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New York City

Updated: April 3, 2012 12:20 PM EDT


By Brian Silverman, Kelsy Chauvin and Richard Goodman

Iconic, hip, trendsetting, and ever-changing, New York City lives up to its superlatives. Underneath the Big Apple's jagged skyscraper skyline, museums dazzle with the latest collections, celebrity chefs unveil their newest creations, and Broadway continues to stage elaborate, glittering shows. Downtown, fashionistas linger on the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District, while artists paint urban portraits in Union Square. Beyond the bustle, though, is a diverse population, taking the city in stride and friendlier than you were led to believe.

Things to Do

When you're planning your activities, think on your feet. Do what New Yorkers do: walk. Wander the angled tree-lined streets of Greenwich Village or the avenues of million-dollar townhouses on the Upper East Side. Art lovers should not miss the Warhols and Pollocks at MoMA, or the comprehensive and essential Metropolitan Museum of Art. Outdoors, mingle with joggers and skaters in Central Park or smell the blooming flowers at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Head to Battery Park for sunset views over the Hudson River, or watch the world below from the top of the Empire State Building.

Shopping

And make sure your walking includes window-shopping. Couture designer shops line Madison Avenue, while the major department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's anchor Fifth Avenue in Midtown. Cutting-edge designers show their wares in the Meatpacking District, while high-fashion boutiques and cool housewares peak out behind the cast-iron facades of SoHo. Rummage through vintage clothing boutiques on the Lower East Side or sift through knockoff sunglasses, purses, and watches on crammed Canal Street in Chinatown. Head to Greenwich Village to browse music stores and boutique food shops.

Eating & Drinking

To fuel your rambles, you can find your culinary bliss from high end to low budget, in every ethnic cuisine. With small apartment kitchens and a culinary smorgasbord around every corner, it's no wonder New Yorkers eat out so much. Start in Chinatown for Cantonese noodles or indulge in a juicy steak at a Midtown steak house. Mix with celebrities at a fusion spot in Chelsea or tuck into a steaming bowl of mussels at a cozy Greenwich Village bistro. If you're on the go, grab a slice of pizza or a bagel with a schmear of cream cheese. For cheap, good, ethnic eats, hop the subway to Queens, Brooklyn or The Bronx.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Make sure you save some energy for your nighttime activities. Times Square's bright lights shine on elaborate stage productions in Broadway's theaters. Dress up for a classical concert at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center. Lovers of soul head to Harlem's Apollo Theatre. The legendary Blue Note and Village Vanguard pack in jazz fans, while cutting-edge bars and clubs in Meatpacking District lure the beautiful people.

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