52 awesome things to do in Singapore

Discover the top things to do in Singapore with Time Out’s ultimate guide to the finest restaurants, bars, shops, attractions, museums and more
52 things to do in Singapore skyline
By Time Out Singapore editors |
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Whether you're a first-time visitor looking for the best luxury hotels (or cheap hotels under $200, we've got your back) or a seasoned traveller looking make Singapore your new home, these are the essential things to see, do, eat and drink while you're in town. From the best outdoor activities in Singapore to the city's best museums, here's a comprehensive guide to the very best experiences in our city – one for each week of the year. 

The best things to do in Singapore

Jumbo Seafood, Chilli crab
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants, Seafood

Feast on chilli crab at Jumbo Seafood

icon-location-pin Bedok

There’s nothing quite like getting elbow-deep into a plate of chilli crab. It’s sweet, savoury, tangy and spicy all in one bite and is best mopped up with a deep-fried mantou. Have it at a neighbourhood zi char joint or at Jumbo Seafood, of course.

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Clubs

Party all night at Zouk

icon-location-pin Clarke Quay

Zouk’s no stranger to all you party animals. Whether you jam to trance, techno or hip-hop, this nightlife institution’s got your back. Making its shiny new digs at Clarke Quay, the world-class club spans across two floors featuring a main dance room and Phuture, which pumps out smooth R&B tunes. For a mix of deep house and nu-disco beats, make your way up to its luxe lounge Capital.

Restaurants, Hawker

Eat durians at Fruits Top 1 Department Stall

icon-location-pin Aljunied

Ah, the king of fruits. Geylang, the city’s infamous red light district, is home to plenty of roadside stalls hawking durians– but with plenty of crooks looking to swindle you out of a quick buck, it’s best to stick to places that have built up a solid reputation like Fruits Top 1 Department Store.

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Manhattan - Interior
Photo: Tom White
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Drink at the best bar in Asia at Manhattan Bar

icon-location-pin Orchard

On a list of Asia's 50 Best Bars, Manhattan at Regent Singapore comes out at number one. And on according to the World's 50 Best Bars, it's number seven. It's a portal to New York City where ladies are decorated in pearls and gentlemen dressed to the nines. The menu takes you through the ages of NYC, from the 1520s to the 1970s.

The National Gallery
Photo: Darren Soh and the National Gallery Singapore
Art

Appreciate Singaporean art at National Gallery Singapore

icon-location-pin City Hall

Marvel at National Gallery Singapore’s extensive collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art. Housed in the former Supreme Court building, the museum displays over 400 masterpieces including works by pioneer Nanyang artists Chen Chon Swee, Liu Kang and Georgette Chen.

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Restaurants, Hawker

Dig into the cheapest Michelin-starred meal at Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Navigating the maze that is Chinatown Food Complex is a bit of a task. But a tell-tale sign that you’ve found Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle is the long queue that weaves its way through the entire hawker centre – after all, it's the cheapest Michelin-starred meal you'll get in the world. It'll take you 2 to 3 hours to get to the front of the queue. But it'll be worth it when you tuck into a plate of the famed soya sauce chicken ($7-$14). 

 

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Ice cream uncle, sandwich

Buy ice cream rainbow bread from an ice cream uncle

Nothing offers sweet respite from the heat quite like ice cream served between rainbow bread or wafers. Ice cream uncles line Orchard Road selling blocks from $1.20, a small price to pay for the joy something so simple brings.

Travel

Get lost in transit at Changi Airport

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

An airport doesn’t sound like much of an attraction – more a series of interminable queues filled with tetchy flyers and shrieking babies. But Singapore’s Changi Airport has been voted the world’s best airport for the fifth consecutive year – and there’s much to marvel at here. Butterfly habitats, Balinese-style rooftop pools, 24-hour cinemas, spa centres – trust us, this ain’t your average airport. There are far worse stopovers during a long-haul flight. 

