Whether you’re a tourist or a local showing visitors around, add these popular spots to your bucket list to experience the best of the city.
Stopping by Singapore for a short visit? We’ve marked down all the must-see places in our handy guide, which takes you from museums and wildlife parks to nature reserves and food feasts. Even if you’re a born and bred local, there’s always something new to discover on our ever-changing island. And hey, you might even end up lovin’ this Little Red Dot a lil’ more.
Eat like a local
The best way to experience Singapore is through your taste buds, in our humble opinion. So go forth and munch your way across the island, sampling classic local dishes such as chicken rice, nasi lemak, laksa, roti prata, satay and fried carrot cake. Not sure where to go? Head to popular hawker centres like Maxwell Food Centre, Old Airport Road Food Centre, Lau Pa Sat and Chomp Chomp Food Centre.
Hawker centres, various locations.
Spend the day museum-hopping
You don’t have to be a culture vulture to appreciate Singapore’s rich history and flourishing art scene. Spend time in the company of rare artifacts and the finest contemporary art by touring the National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum or National Gallery Singapore. These majestic buildings display some of the most important collections of modern art from Southeast Asia, alongside slivers of local heritage and regional history. Plus, there’s Gillman Barracks, a former British military camp, which has been transformed into a bustling arts cluster housing renowned contemporary art galleries.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897; Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555; National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957; Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937
Get up close with the animal kingdom
With eco-tourism on the rise, a visit to the Singapore Zoo is a must. There’s a reason why it’s the best rainforest zoo in the world, with its beautiful landscaped grounds and leading conservation programmes. Spend the day here before hopping over to the River Safari for a glimpse of the famous giant pandas amidst a maze of marine creatures, then it’s off for a nocturnal adventure at the Night Safari. For some aviary action, carve out another day on your itinerary to stop by Jurong Bird Park.
Singapore Zoo, River Safari and Night Safari, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826; Jurong Bird Park, 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925
Splash your cash
Shopaholics, welcome to your heaven. From high-end to high street, designer threads to discount finds, there’s something for everyone on Orchard Road. Check out department stores like Robinsons The Heeren or Tangs at Tang Plaza, then stop by boutiques like Design Orchard, Love, Bonito or In Good Company for some local goodies.
Orchard Road, various locations.
Stay up all night partying
Keen to dive into the nightlife scene? The always-bustling Boat Quay is home to some of the city’s coolest watering holes such as Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall and Southbridge. Meanwhile, Clarke Quay is the spot that never sleeps, with clubs and bars like Zouk, Level Up and Canvas – making it the perfect destination to wind down after a long day.
Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, various locations
Visit the iconic Marina Bay Sands
You can’t possibly miss this building as it towers spectacularly over, well, everything else. It’s now a recognisable part of our Singapore cityscape and for good reason! Check out the curated boutiques, the fine dining establishments, the modern ArtScience Museum and the stunning views from here – whether you’re on top of the building or chilling down by the bay at sunset.
Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Indulge in island fun
Singaporeans don’t know how to let loose? Nonsense. First, Sentosa (an offshore island in the south) is dubbed the “State of Fun”. And guess what else is on it? The award-winning Best Amusement Park in Asia, Universal Studios Singapore. There’s a rollercoaster and an attraction for everyone, from the scaredy-cat to the adrenaline junkie. While you’re on the island, sift through entertainment options like Madame Tussauds Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, KidZania and more. As night falls, cap off your day with a sundowner by the shore at Tanjong Beach Club, Coastes and Ola Beach Club, or head up to the rooftop of The Outpost Hotel for dinner and drinks at the newly-opened 1-V:U.
Sentosa, various locations.
Stroll through a UNESCO World Heritage Site
This city sure has everything. We’ve got modern, strange-looking buildings, and then we have a 158-year-old tropical garden that’s been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sprawling over 82 hectares of land, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a national treasure and an important botanical institute in the horticultural and agricultural industry. And yes, you can have a picnic here. Highlight attractions worth visiting include the National Orchid Garden and Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569
Experience the vibrancy of Little India
Put on your good walking shoes and explore this neighbourhood for flower markets, fresh produce in Tekka Market, places of worship, and all the great food you can eat. From a stack of crispy roti prata to hole-in-the-wall cafes and shopping in the eclectic Mustafa Centre (the massive department store is open 24/7!), Little India has lots to offer to the inquisitive and curious traveller.
Take the Downtown Line or the North-East Line and alight at Little India.
Hang out with nature
We’re really proud of our “bay” area – that said, Gardens by the Bay is a beautiful green space on the island, and perhaps a glimpse of how city parks will be in the future. We’re big fans of the abstract “Supertrees” lining the skyline and the seashell-shaped greenhouses that recreate different climates to house over hundreds of trees and plants.
Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
Visit the city’s oldest HDB estate
Get a glimpse of Singapore’s past by exploring the heritage area of Queenstown. Christened after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1953, the district is the city’s first satellite town and public housing estate. For a taste of all the best places to eat, shop, play and learn, read our Queenstown neighbourhood guide!
