Public holidays are a thing most locals look forward to every year. From Hari Raya, to Deepavali and Chinese New Year, these special occasions hold a significant place in the hearts of locals. While some may choose to plan for long weekends that coincide with public holidays and spend it overseas, others choose to remain in Singapore for a respite from the daily grind of work and school.

Given the city’s unique blend of cultures and people, celebrations are marked as official holidays on the calendar all year round. They’re also a ticket to a world of cultural vibrancy and festive exuberance. Whether you're a resident looking for fresh adventures or a tourist eager to explore what the city has to offer, we hope this list provides you with ideas on some exciting things to do in Singapore during the public holidays!

1. Immerse yourself in various cultural experiences

Speaking of the city’s melting pot of multiculturalism, it would be a good idea to soak in various festive atmospheres during public holidays like Deepavali, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.

Each of these events have their own distinctive charm and celebrations typically occur weeks before. Little India, for example, has always been known to be a place filled with a vibrant kaleidoscope of colours. That said, it becomes even more alive during Deepavali. During this time, streets are adorned with intricate street lights as well as Rangoli designs that represent happiness, positivity and liveliness. You can also patronise bustling bazaars that offer a variety of unique trinkets, traditional clothing, festive goods and accessories.

For spice-enthusiasts, head to Muthu’s Curry for a taste of meals like Masala Chicken (S$18.36) and Fish Tikka ($19.44). Shivam Restaurant, on the other hand, is a no-frills eatery serving vegetarian dishes from savoury dosas to vadais.

Along the same vein, you’ll easily chance upon festive extravaganzas around Chinatown and River Hong Bao during Chinese New Year. Besides fabulous street light-ups, the annual River Hong Bao that’s held at Gardens by the Bay also comes with thematic lantern displays and spectacular stage performances.

Hari Raya Puasa is another major holiday in Singapore to note. Geylang Serai, in particular, transforms into an epicentre of celebrations about a month before the actual holiday. In fact, the Geylang Serai bazaar has built a solid reputation for foodies looking to feast to the heart’s content. (In 2023, they had a whopping 700 food stalls!) But of course, it’s also a great place for anyone who enjoys taking leisurely strolls for clothing and home goods.

Little India
Address: 60 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 229900

River Hong Bao
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953

Geylang Serai Bazaar
Address: 1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001

2. Marvel at the inner wonders of Singapore’s Istana House

Did you know? The Istana used to be the official residence for Singapore’s governors during the colonial era. Inside the wide gates of this majestic and elusive building are carefully manicured green grounds. 

While the Istana house might be heavily guarded, it’s actually open to the public five times a year—particularly during Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, National Day and Labour Day. Merriments abound during the Istana Open House, and you can expect different programmes depending on the holiday. Typically, visitors can expect either dance or musical performances by local students or groups, food stalls, and other activities pertaining to the festival (e.g. henna art booths for Deepavali). 

You’re more than welcomed to roll out picnic mats and spend a relaxing afternoon there. The highlight is often the guided tour, where visitors get to view selected rooms around the Istana and even state gifts. Entry to the Istana Open House is free for Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents. Foreign visitors are required to pay a nominal entrance fee of S$10 per adult and S$2 per child (4-12 years old). 

For information on upcoming events, do visit the official Istana website.

Address: 1 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199078

3. Soak in the spectacle of museum exhibitions

Singapore is home to several notable museums. A visit to some of these can definitely make for an enriching activity during a public holiday. One of the oldest is the National Museum of Singapore which showcases the nation’s past and cultural artefacts.The Art Science Museum, on the other hand, is more known for featuring multimedia and interactive installations. 

For a more historical take, make a trip to the Changi Chapel and Museum. This museum sheds light on the tumultuous era and events that took place during World War II and the Japanese occupation. While planning your visit though, be sure to check official websites or the social media pages of your chosen museum for any special exhibitions that might be taking place. 

Some museums, like the National Museum of Singapore, offer free admission to Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents. Special exhibitions, however, may require a fee. 

The Singapore Chinese Culture Centre, specifically its ‘Singaporen’ exhibition, is another destination to consider as it remains open during public holidays. It’s also free entry for all! This exhibit explores the Singaporean Chinese heritage, their way of life and how the community has evolved through time. More importantly, it aims to promote a spirit of communal understanding and shared identity, making it a must-visit for both locals and tourists alike. 


National Museum of Singapore
Address: 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897 

Art Science Museum
Address: 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974 

Changi Chapel and Museum
Address: 1000 Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707 

Singapore Chinese Culture Centre
Address: 1 Straits Boulevard, Singapore 018906 

4. Explore the city’s nature and great outdoors

For those who prefer a casual day outdoors, this is one of those places to visit: Singapore Botanic Gardens. Not only is it the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore, it’s also where you get to bask in the serene beauty of lush greenery.

The Botanic Gardens offers free access year-round. Pack a hearty picnic with loved ones, or wander through the various themed sections available at the Gardens. This includes spaces like the National Orchid Garden (with over 1,000 gorgeous blooms and species on display), or the Jacob Ballas Garden with child-dedicated spots for little ones to play in. 

