Singapore is one big amusement park for grown-ups, with hundreds of fun and unusual things to do, from night safaris to Singapore Slings and slurping zingy chili crab with black pepper from hawker stalls. Add world-class galleries and museums, dizzyingly high observation wheels and platforms, gardens bursting with colorful blooms and bone-white beaches so pristine we swear you’d eat your dinner off them if it wasn’t for all that pesky sand. No list of Singapore activities for adults can ever claim to be truly comprehensive and nor does ours. Here, instead, are 10 of our favorite things to do in Singapore for adults, including…
- Dinner on the Singapore Flyer
- A Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel
- SkyPark views at Marina Bay Sands
- An authentic tea-tasting experience
- Sizzling Sentosa island
- A hike through the treetops
- The best street food in Singapore
Get Snap-Happy in the Gardens by the Bay
You’ll recognize the Gardens by the Bay from their much-photographed Supertree Grove: soaring tree-like structures that light up at night and are connected by an elevated walkway. Grab your camera and beat the Instagram influencers at their own game, then mosey on over to the veritable explosion of color and scent that is the Flower Dome, only the biggest greenhouse on the planet. Cooler and more misty inside, the neighboring Cloud Forest conservatory also makes for some atmospheric snaps (assuming your lens doesn’t fog up). Follow the sound of the world’s tallest indoor waterfall through a forest of vines, ferns and aromatic orchids.
Sip a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel
Raffles and its signature gin cocktail are as synonymous with Singapore as skyscrapers and orchids, making this colonial-era 19th-century icon a must-visit on any trip to the Garden City. And it would be remiss while there not to sample their Singapore Sling, a tropical blend of gin, cherry brandy, pineapple, grenadine, lime juice and bitters first concocted by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon here in 1915 and a favorite of visitors to the hotel’s Long Bar – including literary giants like Hemingway, Kipling and Greene – ever since.
National Gallery of Singapore
Anyone with even a passing appreciation of fine art will find much to admire at Singapore’s National Gallery in the Civic District. Focusing primarily on modern and contemporary artworks from Singapore and southeast Asia, its collection of over 9,000 pieces dates from the late 19th Century to the present day and (a common theme in this supersize city!) is the largest of its kind in the world. Don’t miss Singaporean Choo Keng Kwang’s oil paintings and woodcuts, and Georgette Chen’s evocative series of family portraits.
Operated by the same group that runs the wildly popular Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari is the world’s first park that’s devoted solely to creatures of the night. Expect crepuscular critters and nocturnal beasts galore inside an 86-acre reserve that’s home to over 2,500 animals including Malaysian tapirs, Asian elephants, white African lions and the critically endangered (and ferociously cute) Sunda pangolin. Explore on foot or hop aboard the complimentary tram for an informative audio commentary as you meander through themed zones including fishing cat and wallaby trails.
Marina Bay Sands
You’ve heard Singapore can be expensive, right? Well, trust us when we say nowhere will zap your bank balance quite as rapidly as the Marina Bay Sands resort. Here, Michelin-star dining, achingly cool (and painfully pricey) cocktail bars, designer boutiques and, yup, even a casino, all vie for your wallet’s attention. Head 56 stories up to the SkyPark observation deck for sweeping views of the Singapore skyline and down to Supertree Grove and the huge hothouses in the Gardens by the Bay below. You’ll have to be a guest to access the quite unbelievable rooftop infinity pool (the world’s largest, natch) that straddles the resort’s three soaring towers. As good an excuse to book a room in this luxury resort as any, if you ask us.
Feel Like Royal-Tea
If you’re going to go tea-tasting in Singapore, you might as well do it at the city’s most storied tea house, right? Previous guests of Tea Chapter, a lovingly converted three-storey pre-war shophouse, include no less than Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Queen Elizabeth II herself! So you’ll be in fine company as you allow time to slow down while you're schooled in the noble art of tea appreciation. Relax with a cup of delicate Imperial Golden Cassia that’s literally fit for a queen inside this zen haven of elegant Eastern furnishings, ornate Chinese architecture, traditional Chinese classical music and perfect tranquility.
Take a Day Trip to Sentosa
Take the scenic route aboard the cable car to Sentosa or hop aboard the speedy Sentosa Express to get you there in under five minutes. Back on dry land, you’ll discover this sunny island resort has enough activities and attractions to keep you entertained for days on end. Hit the golden sands at palm-strewn Siloso Beach, where you can swim in the sea, ride an enormous swing and walk the SkyBridge 154 feet above the sunbathers below. Then head over to Imbiah Lookout where amazing views across Sentosa to the Southern Islands are already par for the course. The SkyHelix ride supercharges those vistas by taking you even higher, ascending to a dizzying 260 feet above sea level. Other attractions on the island include Universal Studios Singapore, the vast Luxury Fashion Galleria mall and the S.E.A. Aquarium.
Savor the Singapore Foodie Culture
Singapore’s hawker centers are the stuff of legend. There are over 100 of these open-air food courts around the city, meaning delicious, cheap, freshly cooked Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisine is at your fingertips. The noise and heady aromas – oh lord, those intoxicating aromas! – can be overwhelming at first. Our tip: look for the longest queues (indicating the most popular stalls) and get in line. A world of zingy coconut noodle soups, chili crab and spicy peanut satay awaits. Try the Old Airport Road Food Centre and Ghim Moh Market for some of the very best.
Ride the Singapore Flyer
Soaring to a knee-knocking 541 feet, the Singapore Flyer stakes its rightful claim as one of the tallest observation wheels on the planet. Steel your nerves for the 30-minute flight as you board at Marina Bay, with ticket upgrades that include a Singapore Sling, a glass of champagne and even a four-course dinner for two. Don’t worry: you get to stay on for two rotations with the dinner package, so no need to wolf down those profiteroles like your life depends on it! Included with all tickets, of course, are life-affirming views over Singapore and Sentosa island; even, on clear days, as far as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Tiptoe Through the Treetops
If the hustle and bustle of the city all gets too much, fear not! There are plenty of opportunities to escape into the great outdoors amid the plentiful lush vegetation of this tropical paradise. Pedal yourself silly on the epic Round Island bike route, or hit the Park Connector Network, which links major parks, gardens and nature reserves across the island. For those who prefer to explore on foot, the scenic Southern Ridges Trail is a breathtaking elevated walkway through the treetops of the hills south of the city. Cross Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge and see if you can spot banded bay cuckoos, red-whiskered bulbuls and myriad other colorful bird species flitting through the canopy.