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An aerial view of Singapore. There is a highway, trees, and many city buildings. Getty Images

The 25 best things to do in Singapore if you love design

Sure, Marina Bay Sands is an eye-popper, but have you been to the city’s Kampong Glam neighborhood?

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Once ruled by Malaysian royalty, then a subject of British colonial rule for more than a century, the city-state of Singapore has become a center of global finance since it gained its independence in 1965.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants and starchitect-designed megaprojects, Singapore is home to a unique blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Arab cultures, allowing visitors to feel as though they’ve traveled across Asia without leaving the island. The fusion can be experienced at every turn—whether walking along the bustling streets of Little India or sipping a cocktail in a speakeasy-style bar in Chinatown.

From 150-year-old gardens to award-winning new buildings, here are the 26 best things to do and see in Singapore. And for 14 of the best restaurants in Singapore, check out Eater’s map.

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1. Singapore Botanic Gardens

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1 Cluny Rd., Singapore
259569, Singapore

This tropical oasis, with its sprawling, verdant gardens, was given UNESCO World Heritage designation in 2015 and is popular with both locals and tourists. Founded over 150 years ago by an English military officer and self-styled “naturalist,” the gardens were designed in the style of the English Landscape Movement and used as a location to collect specimens deemed important by colonial powers. Visitors can easily take a day or two to walk through the 82-acre property. Don’t miss the National Orchid Garden, which showcases over 1,000 species.

Lily pads in the gardens at Singapore Botanic Gardens. Shutterstock

2. Dempsey Hill

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Originally a nutmeg farm, and later home to British army barracks, Dempsey Hill is now one of the trendiest spots in the city for a bit of R&R. Visitors can go shopping, sip cocktails, or tuck into a good meal at a range of restaurants—from Mexican food to modern Singaporean cuisine. Although it’s just a short jaunt from busy Orchard Road, the lush setting makes it feel a world apart. It’s also an ideal place to browse contemporary art at hotspots like Redsea Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Arts, featuring some of the latest works by up-and-coming Asian artists.

3. Orchard Road

Copy Link
Orchard Rd.
Singapore, Singapore

Once lined with pepper farms and fruit orchards, this busy thoroughfare is now the city’s premiere shopping area, featuring high-end shops and an interesting mix of architecture. The shophouses on Emerald Hill are done in the Chinese Baroque architectural style of the early 20th century, while new retail establishments like ION Orchard shopping mall pull out all the bells and whistles when it comes to wowing visitors. Designed by London firm Benoy, the mall features ION Art gallery, an observation deck, and a multi-sensory media wall that puts on a light show for passersby.

The interior of Orchard Road in Singapore. The walls are curved glass.
A detail of the swooping glass structure at ION Orchard Shopping mall, designed by London firm Benoy.
Shutterstock

4. Indian Heritage Centre

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5 Campbell Lane, Singapore
209924, Singapore

Located in the heart of Singapore’s Little India neighborhood, the four-story Indian Heritage Centre offers the chance to learn about the nation’s Indian community through a series of galleries and a rotating schedule of performances. The building’s shimmering facade features a pattern that draws on the Baoli—an Indian stepped well, which serves as a meeting place in rural communities. Taking a stroll around the neighborhood is a must, not only to sample some of its mouthwatering Tamil cuisine, like dosas and biryani, but also for a glimpse of a Singapore that feels miles away from the manicured urban core.

5. Emily Hill

Copy Link
11 Upper Wilkie Rd, Wilkie
SG 228120, Singapore

Located on a quiet hilltop in the middle of the city, this stately two-story house was once a lavish private residence, then briefly served as the Japanese consulate. Today, it’s a multipurpose arts space, and well worth a visit. Kult Kafé features a gallery as well as frequent film screenings on an outdoor terrace perfect for sipping the house cocktail, the Kult Julip. Mount Emily Park provides a leafy respite from the heat.

6. Kampong Glam

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Once the home of Malay sultans, this multi-ethnic neighborhood has some of the city’s most charming buildings. With everything from antique stores to Malaysian coffee shops, restaurants, and cafes, the area’s compact, rowhouse-lined streets—like Haji Lane—are ideal for wandering from shop to shop. Visit the Malay Heritage Centre, a restored palace, which showcases Malay culture in a series of galleries, or the golden-domed Sultan Mosque, a national monument. During Ramadan, the area around the mosque comes alive with vibrant night markets.

Shutterstock

7. Parkview Square

Copy Link
600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore
188778, Singapore

This residential high-rise is known by locals as the “Gotham City” building for its Batman-esque flair. Designed to the tastes of its Taiwanese tycoon backer by Singapore firm DP Architects, the building was modeled after the 1929 Chanin building in New York City and incorporates design elements of feng shui. Inside is a stunning Art Deco bar ornate enough to put the Great Gatsby to shame. A floor-to-ceiling wine cellar is accessed by a “wine fairy” who straps herself to a harness and “flies” to fetch customers their wine.

8. National Design Centre

Copy Link
111 Middle Road, Singapore
188969, Singapore

Housed in a revamped 120-year-old former convent, this prewar building has become Singapore’s epicenter for all things design. The offices of the National Design Council are here, as well as galleries showcasing various design-related happenings, as well as studios and a prototyping workshop where Singaporeans can use digital fabrication machines, power tools, and electronics. A cafe and design boutique on the ground floor gives design enthusiasts the chance to browse accessories, clothes, and other products—or grab a quick bite.

9. National Library Building

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100 Victoria St., Singapore
188064, Singapore

This curvaceous library, designed by Malaysian architect Ken Yeang, received the highest-possible “Green Mark” rating for environmentally friendly buildings—Singapore’s equivalent of the LEED system in the U.S.—when it opened in 2005. The library is a great place to beat the heat in the heart of the city thanks to its high-ceilinged rooms, 14 tropical gardens, and host of public lecture offerings. The top floor features a glass room with 360-degree views of the city, while the 10th floor hosts a collection of maps of southeast Asia, some of which are centuries old.

Singapore’s National Library Building, background.
Shutterstock

10. Bras Basah Complex

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231 Bain St., Singapore
180231, Singapore

This rather nondescript five-story building is a relic of Singapore’s 1980s public housing projects, before the city’s skyscraper boom. Deriving its name from the words “wet rice” in Malay (rice was once laid out to dry on the nearby Stamford Canal), the building houses arts and crafts shops, galleries, and bookstores popular with locals. Book lovers will enjoy Basheer Graphic Books, which includes a large section of architecture and design reads. Just across from the complex is Purvis Street, a charming lane lined with colorful shophouses, upscale cafes, and restaurants.

11. Fort Canning Park

Copy Link
Cox Terrace, Singapore
179872, Singapore
+65 1800 471 7300
Visit Website

Not only is Fort Canning Park a great place to take in city views while strolling through winding paths of tropical foliage, it’s also an ideal spot to learn a bit of Singaporean history. Once the site of Malay kings’ palaces in the 14th century, it was later used by the British army for military barracks and a hospital. (A well-preserved underground command center, known as the Battle Box, was the site of surrender by colonial forces to the invading Japanese army in 1942.) Today, the sprawling lawns frequently host outdoor arts performances, like plays and concerts.

A spiral staircase and tunnel in Fort Canning Park.
Shutterstock

12. Raffles Hotel

Copy Link
1 Beach Rd., Singapore
189673, Singapore

This colonial gem opened its doors in 1887 and has been welcoming visitors to its lush 19th-century interiors ever since. Named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the island nation’s foremost colonist, the museum is a national monument and a relic of colonial-era indulgence—it was the first hotel in the region to have electric lights. Ironically, the luxurious hotel is the only place in Singapore where “littering” doesn’t come with a hefty fine. Guests visiting the Long Bar, birthplace of the famous pink Singapore Sling, are permitted to throw peanut shells on the floor.

13. SouthBeach Hotel

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One of the latest additions to the skyline, this luxury hotel and residential tower designed by Foster + Partners is located on the site of a Singaporean military base. Interiors by Philippe Starck bring a touch of quirk to the hotel, which includes an infinity pool with unbeatable views. With the hotel’s creation, three of the surrounding prewar colonial buildings received a new lease on life—including former Block 9, now home to the Grand Ballroom, an event space with a stunning light installation by Starck. And the former armory, built in 1908, traded munitions for hip restaurants, cafés, and bars.

14. National Gal­lery Singa­pore

Copy Link
1 St. Andrew's Road, Singapore
178957, Singapore

Housing the world’s largest collections of Southeast Asian art, this museum, which opened in 2015, is located in two of the city’s most historic neoclassical buildings in the Civic District—the Supreme Court and City Hall. The interior received a stunning makeover by studioMilou of Paris and CPG Consultants, complete with walkways and light-filled atriums. Temporary exhibitions are curated in collaboration with Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Britain, and restaurants Yan and Michelin-starred Odette feature impressive interiors, while AURA bar has great views of the skyline. Design junkies will love the cafe and shop on the ground floor.

Shutterstock

15. Asian Civilisations Museum

Copy Link
1 Empress Pl., Singapore
179555, Singapore

Though known today for its soaring skyscrapers, Singapore’s history stretches back to the third century, and this museum is perhaps the best place to learn about the pan-Asian heritage of its inhabitants. Built in 1867, the building’s neoclassical exterior remains an eye-catcher, particularly in its location next to the Singapore River. Inside, expansive gallery space makes way for special exhibitions and detailed permanent collections.

16. PARKROYAL on Pickering

Copy Link
3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore
058289, Singapore

Mastering the “garden in a hotel” concept, this upscale hotel by Singaporean architecture firm WOHA incorporates ledges of sky gardens and a host of environmentally friendly building technologies, adding a touch of green to the center of the city. Other buildings the firm has designed in Singapore feature their innovative vertical garden technology, including the OASIA Hotel downtown and the School of the Arts (SOTA). The hotel has a ground-level restaurant open to the public and boasts an exclusive top-floor lounge with stunning city views.

17. Marina Bay Sands Hotel and ArtScience Museum

Copy Link
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
018956, Singapore

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, this luxury hotel opened its doors in 2010. It’s part of the large-scale transformation of the downtown area, which has been underway since the ’70s. It may look a bit like a cruise ship sitting atop three 55-story pillars, but the SkyPark is the world’s longest public cantilever, thus an engineering marvel. It’s also a great place to scope out Singapore’s unique skyline with a drink in hand at CÈ LA VI sky bar. Nearby, the ArtScience museum, shaped like a gigantic lotus flower, is a good place to quench a thirst for knowledge, thanks to its schedule of rotating exhibitions in 21 galleries.

Marina Bay Sands, background, and the ArtScience museum, at left.
Shutterstock

18. Gardens by the Bay

Copy Link
18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore
018953, Singapore

No visit to Singapore is complete without a visit to this 250-acre park in the city’s Marina Bay area. Envisioned as part of a move to make Singapore a “city in a garden”, British firms Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter designed three water gardens—as well as the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories—each of which showcase sustainable building technologies. Supertree Grove is comprised of tree-like structures; the tallest is 16 stories. These foliage-clad giants convert sunlight into energy, powering some of the lighting and water technology in the rest of the park.

Shutterstock

19. Tiong Bahru

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This trendy, low-key neighborhood is a favorite with visitors and locals who prefer to live outside the hustle and bustle of downtown, while still eating and drinking well. The low-rise Art Deco homes, built in this 1930s as one of the city’s first housing projects, are slowly seeing an influx of fashionable boutiques, cafes, and restaurants—for better or worse. Yong Siak Street may be small, but it’s chock full: Check out BooksActually, which is a great place to pick up Singapore-related reads, and the design shop Strangelets.

20. Keong Saik Road

Copy Link
Keong Saik Rd.
Singapore, Singapore

Once a red light district, this quarter-mile stretch of colorful two-story shophouses offers some of the city’s trendiest bars, bistros, and boutique hotels, seamlessly blending old and new. Since the 1980s, roads like this one in Chinatown’s heritage district have been declared conservation areas and subsequently handsomely restored. The Library, a charming speakeasy-style cocktail bar in a refurbished shophouse is worth a visit, as is the Red Dot Design Museum on nearby Maxwell Road. And don’t skip the area’s stunning temples, like the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple—the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.

21. Sentosa Island

Copy Link
Sentosa Island, Singapore
000708, Singapore
+65 1800 736 8672
Visit Website

When locals have had enough of the city grind, they head to Sentosa, Singapore’s answer to a quick island getaway. Steer clear of the casinos and theme parks, like Universal Studios, and instead spend a day at the beach. Siloso, Palawan, and Tanjong all have plenty to offer; Siloso features a busy beach promenade with plenty of bars and eateries, while Tanjong is the quietest of the three and the best bet for a relaxing afternoon.

22. Southern Ridges

Copy Link

A little over six miles of green space link Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve, offering an ideal outing for those who prefer to take a breather from buildings. Aside from indulging in some of the best views of the city and southern islands, visitors can catch a glimpse of razor-like structures rising out of the water—the Reflections at Keppel Bay, the first Asian residential housing development by Daniel Libeskind.

Shutterstock

23. Gillman Barracks

Copy Link
Lock Road and Malan Road, Singapore
108932, Singapore

This arts complex is a far cry from its original purpose as an army camp. A $10 million makeover in 2012 transformed the circa-1930 British military barracks into a hotspot for contemporary visual art, and a dozen local and international galleries are now spread throughout five buildings. SUPERMAMA gallery shop offers works created in collaborations between Singaporean designers and Japanese craft facilities.

24. The Interlace

Copy Link
180 - 226 Depot Road, Singapore
139009, Singapore

Named the World Building of the Year at the 2015 World Architecture Festival, this ambitious residential development designed by Ole Scheeren in collaboration with OMA hints at some of the unique ways the city is reimagining high-density urban living. Thirty-one horizontal apartment blocks—“vertical villages”—are arranged in a large hexagonal shape, leaving plenty of room for communal courtyards and natural ventilation. It’s said to be one of the most ambitious residential projects in the country’s history.

25. HortPark

Copy Link
33 Hyderabad Rd., Singapore
119578, Singapore

Located in the city’s southwest, HortPark is a great place to spend a day outdoors learning about the local flora, or to pick up a new gardening technique or two: Every month, scheduled gardening activities are open to the public. For those who prefer to enjoy the outdoors from a distance, there’s a restaurant nestled amid the foliage.

1. Singapore Botanic Gardens

1 Cluny Rd., Singapore, 259569, Singapore
Lily pads in the gardens at Singapore Botanic Gardens. Shutterstock

This tropical oasis, with its sprawling, verdant gardens, was given UNESCO World Heritage designation in 2015 and is popular with both locals and tourists. Founded over 150 years ago by an English military officer and self-styled “naturalist,” the gardens were designed in the style of the English Landscape Movement and used as a location to collect specimens deemed important by colonial powers. Visitors can easily take a day or two to walk through the 82-acre property. Don’t miss the National Orchid Garden, which showcases over 1,000 species.

1 Cluny Rd., Singapore
259569, Singapore

2. Dempsey Hill

Singapore, Singapore

Originally a nutmeg farm, and later home to British army barracks, Dempsey Hill is now one of the trendiest spots in the city for a bit of R&R. Visitors can go shopping, sip cocktails, or tuck into a good meal at a range of restaurants—from Mexican food to modern Singaporean cuisine. Although it’s just a short jaunt from busy Orchard Road, the lush setting makes it feel a world apart. It’s also an ideal place to browse contemporary art at hotspots like Redsea Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Arts, featuring some of the latest works by up-and-coming Asian artists.

3. Orchard Road

Orchard Rd., Singapore, Singapore
The interior of Orchard Road in Singapore. The walls are curved glass.
A detail of the swooping glass structure at ION Orchard Shopping mall, designed by London firm Benoy.
Shutterstock

Once lined with pepper farms and fruit orchards, this busy thoroughfare is now the city’s premiere shopping area, featuring high-end shops and an interesting mix of architecture. The shophouses on Emerald Hill are done in the Chinese Baroque architectural style of the early 20th century, while new retail establishments like ION Orchard shopping mall pull out all the bells and whistles when it comes to wowing visitors. Designed by London firm Benoy, the mall features ION Art gallery, an observation deck, and a multi-sensory media wall that puts on a light show for passersby.

