Your ULTIMATE guide to awesome things to do in Singapore, from comedy and craft beers to horse riding and hawker centres
Isn’t it amazing how this tiny fishing village has grown into a bustling, urban hub peppered with skyscrapers all around in just half a century? Don’t mistake Singapore’s reputation as an itsy-bitsy red dot for a lack of things to do; we present you with a plethora of activities you can do on our sunny island.
1. Eat like a local, lah
We might not have the oldest of cultures, but our food culture is absolutely power, lah. You haven’t experienced Singapore until you’ve sweated it out in a hawker centre and tried all of these Singaporean foods and drinks
2. Or elevate your Singapore food affair with a mod-Sin twist
Angus beef satay, Maine lobster Hokkien mee, bak chor mee grilled cheese, and chilli crab noodles – if these mish-mashed culinary creations are making you drool, you’ll wanna check out these boundary-breaking mod-Sin restaurants in Singapore.
3. Dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant
Nothing signifies upscale quite like the symbol of a Michelin star, and you’ll find these scattered across the cream of the crop of Singapore’s fine dining scene. From modern French restaurants to local Peranakan kitchens, and even the eponymous establishment of Jöel Robuchon himself, these Michelin-starred restaurants in Singapore are culinary cornerstones you should check off your list.
4. Lose yourself in a themed restaurant
Care to dine in a vintage wonderland or Chinese cartel-inspired den? How about feeling like The Great Gatsby or dining ‘under the sea’? With these themed restaurants in Singapore, it’s more than just the gourmet food they serve; the ambience they churn out is perfect for dinner parties or entertaining the young’uns.
5. Join the brunch bunch
In case you haven’t realised by now, we’re obsessed with brunch. With cafes popping up everywhere, you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding where to dine for your Sunday perk-me-up. But we’ve done the legwork for you, picking 45 of the best brunch spots in Singapore for your eggs Benny fix. We’ve even got the boozy brunches too.
6. Drink like no one’s looking at a speakeasy
You wanna chill out with a tipple, but you’d also like to do so in the privacy of a secret hideout? Stay away from the usual suspects, and stealthily skedaddle your way to these hidden bars and speakeasies in Singapore instead. Finding the entrance is just half the fun!
7. Chug a cocktail… of ants?!
Unlike speakeasies, these bars don’t shy away from making loud statements. NATIVE on Amoy Street is one of our favourites, offering its notorious cocktail garnished with real ants. Or how about a cocktail drizzled with Peking Duck sauce, or an alcoholic ‘chicken soup’? Then make your way to Smoke & Mirrors and Hopscotch respectively.
8. Enjoy craft beer at hawker centres
Think Tiger is the only local beer we produce? Think again. Local breweries are popping up in the unlikeliest of places, but they sure are close to our hearts. Thirsty for crafty local lagers and stunning saisons.
9. Go to a farmer’s market
Going out for brunch with your girlfriends while getting the groceries for dinner may seem like a Herculean task, but we assure you it’s not. With farmer’s markets and artisinal grocers popping up everywhere in Singapore, you can now get organic produce and rare imports, while digging into delectable menu offerings – all under one roof.
10. Awaken your inner Nigella Lawson
It’s time to curb your addiction to Betty Crocker and learn how to really bake (or cook). If you’ve dreamt of becoming the masterchef of your kitchen, book a sesh or two with Palate Sensations, one of the most established cooking schools in Singapore with over a decade of experience. Brandished with a 2,000sqft open kitchen, up to 75 participants can cook up a storm in one session – perfect for team bonding sessions. It even offers classes proficient in regional cuisine – learn how to cook Peranakan, Indonesian, Thai and even Vietnamese – so if you’re a tourist visiting this part of the region, you can take a slice of Southeast Asia home… literally!
11. Take romance to new heights
What could be better than a romantic dinner for two? One with a killer view, of course! Take your romance to new heights by having a meal amongst the stars. The Singapore Flyer offers a decadent four-course meal with personalised butler service and panoramic views of the city, all in the privacy of your own capsule. The Jewel Box’s Sky Dining is another option where you can dine in a cable car atop Sentosa Island. Need more options? These rooftop restaurants won’t disappoint.
