Almost everything in the Big Apple - from the entertainment to the attractions to the shopping to the culture - is considered the best of the best. So exploring even the "must sees" of this incredible city poses a formidable challenge.
For some, no New York trip would be complete without strolling through Central Park and its 843 acres of trails, lakes and ball fields. For others, the amazing paintings on display at the Museum of Modern Art, or the earth and space center at the American Museum of Natural History, take priority.
Still others can't come and go without visiting the ultimate symbol for freedom, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. And what's a trip to New York without walking through Times Square or taking in a Broadway show?
Millions of visitors view the city from atop the historic Empire State Building each year. Other travelers hit up the Big Apple for no other reason than to spend a day shopping along Fifth Avenue.
So where does a traveler begin? Well, it helps when your home base is conveniently located near many of the places that dominate your to-do list. From within the city - from the locals' vantage point - you'll be ready to hit the ground running.
And, given the length of your stay and your interests, run you probably will.
Carmine's Italian Restaurant. Enjoy family-style dining (translated: big portions) right next to Central Park. The classics are served here.
Gordon Ramsay at The London. The genius behind the television shows "Hell's Kitchen" and "Kitchen Nightmares" gets high marks from New York Times readers for his French fare at this Sixth Avenue restaurant.
Stroll through Central Park. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the mid-19th century, this 843-acre sanctuary is a must-see on any NYC visitor's to-do list.
See The House That Ruth Built. Many championships have been won and records have fallen in Yankee Stadium since its construction in 1923. But you'll have to hurry if you want to see the most famous venue in all of sports; a new stadium is expected to open for the 2009 season.
Catch a show on Broadway. To get the full New York experience, you'll need to experience a Broadway show. The Theatre District consists of 39 theaters with 500 seats or more and runs largely between Times Square and 53rd Street.
Carnegie Hall. America's most famous concert hall is actually three halls, with the Isaac Stern Auditorium the largest. This 2,804-seat hall has hosted the world's greatest soloists and ensembles since it's opening 1891. If your schedule doesn't coincide with a performance, daily tours are available
Lincoln Center. This cluster of buildings is home to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City ballet, the New York Philharmonic, and more.
American Museum of Natural History. Come see the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the outstanding show "Cosmic Collisions" (hosted by Robert Redford), in particular. But you better buy your tickets in advance.
Museum of Modern Art. At MoMA, you can see van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, or you can view the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. A recent renovation offers plenty of light and space to take it all in.
Times Square. Within close proximity to Broadway's theaters, you might consider visiting this glitzy icon after a show. If you've got the kids, consider taking them to the Toys R Us store for a ride on the Ferris wheel.
Statue of Liberty. Ferries leave daily about every half hour to 45 minutes. A stop at Ellis Island is included in the fare.
Empire State Building. More than 3 million visitors come each year to get a glimpse of the city through the 86th- and 102nd-floor observatories. In all there are 102 stores of steel, bricks, limestone and stainless steel. Come during dusk for the best city views.
Spend a day on Fifth Avenue. Tiffany, Prada, Harry Winston, FAO Schwarz, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Saks - the list goes on and on. There's not a more famous stretch of shopping anywhere.
Macy's. With Barney's, Bloomingdales and Saks as the competition, Macy's still wins out as the most famous department store in the Big Apple. Explore 10 floors of shopping at this Fifth Avenue gem.