Whether you’re a family that loves to get active, enjoys visiting tourist attractions, needs a relaxing staycation (who doesn’t?), are fireworks fans, ultimate foodies or simply party animals, here are 35 National Day celebratory ideas for you and yours.
It’s SG51 and we know that the party can’t possibly be as awesome as it was last year when Singapore celebrated our Golden Jubilee a.k.a. SG50. Or can it? Gather your family, relatives, neighbours and friends − parties are best with your loved ones around you − and get creative together! You don’t have to wait for 9 August to start either − there are plenty of activities and places waiting for you throughout the whole month.
Where to Catch Those National Day Fireworks
The perennial favourite highlights of every Parade are the beautiful fireworks displays and State Flag Flypast. If you didn’t manage to get tickets to the Parade (or Previews), here’s where you want to be that evening.
1. Singapore Sports Hub
The fireworks light up the night sky above the National Stadium. Credit: Singapore Sports Hub
Ground zero of the National Day Parade itself, this is where you’ll find yourself up close and personal with the pyrotechnics. Shooting into the sky from the Kallang Basin for the first time in 10 years, as well as from the roof of the new National Stadium, it’s the perfect place for parents to share nostalgic stories with the young ones. Find your family a nice spot to settle into along the boardwalk facing the waterfront by Kallang Wave Mall and Water Sports Centre for the best views. Get there early as it is bound to get crowded.
2. Kallang Riverside Park
Image cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr image Kallang Riverside Park by Walter Lim
For a more natural setting or three, head to the trio of parks surrounding the Kallang River. Kallang Riverside Park North by Kampung Bugis is a lovely park perfect for a picnic and for the kids to run around in while waiting for the big show. The grassy bank of Kallang Riverside Park East is where you’ll often see dragon boats being launched. It’s on the side of the Sports Hub and will provide a great vantage point. On the other side, Kallang Riverside Park West along Crawford Street at the end of Beach Road gives you access to a walkway along Merdeka Bridge as well, if you don’t mind crowding with photographers.
3. Tanjong Rhu Promenade
Image cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr image Tanjong Rhu Footbridge by Bruce Cowan
This is a peaceful park connector on the south end of Kallang Basin running along the waterfront by the Tanjong Rhu condominiums. There are wide open fields and occasional stone seats along the cycling paths, all of which provide one of the best views of the fireworks. Unfortunately, the lookout tower there is not open to the public, but there is a suspension footbridge that connects Tanjong Rhu to the Singapore Indoor Stadium if you wish to get closer to the action.
4. Marina Promenade
Image cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr image View from Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer by Allie Caulfield
Better known as the walkway along Republic Avenue, the Marina Promenade runs alongside the Singapore Flyer and the F1 Track at the Pit Building, all the way to the Merdeka Bridge along Nicoll Highway. The lengthy boardwalk along the water makes for a great evening stroll with the family. Alternatively, hop off the train at Nicoll Highway Circle Line station to cut the distance by half.
5. Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay
Image cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr image Marina Bay Sands by Graham Hills
For an evening slightly further away from the action, stake out a spot along the Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza. Look up into the night sky for a spectacular view framing the Singapore Flyer. Partial views of the fireworks can also be had along the waterfront of Gardens by the Bay heading from the ArtScience Museum towards the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest observatories. Alternatively, purchase tickets to the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck for a bird’s eye view. Oh, and did we mention that the State Flag carried by the Chinook helicopter and accompanied by two Apache helicopters will be making a circle around Marina Bay after leaving the Stadium for the very first time? Don’t miss it!
National Day Themed Activities for the Whole Family
There’s plenty to do in the days leading up to, on the day itself and the days even after the main event. Here are some options to get the family all geared up to celebrate Singapore’s 51st.
6. Learn about Singapore’s pioneers at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Uncle Rajah and friends telling their magical stories. Credit: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Visit the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall this 9 August for a look into the past. During storytelling sessions at 2.30 pm and 4 pm, Uncle Rajah will take all young adventure seekers back in time on his magic carpet to meet Singapore’s early patriots Mr Teo Eng Hock and Mr Tan Chor Lam, and their friends Old Stripes the Tiger and Miss Pineapple. Then experience the fun of being a young journalist and discover fun facts about Singapore’s early Chinese newspapers and its advertisements via mini-games at various activity stations. Admission is free.
