Start a tour of the Big Apple by getting a view from the top. Skip the Empire State Building (which you'll want to see in the cityscape) and instead ride the elevator 70 stories to the observation deck of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. On the way up and down, visitors will learn about the building and its namesake, the great New Yorker John D. Rockefeller, from an exhibition and podcasts synched to their personal iPhones or iPods. Before leaving the famous sight, sign up for a tour of NBC Studios, which goes behind the scenes of the "Today Show", "Saturday Night Live" and "Nightly News with Brian Williams". Have a bibimbap at Kunjip in Koreatown, or visit one of the city’s many gourmet food trucks, serving everything from Taiwanese rice boxes to juicy lobster rolls (check out midtownlunch.com for a list of locations). Then catch a Circle Line Cruise around lower Manhattan, viewing the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governor's Island, the rising Freedom Tower and the incomparable New York City Skyline.
For a grown-up night on the town, make a reservation for dinner at Daniel or Eleven Madison Park then have a drink and listen to some jazz at Birdland, Blue Note, Blue Water Grill, Knitting Factory or Village Vanguard. Or with kids, go for pizza at the cool Lil' Frankie's, slightly more formal Otto, or one of the laid-back Patsy's Pizzeria outlets. (Tip: there's one on East 60th Street, across the street from Dylan's Candy Shop).
On your second day, head uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim or the Frick Collection, along what's known as Manhattan's Museum Mile. Take a walk in Central Park, or in winter, make that walk an hour of ice-skating on Wollman Rink. On the Upper West Side, stop for a late lunch at the ever-popular Shake Shack, then check out the big whale at the Natural History Museum. Get in and out of Times Square as quickly as possible, but don't miss catching a play or musical on Broadway or off-Broadway. Some current favorites include "The Lion King", "Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark", and "Wicked". Have a late dinner at one of New York's best open-late spots, such as classic French bistro Balthazar or funky Latin American Super Linda's.
Spend the morning stretching your legs before getting on the train, walking the streets of SoHo, the West Village and Meatpacking District, and pick up lunch on the elevated train tracks-turned public promenade Highline or foodie haven, Chelsea Markets.