Singapore City, the vibrant capital of the island nation of Singapore, is a bustling metropolis known for its impressive skyline, lush green spaces, and diverse cultural influences. For those considering things to do in Singapore City, exploring the iconic Marina Bay Sands, with its rooftop pool and observation deck, and wandering through the lush Gardens by the Bay, home to the famous Supertree Grove, are top activities.
The city’s Chinatown offers a glimpse into Singapore’s rich history and Chinese influence, with its traditional shophouses, temples, and bustling markets. Nearby, the National Museum of Singapore provides a comprehensive overview of the nation’s past, showcasing artifacts, art, and interactive exhibits.
Beyond its urban attractions, Singapore City is renowned for its efficient public transportation, making it easy to explore the various neighborhoods, from the trendy cafes of Tiong Bahru to the shopping mecca of Orchard Road. For those seeking the best places to visit in Singapore, Singapore City’s blend of modernity, cultural diversity, and green spaces makes it a captivating destination.
Table of Contents
Attractions & Things to Do in Singapore City, Singapore
1. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore, known for its iconic Supertree structures. These tree-like vertical gardens are between nine to 16 stories tall and come alive with an exhilarating display of light and sound at night. The park also boasts two conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest – which showcase exotic plants from around the world.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening to catch the spectacular Garden Rhapsody light and sound show at the Supertree Grove.
2. Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Marina Bay Sands Skypark offers one of the best views of Singapore from its observation deck, located 57 stories above ground. The Skypark is a boat-shaped top perched on the three towers of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino. It includes a rooftop infinity pool, gardens, and a public observatory with 360-degree views of the downtown skyline.
Travel Tip: Purchase tickets in advance to avoid long queues, especially if planning to visit during sunset when it’s most crowded.
3. Singapore Zoo
Renowned for its ‘open’ captivity design, the Singapore Zoo offers visitors an experience that is as close to natural habitats as possible. The zoo is home to over 2,800 animals from over 300 species, including many rare and endangered species.
Travel Tip: Consider the park hopper pass if you’re also planning to visit the Night Safari and River Wonders, both located within the Mandai Wildlife Reserve, to save on entrance fees.
4. Orchard Road
Orchard Road is Singapore’s main shopping street, bustling with malls, boutiques, and luxury stores. It’s a major tourist attraction and offers more than just retail therapy, with plenty of entertainment, cafes, and restaurants to explore.
Travel Tip: Visit during the Great Singapore Sale (usually held in June-July) for huge discounts and promotions.
5. Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a serene retreat from the city bustle. It’s home to the National Orchid Garden, which has an impressive collection of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids.
Travel Tip: The gardens are vast, so wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a water bottle which can be refilled at the various drinking fountains.
6. Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island is Singapore’s premier island resort getaway, with sandy beaches, resorts, and attractions like Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and S.E.A. Aquarium.
Travel Tip: Purchase a Sentosa Fun Pass to enjoy multiple attractions at a discounted price, and use the free Sentosa Express from VivoCity to get there.
7. Little India and Arab Street
Little India and Arab Street provide cultural experiences that are vividly distinct from the rest of Singapore. Here you can explore traditional Indian shops, mosques, and Arabic cuisine.
Travel Tip: Visit during Deepavali in Little India or Hari Raya in Arab Street to see these neighborhoods beautifully decorated and full of festive spirit.
8. The Merlion Park
The Merlion Park is home to Singapore’s mythical symbol, the Merlion, with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. This iconic statue is a must-visit for photo opportunities and views of the Marina Bay.
Travel Tip: It can get quite hot during the day, so consider visiting early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler and less crowded.
9. ArtScience Museum
The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands blends the worlds of art and science together through thought-provoking and visually stunning exhibitions. The museum’s iconic lotus-inspired building is a work of art in itself.
Travel Tip: Check the museum’s website for the latest exhibitions and book tickets in advance for any that you are particularly interested in.
10. National Gallery Singapore
National Gallery Singapore houses the world’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art, set within two national monuments – the former Supreme Court Building and City Hall. The galleries showcase both historical and contemporary works, providing a deep insight into the region’s diverse cultural heritage.
Travel Tip: Visit on a Friday night when the gallery often extends its opening hours and sometimes offers free entry to its permanent galleries.
11. Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is the go-to waterfront destination for a lively evening out, with a vibrant collection of restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots, and retail stores. Set along the Singapore River, it’s a great place to enjoy dinner with a view or to simply soak in the nightlife.
Travel Tip: Take a river cruise at dusk to see the area’s historical quays and modern skyline illuminated against the night sky.