7. See 50 Years of National Day Parades at Kallang Wave Mall
A photo showing the NDP held at the National Stadium in the 1980s. Credit: National Museum of Singapore / National Heritage Board
National Heritage Board has curated an eye-opening exhibition that takes visitors on a photographic journey from the very first parade in 1966 all the way to last year’s SG50 extravaganza. Kids will be tickled by images of ‘old-fashioned’ processions and what the old National Stadium looked like, while parents and grandparents will surely have a nostalgic walk down memory lane. After travelling to several locations around Singapore, the free exhibition will return to its starting point at Kallang Wave Mall from 23 July to 9 August.
8. Join daily Water Tours in historic Kallang Basin at Water Sports Centre, Singapore Sports Hub
Go on a pedal boat water tour at the Water Sports Centre. Credit: Singapore Sports Hub
From now till 13 August, go on an exciting 2-hour guided tour of the Kallang Basin on a pedal boat, pedal bike, kayak or canoe. Tours cost from $12 for adults and from $8 kids below 18 years and seniors above 55 years. Do note that kids have to be at least 9 years of age. Visit www.sportshub.com.sg for detailed rates and schedules. While you’re at the Sports Hub, drop by the Sports Hub Library and declare your love and pen down your dreams for Singapore on the Wall of Well Wishes.
9. Get sporty at the ActiveSG Children and Families Sports Festival in centres around the island
Children trying their hands at hockey. Credit: Ong Tian Hua / Sport Singapore
Perfect for sporty families or those who wish to try something new, Sport Singapore urges everyone to get active this National Day season. In conjunction with Car-Free Sunday, participate in a series of fun fitness activities through the weekends of 30-31 July and 6-7 August across 15 ActiveSG Sports Centres islandwide. From fundamental movement skills to get your little ones moving right from the start to unconventional sports tryouts, there’s something for the whole family. You might even catch various events of the Singapore National Games while you’re there, so cheer the athletes on! Visit www.myactivesg.com for more details.
10. Enjoy the National Day edition picnic with Families for Life at Marina Barrage
A previous Families for Life picnic.
Have fun with a series of uniquely Singaporean and fun-filled activities for all generations from 5 to 9.30 pm on 6 August on the green roof at Marina Barrage. All Families for Life picnic activities are free, excluding the purchase of food and drinks. Take part in a sing-along of favourite National Day songs, do some arts and crafts, and team up to play games. Kids will love the bouncy castles and even try their feet at some Zumba. Come sundown, enjoy an outdoor screening of local film Long Long Time Ago Part 1 and also meet the cast of upcoming local movie, My Love Sinema.
11. Take part in a National Day Festival at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Pramila Pam entertains the kids at PIP’s PLAYbox. Credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
This 7-9 August, Esplanade creates its own mini parade featuring the Singapore Women Police Pipes and Drums and the Deyi Military Band, in addition to an endless lineup of free performances, exhibitions and talks. Kids can join Pramila Pam over at PIP’s PLAYbox as she weaves interactive tales in a trilingual storytelling session on 8, 9, 13 and 14 August, and take part in a retro Singaporean-themed craft activity. At the Esplanade Theatre Meeting Point, parents and kids can also assemble your own mini cardboard figure to take home. Over 50 stalls at the Festival Village will fulfil your shopping and feasting needs.
Check Out What These Attractions are Offering
You don’t have to be a tourist to hang out at a local attraction on National Day (let alone any other day). There’s something in store for Singaporeans of all ages during the month of August at these places.
12. Celebrate SG51 with some of our wildest residents
Our wildest residents at the Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and Singapore Zoo sure are in the mood to celebrate Singapore’s 51st birthday. What’s in store for you? Singapore citizens and permanent residents can enjoy 51% off bundled admission to Singapore Zoo and River Safari. Only interested in visiting your feathered friends? There’s 51% off Bird Park admission too!
From 5 – 9 August, don’t forget to indulge in the best of our traditional street foods amidst the rainforest at the Kampong Mandai Food Fare (11am to 5pm) at the zoo!
When: 1 – 31 August 2016
13. Treat yourself to fine music at the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Enjoy an evening of great music by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) at the Botanic Gardens with your friends and family – picnic style! Local composers will be playing their compositions with national themes. The hour-long concert at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage will also feature Law Wai Lun’s rearrangement of Medley of National Day Songs. Feel free to hum along to your personal favourites!
