Shutterstock/Vincent St. Thomas
Singapore may be the most expensive city in the world, but it’s also home to eclectic budget shops, incredible street food, and dozens of free parks — it is called the Garden City, after all.
We sifted through a Quora thread on the best things to do in Singapore, and pulled out the top suggestions from locals.
From exploring the hot new hipster neighborhoods to finding the best spots for local street food, here are 24 of the best things to do in Singapore.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is home to an array of lush plants and flowers. It’s free and open to the public every day of the year from 5am to midnight.
Check out Tiong Bahru, Singapore’s hot new hipster neighborhood that’s filled with cool shops, restaurants, bars, and restored shophouses.
Eat at a hawker center for a wide variety of mouthwatering local dishes that include everything from spicy curries to savory noodle dishes. Singapore is famous for its incredible street food, which you can sample here.
Perhaps the most famous Singaporean dish is Hainanese chicken rice. Everyone has their own favorite spot for the dish, but some of the more famous local spots are Tian Tian Chicken Rice and Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice.
Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam neighborhood is a tucked-away alley that holds a collection of narrow shophouses that have been converted into hip shops that fashionistas will love.
The Singapore Flyer is a large observation wheel that stands 541 feet above the ground. It may be touristy, but it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
Haw Par Villa, located on Pasir Panjang Road, is a free park with more than 1,000 statues and intricate dioramas that vividly depict Chinese folk tales, beliefs, and legends.
Orchard Road offers 22 shopping malls and six large department stores with around 5,000 brands to choose from. Start from Wheelock Place and work your way down its many shops and malls.
Get to know the Singapore River and its famous quays—Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Robertson Quay—on a relaxing river tour.
Start your day with a piece of Kaya Toast (toast slathered with sweet coconut jam and butter) and a soft boiled egg from Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
At the Singapore Zoo, you can see otters, pygmy hippos, giant crocodiles lions, zebras, and rhinoceroses, and even have a breakfast in the company of orangutans.
The Mid Autumn Festival (held this year from mid September to mid October in Singapore’s Chinatown) includes a variety of creative lantern and decorative displays and the eating of scrumptious mooncakes.
The Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, located on Bayfront Avenue, offers an observation deck and a stunning infinity pool where you can gaze at the city from 57 stories up. Though the infinity pool is only accessible to the hotel’s guests, the observation deck can be visited by purchasing a ticket.
Try chili crab — crabs that are boiled and stir-fried in a semi-thick delectable tomato and chili sauce.
On rainy days, head to the National Museum of Singapore for innovative festivals like the Night Festival, film screenings, and exhibitions that cover Singapore’s history throughout the years.
Jurong Bird Park, located in Jurong Hill, is home to one of Asia’s largest collection of birds. More than 5,000 birds across 400 different species can be found at the park.
Stroll along Clarke Quay at night, a historical riverside quay that’s filled with restaurants, bars, and fun entertainment venues where you can practice your karaoke.
Pulau Ubin — easily accessible via boats from Changi Village — is a serene island oasis filled with pristine cycling paths and waters that are perfect for kayaking.
For budget shopping, head to Bugis Street, a large street market filled with clothing, shoes, accessories, food stalls, and retro shops. Check out Good Old Days for vintage finds from the ’60s to the ’90s.
Albeit being touristy, most locals suggest visiting Singapore’s Chinatown for its traditional shops, night markets, and late night dim sum spots.
They also recommend Little India, located near Chinatown, thanks to its hole-in-the-wall restaurants that offer authentic Indian cuisine, bountiful food markets, temples, and vibrant festivals that take place throughout the year.
Singapore’s Night Safari, located on Mandai Lake Road, is a type of zoo for nocturnal animals that’s open from 7:30pm to midnight. Witness over 2,500 animals in their nighttime habitats, catch entertaining fire performances, and enjoy a meal aboard a moving tram.
For an artsy vibe, head to Holland Village, a neighborhood in Singapore filled with art studios, craft shops, galleries, novelty shops, wine cellars, food outlets, fine dining restaurants, and beer joints.
Take the Singapore Cable Car to Sentosa Island, where you’ll find the 121-foot-tall Sentosa Merlion statue (one of five in Singapore), nature excursions, adventure parks, water parks, the S.E.A. Aquarium, and beach activities.