A trip to New York City to take in a few sights, see a Broadway play, and indulge in a little retail therapy is great way to start your summer. The Big Apple is jumping this time of year, and Times Square is the perfect venue for a warm weather getaway. So just open up your calendar and start filling in some dates. You’ve got a plane to catch.

There are a couple of ways to approach this thing. If you know you absolutely must see a particular show, then secure your tickets first, and plan the rest later. If, however, you have a prescribed date in mind, then go for the hotel first, and see what you can find as far as seats for a Broadway production. If you don’t mind last-minute planning, you can usually find same-day Broadway tickets for up to 50 percent off at the TKTS booth in Times Square. Either way, the experience is one only New York City can provide, and you’ll have a fabulous time whether it’s your first, or your hundred and first, visit.

Choosing your show is easy if it’s just for you. You know what you like. If you’re choosing for a group, it’s best to do a little research. There are some great summer Broadway shows appropriate for kids that have won big adult fan bases as well. The Lion King, Aladdin and Matilda are good choices. For a more adult sense of humor, be sure to check out Avenue Q. Just because they’re puppets, doesn’t mean they’re for kids. The Book of Mormon‘s ding-dong humor may not be for everyone, but if that’s your choice, get online as soon as you can and snag your seats for this very popular show.

Les Miserables is returning to Broadway’s Imperial Theatre this summer after a six-year absence. Denzel Washington will star in the production of A Raisin in the Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre opening April 3 and running through the summer. James Franco makes his appearance in the Longacre Theatre’s presentation of Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Of Mice and Men. Good show choices for couples include Rock of Ages, Once and After Midnight. An off-Broadway choice that has really had some fun with the audience is The Norwegians. That’s by no means a complete list, but it is the cream of the crop.

Once you have tickets, you can scout out a prime hotel in the Times Square Theatre District. You might actually be pleasantly surprised by your options and prices. There are many very nice hotels here within walking distance to the theatres in the $100 to $200 per night range. If you want to sleep like a rock star, you can break the bank at The Plaza or the Waldorf Astoria, but there are truly affordable hotels throughout the theater district. Choose one of the cleverly remodeled boutique hotels and move on to the really delightful task of thinking about food.

Just like anything else in this vibrant, diverse city, there are all kinds of plates on all kinds of tables. For casual, simply good food, consider the chic little Shake Shack. They’ve got burgers, sushi and great desserts for a reasonable price. Carmine’s Italian is also a crowd-pleaser. For a best-value meal, head to Bar Boulud for a three-course, prix fixe delight from the enormously popular Chef Daniel Boulud. It is a more relaxed atmosphere than his upscale db Bistro Moderne, which, while expensive, can be quite the bargain if you order from the prix fixe, pre-theatre menu. Other “break the bank” tables include Oceana for seafood, and Triomphe for a tiny setting with superb cuisine, served with a side order of peace and quiet. Other favorites include Joe Allen for pre- and post-play cocktails with dinner, Mario Batali’s ESCA for wow factors, and Sushi Zen or Hakkasan for fabulously crafted sushi.

You will probably want to do a little shopping in Times Square, encouraged by the sheer size of the shops, like MAC for cosmetics and Sanrio for everything Hello Kitty. If you haven’t met Muji yet, this will be your chance. It’s like the Ikea of everything, including household items, clothing, electronics, you name it. Then, of course, you must take a selfie or a group shot, with the Times Square lights and billboards in the background. Just because.

If you’d like to keep the night going, prolong it a bit with a cocktail at the Rum House in the Hotel Edison. Quieter than the Russian Vodka Room, and a little more upscale than the other jazz clubs, RH serves up late-night cocktails with a tongue-in-cheek twist that is understated, and puts a nice punctuation mark on a simply wonderful day.