When: 6 August 2016, 6pm to 7pm
14. Take a tour of the Orchid Extravaganza @Gardens by The Bay
Considering that the Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ is our national flower, it seems only appropriate to let your eyes feast on the beauty of orchids at the Gardens by The Bay. The mind boggling diversity of orchids is on show at Orchid Extravaganza (designed by Singaporean garden landscape designer Alan Tan) at the Flower Dome, where a scintillating display of about 12,000 orchid plants awaits you! You’ll be snapping away for that Instagram worthy shot!
When: 22 July – 28 August 2016, 9am to 9pm
How much: $20 per adult, $12 per child (includes admission to the Cloud Forest)
15. Take part in an Illustration Workshop @Singapore Art Museum
Get hands-on at SAM with the family on National Day! Draw inspiration from Tan Zi Xi’s works, An Effort Most Futile and Plastic Ocean, and reflect on your daily plastic consumption, wastage and its repercussions on environmental pollution. (teach kids the importance of recycling!) You will get to create a mural painting with Zi Xi while learning to find beauty in the everyday!
When: 9 August 2016, 10.30am to 12pm at SAM at 8Q, Imaginarium Workshop Space, Level 2
How much: $35 per pax (tickets available at SAM and SISTIC)
16. Learn about Singapore’s history through art at the National Gallery
Ever wondered what it means to examine Singapore through its works of art? You are invited to do just that at ‘Siapa Nama Kamu?’ (What Is Your Name?), an exhibition that covers Singapore’s art history from the 19th century to the present day. There are nearly 400 artworks for your viewing pleasure at the DBS Singapore Gallery, art connoisseurs. Admission is free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents!
17. Celebrate The Olympic Spirit with Champions at Madame Tussauds Singapore
The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics kicks off on 5 August 2016. But before that, you can rub shoulders with some famous sporting stars at Madame Tussauds Singapore! Plenty of selfie-worthy moments here for sure. To sweeten the experience, Madame Tussauds is offering a whopping 51% discount off all regular tickets (worth up to $39) to celebrate National Day!
The promotion applies to adult, child and senior tickets. Tickets must be bought at Madame Tussauds Singapore admissions counters only, for up to four people.
When: 1 August – 30 September 2016
18. Learn a thing or two at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands
For one day only, all visitors to the ArtScience Museum will enjoy 51% discount off admission to various exhibitions, in the spirit of celebrating the nation’s birthday!
Visit Singapore’s largest digital playground FUTURE WORLD which boasts 16 interactive installations, and explore the world of big data at Big Bang Data through large-scale immersive art installations. Don’t miss your last chance to catch Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems closing soon on 14 August 2016, where more than 400 pieces of dazzling jewellery from Van Cleef & Arpels are displayed along with 250 rare gems and minerals from the French National Museum of Natural History!
When: 9 August 2016, 10am to 7pm (last admission at 6pm)
How much: $14.70 per pax (all-access ticket)
Here’s Where You Can Unwind Away from Home
In case you weren’t aware yet, there is no long weekend this National Day. Bummer. So what do you do when you only have one day off? Have a quick staycation to recharge, of course! (Some of these hotels will give you a view of the fireworks.)
19. Stay in a Club Room or Suite at Pan Pacific Singapore
How does watching the live telecast of the National Day Parade in the unparalleled comfort of Pan Pacific Singapore’s Pacific Club Room or Suite sound? Heavenly? We thought so too. You can also catch a glimpse of the spectacular fireworks from the Pacific Club Lounge on level 38. If that’s not enough, complete your escape from reality by treating yourself to the exclusive Club privileges – Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapés.
When: 6 and 9 August 2016
How much: Prices start from $576++
20. Get the best view of the fireworks from Conrad Centennial Singapore
Boasting unparalleled views of the Kallang River, Conrad Centennial offers one of the finest vantage points to enjoy the fireworks and aerial displays during this year’s National Day Parade. Choose from the National Day Getaway or the National Day Special Package (includes a snack platter, a bottle of Prosecco and late check-out till 3pm). This offer is applicable to stays in Classic, Deluxe or Executive rooms.
When: 9 August 2016
How much: From $475++ for the National Day Getaway and from $575++ for the National Day Special Package
21. Savour a celebratory snack platter while watching fireworks at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
The spacious Club rooms at the Ritz-Carlton also afford views of the beloved fireworks display over the Kallang River and Singapore Sports Hub during this year’s National Day Parade. How can you make the celebration sweeter? Order a celebratory snack platter (priced at $80) comprising steamed seafood siew mai, California maki and gula melaka cupcakes to enjoy while watching those wonderful fireworks.
