Free things to do in Singapore this weekend (21-22 Jan, 28-29 Jan)

Free things to do in Singapore this weekend (21-22 Jan, 28-29 Jan)

“Singapore is so boring.”

“Yeah I know Westlife is coming, but how to afford the tickets?”

“All the good stuff’s out of my budget range, I give up!”

Such are the woes of the frugal Singaporean who’s exhausted all affordable leisure options and can’t (or doesn’t want) to afford more pricey experiences.

Before you give up and go home to resume binge watching Netflix, hear us out: Not all activities come with hefty price tags. Some don’t come with any price tags at all!

Here’s your guide to free things to do in Singapore this weekend (21-22 Jan) up to the weekend after (28-29 Jan). From the arts to sports, there’s something for everyone. 

Contents

  1. Usher in the Lunar New Year in style
  2. Dive deep into Chinese culture
  3. Delight in the Light to Night Festival
  4. Give your eyes and ears a treat
  5. Get fit for free
  6. Learn Singapore Sign Language
  7. Meet animals—some cute, some wild
  8. Get a (literal) walk-through of Singapore’s heritage
  9. Do something meaningful for your neighbourhood

Usher in the Lunar New Year in style

Regret missing the countdown party at Marina Bay on New Year’s Eve? Here’s your chance to count down to Chinese New Year in Chinatown.

Chinatown Lunar New Year Countdown—A night of exciting live performances to get you in the festive mood and count down to the New Year.

  • Date and time: Saturday, 21 January 2023, 10.30pm
  • Venue: Kreta Ayer Square

Big countdown parties not your jam? The Chinatown Festival 2023’s got you covered, with everything from food fairs to street light-ups. 

Street Light-Up—Bright bunnies, ingots, and other CNY-themed lanterns bring the streets of Chinatown to life, creating the perfect CNY atmosphere. 

  • Date and time: Now till 19 February 2023, 7pm-12am
  • Venues: New Bridge Road / Eu Tong Sen / South Bridge Road / Upper Cross Street

Festive Fair and Food Fair—A CNY market full of stalls selling everything from lap cheong and love letters to bright red festive decorations for your home. 

  • Date and time: Now till 21 January 2023 , 6pm-10pm
  • Venues: Sago Street /Smith Street / Pagoda Street / Trengganu St / Temple Street

Trade Fair @ People’s Park—A festive fair where you can find anything from pineapple lanterns to cheongsam and changshan

  • Date and time: Now till 21 January 2023, 10am-10pm
  • Venue: Open space in front of OG People’s Park Complex, 100 Upper Cross St 

For a more scenic CNY experience, celebrate CNY by the bay with River Hongbao 2023.

River Hongbao 2023—One of Singapore’s most popular CNY festivals, it’s been held annually since 1987 and is full of performances, food and fun.

  • Date and time: 20 January 2023 to 28 January 2023. See opening hours.
    • Light and laser shows on 21 and 28 January 2023
  • Venue: Gardens by the Bay

 

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This year’s River Hongbao offers a hybrid on-site or at-home experience.

On site, soak in dazzling lantern displays and live stage performances, from getai to your favourite Mediacorp artistes. Foodies won’t want to miss the food street, and you’ll get to enjoy plenty of family fun on the amusement rides.

Want to celebrate CNY from home? Catch their live shows for cultural performances and feng shui advice, and game shows. Plus, don’t forget to download these adorable bunny-themed Telegram/WhatsApp stickers to wish your family and friends happy CNY!

 

Dive deep into Chinese culture

The CNY period is an especially busy time of year for the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC). This year, they’ve organised a host of events both online and on-site for you to learn about Chinese culture—especially CNY traditions.

TGIF Music Station: SCCC x YES 933 (20 Jan) CNY 2023 Celebration—A night of live musical performances celebrating CNY. Featuring the Ah Boys To Men duo, Ah Girls Go Army cast, local talent Leon Ho and Taiwanese artiste Hao Hao. 

  • Date and time: Friday, 20 January 2023, 8pm-9pm
  • Venue: SCCC Ho Bee Concourse, Level 1 / Livestream: Facebook and TikTok

Spring Reception 2023—An all-inclusive CNY celebration with political leaders, representatives from the local Chinese arts and cultural scene, and members of different ethnic groups.

  • Date and time: Monday, 24 January 2023, 11.15am to 1.30pm
  • Venue: Facebook livestream

What Makes a Chinese New Year, Singaporean?—An exhibition exploring the various “ingredients” that go into a Singaporean Chinese New Year.

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023 to 27 February 2023, 11am-9pm
  • Venue: [email protected]

兔gether—A rabbit(兔 tù)-themed art exhibition to welcome the Year of the Rabbit, featuring locally created mixed-media artwork with characters from Chinese New Year mythology.

  • Date and time: Now till 31 March 2023, 10am-10pm
    • Light shows: 28 January/25 February/25 March, 7.30pm to 8.30pm
  • Venue: SCCC Roof Garden

 

Delight in the Light to Night Festival

What does it mean to be in the present? And what better way to contemplate this than with stunning light projections in the dark of night?

Make some time this weekend or the coming weekdays to go check out the annual Light to Night Festival. This year, the festival’s theme is “Here and Now”.

Through exhibitions, art installations, light projections and more, the festival’s artists invite you to reflect on your environment and your time in the present—your “here and now”.

Light To Night Festival 2023: Here And Now

  • Date and time: Now till 26 January 2023
  • Venue: Various around city area, including Funan, Asian Civilisations Museum, The Arts House, Esplanade

 

Give your eyes and ears a treat

Start the year on a good note with these free music programmes and film screenings.

