Few places in Singapore are more charming than Clarke Quay. The colourful historic area hugs the banks of the Singapore River north of Chinatown. It’s an absolute must-visit if you’ve got a trip planned to the Lion City.
Throughout its long history, Clarke Quay has become one of Singapore’s bonafide favourite hangouts. It bursts at the seams with hip cafés, and riverside restaurants. Most famously, the neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most vibrant nightlife.
Ready to start exploring this eclectic riverside district? Get your bearings with this complete guide for what to do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in Clarke Quay, Singapore.
What to do in Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is within walking distance of many of Singapore’s top tourist attractions. But don’t let it distract you: There are plenty of great things to see & do in Clarke Quay itself!
Embark on a Singapore River cruise
Tiring of the bustle of central Singapore? Take a breather with a relaxing cruise along the Singapore River. Clarke Quay is the most well-known and developed of all the historic riverside quays. It’s also the most common first port of call for a Singapore River Cruise.
The cruise drifts alongside the riverbanks through the other two main riverside quays—Boat Quay, Robertson Quay. After taking in all their colourful charms, it sails into Marina Bay.
On a Singapore River cruise, you’ll duck under a few of Singapore’s most important historical bridges. Keep on the look out for Cavenagh Bridge. It’s one of the oldest bridges in Singapore and the city’s only suspension bridge. You’ll also pass by the colonial-era Anderson Bridge, a national monument of Singapore.
On the cruise, be sure to always catch a glimpse of Makansutra Gluttons Bay and Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay. The iconic Merlion statue, located at the mouth of the river, is also on route.
Breathe in some fresh air at Fort Canning Park
Looming north of Clarke Quay, Fort Canning Park is a wonderful escape from Singapore’s downtown core. As you trudge up through this hilly park, you’ll spot locals jogging and walking their dogs.
In general, Fort Canning Park is a great place to relax to the sounds of the city drifting into the background. Spend some time here dousing yourself in the serene atmosphere and meandering through the park’s lush network of gardens.
Aside from enjoying chill-out time, Fort Canning Park is a must-see for history buffs. The hilltop was once home to royal palaces. More recently, the park served as the base for the British Army’s command centre, nicknamed the Battle Box.
Get the adrenaline pumping at G-Max Reverse Bungy
While most scoot over to Clarke Quay to eat, drink, party, and socialize, more adventurous travellers aren’t forgotten either. To add a dash of excitement to your visit, strap yourself in for the ride of a lifetime at the G-Max Reverse Bungy.
The gravity-defying ride reaches a speed of up to 200 kilometres an hour. It jolts you hundreds of feet into the air and back down again—and again and again! Ever wondered what it would feel like to be a bouncing ball? Look no further!
Warning: This G-Max Reverse Bungy ride isn’t for everyone. Even if you fancy yourself a rollercoaster pro, this one may still scare the pants off of you!
Step back in history at the Old Hill Street Police Station
Snuggled at the base of Fort Canning Park, The Old Hill Street Police Station is bound to catch your eye. It’s front-and-centre as you stroll towards Clarke Quay from the MRT station.
The historical building was built during British colonial rule, harkening back to 1934. Today, The Old Hill Street Police Station is most famous for its eye-catching & colourful Neo-Classical façade. (Even if its cheery style betrays the building’s “greyer” past as the home to the city’s first jail.)
Art lovers will discover particular interest at The Old Hill Street Police Station. The main courtyard has been recently converted to an air-conditioned atrium. The ARTrium hosts several art galleries. You’ll also get to enjoy regular performances and events here.
Where to eat in Clarke Quay
You won’t find the budget-friendly food delights of a hawker centre in these parts. But the best places to eat in Clarke Quay still assault the tastebuds with some of the tastiest fare in Singapore. Here are a few ideas for where to eat in Clarke Quay…
- Ramen Keisuke Lobster King: For a change of pace from typical Singaporean food, there’s no better choice around here than this unique Japanese restaurant. Their specialty is (hardly surprisingly from the name) Lobster Broth Ramen. It’s delicious and absolutely loaded with umami.
- Peony Jade: With two Michelin Bib Gourmand awards under its belt, this top Clarke Quay restaurant is a must-visit. The elevated Chinese dim sum here is transcendent. It’s bound to find its way into your personal Singapore culinary highlight reel.
- Little Saigon: Need a Vietnamese twist for your palate? Little Saigon offers some of the tastiest Vietnamese fare in Singapore. This restaurant wins over guests, with both its fresh food and its stunning riverside patio & atmospheric interior. The Southeast Asia-inspired cocktails here are a hit, too. Indulge in the Hanoi Martini, fused with lemongrass syrup, for a pinch of Indochina.
- Red House Seafood: This popular restaurant is one of the oldest seafood joints in Singapore. It’s famous for dishing out yummy Cantonese and Hainanese seafood classics. The crowning jewel though, is, of course, the Red House Chilli Crab.
- Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill: This Clarke Quay favourite is a top pick for Peranakan food in Singapore. It throws together a stockpile of satay favourites from beef to prawn. The Nyonya-inspired cocktail selection is also worthy of a few sips.
Where to drink
Even more so than eating, Clarke Quay is most famous for its bars & clubs. It’s one of the premier nightlife hotspots in Singapore. Clarke Quay attracts well-to-do patrons from across the entire city-state.
Need ideas for where to drink in Clarke Quay? Here are a few of the area’s top nightlife picks…
- Crazy Elephant: Fans of rock will feel at home at this popular bar. Fancy yourself a rockstar? Time your visit with the Sunday open-mic jam session. Prepare your best Jimi Hendrix impressions!
- Attica: This two-floor club is one of the most famous nightclubs in Singapore. Attica rips out to the latest R&B hits and house/trance.
- Cuba Libre Café & Bar: This popular Clarke Quay club rocks out with local bands & DJs spinning Latin music. The drink menu fits the vibe, featuring Caribbean & South American-inspired cocktails.
- Chupitos Shots Bar: As you’d imagine from the name, this bar could have “bad idea” written all over it. It’s probably a better way to start a night on the town than to end one. The eclectic selection of shots here range between fun & cheeky to oh-dear-god-why-did-I-drink-that.
- Get Juiced: We’ll leave it to you to decide whether the cashless technology at Get Juiced is convenient or dangerous. Either way, this 8000-square-foot club has got a little of something for everyone. You’ll enjoy everything from its S$5 beer & cocktail nights to cheap wing deals.
- Level Up: Grown tired of the usual clubbing scene? You’ll love this interesting concept bar! Flipping the script, it features an onslaught of classic arcade machines & fun games to complement your drinking. Good times, indeed!
Where to stay in Clarke Quay
Thanks to its central location, Clarke Quay is one of the best areas to stay in Singapore. There’s a wide selection of accommodations in & around the area. You’ll find choices to suit nearly every budget here. Here are a few of the best hotels in Clarke Quay to start your search…
- Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay: Located between Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, this hotel is one of the most budget-friendly choices in the area. Guests will absolutely love the views from the rooms as well as from the outdoor pool area.
- Park Regis Singapore: Wedged within walking distance of both Clarke Quay and Chinatown, this mid-range hotel is a fantastic choice. It offers sleek & colourful modern rooms. There’s also a stunningly relaxing outdoor pool area for your chilling pleasure.
- Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore: This 5-star gem is, undoubtedly, the top luxury hotel around Clarke Quay. It features spacious modern rooms with subtle contemporary Asian touches. The resort-like courtyard and pool area is a calming oasis amidst the hectic Singapore urban life.
Clarke Quay is located north of Chinatown in Singapore’s downtown core. By public transportation, the closest MRT station is Clarke Quay MRT. From Exit C, it’s less than a 5-minute walk to the area via Tew Chew Street and Read Bridge.