Daytrip to Jackson Heights

In the heart of multicultural Queens is the bustling 'Little India' section of Jackson Heights. The main drag of Little India, which is not exclusively Indian - Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Thais and even Latin Americans populate this area - runs along 74th Street between Roosevelt and 37th avenues and spills over into the surrounding blocks. An ideal spot for a day trip, the neighborhood draws visitors with its unique cultural offerings. It's famous for its wide variety of distinctive ethnic restaurants, shopping and people-watching opportunities.

WHAT TO DO

CATCH A BOLLYWOOD MOVIE

Eagle Theater, 73-07 37th Rd., 718-565-8783, eaglemovietheater.com

India takes its cinema seriously; you should, too. All the best of Bollywood is shown here.

TAKE DANCE LESSONS

Mambo Bravo , 37-40 75th St., 718-662-8474, mambobravo.com

Dance your way into the neighborhood's Latin rhythms at Mambo Bravo, a dance center offering lessons in salsa, mambo and cha-cha. Beginners welcome.

WHAT'S NEARBY

CITI FIELD , Grand Central Parkway, newyork.mets.mlb.com

Baseball season is under way, and the Mets are swinging their bats in brand-new digs. Tickets on sale now.

FLUSHING MEADOWS-CORONA PARK , nycgovparks.org

Plenty of green space, the World's Fair grounds, the Queens Museum of Art and the National Tennis Center - everyone can find something fun at this beloved Queens park.

WHERE TO EAT

JACKSON DINER , 37-47 74th St., 718-672-1232, jacksondiner.com , COST $-$$

It may be called a diner, but don't let that throw you; the fare is Indian. Plentiful lunch buffet includes pakoras, dals, curries and more.

SHANGRI-LA KABOB & BBQ PALACE , 74-15 Roosevelt Ave., 718-424-8900, COST $$

In addition to Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi foods, it specializes in Tibetan and Nepali cuisine.

ARUNEE THAI CUISINE , 37-68 79th St., 718-205-5559, COST $-$$

Red shrimp curry, marinated pork and Tom Yum soup are a few of the exceptionally tasty traditional Thai dishes at this comfortable neighborhood cafe.

PANDERIA COATZINGO , 76-11 Roosevelt Ave., 718-429-4160, COST $

Mexican pastries are baked fresh, and store shelves are stocked with a variety of Mexican groceries.

WHERE TO SHOP

PATEL BROTHERS , 37-27 74th St., 718-898-3445

Spices, exotic vegetables, chutneys, curry cooking kits, 40-pound bags of rice - all at extremely reasonable prices - are the cornerstones of this vast warehouse of imported South Asian foods.

INDIA SARI PALACE , 37-07 74th St., 718-426-2700

You'll be drawn in by the gorgeous array of colorful and intricately designed textiles. In addition to traditional sari fabrics, there's a selection of shawls, pillow covers, and men's suiting materials.

BUTALA EMPORIUM , 36-46 74th St., 718-899-5590, indousplaza.com

Indian religious texts, carved wooden icons, CDs and decorative South Asian furniture fill both floors of this fun-to-browse gift store.

GLOBAL JEWELERS , 37-47 74th St., 718-446-4500

Many Indian brides are outfitted here with traditional gold jewelry. The necklace and earring sets are particularly exquisite.

GETTING THERE

BY CAR: Take the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (278) to the Broadway/Roosevelt Avenue exit.

BY SUBWAY: Take the E, F, G, R, V or 7 trains to the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue stop.

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