Orchard Rd.
Singapore, Singapore

4. Indian Heritage Centre

5 Campbell Lane, Singapore, 209924, Singapore

Located in the heart of Singapore’s Little India neighborhood, the four-story Indian Heritage Centre offers the chance to learn about the nation’s Indian community through a series of galleries and a rotating schedule of performances. The building’s shimmering facade features a pattern that draws on the Baoli—an Indian stepped well, which serves as a meeting place in rural communities. Taking a stroll around the neighborhood is a must, not only to sample some of its mouthwatering Tamil cuisine, like dosas and biryani, but also for a glimpse of a Singapore that feels miles away from the manicured urban core.

5 Campbell Lane, Singapore
209924, Singapore

5. Emily Hill

11 Upper Wilkie Rd, Wilkie, SG 228120, Singapore

Located on a quiet hilltop in the middle of the city, this stately two-story house was once a lavish private residence, then briefly served as the Japanese consulate. Today, it’s a multipurpose arts space, and well worth a visit. Kult Kafé features a gallery as well as frequent film screenings on an outdoor terrace perfect for sipping the house cocktail, the Kult Julip. Mount Emily Park provides a leafy respite from the heat.

11 Upper Wilkie Rd, Wilkie
SG 228120, Singapore

6. Kampong Glam

Singapore, Singapore
Shutterstock

Once the home of Malay sultans, this multi-ethnic neighborhood has some of the city’s most charming buildings. With everything from antique stores to Malaysian coffee shops, restaurants, and cafes, the area’s compact, rowhouse-lined streets—like Haji Lane—are ideal for wandering from shop to shop. Visit the Malay Heritage Centre, a restored palace, which showcases Malay culture in a series of galleries, or the golden-domed Sultan Mosque, a national monument. During Ramadan, the area around the mosque comes alive with vibrant night markets.

7. Parkview Square

600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore, 188778, Singapore

This residential high-rise is known by locals as the “Gotham City” building for its Batman-esque flair. Designed to the tastes of its Taiwanese tycoon backer by Singapore firm DP Architects, the building was modeled after the 1929 Chanin building in New York City and incorporates design elements of feng shui. Inside is a stunning Art Deco bar ornate enough to put the Great Gatsby to shame. A floor-to-ceiling wine cellar is accessed by a “wine fairy” who straps herself to a harness and “flies” to fetch customers their wine.

600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore
188778, Singapore

8. National Design Centre

111 Middle Road, Singapore, 188969, Singapore

Housed in a revamped 120-year-old former convent, this prewar building has become Singapore’s epicenter for all things design. The offices of the National Design Council are here, as well as galleries showcasing various design-related happenings, as well as studios and a prototyping workshop where Singaporeans can use digital fabrication machines, power tools, and electronics. A cafe and design boutique on the ground floor gives design enthusiasts the chance to browse accessories, clothes, and other products—or grab a quick bite.

111 Middle Road, Singapore
188969, Singapore

9. National Library Building

100 Victoria St., Singapore, 188064, Singapore
Singapore’s National Library Building, background.
Shutterstock

This curvaceous library, designed by Malaysian architect Ken Yeang, received the highest-possible “Green Mark” rating for environmentally friendly buildings—Singapore’s equivalent of the LEED system in the U.S.—when it opened in 2005. The library is a great place to beat the heat in the heart of the city thanks to its high-ceilinged rooms, 14 tropical gardens, and host of public lecture offerings. The top floor features a glass room with 360-degree views of the city, while the 10th floor hosts a collection of maps of southeast Asia, some of which are centuries old.

100 Victoria St., Singapore
188064, Singapore

10. Bras Basah Complex

231 Bain St., Singapore, 180231, Singapore

This rather nondescript five-story building is a relic of Singapore’s 1980s public housing projects, before the city’s skyscraper boom. Deriving its name from the words “wet rice” in Malay (rice was once laid out to dry on the nearby Stamford Canal), the building houses arts and crafts shops, galleries, and bookstores popular with locals. Book lovers will enjoy Basheer Graphic Books, which includes a large section of architecture and design reads. Just across from the complex is Purvis Street, a charming lane lined with colorful shophouses, upscale cafes, and restaurants.

