Any visitor to Singapore is sure to spend at least some time in the vibrant riverside district of Clarke Quay. Named for Singapore‘s second colonial governor, Sir Andrew Clarke, Clarke Quay is a five-block district of restaurants, bars, clubs, and other exciting attractions, some of which are located in refurbished Chinese junk boats that are moored in the Singapore River.
Daytime Activities in Clarke Quay
While the neighborhood’s most popular attractions often are bars and nightclubs that don’t open until evening, there is still plenty to do in Clarke Quay during the daytime. Visitors looking to spend the day in the area should begin with a stroll along the riverside to get a feel for the neighborhood. Fort Canning Park makes a great spot for an early afternoon picnic or a bit of exercise.
Even those who aren’t interested in the nightclub scene should plan to stay past sunset in order to take in the laser show at Marina Bay Sands. Shows start at 8pm and 9:30pm daily, and on Friday and Saturday nights, there is another show at 11pm.
Cultural Activities in Clarke Quay
While Clarke Quay is primarily known for its more touristy or commercial attractions, it also offers opportunities for visitors to engage with the art, culture, and history of the region.
- Travelers interested in experiencing the local arts scene will want to plan a visit to The Arts House, which is located in Singapore‘s oldest surviving building. Built in 1827 and originally used as a courthouse, the building formerly known as Parliament House was converted to a multipurpose arts complex in 2004. Today, The Arts House features a 75-seat theater that hosts concerts and art exhibitions in addition to screening local and international independent films. Bibliophiles will be pleased to know that there is also an onsite café and bookstore called Earshot, which focuses on promoting local authors.
- History buffs, or those just hoping to get the most out of their visit to Singapore, would be wise to plan a visit to the Asian Civilizations Museum. The museum houses some of the nation’s most important collections and showcases more than 1,300 artifacts from across Asia. A few hours in the Asian Civilizations Museum will provide visitors a basic understanding of Singapore‘s history and culture. The museum uses art to explore how the country’s historic port attracted diverse cultures from around the world, making Singapore the unique island state that it is today. The Asian Civilizations Museum often hosts concerts, film screenings, and other unique events, and visitors should check the museum’s schedule ahead of their trip.
- Just a 10-minute walk from Clarke Quay MRT Station, the Hong San See Temple was built in 1913 and is well worth a visit. The Buddhist temple has been designated a national monument and was recognized by UNESCO in 2010. The temple consists of several buildings and courtyards, which offer quiet places to rest and reflect. Visitors will want to seek out each of the temple’s four granite columns, which have been engraved with verses of poetry and images of dragons, peonies, and magpies. Hong San See Temple sits atop a hill that once offered a view of the sea. While the view has since been obstructed by high-rises, the hill remains. Visitors and worshipers should prepare for a long flight of stairs.
Daytime Fun & Adventure in Clarke Quay
After taking in Clarke Quay‘s important artistic and historical landmarks, it’s time to unwind and have a little carefree fun. Despite its reputation as a nightlife hot spot, the region has plenty of activities that the whole family can enjoy together.
- The G-Max Reverse Bungy offers a quick jolt of adrenaline for all visiting thrill seekers. The main attraction is the Extreme Swing, which features padded seats inside a metal cage that falls 50 meters at a speed of up to 120 km/hour before flying back up and over the Singapore River. Those brave enough to keep their eyes open during the ride will be treated to a beautiful view of the city skyline. G-Max Reverse Bungy also offers a trampoline bungy experience for those who prefer to stay a bit closer to the ground.
- Anyone visiting Clarke Quay should try to make time for a bumboat ride along the Singapore River. Bumboats, or water taxis, have been cruising along the Singapore River for over a century and offer a great way to get the lay of the land. Singapore River Cruise offers a variety of options for exploring the river and taking in the skyline from different vantage points. River cruises give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the breeze from the deck of a bumboat while scouring the shoreline for famous landmarks like the three towers of Marina Bay Sands, the Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, and the Merlion, Singapore‘s iconic mascot. Consider booking a late afternoon cruise in order to take in the sunset.
- Lockdown Escape is a great place to escape the heat or rain while challenging the mind and having a bit of fun. Each of the five themed game rooms require players to puzzle out the solutions to various challenges and riddles in order to escape a locked room before the 60-minute time limit expires. Those looking to take the thrill to the next level can book one of two virtual reality escape rooms. Children as young as 7 can participate with an adult, so Lockdown Escape is a great choice for the whole family.
- Clarke Quay Central is the go-to destination for visitors who want to get a little shopping in during their visit to Singapore. The five-story building is home to over 130 shops and restaurants, and its riverside location makes it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. In addition to striking river views, the mall is known for its trendy fashion boutiques and a variety of Japanese restaurants.
Nightlife in Clarke Quay: Bars, Pubs & Restaurants
When the sun sets, Clarke Quay really comes to life. Visitors who want to experience nightlife in Singapore will want to make a point of planning a night out in Clarke Quay. The area is home to Singapore’s most famous nightclubs as well as a large number of bars, cocktail lounges, and restaurants. The district is densely packed, so it’s not hard to hit several spots in one night.
- Zouk is the area’s go-to nightclub. Internationally known as a dance music destination, Zouk is a sprawling warehouse that is home to three inter-connected clubs. Each club has a unique musical style, and it is easy to move from one to the other for a change of scene.
- Those who want to check out another of Clarke Quay‘s famed nightclubs can easily move from Zouk to Attica, a multi-level club with one floor dedicated to R&B and Top 40 and another playing only house music and electronica. The two distinct sections are connected by an open-air space for chatting and cooling off during dance breaks.
Visitors who aren’t interested in nightclubs still have plenty of options in Clarke Quay thanks to the area’s many restaurants, bars, and cocktail lounges.
- Highlander is the obvious choice for anyone who loves a good Scotch whisky.
- Anyone in the mood for cheap drinks and live rock music should head for the Crazy Elephant.
- For a bite to eat in a quieter setting, visitors should check out SQUE Rotisserie & Alehouse, The RANCH Steakhouse By ASTONS, or Café Iguana.
- Level Up is a great choice for anyone craving a bit of competition with their burger and beer. This retro arcade bar has foosball, ping-pong and air hockey, in addition to lots of arcade games.
5 More Bars Worth a Visit in Clarke Quay
- Chupitos Shots Bar – offers over 130 different shots and shooters with names like Flaming Alien Brain and the Girl Scout
- Cuba Libre – known for mojitos and live Latin music
- Harry’s – sports bar with indoor and outdoor seating
- McGettigan’s CQ – traditional Irish pub serving up Guinness alongside bangers and mash
- Privé Clarke Quay – known for comforting food, excellent cocktails and a cozy atmosphere.