12. Asian Civilisations Museum
The Asian Civilisations Museum delves into the rich heritage of Asia, especially the ancestral cultures of Singaporeans. Through its exhibitions, it showcases the diversity of Asian arts, with an emphasis on the material cultures of China, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia.
Travel Tip: Look out for their themed guided tours that offer deeper insight into specific exhibitions or artifacts.
13. S.E.A. Aquarium
Located on Sentosa Island, the S.E.A. Aquarium is one of the world’s largest aquariums, featuring more than 100,000 marine animals of over 1,000 species, across 50 different habitats. Visitors can marvel at the diverse marine life including sharks, manta rays, and exotic fish.
Travel Tip: Try to time your visit to catch the feeding sessions, which are both educational and fascinating to watch.
14. Raffles Hotel
This colonial-style luxury hotel has been a hallmark of Singapore’s history since 1887 and has hosted many famous personalities throughout its existence. Even if you’re not staying here, visit for a tour or enjoy a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar, where the cocktail was originally invented.
Travel Tip: The hotel’s dress code is smart casual, so no shorts or flip-flops if you plan to visit any of the restaurants or bars.
15. Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is a small hill slightly off Orchard Road that features lush greenery and a historic past. Once the headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks, the park now hosts various concerts, theatre productions, and festivals.
Travel Tip: Visit the Battlebox, a former WWII British underground command center in the park, which has been turned into a museum.
16. Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa is a theme park unlike any other, filled with vivid dioramas and more than 1,000 statues depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, folklore, legends, and history. The park is also famous for its Ten Courts of Hell exhibit, which graphically represents the Buddhist concept of hell.
Travel Tip: Be prepared for some graphic and bizarre scenes; it’s a quirky and unique cultural experience but may not be suitable for young children.
17. Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is a small island off the northeastern coast of Singapore that provides a glimpse into the country’s past and traditional kampung (village) life. It’s a great spot for cycling, hiking, and experiencing Singapore’s natural flora and fauna.
Travel Tip: Rent a bike to explore the island’s trails and visit the Chek Jawa wetlands to see its rich ecosystem.
18. Bird Paradise
The new Bird Paradise, located within the Mandai Wildlife Reserve, replaces the formerly known Jurong Bird Park. This new aviary is a sanctuary for a diverse array of bird species, offering immersive experiences in different ecological environments.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the Wings of the World and the Predators on Wings avian presentations at the Sky Amphitheatre.
19. Peranakan Museum
Dedicated to preserving the culture of the Peranakan communities in Southeast Asia, the Peranakan Museum houses an exemplary collection of artifacts that are central to Peranakan culture, including costumes, textiles, beadwork, and ceramics.
Travel Tip: The museum is relatively compact, so it’s an excellent choice for visitors with limited time who are interested in cultural heritage.
20. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a slice of primary rainforest in the middle of Singapore, and it’s a popular spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With a high biodiversity concentration, the reserve is home to a wide variety of plant, bird, and animal species.
Travel Tip: Wear good walking shoes or hiking boots, as some of the trails can be steep and uneven.
21. The Intan
The Intan is a private home museum that offers a passionate and personal insight into the Peranakan culture through its collection of artifacts and antiques. Tours are by appointment only and are usually conducted by the owner, who shares stories and insights into the Peranakan way of life.
Travel Tip: Book a traditional Peranakan tea experience in advance to sample some authentic Peranakan treats during your visit.
22. Chinatown Heritage Centre
Located within three beautifully-restored shophouses on Pagoda Street, the Chinatown Heritage Centre is a gem of cultural preservation, giving visitors a look into the lives of Chinatown’s early residents. The centre recreates the original interiors of its tenants, offering a realistic and immersive experience.
Travel Tip: Visit during the Mid-Autumn Festival when Chinatown comes to life with lanterns, festivities, and mooncake tastings.
23. Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is one of the world’s largest Giant Observation Wheels and provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city in all its glory. This 165-meter high flyer offers a 360-degree view of landmarks like the Marina Bay, the Singapore River, and Raffles Place.
Travel Tip: For an extra special experience, consider booking a private capsule or the unique dining option available on the Flyer.
24. The Southern Ridges
The Southern Ridges is a 10-kilometer long trail that connects five parks along the southern ridge of Singapore and offers some of the best panoramic views of the city, harbour, and the Southern Islands. The trail includes the Henderson Waves, a stunning architectural piece that is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore.
Travel Tip: Bring along a camera and wear comfortable attire suitable for long walks; start the trail in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat.
25. MacRitchie Reservoir Park
MacRitchie Reservoir is a popular spot for nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts. The park features hiking trails, a treetop walk, and a large freshwater reservoir that’s part of Singapore’s water catchment system.
Travel Tip: Check out the TreeTop Walk, a suspension bridge between the two highest points in MacRitchie that offers a bird’s eye view of the community of plants and animals that live in the forest canopy.
26. Night Safari
The Night Safari is the world’s first nocturnal zoo and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore. It’s home to over 900 animals from around 100 species, many of which are endangered species. The experience is designed to simulate a tropical rainforest at night and can be explored by tram or on foot.
Travel Tip: The queues can be quite long, especially on weekends, so it’s best to book your tickets online to skip the line and ensure entry.
27. Kranji War Memorial
The Kranji War Memorial is dedicated to the men and women from the Commonwealth who died in the line of duty during World War II. It is a serene and somber place, allowing reflection on the sacrifices made during the war.
Travel Tip: Take time to attend the annual remembrance ceremony held here, which is a moving tribute to those who lost their lives.
28. The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Known for its distinctive ‘durian’ shaped domes, The Esplanade houses a concert hall, theatre, and outdoor performance spaces. It’s a premier destination for performing arts and a great place to catch a show while in the city.
Travel Tip: There are free concerts and performances on the weekends at the outdoor stage – a perfect way to enjoy the arts against the backdrop of Marina Bay.
29. Tanjong Beach Club
On Sentosa Island, Tanjong Beach Club is a stylish getaway offering a slice of tropical paradise with its beachfront pool, bars, and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot for a day of sunbathing or a lively night out.
Travel Tip: Visit on a weekday if you prefer a more tranquil atmosphere, as weekends tend to attract larger crowds.
30. Old Hill Street Police Station
Now housing the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the Old Hill Street Police Station is an iconic colonial building known for its colorful windows and significant history.
Travel Tip: While you may not be able to explore the inside unless there’s an event, the building is perfect for a photo opportunity from the outside.
31. Keppel Bay
Keppel Bay is known for its stunning waterfront living and marina lifestyle. Visitors can admire the luxury yachts, enjoy waterfront dining, or set off on a cruise.
Travel Tip: Enjoy a leisurely walk along the promenade during sunset for picturesque views of the bay against the city skyline.
32. The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum
This unique museum in Singapore is home to a wide range of live turtles and tortoises, some of which are rare and endangered. It’s an educational experience where you can learn about these creatures’ conservation.
Travel Tip: This is an excellent visit for families; children can interact with some of the turtles and tortoises under supervision.
33. The Jewel Changi Airport
Jewel Changi Airport is not just a hub for travelers but a remarkable attraction featuring the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, surrounded by a lush forest valley.
Travel Tip: Even if you’re not flying, it’s worth a visit to enjoy the array of shopping and dining options, or just to marvel at the stunning architecture and the indoor waterfall’s light show in the evening.
FAQ About Things to Do in Singapore City, Singapore
What are must-visit places in Singapore for a first-time visitor?
For first-time visitors, the must-visit places in Singapore include Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer, and Sentosa Island for its beaches, theme parks, and the Universal Studios Singapore.
Can I experience any wildlife in Singapore City?
Yes, you can visit the Singapore Zoo, River Wonders, Night Safari, and the Bird Paradise to experience a variety of wildlife within naturalistic habitats.
Is there a recommended spot for shopping in Singapore?
Orchard Road is Singapore’s most famous shopping district, offering a range of high-end stores, boutiques, and malls. For more eclectic shopping, Haji Lane and Chinatown provide a diverse range of goods and souvenirs.
What cultural experiences should I not miss in Singapore?
Don’t miss visiting the diverse neighborhoods like Little India, Chinatown, and Kampong Glam for cultural immersion. Additionally, the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum are excellent for understanding Singapore’s cultural heritage.
Are there any nature-related activities in Singapore?
Indeed, Singapore has several green spaces like the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Southern Ridges walk, and MacRitchie Reservoir where you can enjoy hikes, nature walks, and experience the city’s tropical flora and fauna.
Can I find any good street food in Singapore?
Singapore is renowned for its street food, which you can enjoy at any hawker center. Maxwell Food Centre, Lau Pa Sat, and the Tekka Centre are some of the best places to start your culinary adventure.
What are some unique activities to do in Singapore at night?
Singapore comes alive at night with activities like the Marina Bay light show, night markets, rooftop bars, and Clarke Quay for vibrant nightlife and dining along the Singapore River.
Is there any way to explore Singapore’s history and architecture?
Yes, take a walk around the Civic District where you’ll find historical buildings such as the Raffles Hotel, the National Gallery Singapore, and the Fullerton Hotel. Fort Canning Park is also significant for its historical landmarks and lush greenery.