231 Bain St., Singapore
180231, Singapore

11. Fort Canning Park

Cox Terrace, Singapore, 179872, Singapore
A spiral staircase and tunnel in Fort Canning Park.
Shutterstock

Not only is Fort Canning Park a great place to take in city views while strolling through winding paths of tropical foliage, it’s also an ideal spot to learn a bit of Singaporean history. Once the site of Malay kings’ palaces in the 14th century, it was later used by the British army for military barracks and a hospital. (A well-preserved underground command center, known as the Battle Box, was the site of surrender by colonial forces to the invading Japanese army in 1942.) Today, the sprawling lawns frequently host outdoor arts performances, like plays and concerts.

Cox Terrace, Singapore
179872, Singapore

12. Raffles Hotel

1 Beach Rd., Singapore, 189673, Singapore

This colonial gem opened its doors in 1887 and has been welcoming visitors to its lush 19th-century interiors ever since. Named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the island nation’s foremost colonist, the museum is a national monument and a relic of colonial-era indulgence—it was the first hotel in the region to have electric lights. Ironically, the luxurious hotel is the only place in Singapore where “littering” doesn’t come with a hefty fine. Guests visiting the Long Bar, birthplace of the famous pink Singapore Sling, are permitted to throw peanut shells on the floor.

1 Beach Rd., Singapore
189673, Singapore

13. SouthBeach Hotel

30 Beach Rd, Singapore

One of the latest additions to the skyline, this luxury hotel and residential tower designed by Foster + Partners is located on the site of a Singaporean military base. Interiors by Philippe Starck bring a touch of quirk to the hotel, which includes an infinity pool with unbeatable views. With the hotel’s creation, three of the surrounding prewar colonial buildings received a new lease on life—including former Block 9, now home to the Grand Ballroom, an event space with a stunning light installation by Starck. And the former armory, built in 1908, traded munitions for hip restaurants, cafés, and bars.

14. National Gal­lery Singa­pore

1 St. Andrew's Road, Singapore, 178957, Singapore
Shutterstock

Housing the world’s largest collections of Southeast Asian art, this museum, which opened in 2015, is located in two of the city’s most historic neoclassical buildings in the Civic District—the Supreme Court and City Hall. The interior received a stunning makeover by studioMilou of Paris and CPG Consultants, complete with walkways and light-filled atriums. Temporary exhibitions are curated in collaboration with Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Britain, and restaurants Yan and Michelin-starred Odette feature impressive interiors, while AURA bar has great views of the skyline. Design junkies will love the cafe and shop on the ground floor.

1 St. Andrew's Road, Singapore
178957, Singapore

15. Asian Civilisations Museum

1 Empress Pl., Singapore, 179555, Singapore

Though known today for its soaring skyscrapers, Singapore’s history stretches back to the third century, and this museum is perhaps the best place to learn about the pan-Asian heritage of its inhabitants. Built in 1867, the building’s neoclassical exterior remains an eye-catcher, particularly in its location next to the Singapore River. Inside, expansive gallery space makes way for special exhibitions and detailed permanent collections.

1 Empress Pl., Singapore
179555, Singapore

16. PARKROYAL on Pickering

3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore, 058289, Singapore

Mastering the “garden in a hotel” concept, this upscale hotel by Singaporean architecture firm WOHA incorporates ledges of sky gardens and a host of environmentally friendly building technologies, adding a touch of green to the center of the city. Other buildings the firm has designed in Singapore feature their innovative vertical garden technology, including the OASIA Hotel downtown and the School of the Arts (SOTA). The hotel has a ground-level restaurant open to the public and boasts an exclusive top-floor lounge with stunning city views.

3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore
058289, Singapore

17. Marina Bay Sands Hotel and ArtScience Museum

10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore, 018956, Singapore
Marina Bay Sands, background, and the ArtScience museum, at left.
Shutterstock

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, this luxury hotel opened its doors in 2010. It’s part of the large-scale transformation of the downtown area, which has been underway since the ’70s. It may look a bit like a cruise ship sitting atop three 55-story pillars, but the SkyPark is the world’s longest public cantilever, thus an engineering marvel. It’s also a great place to scope out Singapore’s unique skyline with a drink in hand at CÈ LA VI sky bar. Nearby, the ArtScience museum, shaped like a gigantic lotus flower, is a good place to quench a thirst for knowledge, thanks to its schedule of rotating exhibitions in 21 galleries.