Admire the jewel of Changi
The now-iconic attraction made a huge splash when it first opened, and Jewel Changi Airport has been on every visitor’s list ever since. A huge dome-shaped mall housing the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the building features all the entertainment you need to keep you occupied before (or after) your flight, including countless eateries and shops, a cinema, kids’ play areas, lovely green spaces and more.
Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666
Snap pics of the city’s official mascot
Half-lion, half-fish, our mascot of Singapore might sound a tad silly. But real talk: The lion bit represents Singapore’s original name, Singapura, which means Lion City, and the fish stands for Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village. Witness this well-known icon in the flesh (or concrete) at Merlion Park – it’s worth a photo or two.
Merlion Park, 1 Fullerton Road, Singapore 049213
Brunch your way around town
Hipster ‘hood Tiong Bahru is home to some of the most happening cafes on the island – perfect for leisurely brunches and coffee dates on a lazy Sunday afternoon. We also love Keong Saik Road, Amoy Street and Telok Ayer for their variety of trendy eateries and watering holes. If you’re looking forward to a day of shopping, hit up Haji Lane, or head to the east to explore laidback areas like Joo Chiat and Siglap.
Pick up quirky souvenirs at Chinatown
Primarily known as a Chinese enclave in Singapore, Chinatown is teeming with new energy these days. You can embark on a historical heritage walk through the markets, temples and quaint souvenir shops in the quarter. And when you’re ready to turn it up a notch, head over to Ann Siang Hill and Club Street for alfresco dining and cocktails at the numerous bars on the stretch.
Take the Downtown Line or the North-East Line and alight at Chinatown.
Enter the gates of hell (kind of)
On the offbeat side, Haw Par Villa is all kinds of weird and wondrous. The eccentric theme park is known for its colourful statues and dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese legends and myths, so yeah, the Ten Courts of Hell makes an appearance here. Add on to the spook factor by purchasing a ticket after the sun sets for a night tour.
Haw Par Villa, 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628
Live that tropical island life
Ain’t life a beach? If you can’t get enough of suntanning and sandy shores at Sentosa, there’s more to explore on the island. So grab your picnic baskets, bicycles and sunnies for a chill day out at East Coast Park, Pasir Ris Beach or Changi Beach Park.
Beaches, various locations
Shop and eat at the Arab Quarter
Like most of Singapore’s attractions, there’s a bit of old and new here. Drop by the neighbourhood and walk past heritage buildings, browse through shops selling traditional wares, or take in the grand architecture of the Sultan Mosque. Then switch it up as you hop over to Haji Lane and Bali Lane, where cafes, bars and chic lifestyle shops line the streets – they get a bit of a rep for being ‘hipster’ hangouts too.
Start your trail from Sultan Mosque, 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833
Catch a performance
You’ll be spoiled for choice at Esplanade, a world-class performing arts centre that has a year-round line-up of impressive international music acts, festivals, exhibitions and theatre productions. It also hosts the occasional free music performance at its waterfront stage, which makes for a groovy evening out.
Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
Immerse yourself in nature
We’re not called a Garden City for nothing, so make the most of our your green visit by luxuriating in lush nature parks and hiking trails at places like Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Coney Island Park, Fort Canning Park, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, The Southern Ridges and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Nature parks, various locations.
Get into the science zone
As Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad once said, “Yeah, science!”. Share his enthusiasm at the Science Centre Singapore, where you can solve the mysteries of the universe with science. Partake in family-fun experiments, fiddle with magnets and electricity, boggle your mind with illusions and more.
Science Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081
Sail the surrounding seas
Hop on a boat and spend a day with nature at offshore islands to explore the pristine, unspoilt beaches of the nearby Pulau Ubin or Lazarus, Saint John’s, Kusu and Sisters’ Islands. It’s a welcome break from city life, as each destination has its own beautiful flora and fauna.
Offshore islands, various locations
Explore a neoclassical building
A historic landmark now famous for that over-the-top wedding scene in Crazy Rich Asians, Chijmes has evolved through the years from a girls’ school and an orphanage to a lifestyle destination buzzing with hip restaurants and bars serving everything from Mexican grub to Japanese nosh.
Chijmes, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996
View the sunset (or sunrise) from above
A romantic spot overlooking the south, Mount Faber is one of the city’s oldest parks. Here’s where you can ride the cable car to reach Sentosa, head up to Faber Point to admire the panoramic view or embark on a guided trail to learn about the history and heritage of the place.
Mount Faber, junction of Kampong Bahru Road and Telok Blangah Road, Singapore 099448
Shop ‘til you drop
Yep, we certainly love our air-conditioned shopping centres here. Even though most of them are similar in appearance and directory, there’s nothing that feels quite as good as an afternoon of retail therapy (especially when it’s scorching hot or pouring rain outside). Check out our extensive mall guide for everything you ever wanted to know about shopping in Singapore.
Shopping malls, various locations.