Coined as one of Asia’s most popular shopping destinations, Singapore’s Orchard Road has many other forms of happiness to offer. Ranging from game arcades and tech stores, right up to a barrage of clubs and museums, Orchard Singapore is a universe of contrasting surprises in itself. Moreover, the architectural wonders and modern skyscrapers act as perfect Instagrammable backdrops to augment your experience.
Whether you are the type that splurges on luxurious brands or one that appreciates the diversity in Singapore’s cultural attractions, here are Top 10 things to do in Orchard Singapore to consume its grace holistically.
1. Party at Clarke Quay
A beautiful mall once occupied a slice of the road along the quay, and that is how Clarke Quay was named. It is correctly pronounced as ‘Clark-key’ and not ‘Clarke-kueh’. This multi-faceted hub is the centre point for everything entertainment, nightlife and culinary in Singapore. It is not only built on a river that lets you tour around it in a Bumboat, but also enjoys a plethora of restaurants, bars and breweries.
You can choose to relish a perfect steak while indoors or strategically place yourself at open-aired joints. That’s one way to enjoy that daytime Margarita while watching the world hustle. In case you are a picky eater, do not worry. There is something for everyone’s palate at Clarke Quay.
While the sun goes down, this pedestrian mall transforms into an electrifying arena of bustling clubs and vibrant bars. Making a great atmosphere for the regular partygoers.
Highlight: The adventure-seekers can find themselves fascinated by this giant illuminated structure to try reverse Bungy jumping amidst shopping. The G-Max Reverse Bungy is a landmark at Clarke Quay. It launches you 60 ft. above the ground at a speed of 200 km/hour. Those who indulge in adrenalin rushes (Starts after 2 pm) should not miss strapping onto this thrill-inducer.
2. Feel the vibrancy of Emerald Hill @Orchard Singapore
Situated in the heart of Orchard Singapore, Emerald Hill is one of Singapore’s most alluring and colourful streets. You can stroll by gorgeous Chinese Baroque-style buildings constructed in the 90s that stretch through eye-pleasing views, making them extremely admirable. Belonging to the affluent members of the Peranakan community, their architecture feels like an escape from the city’s hustle-bustle. Thus making it the perfect space for those seeking serenity. Your phone camera might get enough of Emerald Hill’s beauty, but you will not.
Highlight: You can fancy delicious appetizers and regular happy hours at one of many amazing bars in Emerald Hill while being awe-struck at its architectural beauty.
3. Shop until you drop @Orchard Singapore
Kick-off your retail expedition at Tangs, which happens to be one of Singapore’s oldest department stores at Orchard Singapore. Paying homage to the Forbidden City, this shopping centre’s design depicts the eccentric Eastern architectural features through its classic red columns and jade-green gazebo-esque roof. The spectacular construction is brimmed with renowned brands and Asian souvenirs.
Moreover, you should wander down Orchard Road and open doors to ION Orchard, one of Singapore’s most beaming shopping centres. This popular and futuristic-looking mall houses over eight stories of stores, from high street fashion to luxury brands and entertainment arenas.
Highlight: If you are a high-street fashion enthusiast, make sure to top off your shopping spree with a visit to Far East Plaza. This is a retreat for those who have strong bargaining skills. This mall encompasses a range of affordable beauty services, trendy streetwear stores, and great deals on electronic products.
4. Appreciate Modern and Contemporary Art
If you are a museum-fanatic and like turning your afternoons into quiet and silent moments, Orchard Singapore’s museums are your ultimate destinations. You can visit the oldest, one of the most arresting museums in Singapore called the National Museum of Singapore. Alternately, Singapore Art Museum gives you 10,000 sq. meters of Southeast Asian galleries to glare at. A good call if you feel like performing some cardio while admiring modern and contemporary art.
These museums provide your eyes with the pleasure of visual enchantment through paintings. They also access browsing through photography-led pieces among other fascinating artefacts. The dedicated exhibition spaces have extremely interesting messages from various regions and eras conveyed by different artists. They teach you more about their roots and countries dwelling in Southeast Asia. Moreover, your hunger pangs can be taken care of in their little in-house café and restaurant.
Highlight: With over 14 fully climate-controlled galleries to stunning life-size installations, you can explore artsy creations at Orchard Singapore like never before.
5. Spend Time with Exotic Plants
Tagged as one of Singapore’s most significant historic landmarks, Fort Canning Park space of solace for greenery-lovers. You can choose to tour through various walking trails and spend quality time with exotic plants at this park. It is the perfect escape if you want to withdraw from the city’s chaos. It is also home to an interesting underground WWII tunnel complex and other historic, artsy attractions.
