What are the best neighborhoods in Singapore?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

  • Jo Soh

  • Fashion Designer

  • Singapore, SG, SG

I grew up and went to school in the Siglap neighborhood. It’s right by East Coast Park and the sea. Because I grew up there, I feel very comfortable there. I just love being close to the sea.

Marine Parade is also a great neighborhood, and the best part about it is that it is right next to the sea. Long walks along the beach at East Coast Park are always a favorite relaxing activity. Marine Parade is also right next to Katong, which is filled with eateries serving both local and international cuisine.

Jamie L.T. Mapa

Like any country, Singapore has a number of neighborhoods, each with its own style and feel.  When you visit, expect to see a skyline filled with skyscrapers and bright lights as the Republic is often referred to as the financial centre and hub in southeast Asia.  During the day, the Central Business District is bustling with locals and expats alike, businessmen and women shuffling from one meeting to the next in the sweltering heat.  At night however, like Wall Street, most of the CBD shuts down.  Here’s a look at a few neighborhoods and what to expect during daytime and nighttime play.

CBD: is one of the most expensive districts to live in as a result of its proximity to, well, itself.  A majority of the financial institutions reside in the CBD so commuting to work is a breeze.  During the day, there are a bunch of lunch options including hawker centres at food courts like Lau Pa Sat, Golden Shoe Food Centre and Asia Square.  At night however there are limited food options bar a 24 hour McDonalds.  The best way to experience the CBD at night would be from the top – of a building that is.  There are rooftop bars on some of the tallest structures in Singapore which offer a fantastic view of the city skyline.

The Quays: Starting at the mouth of the Singapore you’ll find Boat Quay, followed by Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.  Boat Quay has a string of bars and pubs and some decent restaurants, mostly frequented by the Happy Hour after-work crowd.  Less than 1km up the river directly after Boat Quay is Clarke Quay.  Clarke Quay is the most touristy of the Quays and has an animated pixar-esque feel to it.  The food is commercial (if you look close enough, you will find a Hooters and Chili’s on the stretch), but the view from the main bridge crossing the Singapore River is worth a 30 minute trip.  It’s a great location for people watching; just don’t be surprised to see locals propped up on the bridge with a bottle of their favorite alcohol and mixer enjoying the sights.  Following Clarke Quay is Robertson Quay.  Robertson Quay has a more family and residential feel to it and is a popular location for weekend brunches and dog walking.  There is delicious Japanese food in the area and an eclectic mix of sports, whiskey, wine and sake bars.

Tiong Bahru: this is Singapore’s up and coming hipster vibe neighborhood likened to Williamsburg or the Mission; it is perfect for Foodies or vintage goers looking to experience a more localized Singapore.  You will find a mix of acclaimed local food in the area with Tiong Bahru Food Market and Hawker Centre and local staples like Por Kee Eating House.  A mix of old meets new is the best way to describe Tiong Bahru – within one of the oldest neighborhoods in the country, you’ll also find modernized fare including the Orange Thimble, a café and gelato shop, and Open Door Policy (OPD) a western themed restaurant that’s as refreshing as an ice cold beer on a hot Singaporean day. 

Emerald Hill:  is home to Ice Cold Beer, an establishment known for its wings as much as its beer, located in a shophouse built in the early 1900s.  Emerald Hill is situated near Orchard Road and is comprised of a short stretch of bars and restaurants which were once owned by the country’s wealthiest Peranakans.  A few well-known establishments other than Ice Cold Beer include No. 5 Emerald Hill, Que Pasa and Peranakan Place.

Orchard Road: is the Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills or Avenue des Champs-Élysées of Singapore.  From high-end designers to worldwide department stores, Orchard Road can cater to all of your shopping needs.  The neighborhood is one of the most expensive to reside in with towering condominiums and is easily accessible via public transportation or taxi.  Surrounded by extravagant malls, hotels and dining options, Orchard Road is a must visit for any traveller.

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