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7 FREE Things To Do In Singapore’s Orchard Road That Don’t Involve Shopping Or Eating

Need some retail therapy, or arranging an afternoon tea date with your BFFs? Chances are, you’ll find yourself heading to town. After all, that’s where all the action’s at.

But there’s more to Orchard Road than just shopping and eating. In fact, you don’t even have to spend any money to enjoy an entire day in the heart of Singapore.

Here’s how!

1. Lounge at the Orchard Central rooftop garden


Head to levels 11 and 12 of the Orchard Central building and you’ll find a charming roof garden overlooking the city, where you can enjoy some peace and quiet.

Little waterfalls provide very zen sound effects, and it’s perfectly serene when night falls, with a cool breeze to keep you company.

181 Orchard Rd, 238896

2. Take in the view of the city from the 55th floor of ION Orchard



You probably know ION Orchard for the shopping, but that’s the beautifully dizzying view over the city you get when you take the lift up to the lovely viewing gallery on level 55. You can even spot Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer in the distance. The last admission is at 5.30pm, before they close at 6pm — we wished they stayed open till later, but you’ll still be able to catch the first signs of sunset.

2 Orchard Turn, Level 56, 238801

3. Unwind at the prettiest library in Singapore


For a library, it looks insanely fashionable, with crazily undulating shelves and designer chairs. Not surprisingly, the main focus of the library@orchard is design, so if you’re looking for books on the latest graphic trends or avant-garde fashion, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Chill out in the cosy cocoons with a book once you’re done with your shopping.

277 Orchard Rd, Orchard Gateway, #03-12 #04-11, 238858

4. Take a walk in Fort Canning Park


If you’re feeling suffocated by city living along the Orchard belt, head over to the Bras Basah side and take a hike at Fort Canning Park. This underrated park is littered with historic sights, mostly war-related, and it’s surprisingly tranquil (nowhere near as crowded as the Botanic Gardens!).

River Valley Rd, 179037

5. Get your art fix in a busy mall


Visit the Opera Gallery, one of Singapore’s most well-known art galleries, at ION Orchard (yes, a museum in the mall). It’s host even to works by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and more. Even if you’re not planning to buy any of these works (Yes, they’re on sale!), it’s fun trying to spot lesser-known works of famous artists.

2 Orchard Turn, #02-16 ION Orchard, 238801

6. Admire the beautiful heritage shophouses along Emerald Hill


The beautifully preserved shophouses along Emerald Hill speak of a charming, multi-faceted heritage and culture. Peranakan tiles meet French windows and Portuguese shutters, with Chinese statues adorning some frontages and old-school swings framing others. Warning: It might trigger serious house envy.

7. Work up a sweat at the skate park


You’ve probably seen energized youth practising and parading their stunts at the skate park opposite 313 Somerset. Can’t skate? It’s a pleasure to watch, too.

1 Somerset Rd, 238162

By Joanne Poh, MoneySmart, additional reporting by Pinky Chng and Sandhya Mahadevan / Updated by Willaine G. Tan, September 2020. 

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More on The Finder:
7 Hidden Gems Along Singapore’s Orchard Road You Never Knew Existed
A Day Out: 13 Places On The Outskirts Of Orchard Road That Prove It’s Just As Happening
10 Must-Visit Districts In Singapore And What They’re Famous For

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