Besides being a ‘walk in the park’, Fort Canning Park also has historic value dating back to the 14th century when they called it the Forbidden Hill. You will find small but passionate inscriptions on the tombstones that give a captivating peek into the lives of Singapore’s early colonial immigrants. Hit the Singapore Drama Centre and Singapore Dance Theatre in Fort Canning Centre for more cultural grace.
Highlight: Be sure to attend art events during star-lit evenings at Fort Canning. Do not miss ‘Ballet under the Stars’ where Singapore’s young artists make the disrupted architecture look beautiful in their plays.
6. Get lost in a Maze of Books – Library@Orchard
Are you ready to be transported into an unimaginable universe of dimensions? Library@Orchard is a live-in dream for bookworms as well as those who like entering different worlds through stories. Orchard Singapore hails the most tantalizing public libraries with one of the prettiest located at Orchard Gateway. This one’s counted as a city-hotspot, indeed.
Wearing a modern design language on its shelves, the curves are one of Instagram’s most photographed and well-loved visuals. You might want to take a break from shopping at Orchard Singapore and dive into a vast array of titles, and program zones. You will find many locals picking a comfortable spot and burying their minds into various worlds (Books) whilst being enamoured by its gorgeous interiors.
Highlight: Alternatively, you can use the NLB mobile app to borrow an e-book or digital newspapers and magazines to read on-the-go. For those who prefer relaxing their eyes and listening to soothing voices, audiobooks are available too.
7. Let Urban Farming enthrall you
Have you ever entered a fancy rooftop bar that transformed into an organic community farm? Well, Orchard Singapore has it all! Comcrop is swanky hangout spot that grows its own production of fresh and organic plant and herbs. In fact, some of Singapore’s best bars and restaurants run on their organic produce. The bar turns into a visiting farm over the weekends and allows public tours around the space. If you’re a fan of home-grown vegetables and herbs, this is where you can learn the right procedures.
Being Singapore’s first and only commercial rooftop farming company, Comcrop helps Singapore build sustainability. Since 90% of Singapore’s food production comes from other countries, this activity makes them self-dependent and empowered.
Highlight: You can level up your dinner parties by purchasing their preservative-free Pesto sauce. Additionally, learn more about the farm-to-table concept of dining whilst building your own home garden.
8. Visit the President’s House – The Istana
The Istana is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Orchard Singapore. Translating to ‘Palace’ in Malay, the Istana has been instituted as the official residence and workplace of Singapore’s President. The Prime Minister uses this venue as a co-working space and the President generally entertains guests in there.
A 10-minute walk away from Dhoby Ghaut MRT, this structure should definitely be a part of your sight-seeing list since it is known to be one of the most intriguing places to visit at Orchard Road.
Highlight: Unlike most other presidential buildings of the world, you’re permitted to enter the royal residence on open-house days and take a quick walk around. If you’re keen, do check the Istana website before heading down.
9. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city & beyond – ION Sky
ION Orchard is a paradise that also has a residential peripheral called The Orchard Residences. You can elevate yourself to the 55th and 56th floors of this building called The ION Sky that offers a panoramic view of the city and get high on the glittery sky-scrappers of Singapore. The exhibition centre called ION Art is another floor you should not miss hanging out at. They promote modern and contemporary art by emerging designers.
Fine Spirit Connoisseurs should definitely pamper themselves to The Grande Whisky Collection, on the 5th floor of ION Orchard. This museum prides itself with 4,500 of the world’s oldest and rarest whiskies. Feel free to indulge in their gift shop that carries a special collection of Japanese and Scottish labels. You can plan to visit one of the regularly conducted guided tours and tasting sessions to enhance your knowledge of your favourite spirits.
Highlight: Something your eyes cannot miss on this alluring structure is the The Media Façade which is a multi-sensory canvas media wall, stretching through the walls of ION Orchard.
10. Take your taste buds on a luxurious journey – Jigger and Pony
Orchard Road is home to a variety of world-class dining experiences for epicureans to indulge, no matter what part of the day you visit. Orchard road spoils you with options ranging right from their aromatic Caffeine attacks in the morning to wide-spread dining experiences beyond midnight. They are not the only niche but also authentic and rich by culture. You can expect your senses to wake up with the flavours of global cuisines dropping on your plate in some restaurants at Mandarin Gallery. Singapore offers a delectable assortment of various nations under one roof through its eateries like Mexico, Turkey, and Italy among others.
Highlight: Make your way to Manhattan, that is crowned as one of the top bars in Singapore on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list. It’s popular for an imperial drinking experience that stands on top-of-the-world. As a result, it boasts of craft bartending, artisanal spirits, and an ambience that evokes the glory days of drinking during the 19th century.