12. Attend a trivia night
Do you know off-hand how many bones there are in the human body? Do your friends call you the ‘Encyclopaedia of Useless Knowledge’? Well, here’s your chance to show your detractors that knowledge is power (as is free beer) at these challenging trivia nights and quizzes you can find at these pubs in Singapore.
13. Laugh ’til you cry
They say laughter is the best medicine, and we’ve got just the prescription for you right here. Gather the troops for a drinking and laughing sesh at these bars that hold hilarious stand-up comedy shows in Singapore.
14. Take on an escape room challenge
Calling all Houdinis! It’s time to ditch virtual gaming and delve into this first-person reality game that replicates escaping from Dracula’s castle, surviving a Zombie outbreak, and Prison Break-esque scenarios. Intrigued? Check out these fun escape rooms in Singapore.
15. Hunt the haunted
Most of you will be familiar with Old Changi Hospital, but what about Neo Tiew Estate, or the Old Seletar Airbase? Ghost hunting can be scarily fun (safety in numbers is probably a good idea though), so if you’re not chicken, venture into these spooky spots in Singapore.
16. Tour Haw Par Villa
Step inside the whimsical world of Chinese legends, history and folklore at this bizarre mythological park. Created to showcase Chinese traditional values, Haw Par Villa has over 1,000 electric statues and 150 dioramas including the 10 courts of hell and the laughing Buddah. Expect a few eyebrows-raising moments on this fascinatingly grisly tour.
17. Spend a day at Sentosa
We know 24 hours just isn’t enough to cover all that this beach paradise has to offer, but here’s one possible itinerary: Start the day with brunch and a massage at Capella Singapore. Then, scurry it to Adventure Cove Waterpark (or Port of Lost Wonder for those with kids), or take a few thrill rides on the Luge to get your heart pumping again. Stroll through the S.E.A. Aquarium for some quality time with the fishies before relaxing with a sunset cocktail or two at Coastes; followed by dinner at Quayside Isle. Save the entire next day for Universal Studios Singapore.
18. Mingle with the animals
We might be known as a concrete city, but that doesn’t mean we lack cute, furry animals to cuddle or coo over. Spend a day with giraffes and white tigers at the Singapore Zoo, and watch out for bats and flying squirrels at the Night Safari. But if you’re more a domesticated feline person, you’ll want to ga-ga over the adorable kitties at these cat cafes in Singapore. Dog people, we’ve got these dog cafes lined up too.
19. Explore the heartlands
They say you haven’t really been to Singapore until you’ve explored the treasures the heartlands have to offer. Take a bus or train, and explore heartland neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru, Toa Payoh, Jurong and Bedok. Make friends with the aunties and uncles at the wet markets early in the morning as you do some fresh grocery shopping, and be sure to dig into authentic local fare from the coffeeshops.
20. Sign up for cultural tours
Singapore isn’t all about towering skyscrapers and the concrete jungle. Discover hidden historical gems by visiting the ethnic enclaves around the island. Hop onto a trishaw for a ride around Chinatown’s main attractions like the Thian Hock Keng Temple and Heritage Museum. Drop by the Malay Heritage Centre (the former palace of Sultan Hussein Shah) in Kampong Glam for exhibitions, tours, and workshops on the Malay culture in Singapore. Or revel in the bustling atmosphere of Little India and get your taste buds tingling with a hearty South Indian meal of thosai and masala chai at the famous Komala Villas eatery.
21. Find the Seven Merlions in Singapore
Betcha didn’t know that Singapore has seven Merlions! That’s right, we have seven merlions, out of which, two aren’t legally supposed to be there! Part-lion, part-fish, the iconic symbol represents Singapore’s original name Singapura (which stands for lion city) and her origin as a fishing village. Find them at Sentosa, Merlion Park, Ang Mo Kio, Tourism Court and Mount Faber.
