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Floral Fantasy
Photograph: Gardens by the Bay

The best indoor things to do in Singapore on a rainy day

Rain or shine, the indoors are as fun as the great outdoors

By Cam Khalid
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If you've lived in Singapore long enough, you know not to rely on that weather app on your phone. Heavy showers or soaring temperatures, the weather here is unpredictable so it's always wise to have a backup plan for when the sky starts to change. From shopping malls and tourist attractions to museums and art galleries, there are still plenty of sights to see and ace things to do when the day turns grey.

RECOMMENDED: 101 best things to do in Singapore

Library@Orchard
Library@Orchard
Photograph: Shutterstock/mokjc

Indulge in a book

Stick your nose between the pages of a fictional bestseller or learn something new from a non-fiction pageturner at one of the city's cosiest reading spots or public libraries. While libraries such as Library@Orchard, Library@Esplanade, or Library@Harbourfont are decked with modern interiors and an extensive list of titles that include magazines, video, and audio, book stores such as Huggs-Epigram Café elevates the reading experience with a menu of soothing beverages.

HomeTeamNS Khatib Clubhouse
HomeTeamNS Khatib Clubhouse
Photograph: HomeTeamNS

Unleash your inner kid

Life's too short and adulting can be stressful. Let loose at some of the city's indoor playgrounds – think trampoline parks, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls, and even a mini-golf arena. Go on and parkour, free-run, bounce and flip around, all in the name of fun at these trampoline parks. And if you're a member of HomeTeamNS, gather your army of adrenaline junkies for Adventure HQ at Khatib Clubhouse which features a 233-metre-long roll glider, a 14-metre-long slide, a 165-metre-long artificial cave, a 15-metre cloud climb, and a two-tiered, 16-obstacle indoor challenge rope course. Those with active tots can also have some fun at the various baby-safe indoor playgrounds around the city.

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The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, Wild Rice
The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, Wild Rice
Photograph: Finbarr Fallon

Secure seats to a live show

Good news: live performances are back on stage. Keep your eyes peeled for plays at the theatres including Singapore Repertory Theatre and Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, as well as music performances at the Esplanade and Victoria Concert Hall. Whether online or offline, there are always performing arts events dotted around the city to showcase fresh talent, so you'll always be entertained on a rainy day.

The Old Man Singapore
The Old Man Singapore
Photograph: The Old Man Singapore

Enjoy a tipple (or two)

Whether you sip or quaff, enjoy a tipple (or two) and drink the bad vibes away with some friends at the city's top bars including those that chart this year's World's Best Bars list – No Sleep Club, The Old Man, Tippling Club, 28 HongKong Street, and Gibson. From joints stocked with quality vino, speakeasies hidden behind unmarked doors, dens devoted to whisky, craft beer breweries, and much more, we doubt you'd stop at one drink – just make sure you have a safe ride home.

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Snow City Singapore Winter Shooting Arena
Snow City Singapore Winter Shooting Arena
Photograph: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Play on ice, ice, baby

While winter is non-existent here in Singapore, the city makes up for the lack of sub-zero temperatures with indoor ice skating rinks and faux snow. Lace up your skates and channel your inner Michelle Kwan at Singapore's largest The Rink or Kallang Ice World. Alternatively, slide down a 60-metre snow slope, engage in a paintball shoot-out in a snowfield, or strap into a bumper car and drift on the ice at Snow City.

HiRoller Indoor Skating Rink
HiRoller Indoor Skating Rink
Photograph: HiRoller Indoor Skating Rink

Show off your best moves

Whether you're jumping on the Tik Tok trend-wagon, or revisiting a popular pastime, HiRoller Indoor Skating Rink in Pasir Ris offers state-of-the-art experiences on both inline and roller skates – think disco lighting and thumping music. It's also a great spot to introduce the kids to both inline and roller skates. You won't even have to worry about your kids falling flat on their faces – there are inline skating athletes and certified instructors to guide them through the glide.

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Jewel Changi Airport
Jewel Changi Airport
Photograph: Maikel Oosterink/Unsplash

Get lost in transit

The world-class Changi Airport has been crowned Skytrax's Best Airport in the World for eight years in a row, and with Jewel Changi Airport, you've got a solid excuse to visit even if you're not catching a flight. Here's where nature, play and over 280 retail and dining options including the much-raved burger stand Shake Shack, Pokémon's merch store, dessert haven Läderach and A&W's highly-anticipated comeback, come together under one roof.

Swee Lee, vinyl
Swee Lee, vinyl
Photograph: Swee Lee

Put a record on

There's something about crate-digging that will have us spending hours doing so. Finding a record, gently dropping the needle onto its groove, and hearing that initial crackle before the mahogany-rich sound takes over is an ethereal experience music lovers swear by. It escorts listeners through a rapturous sonic journey in a unique, multi-dimensional way. These record stores not only put your selection in a bag or on a record player, but also dish out a fresh cup of Java, ice-cold beers and small bites to keep you all fuelled up for all that browsing.

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holey moley
holey moley
Photograph: Holey Moley

Keep the ball rolling

Skip the great outdoor golf course for Holey Moley where you can drink, feast, and also enjoy a competitive (or not) game of mini-golf. Attempt the putting hole Upside Down which takes on all the deliciousness of a hawker centre dinner – with a literal twist. Otherwise, switch the golf ball for the bowling ball at the city's various bowling alleys. Dance to the latest pop hits at the neon-lit K-Bowling or check out the pros at Kallang Bowl. But if you prefer starting small, try some fun mini-bowling at swanky Avenue when it reopens.