10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
018956, Singapore

18. Gardens by the Bay

18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore, 018953, Singapore
Shutterstock

No visit to Singapore is complete without a visit to this 250-acre park in the city’s Marina Bay area. Envisioned as part of a move to make Singapore a “city in a garden”, British firms Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter designed three water gardens—as well as the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories—each of which showcase sustainable building technologies. Supertree Grove is comprised of tree-like structures; the tallest is 16 stories. These foliage-clad giants convert sunlight into energy, powering some of the lighting and water technology in the rest of the park.

18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore
018953, Singapore

19. Tiong Bahru

Singapore, Singapore

This trendy, low-key neighborhood is a favorite with visitors and locals who prefer to live outside the hustle and bustle of downtown, while still eating and drinking well. The low-rise Art Deco homes, built in this 1930s as one of the city’s first housing projects, are slowly seeing an influx of fashionable boutiques, cafes, and restaurants—for better or worse. Yong Siak Street may be small, but it’s chock full: Check out BooksActually, which is a great place to pick up Singapore-related reads, and the design shop Strangelets.

20. Keong Saik Road

Keong Saik Rd., Singapore, Singapore

Once a red light district, this quarter-mile stretch of colorful two-story shophouses offers some of the city’s trendiest bars, bistros, and boutique hotels, seamlessly blending old and new. Since the 1980s, roads like this one in Chinatown’s heritage district have been declared conservation areas and subsequently handsomely restored. The Library, a charming speakeasy-style cocktail bar in a refurbished shophouse is worth a visit, as is the Red Dot Design Museum on nearby Maxwell Road. And don’t skip the area’s stunning temples, like the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple—the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.

Keong Saik Rd.
Singapore, Singapore

21. Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island, Singapore, 000708, Singapore

When locals have had enough of the city grind, they head to Sentosa, Singapore’s answer to a quick island getaway. Steer clear of the casinos and theme parks, like Universal Studios, and instead spend a day at the beach. Siloso, Palawan, and Tanjong all have plenty to offer; Siloso features a busy beach promenade with plenty of bars and eateries, while Tanjong is the quietest of the three and the best bet for a relaxing afternoon.

Sentosa Island, Singapore
000708, Singapore

22. Southern Ridges

Henderson Rd, Singapore
Shutterstock

A little over six miles of green space link Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve, offering an ideal outing for those who prefer to take a breather from buildings. Aside from indulging in some of the best views of the city and southern islands, visitors can catch a glimpse of razor-like structures rising out of the water—the Reflections at Keppel Bay, the first Asian residential housing development by Daniel Libeskind.

23. Gillman Barracks

Lock Road and Malan Road, Singapore, 108932, Singapore

This arts complex is a far cry from its original purpose as an army camp. A $10 million makeover in 2012 transformed the circa-1930 British military barracks into a hotspot for contemporary visual art, and a dozen local and international galleries are now spread throughout five buildings. SUPERMAMA gallery shop offers works created in collaborations between Singaporean designers and Japanese craft facilities.

Lock Road and Malan Road, Singapore
108932, Singapore

24. The Interlace

180 - 226 Depot Road, Singapore, 139009, Singapore

Named the World Building of the Year at the 2015 World Architecture Festival, this ambitious residential development designed by Ole Scheeren in collaboration with OMA hints at some of the unique ways the city is reimagining high-density urban living. Thirty-one horizontal apartment blocks—“vertical villages”—are arranged in a large hexagonal shape, leaving plenty of room for communal courtyards and natural ventilation. It’s said to be one of the most ambitious residential projects in the country’s history.

180 - 226 Depot Road, Singapore
139009, Singapore

25. HortPark

33 Hyderabad Rd., Singapore, 119578, Singapore

Located in the city’s southwest, HortPark is a great place to spend a day outdoors learning about the local flora, or to pick up a new gardening technique or two: Every month, scheduled gardening activities are open to the public. For those who prefer to enjoy the outdoors from a distance, there’s a restaurant nestled amid the foliage.

33 Hyderabad Rd., Singapore
119578, Singapore