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Mustafa Centre
Photo: Morven
Shopping, Shopping centres

Shop at any time of the day at Mustafa Centre

icon-location-pin Kallang

Whether you’re having a sleepless night or looking for a very specific item at 2am in the morning, you can count on Mustafa Centre to supply the goods. A Singapore institution, this seven-storey mall is open round the clock and it’s extensive – like, really extensive – offerings will delight all intrepid bargain hunters looking for a deal.

Art

Zoom into the future at ArtScience Museum

icon-location-pin Marina Bay

Art and science blend seamlessly in the form of high-tech pieces at the Future World exhibition. Observe how the two seemingly contrasting entities come together in the world’s first Artscience Museum at MBS. Open your mind to the futuristic sphere of cutting-edge interactive installations and explore how art and science shape the world that we live in.

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Orchard road
Photo: Gabriel Ehrnst Grundin
Shopping

Shop 'till you drop at Orchard Road

A two-kilometre boulevard that winds a route through the centre of Singapore, Orchard Road is famous across the world as a major shopping destination. It got its name from the fruit trees that grew here in the nineteenth century – but these days, you’re more likely to find coffee shops, chainstores, boutiques, upscale restaurants, nightclubs, plazas and malls. Whip out the credit card and prepare to give it a poundin

Restaurants

Start your day with an iconic Singaporean breakfast at Chin Mee Chin Confectionary

icon-location-pin Marine Parade

Kaya toast – you simply can't miss out on this classic. This widely available breakfast item of toast, butter and coconut jam, is available at every kopitiam and local coffee shop. Old-school bakery Chin Mee Chin Confectionery does a beautiful rustic job – just be sure to call them kaya buns, rather than toast – although you'll need to arrive relatively earlier if you want to score any of these babies, as they often sell out by lunchtime.

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Things to do

Smell the roses at Gardens by the Bay

icon-location-pin Marina Bay

Fall head over heels for the seasonal floral display at the Flower Dome, one of the world’s largest glass greenhouses, which showcases exotic plant species, including tulips, dahlias and cherry blossoms. And make your way to the Supertree Grove – where towering tree-like sculptures come alive at night.

Things to do

Scream your heart out at Universal Studios Singapore

icon-location-pin Sentosa

You’re in for a full day of fun and heart-racing adventure at Universal Studios Singapore. Let your feet dangle off the world’s tallest duelling roller coasters, protect the Allspark from the Decepticons and get soaked on a white water rafting experience that ends in a hair-raising drop.

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Bugis Haji Lane Kampong Glam

Seek out quirky finds at Haji Lane

Home to many hole-in-the-wall boutiques, charming cafés and watering holes, Haji Lane is, without a doubt, the original hipster enclave and our favourite shopping stretch in the city. Skip the mall and head down to this quaint neighbourhood in the Kampong Glam district – the narrow lane is lined with shophouses packed with independent small shops hawking too-cool-for-school wares. On weekends, the area is a car-free zone.

Sultan Mosque
Photo: Terence Ong
Things to do

Visit Singapore's grandest mosque at Sultan Mosque

icon-location-pin Rochor

Round off a trip to Kampong Glam with a visit to Sultan Mosque. The heart of the Arab Quarter, it is the largest unofficial centre of worship for Muslims locally, but visitors are welcome to enter (except during prayer services, so do avoid Fridays). Look for the curious features at the base of the dome, which is composed of many glass bottles.

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Music

Take a secret tour at Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

icon-location-pin City Hall

The iconic durian-looking arts centre opens its doors to visitors who are eager to have a closer look at the world-class space. Uncover how the concert hall is engineered to keep out even the slightest external noise and vibration. Be amazed at how the hall, which has hosted renowned musicians from all around the globe, can be adjusted to mimic the acoustics of a tiny room or a large cathedral.

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Step out of your comfort zone at Native

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

Far beyond being a gimmick to attract curious drinkers, the cocktails at Native are the real deal. While the previous menu had a drink made with ants, the new one highlights grasshoppers paired with Chalong Bay rum, wheatgrass, lemongrass and Thai basil – all crowned with a scoop of glorious coconut ice cream.

