Julie Jacobson  /  AP
Mary Poppins characters Bert, left, played by Gavin Lee, and Mary Poppins played by Ashley Brown, dance on the stage together during the curtain call of opening night of the Broadway musical, Nov. 16, in New York.
Special to msnbc.com
updated 11/27/2006 4:22:23 PM ET 2006-11-27T21:22:23

Get out the scarf, hat and gloves and start exploring the Big Apple!  This year there is more to do and see than ever before in the city that never sleeps. From more family friendly shows on Broadway to new restaurants and attractions New York is better than ever. Below are a few suggestions for your next family trip to New York City.

If you're coming to New York chances are you'll spend at least some of your time in Times Square… and that's a good thing!  More and more restaurants have made the move to Times Square and three stand out from the rest.

Get your rock on at the HARD ROCK CAFÉ.  Recently relocated to the Paramount building (1501 Broadway) this New York landmark is better than ever with a newly designed dining room and the classic rock memorabilia on display.

Direct from Brooklyn- it's JUNIORS!  The best New York style cheese cake is now on Schubert Alley (45th street and Broadway).   In addition to the  mouthwatering desserts you should also sample some of the classic deli offerings such as the Pastrami on rye or the matzo ball soup. 

Looking for an out of this world experience?  Check out MARS 2112 (1633 Broadway @ 51st street), a theme restaurant that includes Martians, a massive underground dining room and a entrance ride that takes you to the red planet!  This might not be the most romantic setting but the kids will love it!

Where can you meet the president, sing on American Idol or dance with Jerry Springer?  Check out MADAME TUSSAUDS right on 42nd Street.  This branch of the famous London wax museum is a real treat for adults and children with life-like sculptures of your favorite superstar.

It's part restaurant, part arcade with a splash of Vegas.  DAVE AND BUSTERS have opened a massive branch of their restaurant/arcade right on 42nd street.  The food is great and the games are fun.  Why not grab a drink at their wonderfully decorated bar while the kids take a break from the cold playing a few games.

This year the great white way is offering more family friendly shows than ever before!

MARY POPPINS is a new mega musical currently showing at the New Amsterdam Theatre.  In addition to being a story that most love this production features the usual Disney magic and a phenomenal cast.  A highlight is an upside down tap dancing number during Chim Chim Cher-ee.  Tickets might be hard to get but it's worth the hassle.  New Amsterdam Theatre (214 West 42nd St.) Tuesday- Saturday @ 8 p.m., Wednesday and Saturday @ 2 p.m., Sunday @ 3 p.m.   Ticketmaster.com or (212) 307-4100.

DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS is a new musical based on the film and book by the same name.  This production is perfect for the whole family and tickets are available.  If you are looking for a fun show that you can sing along to this just might be it. Hilton Theatre (212 west 42nd Street) Wednesday @ 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursday @ 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday @7:30 p.m., Saturday @11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday @ 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Ticketmaster.

JAY JOHNSON: THE TWO AND ONLY might be the best family show on Broadway.  Jay is a master ventriloquist who performs this ancient art with extraordinary results.  The show is not drawing in the audiences it deserves but if you are looking for an absolute winner I beg you to see this show.  Helen Hayes Theatre (240 west 44th Street)  Tuesday- Thursday @ 7 p.m., Friday @ 8 p.m., Saturday @ 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday @ 1 and 5 p.m.  Tele-charge: (212) 239-6200 or telecharge.com.

EXTRAORDINARY DECEPTIONS is a two week only family friendly magic show.  With loads of confetti, comedy and some amazing magic tricks this production is sure to please even the harshest critic of magic.  The show ends with someone from the audience being sawed in half!  The show plays from December 19th-30th at the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row (410 west 42nd street) Tuesday- Thursday @ 7 p.m., Friday @ 8 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 8 p.m. Ticket Central: (212) 279-4200 or ticketcentral.com.

There are of course other family friendly shows on Broadway including Beauty and the Beast, the Lion King, Hairspray and Wicked but I wanted to make you aware of some of the great new shows that are around just in time for the holidays.  Whatever you choose to see just make sure that you plan in advance as shows often sell out during the holiday season.

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