For any special exhibitions and festivals that occur every now and then, do check out their page before making your way down!

Another popular destination is Macritchie Reservoir. Anchored by Singapore’s largest reservoir, this makes for a great break away from concrete buildings that surround the city. 

Go on an exhilarating walk around the nature trail loop—MacRitchie Trails, where you’ll encounter animals like squirrels and monitor lizards. Alternatively, make your way up to the Treetop Walk that features a free-standing suspension bridge amidst the canopy of forest trees. MacRitchie is also home to a variety of bird species, so you might want to consider bringing along binoculars and a guidebook for a fun birdwatching time while exploring the trails.

If you’re planning to go off the grid around other places in Singapore, check out this list with hidden hiking trails that are equally worth checking out. 


Singapore Botanic Gardens
Address: 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569 

MacRitchie Reservoir
Address: MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Singapore 298717 

5. Spend an exhilarating day out at Sentosa Island

Sentosa might be located on an island located off coast in Singapore, but it is easily reached by car, bus and the Sentosa Express—a monorail from Vivocity, or Cable Car from Mount Faber and HarbourFront Tower 2. Attractions and family-friendly activities abound in this tiny island, from thrilling rides at the Universal Studios Singapore, Skyline Luge, and Adventure Cove Waterpark, to the rich marine life at the S.E.A Aquarium. Safe to say, it’d be easy to spend an entire day here during a public holiday! 

Prefer opting for cheaper or even free activities? Explore the newly-built Fort Siloso Skywalk—a treetop trail that is 11-storeys high. This spans 181 metres long and gives you a scenic view of Siloso. If not, simply bask in the sun and sand at the Central Beach Bazaar (located at Beach Station). This attraction offers day-to-night carnival experiences, including the Sentosa Musical Fountain — a 5-minute performance where synchronised water jets move to an array of soundtracks. 

For more information on showtimes and upcoming medleys, check out their page here. 

After a day of fun, there’s plenty of restaurants to dine at, and not forgetting, beach clubs and bars for some drinks.

6. Hop on a gastronomic food tour

It’s said that eating is a national pastime in Singapore. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering the rich diverse culinary choices we have here. For a real local taste of flavours, sign up for a food tour; Singapore has enough to take you through hawker centres all across the island!

In ‘A Taste of Singapore: Hawker Center Tour, which spans under three hours, a host will take you through places with delicious local cuisines, like in Telok Ayer Market and Chinatown. Otherwise, choose to escape the fast pace of city life by discovering the taste of Peranakan Cuisine in this Katong Food Tour instead. On this tour, you’ll get to enjoy favourites like Katong Laksa and the Nyonya bak zhang (sticky rice dumplings).

7. Step back in time with a heritage walk around the Civic District

Singapore isn’t short of historical landmarks and architectural gems. In fact, you have the opportunity to uncover stories simply by signing up for a heritage walk around the civic district. To sum it up, the civic district is an area where modern Singapore began. It’s where most colonial architecture and iconic landmarks are, and they have been restored and given a new lease of life.

This is an activity that can easily provide anyone with a deeper understanding of the city’s development and identity. A heritage walk takes you through places like The Arts House at the Old Parliament—the oldest government building in Singapore that now serves as a multi-disciplinary arts venue. Other noteworthy sights include the St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Raffles’ Landing Site, Old Supreme Court, Cavenagh Bridge, Merlion Park and Fullerton Hotel. 

As you’ll be walking through various sites, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. With Singapore’s humid weather, remember to bring along some water and sunscreen too!

8. Explore a range of family-friendly activities at Jewel Changi Airport

If you haven’t already heard, Jewel Changi Airport stands as a perfect haven for anyone seeking an immersive blend of shopping, dining, and play experiences. 
This sprawling complex offers an extensive array of dining options—from exquisite fine dining restaurants to casual eateries. It’s easily a popular destination to spend your public holidays at. 

Beyond culinary delights you’ll also find fun attractions like the Canopy Park—a whimsical wonderland for families and the young-at-heart. To put things into perspective: The Canopy Park features a range of recreational and play attractions, including an enchanting Hedge Maze and adrenaline-inducing Sky Nets.

9. Engage in a meaningful volunteering activity

Aside from events and festivals, public holidays can also be a unique opportunity for you to engage in meaningful activities that go beyond leisure. One such way is by participating in volunteer initiatives! 

For some, volunteering has been a cherished tradition; especially if it can make a positive impact in causes and communities that they care about. Those interested in getting started can easily find opportunities through online platforms like and, or by reaching out to local non-profit and social service organisations directly. 

Most of these community groups tend to be active during public holidays; whether it is to serve meals to the less privileged, or be involved in environmental clean-up initiatives, you’ll find something that resonates. 


Public holidays are an invitation to celebrate the city's diversity, with each occasion unveiling a unique facet of the city’s charm. If you’re in search of the best things to do in Singapore, simply make the most of these holidays for an unforgettable time around the little red dot!


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