22. Hit an adventure playground
Let loose and swing from the treetops at the Forest Adventure Course. While you can bring the little ones along, it’s honestly just an excuse for adults to test themselves and complete the 35 death-defying obstacles aross four sites. Set amongst the leafy surroundings of Bedok Reservoir Park, it’s also a great way to overcome your fear of heights and have a laugh amongst friends.
23. Giddy up
Feel like horsin’ around? We’ve always taken a shine to Bukit Timah Saddle Club, not just because there’s the extremely popular Rider’s Café on its grounds, but also because you don’t have to be a member to take lessons. Otherwise, there’s Gallop Stable, which holds the bragging rights of being the largest public riding centre in Singapore. Those living in the North, you’ve got the experienced folks at Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre.
24. Go island hopping
Take the day off and explore some of the islands just off the coast of our city by ferry. We say the tranquil beaches of Kusu Island are perfect for a picnic-day-out, or St. John’s Island if you’re looking for quiet holiday bungalows complete with barbecue pits. For a more outdoors-y experience, go snorkelling, camping, or hiking on Sisters’ Islands and get back in touch with Mother Nature. Alternatively, escape the city life and visit Singapore’s last Kampung (village in Malay), Pulau Ubin.
25. Spot some graffiti
Some people, like the ever-renowned Banksy, take art to the walls – the street walls, that is. While Singapore has very strict policies on graffiti and street art at public places, there are actually a few hotspots that are (legally) tainted with unique and striking street art. Keen to discover street art in Singapore? Head over to Haji Lane, Clarke Quay and more to find fascinating artistic doodles on walls and public spaces.
26. Book a staycation at Singapore’s heritage hotels
The Lion City might be a young nation, but we’ve got quite a lot of historical clout. Step back in time as you nibble on delicate teacakes in Raffles Hotel, our finest colonial-style lodging. Or if you like romantic strolls by the Singapore River, then choose to stay at The Fullerton Hotel, which used to be a post office in its past life – its plush, fancy digs will definitely leave you gasping with delight.
27. Appreciate art
Build up your cred as a connoisseur of fine art by trawling through these bastions of quirky art offerings. Explore Southeast Asian artworks at the Singapore Biennale, or take a peek into art spaces at offbeat locales like Gillman Barracks. Or up your ‘chic’ factor by installing a fancy (yet affordable) piece from the Affordable Art Fair in your bedroom.
28. Indulge the hipster in you
Too cool to be seen in malls? Slip into your skinniest jeans and head to these vintage stores and flea markets, or check out the painfully-hip Haji Lane that boasts trendy boutiques galore. Need more left-field tunage that no one else has heard of? These record stores in Singapore should do just nicely.
29. Do it for the ’gram
No need to be shy about it; we’re slaves to social media too, and that includes capturing our #OOTD shots in the most photogenic of spots. Sick of the same ol’ scenery in Singapore? Check out these Instagram-worthy spots in Singapore and nab that money shot. You can also explore these iconic buildings in Singapore if you’re an architecture buff too.
30. Unleash your inner Spiderman
Sure, we might not have any mountains to scale in Singapore, but it doesn’t mean your rock-climbing goals have to hit a wall. We’ve lined up the best rock climbing and bouldering gyms in Singapore if you’re looking for that adrenaline rush.
31. Get inked by a master
Has Singapore left a mark on you? If so, why not make it a permanent one? If you’re ready to make the commitment, head to these best tattoo studios in Singapore featuring some of the most talented tattoo artists on the island. We can’t say this won’t hurt, but it’ll be worth it.
32. Lose yourself in a world of lights
The ArtScience Museum near Marina Bay Sands is a looker thanks to its iconic, cracked egg-shaped façade, but what it stores within is even more eye-popping. One highlight that always lights up our day is Team Lab’s Future World exhibition – essentially a kaleidoscopic universe of interactive projections, light sculptures, and photo opps that’ll make your Instagram feed look like a work of art.
33. Check out the Gotham City building
Bruce Wayne, you in? While you probably won’t spot Mr. Batman himself in Parkview Square AKA Singapore’s Gotham City building, you can sure pretend to be intruding on his premises thanks to its Art Deco-styled architecture. The building even houses an impressive gin bar called Atlas, and a free museum featuring contemporary artworks.
