Top 5 sights for first-timers
Empire State Building
One of New York's most recognizable landmarks, the 102-storey skyscraper has long loomed high over the Big Apple. The view from the top is magnificent, but the long lines to get up can be tedious so try to book your ticket online. The best time to go is around sunset, when the amber glow over the city is pure magic.
350 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
Statue of Liberty
A global icon, the Statue of Liberty is deeply associated with the millions of immigrants who arrived in New York Harbor, and saw that 93-meter-high statue as a symbol of hope and opportunity. Boats out to Liberty Island depart from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Buy tickets online (www.statuecruises.com) to avoid painfully long queues.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Home to more than two million objects, the Met is one of the world's greatest art collections. You'll find everything from ancient Roman and Egyptian works to well-known paintings by the giants of the 20th century. Don't miss the roof garden, with views over Central Park, in the summer.
Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
The epicenter of Manhattan is undoubtedly Times Square, a buzzing crossroads of frenetic energy, with flickering billboards, jostling crowds and tooting taxis. This is also the gateway to New York's celebrated theatre district, aka Broadway.
Broadway at 46th Street
New York's long, green oasis is a verdant retreat from the bustling streets just beyond its rectangular borders. Here you'll find open expanses for sports and sunbathing, a picturesque lake where you can hire rowboats, open-air concert and theatre space, a small zoo, shaded walking trails and horse-riding paths, and an ice rink in winter. It's a popular year-round destination, and you can hire bicycles or hop aboard a horse-drawn carriage to take it all in.
59th to 110th Streets
Top 5 sights for old hands
Wandering the narrow streets of Chinatown is pure sensory overload, with fishmongers and fruit markets, Chinese bakeries, atmospheric restaurants and narrow storefronts packed with merchandise from the Far East. There are even a few Buddhist temples and a park where local residents practice tai chi and chit-chat over lively games of mah-jongg.
Built in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world's first suspension bridge and attracts millions of visitors who come to admire its unique design. The best way to see it is to put on your walking shoes, head down to City Hall Park and stroll across. Go early in the morning to beat the crowds, or come around sunset for memorable views.
The Museum of Modern Art
The rock star of the modern art world, the MoMA has been hosting cutting-edge exhibitions since its opening in 1929. The permanent collection showcases the great artists from the past 100 years, while temporary exhibitions feature retrospectives by some of the world's best living artists. Don't miss the sculpture garden and the first-rate restaurant overlooking it.
11 West 53rd Street
The High Line
Running from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea, this long landscaped park is built on old railway tracks and offers fascinating perspectives over the city. Amid rusted rails and wild native plants, the park has sun chairs for lounging, food vendors, views of the Hudson River and various platforms for observing the action on the street below.
The West Village
Set with peaceful tree-lined streets and tiny parks and plazas, the West Village seems a world removed from the traffic-clogged avenues of Midtown. Unique restaurants, cafés and boutiques draw a well-heeled crowd, and the winding lanes are a great place to wander and lose yourself.