While you can find Pokémon just about anywhere, if you want to find lots of Pokémon, you want to go to a populated area. Cities are a pretty good starting point, but we prefer parks — especially parks with a good body of water, or saltwater beach parks — for the ultimate Pokémon catching experience. Different terrain will help you find different types of Pokémon, while parks with multiple PokéStops ensure that you won't run out of Poké Balls while hunting. (In our testing, PokéStops also encourage the spawning of more Pokémon — especially if you attach a lure.
First of all: Don't get stabbed or robbed. It's clearly not safe to go by yourself to a Lure-enabled PokéStop in the middle of a city at night. That said, you can smartly hunt in pairs or small groups at night to find Pokémon you wouldn't ordinarily find during the daytime — just stick to well-lit areas and have a car nearby. (I've been able to find quite a number of awesome Fairy-type Pokémon either by sitting in my house or wandering close by on nighttime walks with my dogs.)
4. Use your radar ring to discover Pokémon
As you wander the world, your avatar has a small pulsing ring that glows around them. This ring is your personal radar in the game: It's what determines whether you're close enough to a PokéStop or Gym to use it, and it's also what pulls zero-footprint Pokémon out of hiding.
Once you've tracked a Pokémon to zero steps, that means it's in your immediate vicinity: If you stand still for a few moments, your radar field should bring it out of hiding. So no, you don't have to try and jump your neighbor's fence or run through graveyards to find wandering Pokémon — your radar should reveal them without any extra work on your part.
5. For random Pokémon spawns, look for moving leaves
Those green fluttering leaves have frustrated Pokémon Go players from the beginning: Does it mean a Pokémon's there? Nearby? Is it a red herring? From what we've been able to tell, those leaves indicate a Pokémon spawn point: If you hang out in that vicinity for long enough, you have a chance of seeing creatures not on your radar map appear. Note that I said "chance" — it's far from a guarantee of a rare Pokémon appearing. Those leaves also don't indicate the location of the current Pokémon you're tracking on the Nearby list; don't go chasing foliage in the hopes of catching that Drowzee.
6. Want to catch a lot of Pokémon quickly? Try parking lots
For whatever reason, Pokémon seem to love spawning in parking lots — especially if they're near PokéStops. I've had luck seeing four, five, and even six common Pokémon show up in the lot by our local Trader Joe's, as well as several gas stations.
7. When catching Pokémon, turn off AR
It's pretty awesome to see that Pikachu spawn on your coffee machine, but AR (augmented reality) can often make it more difficult to catch your creatures — and drain your battery, too. To keep your device steady and ready for anything, flip AR off — you can always turn it back on if you find a Pokémon in a particularly hilarious location.
Whatever bonus you're going for, remember to tap and hold on the Poké Ball to start the ring cycle so that you can wait to toss your ball until the ring is at the correct point. (Even if the Pokémon attempts to rear back or do some sort of movement to break the circle, keep holding your Poké Ball — they'll eventually return, and you won't lose your ball if you keep holding onto it.)
To get the Nice 10XP bonus, you want to catch the Pokémon at the moment the circle is at its widest. That usually means throwing while the circle is at its smallest, and attempting to land straight on the Pokémon's head.
To get the Great 50XP bonus, you want to catch the Pokémon when the circle is exactly halfway: I've only gotten this bonus once or twice, because it requires crazy timing. Ideally, you want to toss the ball when the circle is two sizes away from its biggest size, and land square in the center of the circle.
To get the Excellent 100XP bonus, you need to catch the Pokémon in the direct middle of the circle when at its smallest. This move is easier to attempt on smaller Pokémon (like Eevee) instead of bigger creatures, because of where their heads are positioned relative to the circle. To score the bonus, wait until the circle is pretty small, then toss your ball straight on.
To get the Curveball 10XP bonus — which also comes with a near-guaranteed success rate at catching the Pokémon — you can spin the Poké Ball in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction until it starts vibrating, then toss it toward the Pokémon. I find this method pretty difficult to achieve regularly, so I often do an alternate method: Instead of curving, then tossing, I put the side of my thumb on the screen and throw — the contact patch makes the game think I'm spinning the ball before throwing.
9. Use Razz Berries and better Pokéballs to capture Pokémon
If you've found a rare Pokémon (or one with an incredibly-high CP) in the wild, your standard-issue Pokéballs may not work to contain them — or worse, send them running. Instead, once you hit level 6, you can use Razz Berries (and later on, Great and Ultra Balls) to improve your chances of containing wild creatures.
Razz Berries, after being administered, lull the Pokémon somewhat — even if you miss a throw, you'll have an increased chance of catching the Pokémon until you hit them. If you do catch them with an off-throw and they escape, however, you'll need to feed them another Razz Berry.
10. If your game crashes when catching a Pokémon, don't fret
Game developer Niantic's servers are frequently overloaded, and as such, sometimes your game can crash or severely hang after you catch a Pokémon, leaving it motionless in its Poké Ball. Don't panic: Force quit the game and re-open it. In the crash, you'll either have automatically caught the Pokémon (check your Pokédex), or it will still be spawned and waiting for you.