Thinking of visiting Singapore for a fun weekend trip, but don't want to break the bank? Spend your ringgit on makanan and other attractions during the day, but at night give your wallet a rest as the city-state comes alive with tons of ways for you to have fun AND enjoy all that Singapore has to offer, on the cheap. We at Skyscanner have put together a list of our top 10 favourite free things to do in Singapore, all of which are perfect for simple weeknights on the town as well as special occasions.
1. Marina Bay Sands light show
While it might cost some money to visit the famous infinity pool atop the Marina Bay Sands, their nightly water and light shows are free to watch! Find a good spot along the Promenade along the Event Plaza, and watch as lights, water, and music come together to put on a magical Water Show for children and adults of all ages. The Light Show is also a sight to behold, as beams of bright and colourful light shine out from the top of the iconic building out across the bay. Both shows run nightly at 8 pm and 9:30 pm, with an additional 11 pm showing on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Water Show can only be seen on the side of Marina Bay Sands, but the rays of the Light Show can be seen from almost anywhere in the area. We’d suggest catching the Water Show at the earlier time slot, then taking a leisurely stroll along the water and finding a good view of the MBS in time to catch the Light Show at the next showing.
Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay South Phone: +65 6688 8868 Show times: 8pm and 9.30pm daily, with an additional one at 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays Closest MRT station: Bayfront Website: Marina Bay Sands
Be dazzled by the impressive nightly light show at the Marina, for free! Image credit: Bradwin Cruz / Flickr
Do you remember watching The Flintstones as a kid and wishing you had a drive-in cinema you could go to with a giant rack of BBQ ribs? Well, MovieMob organises drive-in movie screenings with an old school feel. Drive-in screenings broadcast an FM transmission of the movie’s audio, so you can enjoy the movie through your own car stereo! Those without cars can keep an eye out for the occasional picnic events at heartland locations like Bedok Central and Pasir Ris White Sands. There is no permanent location or timing as screenings are held at various places all over Singapore, so do check their website and Facebook page for more updates on upcoming screenings. And though the shows are free, you’d have to BYO-Ribs if you want all your yabba-dabba-doo dreams to come true.
Website: Movie Mob
Chill out under the calm night sky with a picnic and a free movie. A perfect evening. Photo credit: Movie Mob / Facebook
3. Walk the Southern Ridges
Singapore may seem like a concrete jungle when contrasted with the raw rainforests of Malaysia, but you might be surprised to know that there is a place in Singapore where patches of natural forest blend harmoniously with beautiful architecture and ingenious engineering for all to enjoy. The Southern Ridges is the name given to 10 km of foot trails and bridges connecting four parks (West Coast Park, Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, and Kent Ridge Park) in the southern tip of Singapore. See eye-to-eye with the trees as you follow the Forest Walk and Canopy Walk trails, but beware of monkeys and keep your food away from them! Be sure to visit the Henderson Waves too — Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge — and maybe stop for a rest and some shade under one of its ‘crests.’ The bridge is especially beautiful at night as warm lights create an ephemeral atmosphere, perfect for a date or a picnic with friends.
A recommended route to take would be to start at Hort Park, follow the trail over to Alexandra Arch through the forest, and you arrive at the Henderson Waves at dusk for great views of Singapore’s southern ports. Another great route to take that would take you to the topmost vantage points of Mount Faber Park would be to take Exit D from Harbourfront MRT station, and walk the Marang Trail.
Address: Henderson Road, Southern Ridges, Bukit Merah Closest MRT station: Harbourfront
Nature and architecture converge to form beautiful and practical art – the Henderson Waves. Photo credit: edwin.11 / Flickr
4. 56th level of ION Orchard
ION Orchard is no secret to visitors and locals alike, but ION Sky is a bit more of a secret and is a great retreat after a long day of shopping. Located at the top floor (the 56th, to be exact) of the ION Residences, this airy space is open to the public and offers an amazing panoramic view of downtown Singapore. To get there, head to the art gallery on the 4th floor of ION Orchard to find a dedicated ION Sky elevator that will take you straight up. The space is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, but the most breathtaking views are during and after sunset.
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, 238801 Phone: +65 6238 8228 Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm Closest MRT station: Orchard Website: ION Orchard
_Get a birds’ eye view of Orchard from ION Sky. Wikimedia Commons_
5. MAAD Flea
Come experience Singapore’s bustling and growing arts scene by visiting the Market of Artists and Designers (MAAD) bazaar. As Singapore’s biggest regular creative marketplace, it showcases and promotes a smattering of local, original crafts and designs — from artwork, to music, fashion, literature, paintings, and more. Started by the reddot design museum in 2006, this is the go-to place for checking out cool crafts, finding some inspiration, or shopping for a unique souvenir that is truly Singapore. The MAAD flea opens monthly on a Friday, so be sure to check their website for the latest information.
Address: 28 Maxwell Road Phone: +65 6534 7194 Hours: 5pm – 12am, one Friday a month Closest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar Website: MAAD
Get a taste of the Singapore arts scene at the MAAD Flea. Photo credit: pequitobun
6. Esplanade free concerts
The Esplanade, aka The Durian, is Singapore’s premier venue for the performing arts. But while many big-ticket shows choose the Esplanade as its venue, there are also plenty of free performances to catch too. These free shows occur almost weekly and are put on by singers, musicians, actors, dancers, or sometimes, something out of the ordinary. The Esplanade’s indoor concourse area and the outdoor theatre space are typical venues for the performances, creating a relaxed and informal atmosphere to take in the thriving arts talents in Singapore. After the performance, make sure to visit the Esplanade rooftop and admire encompassing views of the bay and the city skyline. Views are especially beautiful when lit up at night, creating picture-perfect moments for both shutterbugs and amateurs.
Address: 1 Esplanade Dr Phone: +65 6828 8377 Show times: Visit website for timetable Closest MRT station: Esplanade Website: Esplanade
Experience magical nights like these for free at the Esplanade. Photo credit: Mango Mornings
7. Night cycling
Though Singapore may be scorching during the day, nights can be very pleasant and breezy. Cycling on Singapore’s flat terrain at night is an enjoyable outdoor experience, allowing you to explore the nightscape without the crowds or having to worry about parking. It gets your heart rate up too, and the ends of many cycling paths have food stalls where you can eat up and reward yourself for all your hard work. Some popular areas for night cycling are Punggol Waterway, Changi Village, and Ulu Sembawang Park Connector, in addition to many more smaller pathways spread out across the island. Throw on some light-coloured clothing and take a helmet and cycling lights with you for proper safety and visibility as the roads can get pretty dark in certain areas even with the stars shining brightly overhead.
Get on two wheels and see Singapore like many locals do. Photo credit: todayonline.com
8. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is an iconic outdoor space in Singapore that is quickly gaining international recognition for its futuristic architecture. Opened in 2012, this nature park spans over 250 acres of reclaimed land and has a diverse selection of strange, rare, and unique flora and fauna from across the globe on display. The park also offers impressive views of the beautiful waterfront. The best part is that while some areas are ticketed, there are also many free zones such as the distinct Supertree Grove, the serene Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes, and the out-of-this-world Sun Pavilion, among others! The park is located next to Marina Bay Sands and is easily accessible by MRT.
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive Phone: +65 6420 6848 Opening hours: 5am – 2am Closest MRT station: Bayfront Website: Gardens by the Bay
Learn why Singapore calls itself a ‘City in a Garden’ as you walk among the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay.
9. Somerset Skate Park
Singapore may be strict about cleanliness with its rules on vandalism, but that does not mean graffiti is discouraged. Somerset Skate Park located just next to Somerset MRT is proof of the country’s support of urban art in Singapore, and aspiring graphic artists from all over the island converge here to show off their mastery of the humble spray can. Bring your own paint and leave a literal mark behind of your travels on any of the walls surrounding the park! Or bring a skateboard and shred the ramps with the local skaters, and you might become a local street legend before your trip is over. Both are free, and you may even gain a few friends (or friendly competitors!) in the process.
Address: 1 Somerset Rd Closest MRT station: Somerset
Leave your mark behind at Somerset Skate Park and add to the local urban arts scene. Photo credit: Raihan Muhaimin / Flickr
10. Keppel Island
Just outside the hustle and bustle of the city is Keppel Island, a quiet and scenic retreat reachable from the main island via a narrow bridge. The Marina at Keppel Bay is where Singapore’s wealthy dock their aquatic leisure crafts, but this green paradise is open and accessible to all. It’s also close to other attractions like Sentosa and Harbourfront and makes a nice and peaceful getaway for a picnic with family and friends. And getting there is easy: from the Harbourfront station, take Exit B and walk along Telok Blangah Road for about 8 minutes. Look for the sign for the entrance to Keppel Island on the left, enter, and follow the path until you reach the Marina at Keppel Bay. Enjoy beautiful views of the city, away from the city.
Address: 2 Keppel Bay Vista Closest MRT station: Harbourfront
_This quiet patch of calm makes a great getaway from the city. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons_
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*Adapted from an article originally written by Norina Masaki-Joyce for Skyscanner