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Chingay Parade
Photograph: Chingay ParadeChingay Parade 2019

The best events in Singapore in 2021

Mark your calendar for the return of 14 of the biggest art festivals, sporting events and things to do

Cam Khalid
Written by
Cam Khalid
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With plenty of things to do in this concrete jungle, we can safely say that a boring Singapore is a myth. From the coolest art-stravaganza like Singapore Art Week to mega sporting events like F1 Singapore Grand Prix to a food fiesta like Singapore Food Festival, there's always a myriad of things to do, see and eat. Stay ahead of the game and plan your 2021 calendar pronto with the crème de la crème of events happening throughout the year – some making their highly anticipated return after their 2020 cancellation.

Note that these events are subject to change due to Singapore's reopening plans.

RECOMMENDED: 101 best things to do in Singapore and Singapore events calendar for 2021

2021 highlights

M1 Singapore Fringe Festival
Photograph: M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

January 20-31

Based on the theme of Quiet Riot, M1 Singapore Fringe Festival makes its anticipated return with nine multi-genre events by local and international artists. This year's edition gives the audience the choice to catch the productions in person at the theatre or online. Under the helm of The Necessary Stage's Alvin Tan, the socially engaged fringe spotlights an exciting line-up of thought-provoking works including four fringe commissions, seven world premieres, and one Asian premiere. 

Singapore Art Week
Photograph: Singapore Art Week

Singapore Art Week

January 22-30

Singapore's visual arts calendar pinnacle – aka Singapore Art Week (SAW) – is back to bring some colour to the physical and digital realms. Staying true to SAW's theme of Art Takes Over, SAW 2021 offers over 100 programmes that allow art lovers from around the world to discover and experience Southeast Asian art. This year's edition showcases the largest number of commissioned works to date, with over 40 Singapore-based projects across various mediums and venues – even bus stops. For a taster, you can check out the SAW Digital page, where you can enjoy a myriad of digital offerings that supplement the upcoming physical programmes.

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Chingay
Photograph: Chingay Parade

Chingay

February 20

The Hokkien term ‘Chingay’ translates to the art of costume and masquerade which is apt for this vibrant street parade. The quintessential Singapore event is usually held during the Chinese New Year festivities. Instead of taking over the F1 Pit Building with its usual riot of colourful costumes, live performances, dazzling floats and intricate props from all around the world, it's set to go digital with a blend of old and new cultural performances, traditional and emerging art forms that highlight intricate details that cannot be usually seen at the physical parades. Plus, this time, Chingay can be enjoyed from the comfort of their homes and on the go for the very first time.

The Great Singapore Sale
Photograph: K8/Unsplash

The Great Singapore Sale

June-July

Stretch your dollar for some retail therapy as GSS returns with the best deals and steals in the city. Cop everything from wardrobe staples to home furniture at up to 70 percent off the original retail price. The spotlight shines on local talent this year with participating up-and-coming Singaporean brands, designers and restaurants.

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International Champions Cup
Photograph: International Champions Cup

International Champions Cup

July

Football fever rages on post-Champions League with the International Champions Cup. Some of the world’s biggest clubs are warming up for the ultimate face-off to land the prestigious trophy at the National Stadium in July. The last match in 2019 saw four of the world’s biggest clubs – Manchester United, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Tottenham Hotspur – go toe-to-toe, so look forward to plenty of footie action.

National Day Parade
Photograph: Rogan Yeoh/Unsplash

National Day Parade

August 9

Anniversaries are meant to be celebrated with gusto and Singapore knows just how to party when it comes to National Day. The city dresses for the occasion with flags lining the buildings, patriotic songs pervading the airwaves, people wearing red and white, and of course, the National Day Parade (NDP). Here’s the NDP in a nutshell: impressive aerial displays, military parades, and multicultural performances – all wrapped up with stunning fireworks. NDP2020 may have been digitalised but this year, we might get to see it in the flesh once again.

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Singapore Night Festival
Photograph: National Heritage Board

Singapore Night Festival

August 21-29

If it's anything like previous Singapore Night Festivals, expect plenty of interactive light installations scattered across the arts and heritage district of Bras Basah and Bugis. These visually-captivating commissions and collaborations are brought to life by local and regional artists. As always, feast your eyes on a kaleidoscope of kinetic visuals projected onto the facades of buildings in the vicinity as you soak in the atmosphere.

Singapore Food Festival
Photograph: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Singapore Food Festival

August

Discover bold new flavours and revisit all-time favourites with one of the most highly anticipated events on the food calendar. Let the Singapore Food Festival excites your tastebuds with masterclasses, tours, and a whole lotta feasting, all happening across various locations in Singapore.

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Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix
Photograph: Singapore Grand Prix/Manuel Goria

Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix

September 30-October 3

Think Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso – among the 20 international racers – are the only ones capable of making deafening noises? Expect loud sounds beyond the tracks with some of the biggest names in music to take centre stage too.

HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens
Photograph: HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens/Suhaimi Abdullah

HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens

October 29 & 30

Get ready to rock, ruck and rumble at the annual HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Singapore is the eighth stop in the 10-round tournament where the world’s top teams including powerhouses such as Fiji and New Zealand take on defending champion South Africa in their quest to clinch the coveted trophy. It’s super family-friendly so bring the whole brood down for some action-packed fun.

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Halloween Horror Nights
Photograph: Universal Studios Singapore

Halloween Horror Nights

September-October

Not for the faint-hearted – Universal Studios Singapore's annual scare event returns for another year of terror. Brace yourself for a hair-raising mix of Western and Asian ghouls and ghosts. Be alert – zombies might come after you!

Christmas Wonderland
Photograph: Christmas Wonderland

Christmas Wonderland

November-December

See Gardens by the Bay dressed to the nines this festive season with whimsical décor, dazzling lights and more to add to the holiday charm. While 2020 saw a more quieter Christmas Wonderland, with both online and offline offerings, previous year's have featured Christmas carols under the stars, 'snowfall' in the tropics, carnival games and kiddy rides, and the charming stalls à la European Christmas markets for everything from hand-crafted gifts to festive grub.

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Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon
Photograph: Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

December

Dust off those running shoes for one of Singapore's more major running events to tackle before the year ends. Tighten your laces and gear up for the return of Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) featuring the 5km race category as well as the signature half (21.1km) and full (42.195km) marathons.

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown
Photograph: Urban Redevelopment Authority

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown

December 31

Three, two, one – ring in the brand new year with a celebratory extravaganza set against the iconic city skyline at the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown. Wrap up the year with an exciting line-up of programmes that include light displays to illuminate the night sky, tasty bites and a bazaar to bag some quirky bits and bobs. But of course, the mainstay is the highly-anticipated firework spectacle that welcomes 2022 with a bang at the stroke of midnight.

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