The fun does not set when the sun does in Singapore.
There are of course many restaurants and bars to visit in the evening, but beyond those daily activities, there are many festivals and special events that either start or go through the night. From art festivals to cultural celebrations to dance music festivals, there is a night festival for everyone each year in Singapore.
i Light Singapore
A light art installation always makes a night out special (and Instagrammable), but what makes i Light extra special is that the installations are made using energy-saving lighting and environmentally-friendly material, making this a sustainable light art festival. The i Light festival started in 2010 and has grown since. The 2019 festival brought 33 light art installations and five different programming hubs around the city, each offering a unique experience from acoustic music to thrill rides. Better yet, general admission to the festival is free.
Singapore Night Festival
Every summer, the Singapore Night Festival transforms the Bras Basah Bugis, Singapore’s arts and heritage district, into a week-long celebration. The district will be illuminated with light artworks both projected on building facades as well as installations throughout the area. Presented by the National Heritage Board, the festival brings a plethora of cultural, theatre, and music performances that span the multicultural diversity of Singapore.
In the past 18 years, music lovers have danced the nights away at ZoukOut outdoor dance and music festival. However, in 2019 they announced a hiatus. While ZoukOut’s fate is uncertain, thankfully there is a new outdoor dance festival coming. Legacy Festival will debut in December 2019 at Siloso Beach in Sentosa Island, the same venue as the previous ZoukOut. Legacy is led by local artists and DJs and promises to bring internationally acclaimed artists and DJs. Current headliners include Grammy-winning DJ Tiësto and DJ Don Diablo.
Deepavali is the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus in the fall. Ethnic Indians form about 10% of Singapore’s resident population (citizens and permanent residents) and Deepavali in the Little India neighborhood is one of Singapore’s major cultural celebrations every year. The lively district becomes more festive with lights and doorways decorated with Rangoli (artworks created using rice or flower petals to welcome the deities into their homes). There is also a bazaar offering seasonal snacks and jewelry, and musical performances.
Singapore’s Chinese population, which makes up 76% of the total population in Singapore, means the mid-autumn festival is a major celebration. Mid-autumn festival is a harvest festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with a full moon. Around the Mid-Autumn Festival, lanterns and festivities are scattered around the city. Chinatown joins in with a mass lantern walk, fireworks, and a bazaar. Gardens by the Bay also boasts impressive lantern sets including a floating lantern, cultural performances, and a food street. Festival-goers can also bop over to the Sun Yat-Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall for the annual Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival, which this year includes a glow-in-the-dark art installation “Moonflowers in Mid-Autumn” on the front lawn.
Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is already a wonderful place to wander around at night, but Christmas is an especially good time for a visit as it hosts Singapore’s largest Christmas event starting at the end of November. In addition to spectacular light sculptures and music, Christmas Wonderland offers a bevy of attractions for the whole family including a Christmas Train and a mini Ferris wheel. Food lovers can look forward to treats at the European Christmas market-inspired Festive Market or Slice of Savour gourmet festival.
Electronic music fans should not miss Ultra Singapore, a two-day festival that debuted in 2015 as part of Ultra Music Festival’s worldwide lineup. The inaugural 2015 event sold 11,000 tickets in just 21 minutes. Ultra Singapore’s lineup includes the who’s who in dance music, which, this year, included Grammy-winning artist Skrillex. There are two stages at Ultra: the main stage for EDM and the Resistance stage for deep house and techno music. The latest Ultra is an all-day rave starting at 2 pm and going through the night until 11:30 pm. Though it has been set up as an outdoor festival in previous years, the latest Ultra was moved indoors due to anticipated bad weather.
Singapore International Festival of Arts
What started as Singapore Festival of Arts in 1977 has evolved and rebranded as the Singapore International Festival of Arts in 2012. Singapore’s biggest arts function lines up dozens of events over more than two weeks, many of which take place in the evening. Each year there are interactive art installations, dance performances, theater shows, film screenings, and workshops from both Singaporean and international artists. Besides the ongoing art installations, most of the live performances and film screenings take place at night.
Grand Prix Season
The excitement around the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix extends beyond the races themselves. Every race night ends with themed parties at Singapore’s most iconic venues and concerts. Grand Prix organizers line up major entertainment every year. The 2019 lineup includes live performances by Swedish Mafia, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Gwen Stefani. There are precinct parties in four different areas of Singapore. A number of restaurants and bars will also have Grand Prix special events, and the Paddock Club at the circuit itself will offer meals from celebrity chefs.
Hungry Ghost Festival
The Hungry Ghost Festival, or Zhong Yuan Jie, is a tradition in many Buddhist and Taoist cultures dedicated to remembering deceased loved ones, whose ghosts are believed to return and roam the earth during the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Many communities set up a Chinese opera performance, or a getai: an often-raucous stage performance to honor the spirits and to raise money for the rituals to appease the spirits. This festival month is a great time to walk around Chinatown and get a glimpse of such rituals as burning joss sticks and leaving food offerings for the ghost outside of their homes. There is also a Birth, Life and Death Tour that visitors can sign up for in Chinatown during this time.