Few places in Singapore are more charming than Clarke Quay. Hugging the banks of the Singapore River just north of Chinatown, Clarke Quay is one of Singapore’s bonafide favourite hangouts, bursting at the seams with hip cafés, riverside restaurants, and, most famously, some of the city’s most vibrant nightlife.
Ready to start exploring this eclectic riverside district? Get your bearing with this complete guide to what to do and where to eat, drink & stay in Clarke Quay, Singapore…
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What to do in Clarke Quay
Thanks to its super central location, you’ll never find yourself bored in choosing to hang around Clarke Quay.
Although it’s within close walking distance of some of Singapore’s top tourist attractions, 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.
Since 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 quays—Boat Quay, Robertson Quay—before sailing into Marina Bay.
Along the way, you’ll duck under a few of Singapore’s most important historical bridges such as Anderson Bridge and Cavenagh Bridge.
You’ll also catch a glimpse of places like Makansutra Gluttons Bay, Esplanade, and the iconic Merlion statue at the mouth of the river.
Breathe in some fresh air at Fort Canning Park
Looming just north of Clarke Quay, Fort Canning Park is wonderful escape from Singapore’s downtown core.
As you trudge up through this hilly park, you’ll spot locals jogging, walking their dogs, and, generally, relaxing as the sounds of the city slowly drift into the background.
Aside from dousing yourself in the serene atmosphere and meandering through the park’s lush network of gardens, Fort Canning Park is also a must-see for history-buffs.
The hilltop was once home to royal palaces, and, more recently, 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.
This gravity-defying ride, reaching a speed of up to 200 kilometres an hour, will jolt you hundreds of feet into the air and back down again—and again and again!—like an uncontrolled bouncing ball.
Warning: This 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 as you stroll towards Clarke Quay from the MRT station. This historical building harkens back to 1934, when it was built during British colonial rule.
The Old Hill Street Police Station is famous for its eye-catching & colourful Neo-Classical façade—even if it betrays the building’s “greyer” past as the home to the city’s first jail.
Art lovers will discover particular interest in the station’s main courtyard, recently converted to an air-conditioned atrium. The ARTrium hosts several art galleries as well as regular performances and events.
Where to eat
If you’re built up an appetite while touring around the area, you’re in for a treat.
Although you won’t find the budget-friendly delights of a hawker centre in these parts, the best places to eat in Clarke Quay assault the tastebuds with some of the tastiest fare in Singapore. Here are a few ideas…
- 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 speciality is (hardly surprisingly from the name) Lobster Broth Ramen, absolutely loaded with umami.
- Peony Jade: With two Michelin Bib Gourmand awards under their belt, the elevated Chinese dim sum at this top restaurant is bound to find its way into your personal Singapore culinary highlight reel.
- Little Saigon: Offering some of the tastiest Vietnamese fare in Singapore, this restaurant wins over guests, not only with its fresh food, but with its stunning riverside patio and atmospheric interior. The Southeast Asia-inspired cocktails here like the Hanoi Martini, uniquely fused with lemongrass syrup, are also a hit.
- Red House Seafood: One of the oldest seafood joints in Singapore, this popular restaurant dishes out yummy Cantonese and Hainanese classics alongside their crowning jewel, Red House Chilli Crab.
- Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill: A top pick for Peranakan food in Singapore, this restaurant throws together a diverse 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, attracting well-to-do patrons from across the entire city-state. Here are a few of the area’s top nightlife picks…
- Crazy Elephant: Fans of rock will feel at home at this popular bar. If you fancy yourself a rockstar, time your visit with the Sunday open-mic jam session and prepare your best Jimi Hendrix impressions!
- Attica: One of the most famous nightclubs in Singapore, this two-floor clubs rips out to the latest R&B hits and house/trance.
- Cuba Libre Café & Bar: A popular club with local bands & DJs spinning Latin music to Caribbean & South American-inspired cocktails.
- Chupitos Shots Bar: Probably a better idea for starting a night than ending one, the eclectic selection of shots here range anywhere between fun & cheeky to probably-not-a-fantastic-idea.
- Get Juiced: We can’t 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 from $5 beer & cocktail nights to cheap wing deals.
- Level Up: Anyone who’s grown tired of the usual clubbing scene will love this interesting concept bar, featuring an onslaught of classic arcade machines and fun games to complement your drinking. Good times, indeed!
Where to stay: The best hotels in Clarke Quay
Thanks 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 with choices to suit nearly every budget. 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 close walking distance of both Clarke Quay and Chinatown, this mid-range hotel offers sleek & colourful modern rooms and a stunningly relaxing outdoor pool area for your chilling pleasure.
- Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore: The top luxury pick in the area, this hotel features spacious modern rooms with a 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.