34. Catch an arthouse film at a restored indie cinema
Take a break from flashy cinemas, and feed your inner culture vulture at The Projector. Formerly Singapore’s biggest cinema in the 1970s, the rejuvenated film hub is now a haven for hipsters and arthouse aficionados. There’s even a wicked rooftop bar on top too, perfect for your post-show critique and tipple.
35. Blaze a trail
If you’re the outdoors-y sort, you might wish to check out these hiking trails and nature reserves in Singapore for your trekking desires. Need us to point you in the right direction? Start with The Southern Ridges, and we highly suggest Chestnut Nature Park, now Singapore’s largest park.
36. Get a bird’s eye view of Singapore… from a drone
Yes, drone-flying is a hobby that has taken flight in Singapore too. Check out our ultimate guide to drones to learn everything you need to know about manning a drone in Singapore – from where to get ’em and lessons, and even drones laws to take heed of to get the po-po off your back.
37. Go late night shopping at Mustafa Centre
Grocery shopping at 4am – why not? Night owls and insomniacs can get their shopping fix at Singapore’s only 24-hour shopping mall. From fresh produce and electronic gadgets, to jewellery, DVDs and rare Indian products, Mustafa Centre is truly an Aladdin’s cave located in the heart of Little India. But be warned: at such low prices, the temptation to buy everything will be hard to resist.
38. Shop ’til you drop at the Great Singapore Sale
As the temperature rises in summertime, shopaholics in Singapore ready themselves for the annual shopping bonanza: The Great Singapore Sale. During the months of June and July, stores island-wide offer a dizzying array of amazing sales (up to 70% off), promotions and giveaways that’ll satisfy even the most voracious bargain-hunter.
39. Practise yoga in the great outdoors
If you’re tired of doing the downward dog or the half moon in a stuffy yoga studio, take your favourite activity outdoors and enjoy it amidst Mother Nature. You have more than a few options even in highly urbanised Singapore – Om Shiva Yoga, Yoga on Nassim, Yoga in the Park, Yoga Divas, and Green Yoga.
40. Shake up your fitness routine
Tired of hitting the gym and slogging through the usual routines? Thankfully, Singapore has plenty of unique fitness options like trampoline-assisted bounce classes, barre classes, boxing, and even wrestling where you can channel your inner Hulk Hogan.
41. Go zen in a bizarre way
Singapore can be a hectic country if you let the stress catch up to you, but we’ve got you covered with these unique forms of therapy all over the island. From sound meditation and acupuncture, to Lomi Lomi and Japanese onsens, these alternative therapy and treatment options in Singapore will make sure you’re always cool as a cucumber.
42. Pamper yourself with a spa day
Whether you’re looking for a revitalising facial or a massage to nudge those knots away, these spas in Singapore will have you feeling brand new. Need more primping? These hair studios and nail salons should do the trick too.
43. Feel good by doing good
There’s so much you can do to help others in Singapore. Have an interest in women’s welfare? Sign yourself up with Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) or Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA). In light of recent events, you might want to help out the migrant workers in Singapore at TWC2 or HOME. Or if your heart goes out to animals, check out Cat Welfare Society and Action for Singapore Dogs.
44. Sing your way
Doesn’t matter if you’re a bathroom singer, show-stopping songstress or can’t hold a note to save your life, KTV bars provide a non-discriminatory space where the sole purpose is simple: to sing and have a ball of a time. So… clear your throat, do some lip trills and get ready to impress at these karaoke bars in Singapore.
45. Rave at some of the hippest clubs in Singapore
Creatures of the night, this one’s for you. Home to two of the best clubs in the world, Singapore’s also a party capital where many international and regional DJs flock to show off their chops. Our personal picks? Headquarters by The Council and Kilo Lounge if you’re looking for the classiest in house and techno.
46. Tap your feet (or mosh along) to live music
Prick up those ears, and you’re bound to find live music venues around every corner in Singapore. We’ve got jazz clubs, cafes featuring Top 40s hits and classic rock anthems, and plenty of huge concert venues playing host to rosters of international superstars. You don’t have to stay in your seat if you don’t want to!