Breezedeck Art Jamming
Breezedeck Art Jamming
Photograph: Breezedeck Art Jamming

Let your creative juices flow

In this fast-paced concrete jungle, it's good to swap vigorous activities for relaxing ones every now and then. Freestyle painting is a therapeutic way to destress sans the crazy crowds. It doesn't matter if you're Picasso reincarnated or your best drawing was that of a stick figure, most art jamming studios will guide you through the process. They also come equipped with an arsenal of art tools and blank canvases, so all you have to do is stretch those fingers and create your very own masterpiece.

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Nerf Action Xperience
Nerf Action Xperience
Photograph: Nerf Action Xperience

Challenge a friend

Fancy some cheap thrills? If you prefer brains than brawns, test your board game skills at cafés where there are 700 varieties to choose from. But if you want to mix 'em both, team up for one of the city's escape rooms where you'll have to beat the clock and solve a variety of puzzles to escape. Otherwise, round up the crew for a game of laser tag at LaserOPS or prepare for a shootout with blasters loaded with darts at NERF Action Xperience.

Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay
Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay
Photograph: Akhil TV/Unsplash

Play tourist for a day

If there’s one thing Singapore takes pride in, it’s the myriad of tourist attractions we have scatted across the island. Smell the flowers at Gardens by the Bay's indoor displays, discover underwater life at the S.E.A Aquarium, or snap a picture with your favourite celebs in full wax form at Madame Tussauds – there's all that and more to explore during a downpour.

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City Sprouts
City Sprouts
Photograph: Dewi Nurjuwita

Get some work done at a café

Sometimes, being all cooped up in an office cubicle for hours can drive even the calmest of us mad. And though working from home can be the comfiest option, it might not be as productive. Venture beyond your friendly, neighbourhood Starbucks and settle down with free Wi-Fi, power points, and a good cuppa at these quiet cafés to get your productivity game on. And if you're looking for a more indulgent alternative, book a night's stay at any one of these hotels offering working staycations.

Merci Marcel
Merci Marcel
Photograph: Merci Marcel

Shop and eat your way through a mall

Whether you’re a shopaholic or a foodie, there’s a mall for both. Singapore’s cornucopia of shopping centres house lifestyle shops, fashion boutiques, specialised stores, restaurants, as well as cleverly curated multi-concept stores that are ace at shaking up your retail therapy session. The good news is that most malls are located in close proximity to or above an MRT station so you can stay dry even without a brolly.

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ArtScience Museum
ArtScience Museum
Photograph: William Cho

Get your culture fix at a museum

When it comes to museums in Singapore, there's more than meets the eye. With a broad spectrum of genres, spanning from state-of-the-art science, vintage memorabilia, cultural artifacts and historic treasures with interesting backstories, our museums feed curious minds. Try the National Museum of Singapore, Art Civilisations Museum, and the ArtScience Museum, or go for an experience that's much more clandestine at a secret museum.

National Gallery Singapore
National Gallery Singapore
Photograph: Shutterstock

Stroke your chin at an art gallery

Here's one for the artsy types – art galleries such as National Gallery Singapore, Goodman Arts Centre and those at Gillman Barracks house gorgeous masterpieces by both local and international artists. While some captivating art exhibitions are permanent, the temporary displays are worth checking out too – if only for the 'gram.

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The Projector, interior
The Projector, interior
Photograph: The Projector

Catch the latest blockbuster

If Netflix and chill at home won’t do, you can opt for a new box-office screening at the cinema. For the ultimate movie experience, there's the IMAX theatre at Shaw or catch an under-the-radar indie flick at alternative film venues like The Projector, Oldham Theatre and The Screening Room.

Virgin Active, Paya Lebar Quarter
Virgin Active, Paya Lebar Quarter
Photograph: Virgin Active

Burn calories at a gym

Going for a run in the rain can be quite risky. For safety reasons, opt to break a sweat indoors. Encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle, Singapore is never short of places to keep you active. Enjoy a good view of the city skyline while whipping that body into shape at indoor gyms and fitness studios such as Virgin Active at Tanjong Pagar Centre and Gravity at Capita Green.

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Splash @ Kidz Amaze
Splash @ Kidz Amaze
Photograph: Splash @ Kidz Amaze

Make a splash

Splish, splash and splosh with the fam – sans the rain – at Splash @ Kidz Amaze. The water playground stretches out to 23,000 square-feet, with five slides and eight play decks that are all interconnected by climbing structures. Big buckets of water topple at random over a few areas, so expect most children to cluster around that splash pad to get dunked. For those with tots aged 18 to 36 months, head over to a separate wading area where water jets gently spray streams at you.

Auriga Spa Capella
Auriga Spa Capella
Photo: Auriga Spa Capella

Bliss out at a spa

In need of some rest and relaxation? Take advantage of the cool weather by pampering yourself at a spa. From luxury therapies to pocket-friendly massages of various types, these spas offer relaxing full-body rubdowns, revitalising treatments, invigorating scrubs, or rejuvenating facials perfect for a gloomy day pick-me-up.

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