The retail heart of Singapore, Orchard Road offers plenty for new and returning visitors to see and do during their stay. Department stores, upscale boutiques, museums and eateries, everything is available along this two-kilometer stretch of the island. From big American names like Saks Fifth Avenue or local gems in the Far East Plaza, this bustling internal metropolis of Singapore also boasts parks, historic residences, and a state-of-the-art cinema complex to be included on any itinerary.
In the interest of narrowing down, here are the top 5 attractions near Orchard Road we would recommend to any traveler:
Known as one of the top attractions in Singapore, the ION Sky Observatory makes up part of the vast ION Mall, and offers stunning and sweeping views of the whole island. Take a break from browsing the designer brands and swing by the rooftop gallery for some seriously enviable photo opportunities.
A vast green space in the heart of Singapore, Fort Canning Park is filled with colonial artifacts and historic information, ensuring a visit can be as educational as it is relaxing. There are plenty of walking trails and unusual plants for lovers of the green outdoors, and Fort Canning is also home to Battle Box, a fascinating underground tunnel complex that dates back to the Second World War. Now a converted museum, Battle Box contains many exhibits retelling the story of The Battle of Singapore.
Formerly known as the Government House, Orchard Road’s regal landmark The Istana is the location of the current Singaporean President’s office. Built between 1867 and 1869 in the neo-Palladian style, it boasts beautiful surroundings and landscaping, a 105mm Japanese cannon, an old well, and a six-foot marble statue of Queen Victoria. The Istana grounds are also open annually to the public in celebration of Chinese New Year, Labour Day and National Day, with spectacular celebrations put on.
Scale the highest mountain with Via Ferrata, the tallest indoor climbing wall in Singapore. Rising to 30 meters over five floors of Orchard Central, simply attempting to scale this wall will count towards that weekly workout. Whether a visitor is a novice at rock climbing or a seasoned pro, the instructors will all be well-trained and well-equipped to match any standard. And the panoramic views from up top are simply to fall for!
Unleash that inner child with BOUNCE Singapore, the island’s largest indoor urban playground! With 28 interconnected trampolines in an area of 24,000 square feet, children and adults alike can find hours of entertainment, and sessions run for 60 minutes, so it’s a great way of livening up and filling some free time.
Orchard Road is not just known as a shopping and financial hub however: there is also plenty of history to discover in its local museums. Whether it’s the first visit to Singapore or a long-awaited return, sometimes the best part about visiting any city is getting to know the story behind it: the social progress and industrial development that makes a place what it is today. There are a number of excellent museums in galleries near Orchard Road. Here are our top 5:
With over 10,000 square meters of exhibition space, the Singapore Art Museum is a great place to dive into the history and culture of the island. Nearly 8,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art are housed here, including photography and installation pieces, and many of them reflect the diversity of life and fusion of social outlooks that make up modern-day Southeast Asia. The museum also has a small shop for browsing souvenirs, as well as a restaurant and café. Admission costs $10 for adults and $5 for concessions.
One of the most prominent national monuments in the city-state, as well as the oldest museum, the National Museum of Singapore was initially a segment of the Singapore Institution’s library (1849-1887), and today is home to hundreds of exhibits spread throughout its 18,400 square meters of exhibition space. Most of the collection focuses on the rich history of Singapore, through its founding to its political and religious standings, but there are also sections that study Asia as a whole. Standard admission is $15, with $10 for concessions.
Home to some of Singapore’s best pop art and sculptures, the Pop and Contemporary Fine Art Gallery is a must-see for anyone with some time to kill near Orchard Road. Located on the third floor of Palais Renaissance, the gallery contains works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Burton Morris, and others, with much of it available to purchase. Specialists are also on-site to offer professional insight to anybody wishing to know more about the pieces.
A sister museum to the Asian Civilisations Museum, which is also worth a visit, the Peranakan Museum primarily specializes in Peranakan cultures in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Everything about the Peranakan way of life is covered here, from the 12-day wedding ceremonies to the arts, politics, and religions of the various settlements. Wander over to the Old Tao Nan School building to check it out: it’s guaranteed to enrich any Singapore visit.
The ArtScience Museum is located within the integrated resort of Marina Bay Sands in Downtown Singapore, though it is still easily accessible from Orchard Road. Comprising 21 gallery spaces, the museum strives to showcase the latest innovations in art and science, as well as chart significant technological progress over the centuries. Though there are touring exhibitions curated by other museums, permanent displays include a Kongming Lantern, a high-tech robotic fish, and the sketches for Leonard da Vinci’s Flying Machine. Spellbinding and insightful.
Known as Singapore’s prime shopping region, Orchard Road will naturally offer an incredibly broad range of shops and boutiques for visitors to explore in their downtime. Global brands and designer stores, pop-up outlets and skyscraping malls, the retail opportunities are endless, and whatever is on the list, there will always be somewhere to find it.