47. Skydive – indoors!
If the idea of skydiving from over 12,000 feet scares you silly, experience the same thrill with none of the danger at iFly Singapore. Located at Sentosa, it is the world’s first and largest wind tunnel for indoor skydiving.
48. Play paintball
Psych up your posse and get your protective masks ready for a wicked paintball game with Crossfire or Red Dynasty. Whether you’re building up team spirit or finding a way to unleash your inner Rambo, this sure makes an adrenaline-pumping weekend activity.
49. Get soakin’ wet
Cool off from our clammy climate at these water theme parks in Singapore. We have the big guns like Adventure Cove in Resorts World Sentosa and old-timer Wild Wild Wet at Downtown East in Pasir Ris. You can soak it up in the heartlands as well – the slides at Sengkang Swimming Complex and Jurong East Swimming Complex are just as exciting (and easy on the wallet).
50. Ice-skating at The Rink in JCUBE
Another way to escape from the sweltering heat outside is the first-ever Olympic-sized ice rink in Singapore at JCUBE. It’s the next best thing since you’ll never ever find a frozen lake here in Singapore. It even offers public skating lessons if you’ve two left feet… on ice, that is.
51. Stargaze at Science Centre, Observatory Deck
If you’re up for an astrological date, head over to The Science Centre Singapore’s Observatory Deck, which offers telescopes to let you peer into the universe. Can you think of a more romantic date idea than this?
Science Centre, Observatory Deck, 15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081.
52. Be a human slingshot
This might either pump you up or scare the living daylights outta you. Launching you upwards at a terrifying speed of 120mph, Clarke Quay’s G-Max Reverse Bungy is constantly filled with screams at night. We advise you not to ride it intoxicated (read: barf alert).
53. Rent a yacht for a private party
Thinking of ideas to top last year’s party? How about bringing it to the seas! For a maritime bash that your friends and colleagues will never forget, we’ve whipped up a guide of booking private yachts for parties in Singapore.
54. Go on the Singapore River Cruise
Take a 40-minute river cruise on one of Singapore’s iconic bumboats and treat yourself to a tour of some of Singapore’s best dining and entertainment spots along Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. We recommend taking the cruise after sunset; the night view of Singapore’s skyline is absolutely breathtaking!
55. Do Farmville IRL
Visit a local farm in Singapore’s countryside (yes, we do have one). Animal lovers, head to Hay Dairies to see how goats are milked, Farmart Centre (petting zoo), and Jurong Frog Farm for a close encounter with our amphibian friends. If you’re more interested in organic fruits and veggies, hit up Bollywood Veggies or Fireflies Health Farm (sorry, no actual fireflies included).
56. Get up to speed with F1 action
The annual F1 Grand Prix in Singapore is usually a sell-out event; and we are not surprised. Fans of this high-octane motorsport – it’s also the only F1 night race in the world – can expect to see favourites like Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso take on the course’s narrow, winding turns at Marina Bay.
57. Run ’til you’re out of gas at a marathon
If running’s part of your annual resolutions, you’ll be pleased to know that the island’s got plenty of races for both rookies and seasoned runners. To help you get your cardio fix, we’ve rounded up the best of Singapore’s marathons and running events for you.
58. Embrace your inner flower child at a music festival
No need to travel elsewhere for a music festival; our lil’ dot’s got plenty of them. Indie fanatics have the St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival and the Neon Lights Festival to look forward to, while dance music punters always get hyped for ZoukOut and the Ultra Music Festival.
59. Get down and dirty at the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens
This goes out to all rugger fanatics: Singapore annually hosts the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, with plenty of ruckin’ and tumblin action from the best rugby teams in the world. Get your tickets early to enjoy the best views!
60. Catch some swingin’ action at the SMBC Singapore Open
More of a golf guru? The SMBC Singapore Open annually sees some of the world’s greatest championship golfers tee off at the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club. Set against the scenic backdrop of the South China Sea, this challenging course pits golfers against a slew of natural hazards like freshwater lakes and massive trees.