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Things to do

Watch leopards forage in the dark at Night Safari

icon-location-pin Mandai

Set in lush secondary rainforest, the Night Safari (and the world’s first night zoo) allows you to see what over 900 nocturnal animals – including these striped hyenas and other scarier beasts like lions and leopards – get up to after dusk, in naturalistic habitats and without barriers, via the use of special lighting techniques. 

Things to do

Explore the nooks and crannies at Fort Canning Park

icon-location-pin City Hall

While the grown-ups will appreciate the history of this modest-sized mound in the heart of the business district, the kids… well, they don’t need any excuse to tumble around in a park as verdant as this, do they? As they explore the many nooks and crannies of Fort Canning Park and its many colonial-era relics, history buffs can learn more about the vital roles it played in Singapore’s story over the centuries. 

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Restaurants, Cafés

Try a cup of locally-roasted brew at Chye Seng Huat Hardware

icon-location-pin Kallang

Local coffee roasters Papa Palheta helped pioneer the third-wave coffee scene in Singapore, particularly with the opening of their uber-popular café-retail complex, Chye Seng Huat Hardware (becoming one of the first joints to plant a flag in the hipster 'hood of Jalan Besar). Its house blends are roasted directly in the complex from single origin beans; there's also a retail wall with grinders and brew contraptions to release flavour from the beans.

Shopping, Boutiques

Pick up local goodies at Naiise

icon-location-pin Orchard

This homegrown lifestyle store champions Singapore-designed products and, boy, are there lots to choose from. Naiise stocks over 1,000 brands selling cute stationery, household items, local books, unique touristy souvenirs and more across its six outlets.

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Things to do

Feel on top of the world (sort of) at Singapore Flyer

icon-location-pin Marina Bay

Marina Bay’s giant, 42-storey, 165m observation wheel continues to pull a mix of tourists and locals who come for the breathtaking, 360-degree views of the city available from one of its capsules. Each flight lasts 30 mintues and on a clear day the panorama from the top of the wheel stretches into neighbouring Malysia and Indonesia. If you fancy pimping your experience a bit, take a look at the dining and cocktail packages that are available. 

Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage
Photo: Singapore Botanic Gardens
Things to do

Watch a free outdoor concert at Singapore Botanic Gardens

icon-location-pin Tanglin

Situated on an islet in the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Symphony Lake, the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage is an idyllic venue for open-air concerts, with the audience sitting at the water’s edge. Of the monthly concerts held – from jazz, Latin and classical to pop and R&B – the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s free, biannual SSO in the Park is the most popular.

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Shopping, Shopping centres

Snag a bargain at Bugis Street

icon-location-pin Bugis

Just a stone's throw away from Bugis station lies a bargain shopper's heaven. Bugis Street is the closest you'll get to a street market in Singapore – the first floor is non-airconditioned but we suggest heading straight up to the second air-conditioned floor to shop. The most popular thing to do there, however, is to get your nails done in one of the many nail salons in the 'beauty aisle' – trust us, you'll know when you get there. 

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The Projector
Photo: Philipp Aldrup
Cinemas, Independent

Get your indie film fix at The Projector

icon-location-pin Kallang

Housed in the historic Golden Theatre, The Projector screens a selection of flicks such as cult favourites, arthouse, documentary, foreign and local. Look out for its special themed nights that are presented alongside homegrown drag collective The Glory Hoes, bringing together a series of queer films with glamourous disco after-parties to boot.

National Museum of Singapore
Photo: National Heritage Board
Things to do

Learn about Singapore's history at National Museum of Singapore

icon-location-pin City Hall

Journey to Singapore’s past with the National Museum of Singapore’s History Gallery and Modern Colony Gallery. The former traces the progress of the little red dot – from our years as an underdeveloped island to becoming a modern city. The latter offers a peek into the bygone days of Singapore as a British crown colony in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Music, Music venues

Hang with the cool cats at Blu Jaz Cafe

icon-location-pin Rochor

Witness pianist Aya Sekine’s intense key-smashing or treat your ears to Singaporean jazz stalwart Alemay Fernandez soulful croonings at Blujaz Café. Decked out in vibrant bohemian-inspired décor, the popular live music spot sits at the corner of Bali Lane in the Kampong Glam district and draws a crowd of young and old.

