Orchard Road is like capitalist hell for those who wouldn’t be caught dead with an LV logo on their person. If that sounds like you, having to accompany a shopping-crazed partner or meet friends for high tea at Orchard Road is not the most pleasant of scenarios. If you find yourself in the position where you’re forced to spend the day fending off tai tai’s shopping bags as you fight through the slow-moving train of human traffic in the subterranean warrens of Orchard Road, fear not. Here are 5 places that will offer you some much-needed respite—without costing you a single cent.
1. Roof garden at Orchard Central
Orchard Road might be overrun with shopping malls, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a cute little garden where you can enjoy some peace, quiet and a nice view. Head to levels 11 and 12 of the Orchard Central building and you’ll find a charming roof garden overlooking the city. Little waterfalls provide very zen sound effects, and it’s pretty much deserted late at night, when you’ll have only the kitschy Yayoi Kusama sculptures for company.
2. ION Sky Viewing Gallery
ION Orchard scares the hell out of me with its confusing layout and obnoxious music blaring out of every shop. But there’s one reason to go there. Take the lift up to level 55 and you’ll discover an lovely viewing gallery with dizzying views over the city. You can even spot Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer in the distance. Unfortunately, they now close at 6pm and the last entry is at 5:30pm.
Orchardgateway is pretty much a ghost town on most days, but there’s one reason to go there, and that’s Library@Orchard. For a library, it looks insanely fashionable, with crazily undulating shelves and designer chairs. The main theme of the library is design, so if you’re looking for books on the lastest graphic trends or avant garde fashion, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Chill out in the cosy cocoons while waiting for your friends to finish their shopping.
4. Fort Canning Park
If you’re feeling suffocated by the freezing air conditioning and artificial light in the shopping malls on the Orchard belt, head over to the Bras Basah side and take a hike at Fort Canning Park. The only time most people venture there is during a gig or Ballet Under the Stars, which is a pity. The park is littered with historic sights, mostly war-related, and might be a bit spooky at night. But in the day it’s surprisingly tranquil and nowhere near as crowded as the Botanic Gardens.
5. Opera Gallery
Visit one of Singapore’s most well-known art galleries at ION Orchard. At the moment, they’ve got works by heavyweights like Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein, Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara. They also have Miró works and a Picasso sketch. We’re guessing you’re not about to whip out your wallet to buy any of the works, but even if you’re not a huge art fan, it’s fun trying to spot lesser-known works of famous artists.
Do you know of any other free things to do on Orchard Road? Tell us in the comments!
Image Credits: Kojach
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