The sun’s out in full force, the average daily temperature is hovering around 30° C, and the humidity level will have you sporting a dewy glow within seconds of stepping outside. What’s that mean? It must be Christmas time in Singapore!
Despite (or maybe because of) the not-so-Christmasy weather, Singapore really outdoes itself this time of year creating the most merry and bright holiday atmosphere in all of Asia. With festively decorated streets and shopping malls and an abundance of lively holiday events and activities for the whole family, Singapore offers both residents of and visitors to the Little Red Dot a wealth of ways to get into the holiday spirit. The following are eight of our favorite things to do in Singapore at Christmas!
(If you’ve got other ideas for celebrating Christmas in Singapore, feel free to spread the Yuletide cheer in the comments!)
8 Things To Do On Christmas In Singapore
1. Orchard Road
Hands down, the best place to marvel at pretty Christmas lights and take selfies with reindeer in Singapore is Orchard Road. Sporting a new theme every year, Singapore’s busiest shopping street is also its most dressed out at the holidays! The best-decorated portions of the road stretch from the Forum on the west side of Orchard to Orchard Gateway in the east. (That’s a 1.5 km walk if you decide to walk the whole thing, which I definitely recommend you do.) Make a night of it by walking the full length of the road, admiring the creative Christmas displays, and dropping inside the malls to see who gets bragging rights for the biggest and best Christmas tree!
2. Christmas Markets
Prada and Gucci too expensive for your budget? Why not tick off the items on your Christmas list at one of Singapore’s pop-up Christmas markets and bazaars instead? Bringing a little European-inspired Christmas charm to the Lion City, here are a few of the best Christmas markets in Singapore:
Great Christmas Village Located in front of Ngee Ann City on Orchard Road, the Great Christmas Village is open 25 November to 25 December. Admission is free. Expect plenty of food vendors, Christmas concerts and stage performances, rides for kids, and several boutique and brand name stalls offering unique Christmas gifts and treats.
Christmas in Queenstown Located at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Dundee Road, Christmas In Queenstown is open 15 to 17 December and 22 to 23 December. Admission is free. Expect one-of-a-kind handicrafts and artisan goods from local independent shops, live music, and a variety of food stalls.
Suggested Read: 5 Major Rivers In Singapore That Will Please Your Eyes And Heart
3. Christmas Carols
Whether you’re content to simply enjoy the melodies of others or you feel like spontaneously breaking into song yourself, it’s not a proper Christmas without Christmas carols! There are several organized Christmas carol concerts that take place in Singapore at Christmas, the most highly regarded of which are the concerts at St Andrew’s Cathedral. If you don’t mind buying a ticket to hear Christmas carols, there are excellent concerts on weekends at Gardens by the Bay’s Christmas Wonderland event. Other than that, if you get lucky, you just might stumble across several informal (though no less holiday cheer-inducing) Christmas carol performances while shopping on Orchard Road. Your best chance for seeing these will be on Orchard between Scotts Road and Bideford Road on weekends and evenings in December!
4. Ice Skating
Feeling brave this holiday season? Ice skating is one of the most popular holiday traditions in countries a little further north of the equator, and while you wouldn’t normally expect that tradition to carry over into the tropics, Singapore makes sure that if you want to make a fool of yourself on the ice, you totally can. There are two permanent ice rinks in Singapore – The Rink at JCube in East Jurong and Kallang Ice World at Kallang Leisure Center. Both rinks offer 2-hour skating sessions and the price of your ticket includes skates rental.
If you want to skate somewhere with a more Christmasy atmosphere, your best option is a ticket to “Skate Under the Stars” at Christmas Wonderland. The only downside? Because it’s outside, the rink is obviously not made of ice. Instead, you’ll be skating on a high-tech, made-to-look-like-ice-but-isn’t sheet of plastic. For that reason, this option may be best for kids who will find the smaller rink less intimidating and the skating aids adorably cute.
5. Christmas Brunch
If you can’t indulge a little at Christmas, then when can you? Several of Singapore’s luxury hotels pull out all the stops at Christmas to provide those who would rather avoid the kitchen at all costs (and the inevitable clean-up) with a holiday feast to remember. From inventive international buffets to multi-course fine dining, there are a seemingly endless array of options available for those looking for an effortless Christmas Day meal. Several locations known for their epic Christmas Day brunches are Edge at the Pan Pacific, The Line at Shangri-La Singapore, and Mezza 9 at the Grand Hyatt. (Book early as the most popular venues tend to get reserved quickly!) Not looking to spend $150+ per head? Both Jamie’s Italian and Open Farm Community offer more affordable Christmas brunch options.
The most affordable option that doesn’t even require you to change out of your pajamas on Christmas Day? Make your own Christmas brunch! (If you’re not feeling up to cooking the whole meal, you can order all sorts of dishes from Cold Storage to be picked up on or before Christmas.
6. Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza
This glitzy European-inspired Christmas Village makes its debut this year alluding to the theme of “Endless Wonders”. There are more than 25 pop-up stores with exclusive brands such as Haagen Dazs, Starbucks, SK-II, Tiffany & Co. Live bands and carollers will also stage daily gigs, boosting the festive spirit as you indulge in retail therapy and a slew of amusement rides. After feasting on delicious Yuletide treats and shopping for artisanal gifts, swing by Hitachi’s Santa House and snap a selfie or two with Santa.
This year’s Orchard Road Christmas light-up has been shifted earlier to 3pm. Spanning 2.88 km from Tanglin Mall to Plaza Singapura, the entire stretch is decked in whimsical fairy lights and even features extravagant light-reflective tunnels. You have more reasons now to start your celebrations sooner than later!
When: 25 Nov to Christmas Day
7. Gardens by the Bay
This grand yuletide fair is making its fourth appearance this year right in the heart of Gardens by the Bay. The pièce de résistance here is none other than the captivating Italian Luminarie light sculptures! Be enthralled by how these multi-coloured colossal structures instantly brighten up the whole ambience.
Aside from the Festive Market, you should also check out the Arctic-themed Santa’s Grotto, hop on the thrilling carnival rides and skate under the stars. If you intend to visit the Conservatories as well, opt for the Christmas Bundle and enjoy massive savings!
When: 1 to 26 Dec
Admission: 8 to 14, 26 Dec – S$8/pax (On-Site), S$6/pax (Online)
15 to 25 Dec – S$10/pax (On-site), S$8/pax (Online)
8. Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore (USS) has always been a theme park chock full of fun. The Christmas version is no different and in fact, you can enjoy even more attractions and special performances courtesy of the festivities. From the new and improved immersive Santa’s Workshop, light-hearted musicals and Christmas-themed snacks (hello Santa Sundaes and Santa-Minion popcorn buckets), there is something to entice everyone.
Photo opportunities are also abundant with the park tastefully decked in Christmas decor. You cannot miss the staggering 15-metre Santa’s Christmas Tree House! Once the sun goes down, watch how the park lights up and be dazzled. Oh yes, did we forget to mention it might snow?
When: 1 Dec to 1 Jan 2018
Admission: One-Day Ticket – S$76/Adult, S$56/Child
After 5pm Admission – S$55/Adult, S$50/Child
Festive Market at Christmas Wonderland Located at Gardens by the Bay, the Festive Market is open 1 to 26 December. A ticket is required. Expect the closest thing to European Christmas markets that you’ll find in Singapore offering up tasty treats like fluffy Dutch pancakes (poffertjes) and churros and chocolate, plus a wide variety of handmade crafts and gifts. (More on Christmas Wonderland below!). So it’s time to plan a trip to Singapore with your loved ones and celebrate a wonderful Christmas in the country.