Things to do

Experience the mythological Ten Courts of Hell at Haw Par Villa

icon-location-pin Haw Par Villa

The weird and wonderful Haw Par Villa is a park filled with multicoloured statues depicting scenes from Chinese history and mythology. The highlight is 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. It’s a safe bet that you will never see anything like it anywhere else.

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Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Photo: Nparks
Things to do

Go back to nature at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

icon-location-pin Lim Chu Kang

The wetland reserve of mangrove swamps, ponds and secondary forest is home to 140 species of birds. Thousands of egrets, sandpipers and plovers pass through in winter, but plenty of local species (kingfishers, herons, bitterns) are visible all year round. Early morning is the best time for birdwatching; there are observation hides, and you can rent binoculars. There are three nature trails (3-7km/2-4 miles long), and you can also spot mudskippers, monkeys and climbing crabs on the mangrove boardwalks.

Shopping

Go back in time at Tangs

icon-location-pin Orchard

One of the most outstanding buildings in the iconic glitzy shopping belt Orchard Road is Tang Plaza. As Singapore’s oldest homegrown department store, Tangs is often credited with sparking the transformation of Orchard Road into the vibrant shopping haven it’s known as today.

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Things to do

Breakfast with the orang utans at Singapore Zoo

icon-location-pin Mandai

Singapore Zoo’s Ah Meng Restaurant serves up a buffet spread of Western and local delights, but trust us – the highlight has to be the orang utans, which make their daily appearance between 9.30 to 10am – they’re friendly, well-trained and always up for a photo op! Walk off the food after at the ‘open concept’ zoo, where over 4,000 animals, including the exotic white tiger and Hamadryas baboons, live in landscaped enclosures instead of traditional cages.

Clubs

Dance in the moonlight at Tanjong Beach Club

icon-location-pin Sentosa

Shoes on? Shoes off – because at this nightlife playground footwear is totally optional. Sink your toes into Sentosa beach’s soft sand and transport yourself to the cool shores of Ibiza as you rave the night away to a blaring mix of Balearic house, beach boogie and sunshine soul. Oh, and we definitely recommend modelling your cutest swimwear.

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MacRitchie Reservoir
Photo: Erwin Soo
Things to do, Walks and tours

Go for a hike at MacRitchie Reservoir

icon-location-pin Central Water Catchment

Singapore’s oldest nature park is continuously filled with joggers, families and weekend strollers – plus those flocking to see the occasional free concert. You can get into the reservoir’s rainforest via the MacRitchie Trail, which offers straightforward boardwalk treks and more ambitious, longer hikes. There’s plenty of wildlife here, from flying lemurs to tree frogs and pangolins – but they do tend to hide out of sight. The one exception are the long-tailed macaque monkeys that hang about. Be warned, though: having been fed by less responsible visitors, they can be aggressive little terrors.

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Restaurants, Hawker

Queue for hawker food at Tiong Bahru Market

icon-location-pin Tiong Bahru

Hawker centres are an integral part of Singapore’s food landscape so treat yourself to an education of the finest degree at Tiong Bahru Market. The recently revamped centre houses more than 80 hawker stalls including legends such as Tiong Bahru Fried Kway Teow and Jian Bo Shui Kueh.

HEAR Records
Photo: HEAR Records
Shopping, Music and entertainment

Go crate digging at Hear Records

icon-location-pin Rochor

Hear Records is where you go to get lost in crates of vinyl – there are over 10,000 used ones and 5,000 new ones with weekly additions to keep things fresh. Needless to say, a vast, curated selection of records, all handpicked by owner Nick Tan, line the walls too.

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Restaurant Labyrinth
Photo: Jill Chen
Restaurants, Singaporean

Try Mod-Sin cuisine at Restaurant Labyrinth

icon-location-pin City Hall

We love that Singapore never stops reinventing herself – and that applies to our food too. Labyrinth is a modern Singaporean restaurant housed in the beautiful Esplanade and it whips up dishes like chilli crab with Japanese soft shell crab and bak chor mee with Hokkaido scallops.