When: 8 – 10 August 2016
How much: From $1050++ (includes one bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne and $50 worth of in-room dining credit)
(See also: Top 10 Family-friendly Hotels around Asia)
22. Enjoy 50% off dine-in dinners at Hotel Grand Pacific
Here’s a more economical choice for a National Day staycation. No views of the fireworks here, but hey − you can always catch it on the telly. This fuss-free package includes a daily buffet breakfast for two adults and one child. There’s also a whopping 50% discount at Hotel Grand Pacific on dine-in dinners! Cheers to our nation turning 51!
When: 7 – 10 August 2016
How much: From $157++
23. Pamper yourself silly at the spa at Pan Pacific Orchard
Rejuvenate yourself at Pan Pacific Orchard during the National Day period and enjoy savings of up to 15% on the best available rates! Pamper yourself with the impressive array of dining choices or invigorate your senses with a refreshing spa treatment at the hotel. Complimentary breakfast for two included. Feel free to laze in the comfort of your room afterwards till your late check-out at 2pm. Sweet!
When: 5 – 14 August 2016
How much: From $345++
Feast to Your Heart’s Content
What’s a Singaporean celebration without food, right? Get ready to go on a local themed gastronomical journey this National Day at any one of these fine restaurants.
24. Experience popular local dishes at an affordable price at Wave Cafe & Wine Bar
Tuck into hearty Singaporean delicacies in celebration of our nation’s 51st birthday. The local dishes served here will be appropriately priced at $5.10++ per set from 5 – 9 August 2016. Talk about affordable! What’s on the menu? Signature Laksa (5 August), Lor Mee (6 August), Prawn Mee Soup (7 August), and Bak Chor Mee (8 – 9 August). Take the festive mood a notch up by indulging in a popsicle at an additional $2.
25. Seafood lovers, knock yourselves out at Oceans of Seafood
To celebrate National Day, Oceans of Seafood is offering diners a SG51 Japanese Sushi & Sashimi Platter at just $51. Enjoy this fresh Japanese platter from 1 – 31 August 2016. Nestled in PasarBella, Oceans of Seafood brings in its fresh supply of seafood twice weekly from Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Norway. Expect a smorgasbord of seafood comprising the freshest of fish and Pacific oysters!
26. Savour exquisite local culinary treats at Edge & Hai Tien Lo
The commemoration of our nation’s 51 years of remarkable progress deserves a gastronomic celebration in style. Special culinary treats await you at the award-winning Edge and Hai Tien Lo at Pan Pacific Singapore. Edge has a local-themed National Day Heritage Dinner Buffet (5 – 9 August 2016) in store for you while Hai Tien Lo (6 – 9 August 2016) honours the occasion with a Celebratory Set Menu of oriental delicacies.
National Day Heritage Dinner Buffet: 6.30pm – 10.30pm ($88 per adult, $44 per child aged 6 to 11)
National Day Celebratory Set Menu: 11.30am – 2.30pm and 6.30pm – 10.30pm ($128 per diner, minimum of two diners)
27. Tuck into a hearty National Day Jubilation buffet at Marriott Cafe
Take a gastronomical trip down memory lane with more than ninety of our little island’s delectable local gems. Start off the National Day Jubilation buffet with the freshest seafood on ice − freshly shucked oysters, Boston lobsters and more. There are also the perennial Singaporean favourites − chilli crab, oyster omelette, sambal stingray and ice kacang for you to savour at Marriott Cafe. Diners who turn 51 in 2016 eat for free with every two paying adults. Yay!
National Day lunch buffet: $88++ per adult (includes free flow of soft drinks or juices), $118++ per adult (includes free flow of sparkling wine, beer and soft drinks), $44++ per child
28. Be spoilt for choice at a heritage themed buffet at Colony Restaurant
Celebrate National Day with an indulgent local themed buffet at Colony, where a true taste of Singapore awaits. Enjoy the best of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Western and local dishes such as barbecued sambal stingray, fish head curry, braised mee sua with pig trotters, Indian rojak and kambing soup. Need something to wash it all down? There’s bandung and soybean with grass jelly!
