-related Twitter messages.

NeuroVault

A public repository of unthresholded statistical maps, parcellations, and atlases of the brain.

PredictBGL Diabetes

Record and manage diabetes information.


Humor

Be Like Bill

Create and use Be like Bill memes.

Chuck Norris Facts

Hand curated Chuck Norris facts!

Fuck Off as a Service

Scalable solution to the common problem of telling people to fuck off.

Geeky Joke

Fetch a random geeky/programming related joke.

I Can Haz Dad Joke

Largest selections of dad jokes; fetch a random joke or a specific joke, or search for jokes in a variety of formats.

Kanye.Rest

Random Kanye West quotes.

Meme Generator

Generate memes by choosing preloaded images and short top and bottom text sentences.

Ron Swanson Quotes

Access Ron Swanson quotes directly.

Tronald Dump

An archive for the dumbest things Donald Trump has ever said.


Machine Learning

Cloudmersive

Advanced Machine Learning APIs for recognizing and processing images.

PixLab

Process and analyze input media images or video content. Allows you to process, transform, and filter any images from any programming language with machine vision and deep learning APIs.

PredictionIO

An open-source Machine Learning Server built on top of an open-source stack for developers and data scientists to create predictive engines for any machine learning task.

RxNLP Sentence Clustering

Can group sentences (such as sentences from multiple news articles) or short texts (such as posts from Twitter or Facebook Status Updates) into logical groups.

Wit.AI

A natural open-source language processing platform that offers the function to add intelligent speech functionality to web and mobile applications.


Mapping

Google Earth Engine

Provides a library of functions that may be applied to imagery for display and analysis.

Here

Create and customize digital maps based on HERE Maps data.

Mapbox

Create and customize beautiful digital maps.

On Water

An API for determining if a point (latitude and longitude) is on water or land.

uebermaps

Discover and share maps with friends of your favorite spots.


Movies

Harry Potter

Returns spell routes, character routes, house, and sorting hat routes.

The New York Times Movie Review

Access over 22,000 movie reviews by the New York Times critics from today back to 1924.

The Star Wars

All the Star Wars data you’ve ever wanted: planets, spaceships, vehicles, people, films, and species from all the Star Wars films.

Star Wars Quotes

Returns quotes from Star Wars films. You can even choose to get quotes from the Dark Side!

The Marvel

Access information about Marvel’s library of comics — from new to old.

Netflix Roulette

Returns a random Netflix title based on a user’s input, including genre, rating, and whether it is a movie or a TV show.


Music

Bandsintown

Allows you to view local concerts, gives live music recommendations, lists an artist’s events, and provides users with the ability to buy tickets and RSVP to events.

Genrenator

Fetch a random genre or genre story.

MusixMatch

Display lyrics of over 13M tracks on your app or website.

Niland

Easily build powerful music search and discovery into your applications by encapsulating cutting-edge deep learning-based technologies. It finds musically similar tracks and classifies music into hundreds of labels.

Songsterr

Allows you to search, get, and present songs and guitar, bass, and drums tabs and chords from the Songsterr database.

SoundCloud

Discover, stream, and share a constantly expanding mix of music.


Space

Auroras.Live

Friendly way of accessing various aurora hunting data: current space weather conditions, weather, skycams, satellite images, and archived information from the past 15 years.

International Space Station Current Location

Access data on the current location of the International Space Station, which travels at 28,000 km/h.

Launch Library

Information on upcoming space launches.

Mercury Retrograde

Allows you to determine whether Mercury is in retrograde for a given date.

NASA

NASA has a bunch of different open APIs — like near Earth object data, images of Mars, astronomy picture of the day, Mars weather data, plus much more!

Open Astronomy Catalogs API

Provides machine-readable access to curated astronomy catalogs, including supernovae, tidal disruptions of stars, kilonovae, and fast stars.


Sports

Balldontlie

Access statistical data from the NBA.

SportsDB

A database of sports metadata with events, TV listings, artwork, and scores.

Soccer Sports Open Data

Allow you to manage data for every single match they store on their database.

SuredBits

Query their NFL, NBA, and Crypto Exchange data.

Yahoo’s Fantasy Sports API

Provides rich data on leagues, teams, and player information.


Travel

BlaBlaCar Search

Search for carpool trips, just as the BlaBlaCar’s website does.

FlightStats Weather API

Up-to-date information on current weather conditions at an airport using tag annotations to identify prevailing conditions and notable hazards that may impact aviation.

GraphHopper

Integrate A-to-B route planning, turn-by-turn navigation, route optimization, isochrone calculations, and more.

REFUGE Restrooms

Safe restroom access for transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming individuals — search restrooms by proximity to a search location, add new restroom listings, and comment and rate existing listings.

Travelbriefing

Access to country-specific information about travel regulations, prevailing environmental conditions, health & vaccines, weather, visa requirements, currency, electric sockets, and language.

Walk Score

Calculates travel times between an origin and a set of destinations. Visualize travel times on a map and supports walking, public transit, driving, and biking times.


Weather

ClimbingWeather

Up-to-date weather data for climbing areas in the U.S.

DiveSites

Returns database information for scuba divers including location, weather, latitude and longitude, map, and tide stations.

OpenUV

Fetch global real-time UV index forecast — indispensable sun safety details.

OpenWeatherMap Air Pollution

Access a carbon monoxide index for any location on Earth!

RainViewer

Provides access to mapping data of rainfall based on information from weather radars globally.

Wunderground

Local and long-range weather forecast, weather reports, maps, and tropical weather conditions for locations worldwide in 80 languages.


What to Do With Them

The best place to start is by getting and displaying data. Maybe it’s sending a cat photo a day to someone, creating a joke generator, or sending updates to yourself on what the temperature is at a certain time — the ideas are endless.

If you still feel stuck, many of the links above will share different projects that were built using their API. Check them out, jot some ideas down, and have some fun!

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

Thanks to Zack Shapiro

Angelica Dietzel

Written by

• Self Taught Programmer • Learning ML and AI •

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

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