The 24 best things to do in Singapore, according to locals

Catch incredible views on the Singapore Flyer.
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.


Click here to learn more about Singapore Botanic Gardens >

Check out Tiong Bahru, Singapore’s hot new hipster neighborhood that’s filled with cool shops, restaurants, bars, and restored shophouses.

Flickr/Choo Yut Shing

Click here to take a virtual tour of Tiong Bahru »

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.


Click here to check out some of Singapore’s street food options >

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.

Flickr/Charles Haynes

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.

Shutterstock/Vincent St. Thomas

Click here to learn more about Singapore Flyer >

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.

Shutterstock/JPL Designs

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.


Click here to learn more about Orchard Road >

Get to know the Singapore River and its famous quays—Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Robertson Quay—on a relaxing river tour.

Flickr/shankar s.

Click here to learn more about Singapore River cruises >

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.


Click here to learn more about Singapore Zoo >

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.

Flickr/Brian Jeffery Beggerly

Click here to learn more about the festival >

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.

TILT Photography/Shutterstock

Click here to learn more about Marina Bay Sands SkyPark >

Click here to learn what it’s like at the amazing infinity pool >

Try chili crab — crabs that are boiled and stir-fried in a semi-thick delectable tomato and chili sauce.

Flickr/May Wong

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.

Flickr/Erwin Soo

Click here to learn more about the National Museum of Singapore >

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.


Click here to learn more about Jurong Bird 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.

Flickr/Capella “Pia” Boltiador

Click here to learn more about Clarke Quay >

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.


Click here to learn more about Pulau Ubin >

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.

Flickr/David Yap

Source: Lonely Planet

Albeit being touristy, most locals suggest visiting Singapore’s Chinatown for its traditional shops, night markets, and late night dim sum spots.

Flickr/Gabriel Garcia Marengo

Click here to learn more about Chinatown in Singapore >

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.

Wikimedia Commons/shankar s.

Click here to learn more about Little India in Singapore >

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.

Flickr/Jo Munday

Click here to learn more about Night Safari >

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.

Flickr/Qi Wei Fong

Click here to learn more about Holland Village Singapore >

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.

Flickr/Sarah Ackerman

Click here to learn more about Sentosa >