This story was first published on The A List Singapore on 12 November 2020.
If you are looking to spend your SingapoRediscover dollars in the Civic District, here is a handy guide of arts and culture spots to include in your staycation itinerary. The area offers great places to shop and dine, and it is also home to historic landmarks, as well as some of the region’s finest museums, and breath-taking views of the city centre.
Visit these five attractions in the Civic District and rediscover Singapore through its rich arts and culture offerings.
National Gallery Singapore
Feast your eyes on one of the world’s largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian modern art at this museum, housed in two national monuments – the City Hall and former Supreme Court. Ongoing exhibitions such as Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century and Siapa Nama Kamu? Art in Singapore since the 19th Century, offer unrivalled public access to prized art from Singapore and the region. For a family-friendly experience, check out its Keppel Centre for Art Education, which promises to inspire the young and young-at-heart.
The museum, which turns five this month, has exciting new programmes in store too, including a large-scale retrospective show on iconic Singapore artist Georgette Chen, which opens at the end of this month. On a clear day, remember to head to the museum’s roof garden to enjoy the art installation there and soak in breath-taking views of the Civic District. Start planning your visit to the National Gallery Singapore here.
Asian Civilisations Museum
The Asian Civilisations Museum is another treasure in the Civic District. It has on display more than 1,000 artefacts devoted to exploring the artistic heritage of Asia.
On show at the museum’s Khoo Teck Puat Gallery is the famous Tang Shipwreck collection. The museum’s other galleries trace the spread of religions such as Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity across Southeast Asia through artefacts such as sculptures, paintings and ritual objects. Learn more about visiting the Asian Civilisations Museum here.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
The premier performing arts centre is fondly dubbed “the durian” by Singaporeans because its architecture is reminiscent of the king of fruits. Beyond its striking appearance, the Esplanade offers a diverse line-up of programmes all year round, including theatre productions, concerts, and dance performances. As the Esplanade gradually welcomes visitors back to its premise, audiences can catch a print-making showcase, Intersections, on site, and families can sign up to enter its children’s play space, PIP’s PLAYbox, for free. Music aficionados and audiophiles can also check out The Analog Vault, which sells vinyl records across a wide range of music genres. Find out what’s happening at the Esplanade here.
Consider spending your tourism vouchers at the ArtScience Museum, which offers exhibitions that fuse art, science and technology. Be dazzled by the Instagram-worthy interactive installations at Future World: Where Art Meets Science by Japanese interdisciplinary creative group teamLab. Or visit the Planet or Plastic? photography exhibition,which spotlights the global plastic pollution crisis. Purchase your tickets to ArtScience Museum here.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
This luxury hotel houses many contemporary works of art by famed artists. The magnificent three-tonne glass sculpture, Cornucopia, by American painter and sculptor Frank Stella, hangs in the hotel’s main lobby. Another spectacular art installation not to be missed is Sunset by renowned glassblower and artist Dale Chihuly, located near the hotel’s Colony restaurant. When you are done feasting your eyes on monumental works of art in the hotel, treat yourself to an edible version of the Stella’s work; the Cornucopia Upper Crust, a delicate sweet treat that is part-muffin and part-cookie crust, is sold at the hotel’s Colony Bakery.
Click here for our other guide to rediscovering the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct.
(Photos: National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay, ArtScience Museum, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore)