information for global expats

Arts and Culture for Expats in Singapore

Submitted: March 2014

Singapore is a major hub of cultural activity. Below are mini-profiles of only some of the main artistic and cultural places or events you can enjoy when you are in Singapore:



  • The annual Singapore Arts Festival features artists from Singapore and more than 20 countries during its four-week tenure. There are exceptional core productions and many free outdoor performances.
  • The Chinese New Year Chingay Parade is one of Asia’s grandest street and float parades and often hosts a range of international acts.
  • The Singapore Sun Festival brings together international superstars of Music, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Wine, Cuisine and Wellness in a celebration of what is called the ‘Art of Living Well’.



  • To get a good appreciation of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art, you can visit the National University of Singapore Museum along with other private galleries.
  • Singapore Art Museum’s (SAM) objective is to preserve and present the art histories and contemporary art practices of Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. To date, SAM has amassed the world’s largest public collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks with a growing component in international contemporary art. The museum has presented shows covering both local and international art practices.  See: www.singart.com
  • The Singapore Biennale is an eight-week international showcase of contemporary art with several exhibitions and programmes.



  • The world-renowned Singapore Symphony Orchestra is housed at the grand Esplanade theatre and bridges the musical traditions of the East and the West.
  • The Singapore Lyric Opera offers two full-length operas annually for opera lovers.  Many leading musicians and opera acts hold concerts or performances in Singapore.
  • Mosaic is a celebration of eclectic international music acts which cater for all genres. It is hosted annually by the Esplanade.



  • Overseas productions such as ‘WICKED’ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ have been staged in Singapore at Fort Canning Park.
  • There are many local productions to enjoy as well such as ‘Toy Factory’, and traditional Chinese and Malay opera.
  • If you are a movie buff, the Singapore International Film Festival screens hundreds of Asian films annually. There are also the French and German Film Festivals.



  • National Museum: This Museum was originally opened in 1887. It is an architectural gem with each of its two levels reflecting a different order of Greek classical architecture. Of particular note are the three-dimensional reconstructions of historical scenes and events tracing Singapore's development from a sleepy fishing village to the present day metropolis.
  • Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place: this is regarded as one of the finest neo-classical buildings in Singapore.  It dates back to 1854, when it served as a court house. Today it houses a world-class museum and exhibition centre, featuring cultural and archaeological treasures from China and other ancient civilizations.
  • Changi Museum: The Changi Prison Chapel is a replica of the original built by prisoners of war in World War II. The Museum records the daily life of the prisoners through a display of photographs, paintings and sketches. It also features a pair of rail spikes from the infamous Burma railroad which claimed the lives of thousands.
  • The Peranakan Museum: this houses the world's finest and most comprehensive collection of Peranakan artefacts. This museum presents a Southeast Asian-wide view of Peranakan culture. Its rich material legacy and heritage are enhanced by state-of-the-art displays. See: www.peranakanmuseum.sg


SISTIC (www.sistic.com.sg) is Singapore’s largest ticketing service provider. Visit their website for a calendar and reviews of upcoming events.




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