All Things New—A series of free live programmes at the Esplanade featuring artists embarking on brand new chapters of their musical journeys, including Tim De Cotta, Sulaiman Azim, Daniel Sid, and Umar Sirhan.

  • Date and time: Now till 26 January 2023
  • Venue: Esplanade Concourse/Esplanade Outdoor Theatre

Holding Space Concert 2023—A community concert celebrating mental health advocacy. 

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 5.30pm-8pm
  • Venue: The Republic Cultural Centre (TRCC) (Theatre), Republic Polytechnic

Holding Space [Arts] Festival 2023: Faeryville Film Screening & Discussion—A screening of Singapore coming-of-age dystopian film Faeryville (2015), followed by a discussion on  youth-related social issues led by psychotherapist Esther Ng and writer-director Tzang Merwyn Tong.

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 2.30pm-5pm
  • Venue: The Republic Cultural Centre (TRCC) (Black Box), Republic Polytechnic

 

Get fit for free

No excuses now. Our next few events are giving you the space, equipment and coaching. All you have to do is make time and show up!

As part of the Holding Space [Sport] Festival 2023, you can try your hand at tag rugby, e-sports, and more this January.

Tag Rugby Workshop—A tag rugby workshop on the basics of this minimal contact sport, led by the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU).

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 2pm-5pm
  • Venue: Republic Polytechnic (Agora Hall 3-4)

E-Sports Fiesta—A day of self-proclaimed virtual mayhem, with virtual cycling, VR and AR gaming and more. In collaboration with the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (SCOGA).

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 2pm-5pm
  • Venue: Republic Polytechnic (Agora Hall 1-2)

Health and Fitness Fair—Fun and informative health and fitness events that’ll teach you everything from evidence-based exercise regimes to eating right for your body. Conducted by Anytime Fitness.

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 2pm-5pm
  • Venue: Republic Polytechnic (North Agora)

Kids & Youth Mile Run Challenge—A mile run challenge to test your fitness against competitors from all athletic backgrounds, plus running tips on how to get there. Conducted by Club ZOOM. 

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 3.45pm-5.30pm
  • Venue: Republic Polytechnic (South Agora)

 

Learn Singapore Sign Language

Did you know that sign language is not universal? Sign languages (plural!) are specific to different countries and cultures, and in Singapore we have our very own. Get a taste of Singapore Sign Language with a free workshop led by the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) this month.

Learn Singapore Sign Language with SADeaf | Teens Takeover | re:write

  • Date and time: Friday, 27 January 2023, 3pm-4pm
  • Venue: Jurong Regional Library -Level 1 Programme Zone 

 

Meet animals—some cute, some wild

Hands up if you prefer animals to people! Great news, January’s got a number of animal and wildlife events for you.

How do you make a Saturday even better? Turn it into a Caturday! 

Caturday by Cat Welfare Society—A pet fair all about cats, with an adoption drive and merchandise booths by purrballs, The Pet’s Couture, and CWS’ own Cat Mama Shop.

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 11am-6pm
  • Venue: Our Tampines Hub, Central Plaza

If cute and cuddly animals aren’t your thing, take a walk on the wild side:

ACRES Chinese New Year Fundraiser Open House—Tour ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre and meet some of their rescued wild animal residents. Plus, take part in their wildlife quiz to win prizes!

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 11.30am-4pm (Guided tours happen every 30 minutes for maximum 10 people)
  • Venue: ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre (AWRC), 91 Jalan Lekar

And if you’re thinking of taking the little ones to ACRES’ Open House, you can consider taking them to this wildlife conservation workshop too!

Connecting With Nature | Wildlife Conservation & Us!—A fun and informative workshop ideal for 4-6 years old to learn more about wildlife conservation and how we can help. By the National Library Board.

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 10.30am-11.30am
  • Venue: Jurong Regional Library -Level 1 Programme Zone 

 

Get a (literal) walk-through of Singapore’s heritage

The best way to learn about the past is to experience it. Say what now?

Take a walk through Singapore’s history with these heritage trails, tours, and talks.

Singapore Maritime Trail 3—How is our present-day identity shaped by the maritime activities of the past? Visit 2 cultural precincts to rediscover our cultural and architectural links to the seas.

  • Date and time: Saturday, 21 January 2023, 9am-11am
  • Meeting point: Telok Ayer MRT Station, Exit B (Street Level)

Fort Siloso Day Tour 2023—Explore Fort Siloso and learn about its wealth of WWII memorabilia. You’ll also get to journey through the Surrender Chambers, reliving the Japanese invasion and the British Surrender at the end of WWII.

  • Date and Time: Saturday, 21 January 2023, 3pm-4.30pm
  • Venue: Fort Siloso Skywalk Lobby, Sentosa

Craft, Technology & Innovation: Bridging Traditional and Contemporary—A talk on how traditional craft practices can inspire contemporary design. Hear from one of the last traditional Chinese lantern makers in Singapore and a rangoli artist with over 55 years of craft experience.

  • Date and time: Thursday, 26 January 2023, 5pm-6.30pm
  • Venue: National Design Centre

 

Do something meaningful for your neighbourhood 

Imagine if 10 people started picking up litter they saw. How about 100 people? A million? A litter-free neighbourhood is as easy as that to achieve.

And that’s exactly what BlockWalk aims to do. To make a difference to your neighbourhood this month, sign up to join fellow volunteers and pick up litter in your residential area or nearby park. You can also grab your friends, family and neighbours to make a bigger collective impact!

BlockWalk by Habitat for Humanity Singapore

  • Date and time: Saturday, 28 January 2023, 7.30am-9.30am
  • Venue: Your own neighbourhood

 

Cover image: Light to Night FestivalThe Catographer Singapore / Unsplash / River Hongbao / Unsplash