Here are the best places to shop in Orchard Road:
With super-escalators transporting its customers up the modern building, not to mention the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall, Orchard Central Mall is surely one of the best shopping centers on Orchard Road, not to mention the newest. With a huge directory of stores and restaurants to choose from, visitors can spend hours browsing the latest gadgets and enjoying some fine local cuisine, and a 25% Off ‘Discount Passport’ is also available at the concierge, allowing shoppers to pick up a few new items at a lower price tag.
One of the top shopping destinations in Singapore, ION Orchard is also one of the most iconic sights in the area. Here, the futuristic architecture blends with brand name boutiques to create a shopper’s paradise; Singapore’s most glamorous tourists and locals come here for their retail therapy, and there are even special toilets for the bigger spenders. The ION Mall also hosts regular exhibitions and catwalk shows, which makes it well worth a visit whether buying or browsing.
Visitors wishing to immerse themselves in the local shopping scene will find that Far East Plaza offers a lot more history and culture than the other big centers. Attracting frequent shoppers with its bespoke pieces and unknown designers, the mall also provides more bargains among its shelves, and though some of the wares may be a little extravagant for the casual tourist, it is still a great place to pick up discounted bags, gadgets and jewelry.
The Paragon Shopping Centre is a six-story mall on Orchard Street often popular with tourists due to its easily navigable premises. Fashion stores, eateries, sports boutiques, and designer department outlets are all here, including Jimmy Choo, MUJI and Nike. And for parents, there are plenty of brand name kids clothing stores to choose from, among them Armani Junior, Petit Bateau and GUESS Kids.
Ngee Ann City is something of a retail landmark on Orchard Road, having provided shoppers with brand name stores, bookshops, beauty parlors, and restaurants for the last couple of decades. Spread over many stories, the mall boasts an arts and creativity section, the Takashimaya department store, and the current High Commission of New Zealand in office space on the 15th floor. In addition to this, the exterior Civic Plaza frequently hosts concerts, fashion shows, and carnivals, and has space for up to 3,000 attendees. Truly a sight worth seeing.
Exploring the varied cuisine on offer is one of the many perks of visiting a new city. London’s Aldgate district is home to a variety of bars and restaurants that will showcase a great array of tastes and flavors with every mouthful. From modern British treats to continental and Oriental cuisine, the area really does deliver for all palates.
When we travel to new locations, food and drink are of the highest priority. In fact, one of the top things to do in Fitzrovia and indeed London itself is to eat out and drink out. The Fitzrovia district is home to a variety of restaurants and places to drink that will take the day and night away with every bite and sip. From modern British treats to cuisines from afar, the area does really deliver for all palates.
Here’s a list of our top 5 restaurants near Orchard Road catering to all tastes:
Mitzo breaks the mold of traditional Chinese dining by combining contemporary Cantonese cuisine with a menu of artisanal cocktails, all of which are delicious. A casual and intimate dining experience, the bar’s full-length windows and fourth-floor setting provide excellent views of the local area and let in plenty of natural light, creating an atmosphere that is both vibrant and inviting. And when night falls, Mitzo blurs the line between restaurant, cocktail bar and club, taking on the persona of a modern supper club.
Address: Level 4 Grand Park Orchard, 270 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238857
Located within the Orchard Hotel, Hua Ting restaurant is arguably one of the best and one of the earliest-founded hotel restaurants in Singapore. Established in 1992, Hua Ting offers award-winning Cantonese food in a serene setting. New signature dishes include Chilled Marinated South African Baby Abalone with Japanese Sake, Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Sea Whelk, and Stuffed Sliced Crispy Suckling Pig with Prawn Paste and Foie Gras. Delicious!
Address: Level 2 Orchard Hotel Singapore, 442 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238879
Specializing in quality meatless cuisine, Joie (pronounced ‘joy’) boasts stunning views from its position on the rooftop garden of Orchard Central. Influenced by the new wave dining trend of Europe and Taiwan, Joie’s menu focuses on the uplifting and innovative natural fare, with all dishes prepared from the freshest fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Diners can choose a seat along with the plush leather-quilted banquette, or in one of the five private rooms (seating four to sixteen people) at no extra cost.
Address: 12-01 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
Strategically located at the busiest crossroad on Orchard Road, the Crossroads Café is the ultimate all in one dining destination. An enticing selection of signature dishes combines Eastern and Western culinary concepts, with many premium wines and draft beers on tap. We recommend the Wagyu Burger or the Seafood Char Hor Fun, both all-time local favorites, but there are plenty more indulgences to be enjoyed.
Address: 320 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238865
Pool Grill combines the best of alfresco dining with contemporary western cuisine in it’s a la carte menu. Both a peaceful resort-style oasis by day and a captivating romantic spot by night, the restaurant prioritizes taste, portion size, and presentation in all its dishes. Pool Grill’s signature Tableside Caesar Salad is a testament to this, but we’d also recommend the light and refreshing Boston Lobster Cocktail and the savory Duck, Foie Gras. Well worth a return.
Address: 320 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238865