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Magical Shores at Siloso
Photograph: Sentosa Development Corporation Magical Shores at Siloso

The best free date ideas in Singapore

Low on cash? Here are some free romantic date ideas that won’t break the bank

By Cam Khalid

We know, we know – dating is more about the camaraderie rather than the venue. But that’s no reason not to impress your date with the best hangout spot even if you’re broke. No matter what sort of couple you are, Singapore has a myriad of things to do. From getting a cultural fix at the museum to going on a nature trail, vibe with your romantic partner at one of these eclectic locations without all the extra charges. Aren't the best things in life free?

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Magical Shores at Siloso
Photograph: Sentosa Development Corporation

Stroll through Magical Shores at Siloso

Art Digital and interactive Singapore

Siloso Beach amps up the romance with a whole new light with a new immersive light and sound show, Magical Shores. Taking centre stage are two islets across the waters, illuminated with lights, dreamy fog, and tranquil music. A light and sound symphony brings the trees to life, accentuating the beauty of Sentosa's landscape. The multi-sensory experience also welcomes the both of you to interact with light art on the sandy beach, inspired by diverse elements ranging from water flow to marine creatures.  

Kite flying at Marina Barrage
Photograph: Shutterstock

Watch the sunset at Marina Barrage

Things to do Marina Bay

With a 360-degree view of the bay area, catching the mystifying sun setting over the city skyline is a must if you're within the vicinity. Whether you BYOB for a picnic, or simply taking a break on the benches, you are guaranteed a spectacular view of the open sky peppered with a kite or two.


Peep some art at Gillman Barracks

Art Kent Ridge

If you and your partner are a pair of art lovers, stop by Gillman Barracks for a fresh rotation of modern visuals and after-dark art events. The former colonial army base – originally built for the British Army – is now home to 11 art galleries. Go through the ticket-less doors of Chan + Hori Contemporary, Fost Gallery, Mizuma Gallery, among others, and contemplate over captivating displays. Need a break? Cooldown at The Naked Finn or catch a live band at Timbre.

Science Centre Observatory
Science Centre Observatory

Stargaze at The Observatory

Things to do Jurong East

If your beau leaves you starry-eyed, take it up a notch at Science Centre Singapore's The Observatory. Look past the artificial illumination of the city and to the stars light-years away with its 40-centimetre mega-telescope. Because this observatory is one of the few in the world located so close to the equator, it offers stargazers views of both the northern and southern hemispheres. Don't forget to make a wish when you spot a shooting star.

Jewel Changi Airport
Photo: Jewel Changi Airport

Spend a day at Jewel Changi Airport

Property Changi 

This majestic dome is home to the tallest indoor waterfall which stands at 40-metres-tall, and you can admire it in all its magnificent glory for free. Take a seat at any one of its benches for the hourly light and sound show at the HSBC Rain Vortex that runs from 7.30pm to midnight. For a fee, there are over 280 dining options with some open around the clock – think dining for two at ungodly hours, or catching the latest blockbuster at the 24-hour Shaw Theatres. Alternatively, head up to the Canopy Park for a romantic walk and an aerial view of Jewel.

Gelam Gallery
Photo: Cam Khalid/Time Out Singapore

Snap a couple photo at Gelam Gallery

Art Rochor

Scooch on down to the back alleys of Muscat Street for a rad hidden gem, an outdoor art gallery. Two parallel walls burst with a kaleidoscope of colour thanks to over 30 Instagram-worthy works by artists from the region and beyond. Admire the pop culture-dominated creation by multi-disciplinary artist PrettyFreakyFantasy or take a snap of a bold, terrestrial piece by graphic designer Liyana Farzana before exiting to Baghdad Street. The eye-catching designs also make ace backdrops for that much-needed couple photo, and with natural light, Gelam Gallery is a win-win, really.

Jurong Lake Gardens
Photo: NParks

Have some outdoor fun at Jurong Lake Gardens

Things to do Jurong East

Surround yourself with the flora and fauna of this national – and natural – treasure in the west. The gardens include Lakeside Garden, Chinese and Japanese Gardens and Garden Promenade – previously known as Jurong Lake Gardens West, Jurong Lake Gardens Central and Garden Promenade respectively. Take a walk on the bridge by the waters, chill out in hammocks overlooking the pagodas, or unleash your inner kid at the obstacle course and playground.

Enjoy the sweet sounds at the Esplanade

Music City Hall

No doubt, Esplanade is a star when it comes to date locations. From its romantic waterfront space to its spacious outdoor theatre, there's always something to do here. Live music, dance and theatre performances, coupled with the cool breeze and stunning view of the city, this is one free spot to up the romantic ante.


Marvel at the beauty of Gardens by the Bay

Things to do Marina Bay

Nothing like fresh air and picturesque views. Stop and smell the roses as you walk through the majestic, gargantuan gardens surrounded by exotic foliage. Skip the pricey entry to the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome – the outdoor Bay East Garden, Sun Pavillion, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants, as well as the Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes are just as good. Take it from us, it's even more romantic comes evening when the Super Grove light show is on.

Brave for the unconventional at Haw Par Villa

Things to do Kent Ridge

Not your usual date venue, this free weird and wonderful park opens its gate to multicoloured statues and tableaux that depict scenes from Chinese history and mythology. Don't miss out on the Ten Courts of Hell (responsible for childhood nightmares for generations of Singaporeans) where small-scale tableaux show human sinners being punished in a variety of hideous and bloodthirsty ways – in extremely gory and graphic detail. This rather morbid option can be fun for the skeptics, but definitely not one for the faint-hearted.

Little India
Photo by: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Explore the city together with trails

What better way to get to know the city than on-foot with your right-wing man or woman? Strap on some sturdy walking shoes and uncover Singapore's rich heritage and stories via these heritage trails. Go on an art trail and peep at some colourful murals, street art and sculptures that are spotted around the city. Explore the great outdoors with these nature trails – don't forget to slap on some sunscreen and grab a bottle of water!

Pretend to be cultured at a museum

There's more than meets the eye when it comes to museums here. Most of them, including the National Gallery Singapore, the National Museum Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum, are free for citizens and permanent residents, so gawk at its architecture and head in for a cultural fix. Feed both your curious minds with a spectrum of genres, spanning from state-of-the-art science, vintage memorabilia, cultural artifacts and historic treasures with interesting narratives. 

Popcorn Movie Nights @ Sentosa
John15 Photography

Catch an outdoor movie

What's more romantic than watching a rom-com under a canopy of stars? Catch the latest Hollywood releases and all-time classics on the big screen like they used to do. Outdoor cinemas such as Popcorn Pop-up Cinema and Moviemob are screened every week for free. All you have to do is show up with your picnic mats, popcorn and each other.


Soak up some sun at the beach

Put on your best beachwear for some sea, sand and sun. Singapore may not be a tropical paradise à la Malaysia and Thailand, but its beaches are decent. Whether it's on the main island or in Sentosa, our local beaches are great for a relaxing date under the sun. Swaying palm trees, cool breeze, and tranquil waters while having a cocktail in hand and toes in the sand, can a pair of beach bums truly resist?

Love is in the air


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