National Day lunch buffet: $62 per adult, $31 per child aged 6 to 12
National Day dinner buffet: $82 per adult, $41 per child aged 6 to 12
29. Taste the best of Singapore’s culinary delights at RISE Restaurant
This National Day, it’s all about local favourites at RISE Restaurant at Marina Bay Sands. What’s lined up for you on the buffet spread? RISE’s Signature Laksa, Yong Tau Foo, Prawn Noodles, Hainanese Poached Chicken and Roast Pork Belly! Wrap up your culinary experience here on a sweet note – take your pick from local desserts such as Gula Melaka Bavarois Triffle and Jack Fruit Clafoutis.
When: 9 August 2016, 12pm to 2pm (lunch) and 6pm to 10.30pm (dinner)
How much: $68++ per pax (lunch), $88++ per pax (dinner)
30. Dine at Marina Bay Sands’ latest Michelin-star restaurant CUT by Wolfgang Puck
To commemorate National Day, CUT by Wolfgang Puck is offering a special 2-course set menu featuring a starter of Butter Lettuce, Avocado, Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Marinated Cherry Tomatoes in a Champagne-Herb Vinaigrette; and a Snake River Farms Flat Iron Steak with Hand Cut French Fries and House Made Steak Sauce as a main.
Diners can also go for a 3-course set menu, topping off their meal with CUT’s signature dessert inspired by familiar flavours – the Kaya ‘Baked Alaska’ (above), with coconut cake, pandan ice-cream, coconut sorbet and coffee crumble. Yum!
When: 9 August 2016, 5.30pm to 7pm
How much: $51++ per pax (two-course set), $65++ per pax (three-course set)
It’s SG51…Let’s Just Party On!
If you still can’t decide how to celebrate Singapore’s birthday with family and friends, here are five more ideas to get those patriotic juices flowing. Don’t forget the red-and-white dress code!
31. Party at home in red and white
Left: Hand Blender and EasyMixx Blender from Bosch; Right: Singapore Orchid Collection from 1872 Clipper Tea
Get your friends and relatives together and potluck up a storm while watching the National Day Parade live telecast on TV. Get everyone to bring a selection of local favourites and introduce the kids to old-school kueh-kueh and tidbits from your childhood while you’re at it. Wash it all down with floral teas from 1872 Clipper Tea’s Singapore Orchid Collection. We thought these National Day-themed kitchen appliances from Bosch were too pretty not to mention and would come in handy too.
32. Turn your neighbourhood into Satay Club
Image cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr image Satay @ Satay by the Bay (Singapore) by MarPa87
Book a barbecue pit in your HDB neighbourhood or condo grounds and invite all your neighbours. Apart from the ubiquitous chicken wings, sausages and sambal stingray, don’t forget satay, which you can prepare yourself using this recipe. If preparing everything yourself is too daunting, order what you need from vendors such as City Satay. They also have banana leaf otak and offer complete barbecue packages that they will deliver to your doorstep.
33. Have a high-flying picnic at Marina Barrage
Image cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr image Kites at Marina Barrage by Brian Flanagan
Make a play date with your kids and their friends and families. Head to the green roof of Marina Barrage with picnic mats, baskets full of sandwiches, fried beehoon, snacks and drinks in tow. Then whip out those kites and see who can get theirs into the air the fastest. There’s even a bonus – you’ll get to witness the State Flag Flypast as it makes its way around the Marina Bay in the evening.
34. Go on train rides with special edition National Day EZ-Link cards
2016 Special Edition National Day EZ-Link cards. Credit: EZ-Link Pte Ltd & Noise Singapore
Many new MRT stations have opened in recent months – have you visited them all yet? It’s a great way for the kids to learn the geography of our country, and gives parents the opportunity to share the changes that have taken place over the decades. In preparation for the expedition, purchase this set of three 2016 Special Edition National Day ez-link cards that feature the works of young local artists. It is available at $18 per set on My EZ-Link Online Shop from 1 August. Individual cards will also be made available at $12 at TransitLink ticket offices from National Day onwards, while stocks last.
35. Visit Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
Image cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr image Tanjong Pagar train station by Shankar S.
Speaking of trains, it’s going to be the last time Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be open to the public on National Day. At least until 2025 when its iconic train platform canopy structures will be reinstated and integrated into the new Cantonment station on Circle Line 6. Take this opportunity to show the kids around this national monument, and join the party happening there. Check the Singapore Land Authority website and Facebook page for updates on other activities taking place this National Day.
The SingaporeMotherhood team would like to wish all our daddies, mummies, grandpas, grandmas and kids a very happy National Day!