How to get a Yelp Fusion API access token with a POST request

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Yelp Fusion API access token background image

Just recently I watched an awesome video by Wes Bos where he built a cool typeahead app using some USA city data. It was part of his JavaScript 30 program, which is a watch and learn video series. I wanted to extend his code further by linking up the city data with some “Things to do” and “Top Restaurants” information. That lead me to look up Yelp and find out about their latest API release, Yelp FUSION.

Yelp FUSION is a pretty sweet API. You can unlock data from over 50 million businesses around the world! The only catch is that you need to obtain an access token. This isn’t really a big deal, however when looking into the “Getting Started” docs, I didn’t quite find the proper instructions or a demo to follow along.

In this post I will guide you, step by step, towards getting your API access token. I’ll also show you a cool website called RapidAPI where you can test your endpoints and view the returned data. You can view my current source code on GitHub here.

How to get a Yelp Fusion API access token with a POST request

Things you will need:

  1. POSTMAN – platform to make your API development faster & easier.
  2. JSON VIEWER (Chrome) – A great tool for viewing JSON code in your browser (google for other browsers).
  3. YELP FUSION Docs – The official Yelp FUSION docs in case you get stuck or want to learn more.
  4. Register your app – Simply follow the prompts to register your app and get a Client ID / Secret

Step 1: Register your app and get your Client ID / Secret Key

Most API’s require you to register your application. This isn’t a big deal, especially if you are building something small for fun on a non-commercial basis. To register, simply go to the registration page on the Yelp FUSION website. Once registered, you will get a Client Secret and Client ID.

Please keep the client id and secret to yourself since they are credentials for your call to Yelp’s API.

Step 2: Configure POSTMAN

Now this is where I got a little lost at first; the doc’s don’t really go into enough detail to make this step possible. I want this tutorial to be beginner friendly, so I will do my best to explain the next few steps carefully. Firstly, you are given an endpoint to use, but there are few other bits that need to go along with it. You also need to do a POST request, which can be tricky if you’re a front end developer who never touches backend server code. You need three things along with the following endpoint:


2. grant_type : client_credentials is the value required.
3. client_id : The client id for you app with Yelp.
4. client_secret : The client secret for you app with Yelp.


You will need to open up POSTMAN to begin the next step.


Step 3: Create POST REQUEST

POSTMAN is really easy to use, especially for this demonstration. If you have any trouble please see the screenshot image below. Here are the steps to take to obtain your access token.

  1.  You will need to select POST from the dropdown menu next to the URL field.
  2. Enter the ENDPOINT into the URL field.
  3. Click BODY and select x-wwwform-url-encoded. For more information on what this means exactly, please refer to this Stack Overflow post.
  4. In POSTMAN you need to provide the client ID, grant type and secret values as key/value pairs. Below the URL field you will see the key / value input fields. Add them in there and click Send.


See the screenshot below to get a better idea of what I mean.

POSTMAN instruction on how to access the Yelp FUSION API

Step 4: Test a Yelp API endpoint

Another simple tool that I love using to test API calls is called RadpidAPIIt’s a no fuss solution for anyone who want’s to quickly check out the returned data from an endpoint. Of course, you can also use POSTMAN, which I will also detail below. But I find the RapidAPI tool to be, well… rapid. You can install the Rapid API config into your app to make things easier, too.

Sign up for free and play around with different endpoints by clicking getBusinsses, entering some basic info like a city and then clicking TEST FUNCTION. See the screenshot below for details:

Yelp FUSION with RapidAPI


Using POSTMAN, your get request will look like this: [YOUR ACCESS TOKEN]

Throw in some search terms, for example, restaurants in Boulder, CO.

One important thing to note is that when adding the Authorization TOKEN (your access token), you will need a SPACE between the word “Bearer” and your access token. See the screenshot below to see what it would look like:

Screenshot of POSTMAN using the Yelp FUSION API


The returned results should be in valid JSON, like so:

"businesses": [
      "id": "mountain-sun-pub-and-brewery-boulder",
      "name": "Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery",
      "image_url": "",
      "is_closed": false,
      "url": "",
      "review_count": 977,
      "categories": [
          "alias": "pubs",
          "title": "Pubs"
          "alias": "burgers",
          "title": "Burgers"
          "alias": "breweries",
          "title": "Breweries"
      "rating": 4.5,
      "coordinates": {
        "latitude": 40.01916,
        "longitude": -105.2753
      "transactions": [],
      "price": "$$",
      "location": {
        "address1": "1535 Pearl St",
        "address2": "",
        "address3": "",
        "city": "Boulder",
        "zip_code": "80302",
        "country": "US",
        "state": "CO",
        "display_address": [
          "1535 Pearl St",
          "Boulder, CO 80302"
      "phone": "+13035460886",
      "display_phone": "(303) 546-0886",
      "distance": 2690.53082215
    } // ... and so on

Now you have access to the Yelp FUSION API 🙂

From here on in, anything is possible. Click here to view the Yelp doc’s for Business endpoints.

You can view my current source code on GitHub here. If you have any extra questions or comments, please don’t hesitate: leave them in the comments box below. If you know someone who might benefit from this post, please share it 🙂

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  • Joey Slomowitz

    Dude! thank you so much for this

    • You’re welcome, I’m glad it helped. What are you working on?

  • fabian django

    I do like this post. Explanations are clear and very detailed.

  • Jamie D

    Jack – This was so incredibly helpful. Thank you SO MUCH! I really appreciate it!

    • Thanks Jamie! I wrote this post exactly because I wanted to know the right information! Glad it helped

  • Jane Palmer

    Hi Jack,
    Thanks for the great post. Very beginner-friendly. I am having some trouble in the postman part. When I enter the client ID and secret, I get an error message (“VALIDATION_ERROR”). I am definitely using the correct ID & Secret from yelp.

    Any guesses? Here is a screenshot


    • Hi Jane thanks for reading. By the looks of your screenshot, you seem to be missing some parameters, please refer to the screenshot in my post at the end of Step 3.
      Here is the screenshot added below. I hope that helps you out 🙂

  • Simon Mc

    I’m not sure why, it won’t work for me on post back but it will when I use rapid API

    • That’s a bit odd. If you want to share your code then I can take a look.

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