Springleaf Prata Place
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants, Indian

Satisfy midnight munchies at Springleaf Prata Place

icon-location-pin Yishun

It’s dark. Most of the stalls in the city have shuttered for the night. Where do the hungry night owls go? Why, Springleaf Prata Place, of course. Open ‘til midnight, this late night joint is a favourite among supper seekers looking to get their hands on greasy, sinful plates of prata slathered in curry.

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Attractions, Sightseeing

Zip through the air at Singapore Cable Car

icon-location-pin Bukit Merah

Arrive at Sentosa in style when you at the Singapore Cable Car from Faber Peak Singapore down to Sentosa Station. This unique mode of transportation can also be transformed into a private dining space where you're served a four-course meal with dishes like wagyu beef cheek and smoked duck breast during the 90-minute ride.

Shopping

Beautify your home at Mud Rock Ceramics

icon-location-pin Rochor

Up your table setting game and pick up some beautiful and functional handmade wares at Mud Rock Ceramics – these are lovingly made out of just mud and clay by the ceramic studio owners, Michelle Lim and Ng Seok Har.

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Mint Museum
Photo: Mark Teo
Things to do

Throwback to your salad days at Mint Museum of Toys

icon-location-pin City Hall

Revisit your good ol’ childhood memories at the Mint Museum of Toys, home to a world-class collection of vintage toys and collectable items. Ignite your child-like wonder with the thousands of toys and items on display throughout its four levels.

Things to do

Explore marine life at SEA Aquarium

icon-location-pin Sentosa

Sing ‘unda tha sea’ as you ogle at over 800 species of marine wildlife in the world's largest aquarium, which also has the title of the largest collection of manta rays in captivity. Amongst the other underwater beasties tenured here are nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks, eels, clownfish, giant octopuses, bottlenose dolphins and seahorses. 

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Zam Zam
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants, Malay

Tuck into the best murtabak at Zam Zam

icon-location-pin Rochor

There’s no preventing the pong of oil and fried dough clinging to your clothes the moment you step into this grungy shophouse unit. But it’s well worth the smell. Zam Zam has been serving up its briyani (from $6) and murtabak (from $5) for well over a century, so you can be pretty much assured of getting the legit stuff. 

Things to do, Walks and tours

Become a homebody at The Intan

icon-location-pin Geylang

Once you step into The Intan, chances are you won’t ever want to leave. The private Peranakan home-museum in Joo Chiat gives visitors a taste of old-world Peranakan charm during its Tea Tour, which touches on Peranakan history, culture and even embroidery craft.

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Shopping, Bags and luggage

Browse emerging brands at Kapok Singapore

icon-location-pin Rochor

Taking its name from the majestic emergent tree of the rainforest, Kapok is a quirky retail addition to the National Design Centre. Explore over 100 up-and-coming and cult international brands.

Bollywood Veggies
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Things to do

Frolick in a farm at Bollywood Veggies

icon-location-pin Lim Chu Kang

This organic countryside farm way out in Kranji is the brainchild of Ivy Singh, the straight-talking former president of Netball Singapore. Take a tour of the farm, tuck into organic vegetables grown on-site at Poison Ivy Bistro, learn about the history of food at the Bollywood Food Museum and do much more when you make the trek to this ulu destination.

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Sisters' Island

Go snorkelling at Pulau Hantu

A little off the coast of Singapore, Pulau Hantu boasts sheltered beaches and clear waters (for local standards) and are popular with diving and snorkelling enthusiasts who come for the rich marine and coral life. Get in touch with groups like Marlin Divers or The Hantu Bloggers to charter a boat to the islet. 

Marina Bay, sunrise, Merlion Park
Photo: Noppasin Wongchum

Meet the iconic Merlion at The Merlion Park

It’s cheesy, we know, but can you really visit Singapore without the obligatory tourist shot at Merlion Park? Come early to beat the crowds that throng this 2,500 sqm park, which is thankfully an easy walk from Raffles MRT station. At night, it makes a good vantage point from which to catch the laser light show at Marina Bay Sands.

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