A Curated List of 100 Cool and Fun Public APIs to Inspire Your Next Project
Humor, food, machine learning, crime, sports, and more
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.
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.
These are the categories these APIs are under, in this order:
Send a daily cat fact via text message.
Access and integrate over 20,000 dog images based on the Stanford Dogs Dataset.
List of threatened species and provides an evaluation of the conservation status of plant and animal species.
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.
Explore marine mammal sighting data.
Holds over 20,000 anime and manga titles and returns key encyclopedia data in XML format.
Access the catalogs of the people, places, and things found in the worlds of Ghibli.
The most active online anime + manga community and database.
All the Pokémon data you’ll ever need in one place.
Trace back the original anime by screenshot. Searches over 22,300 hours of anime to find the best matching scene.
Provides programmatic access to information describing events, theme camps, art installations, and streets.
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.
Explore and integrate the museum’s collections in your projects and access data about objects, people, exhibitions, publications, and galleries.
Add QueekyPaint to your personal blog or website.
Search and experience the largest database of immersive face filters, 360 videos, and 360 photos.
Easily get information on the FBI Wanted program.
Get access to a database of mugshots and arrest data sourced from many counties across the U.S.
Get NFL arrest data.
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.”
A place to learn about and report bike crashes, hazards, and thefts.
Send and receive payment from Blockchain Wallets, transactions, and blocks data.
Market data on 274 Currency Exchanges integrated under a single API.
Access data from the Bitcoin Price Index, which represents an average of bitcoin prices across leading global exchanges.
Free currency conversion on 50 currencies used in 70+ countries.
Current and historical foreign exchange rates.
Quick and easy access to the most detailed information on bar and club venues across the U.S. with over 30,000 businesses.
An open library of breweries and beers.
Database of drinks and cocktail recipes from around the world.
Allows users to socially share with friends the beer they’re currently enjoying as well as where they’re enjoying it.
A search engine of the price lists of 24,909 wine stores around the world.
Complete access to a comprehensive database of accurate food and nutrition information as well as exercise and weight management tools.
Provides data for all kinds of fruit!
Add food trucks’ scheduled stops to an app or website.
A community-driven taco recipe repository.
Access to the freshest and most exhaustive information for over 1.5 million restaurants across 10,000 cities globally.
A service that tracks the prices of PC games on sites like Amazon, Steam, and GamersGate and shows shoppers the best deals.
Provides Fornite BR player stats, match history, score, and active challenges from Fortnite.
Provides access to game card information like boocard ID, name, type, statistics, printing information, rating and votes, and more.
Create extensions for video games, which are then made available via the Overwolf Appstore.
Access data on pinball locations for public pinball machines.
Provides a compendium for Super Smash Brothers Melee, associated with groups, techniques, characters, and attacks.
Detailed information about doctors in your area.
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.
Data on influenza symptoms from processing and displaying influenza-related Twitter messages.
A public repository of unthresholded statistical maps, parcellations, and atlases of the brain.
Record and manage diabetes information.
Create and use Be like Bill memes.
Hand curated Chuck Norris facts!
Scalable solution to the common problem of telling people to fuck off.
Fetch a random geeky/programming related joke.
Largest selections of dad jokes; fetch a random joke or a specific joke, or search for jokes in a variety of formats.
Random Kanye West quotes.
Generate memes by choosing preloaded images and short top and bottom text sentences.
Access Ron Swanson quotes directly.
An archive for the dumbest things Donald Trump has ever said.
Advanced Machine Learning APIs for recognizing and processing images.
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.
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.
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.
A natural open-source language processing platform that offers the function to add intelligent speech functionality to web and mobile applications.
Provides a library of functions that may be applied to imagery for display and analysis.
Create and customize digital maps based on HERE Maps data.
Create and customize beautiful digital maps.
An API for determining if a point (latitude and longitude) is on water or land.
Discover and share maps with friends of your favorite spots.
Returns spell routes, character routes, house, and sorting hat routes.
Access over 22,000 movie reviews by the New York Times critics from today back to 1924.
All the Star Wars data you’ve ever wanted: planets, spaceships, vehicles, people, films, and species from all the Star Wars films.
Returns quotes from Star Wars films. You can even choose to get quotes from the Dark Side!
Access information about Marvel’s library of comics — from new to old.
Returns a random Netflix title based on a user’s input, including genre, rating, and whether it is a movie or a TV show.
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.
Fetch a random genre or genre story.
Display lyrics of over 13M tracks on your app or website.
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.
Allows you to search, get, and present songs and guitar, bass, and drums tabs and chords from the Songsterr database.
Discover, stream, and share a constantly expanding mix of music.
Friendly way of accessing various aurora hunting data: current space weather conditions, weather, skycams, satellite images, and archived information from the past 15 years.
Access data on the current location of the International Space Station, which travels at 28,000 km/h.
Information on upcoming space launches.
Allows you to determine whether Mercury is in retrograde for a given date.
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!
Provides machine-readable access to curated astronomy catalogs, including supernovae, tidal disruptions of stars, kilonovae, and fast stars.
Access statistical data from the NBA.
A database of sports metadata with events, TV listings, artwork, and scores.
Allow you to manage data for every single match they store on their database.
Query their NFL, NBA, and Crypto Exchange data.
Provides rich data on leagues, teams, and player information.
Search for carpool trips, just as the BlaBlaCar’s website does.
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.
Integrate A-to-B route planning, turn-by-turn navigation, route optimization, isochrone calculations, and more.
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.
Access to country-specific information about travel regulations, prevailing environmental conditions, health & vaccines, weather, visa requirements, currency, electric sockets, and language.
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.
Up-to-date weather data for climbing areas in the U.S.
Returns database information for scuba divers including location, weather, latitude and longitude, map, and tide stations.
Fetch global real-time UV index forecast — indispensable sun safety details.
Access a carbon monoxide index for any location on Earth!
Provides access to mapping data of rainfall based on information from weather radars globally.
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!