Singapore is one of the best places to dive into history and culture of both the nation and the world. From educational exhibitions, to quirky permanent installations, inspiring art galleries, and more…these cultural hubs tend to draw in huge crowds weekly. Certainly, there’s no shortage of museums and galleries in Singapore, but we’ve rounded up our favourite 18 venues you absolutely need to visit. Wonderfully, most museums are free entry for Singaporeans, permanent residents and children.
The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in the nation dating back to 1849. The museum aims to inspire stories of Singapore and the world with interactive exhibitions, permanent installations you can walk through and learn improtant facts, rotating programmes, and much more. Best of all, it’s a free museum for citizens, permanent residents and children ages 6 years and under. For everyone else, get tickets from $7 on Fever.
📍93 Stamford Road, Singapore
The Science Centre is one of the best permanent exhibitions in Singapore. Located in Jurong East, the venue boasts more than 850 mind-blowing exhibitions, spanning eight interactive galleries, with plenty of kid-friendly activities. Through virtual worlds, hands-on experiments, schooling about energy transfers, 3D printing of the future and much more… it’s an ideal place to discover something new and exciting. Get adult tickets from $25 on Fever. Plus, you can’t miss their new futuristic escape room while you’re there.
📍15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081
Across 21 galleries, art and science come together to explore creative processes, the future, other worlds and a VR experience where curiosity, innovation and experimentation are celebrated. Visitors can expect a range of permanent and visiting exhibitions such as the world-famous FutureWorld and new exhibition Mars: The Red Room, to name a few that will excite your senses. Certainly, one of the best museums in the world, not just Singapore. Get tickets on Marina Bay Sands.
📍6 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
Journey into a world of colour and emotion at this uplifting art gallery in Singapore. SHOUT Art Hub & Gallery invites people to learn the value behind the painting with inspiring exhibitions and a focus on contemporary pop, street, and digital art. The gallery originated in Hong Kong, and shines a light on the work of diverse international artists – both established and upcoming – to the delight of art lovers. Wonderfully, most art exhibitions are free to see!
📍Shop 1-08, 1/F, Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road, Singapore 228209
Singapore’s first museum for children opened in December 2022. The one-of-a-kind museum invites children who are 12 years old and under to enter a wonderful world of play and learning. It is housed in a historic colonial building, formerly the Singapore Philatelic Museum, built in 1906. It boasts an array of playful experiences, family-friendly gaming, alongside engaging programmes for all age groups, created in collaboration with educators, to help develop children’s learning about Singapore’s heritage and the rest of the world. Read further about the Children’s Museum.
📍Coleman Street, 23-B, Singapore 179807
There is no bigger museum or gallery in The Lion City than the National Gallery Singapore. Formerly the Supreme Court and City Hall, it’s mammoth and home to the largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art in the world. Particularly, these artworks focus on those from the nineteenth century up until today. Plus, it’s the location of a number of top rooftop restaurants and other eateries in Singapore. Locals can enter the museum for free.
📍1 St Andrew’s Road, #01 – 01, Singapore
Those who like toys should look no further than the iconic MINT Museum of Toys. The epic museum features more than 50,000 toys for both nostalgic adults and children to admire. These toys date as far back as the 1840s and are collected from 40 countries. Plus, the museum boasts four different levels with four diverse themes. From the only known complete Batman robot toy, to the only Mekon Mask from Dan Dare in existence and the first mass-manufactured robot before World War II…you’ll be spoilt for choice. Get tickets from $21 here.
📍26 Seah Street, Singapore
The Asian Civilisation Museum is one of four Singapore museums forming an institution with the Peranakan Museum, the National Museum of Singapore, and the Singapore Art Museum – also mentioned on this list. At this museum, there is an interesting pan-Asian perspective on cultures with China, Southeast Asia, and other places represented across 11 galleries and 5000 years of history. Excellently, most permanent galleries are free to explore for Singaporeans and permanent residents but if you need a ticket, grab one here.
📍1 Empress Place, Singapore
On your explorations of Little India why not stop off at the Indian Heritage Centre? The cultural museum showcases the best culture, heritage, and history of Indian Singaporeans along Campbell Lane. First launched in 2005, the centre offers permanent galleries exploring five different themes from 1st century CE to 21st century CE. Certainly, one of the best museums and galleries to learn about the history of Indian and South Asian communities links with Singapore.
📍5 Campbell Ln, Singapore 209924
If you’re after somewhere a bit more lighthearted, a lot more fun and where you can feature yourself in art, then the Trick Eye Museum at Resorts World Sentosa is the place to go. Visitors ca hop into paintings and enter the world of optical illusions and more where you can touch, feel and interact with the artworks. Definitely, one of the best museums in Singapore. Plus, it’s one of the best Sentosa attractions.
📍80 Siloso Road, Southside Interim Market Blk B # 01, #04, Singapore
Wax museums never cease to amaze people with their uniqueness. Madame Tussauds Sentosa is no different with star-studded experiences, a VR racing experience, and the Spirit of Singapore boat ride. Take selfies next to famous film stars, international celebrities and local heroes. Don’t forget to get up close to your favourite Marvel characters while enjoying a 4D movie.
📍40 Imbiah Road, Sentosa, Singapore
12. Peranakan Museum
The Peranakan Museum was closed for renovations for almost four years until February 2023. It’s one of the best upgraded museums in Singapore, exhibiting an all-new interior with nine permanent galleries, spotlighting different aspects of Peranakan culture, and educating visitors on what Peranakan is. Exploring multi-faceted diversity of Peranakan Asian communities, the museum is inclusive of different cultural expressions on Peranakan identity. With more than 800 artefacts and set pieces to admire – from old to new objects – the iconic museum explores Peranakan identities using three different themes spanning three floors. Read further about the museum here.
📍39 Armenian St, Singapore 179941
The name of this museum pretty much says everything you need to know about what you will find inside. And if that’s not enough, the building itself resembles a vintage analogue camera. Inside, you’ll find old-school spy cameras, retro equipment and photographs too. Wondering how long you can spend inside? Well, how long would it take you to peruse the more than 1000 cameras? Plus, it’s one of the most unique experiences in Singapore.
📍8C Jln Kledek, Singapore
The Lee Kong Chian National History Museum is a research hub where scientists and the like are studying out past to better understand our present and our future. And they’ve got more than a thing or two to show us. From dinosaur fossils to displays of extinct animals and giant mammals as well as workshops where you can get a hands-on education, there’s a heap to explore and find out. Certainly, one of the best museums to explore in Singapore.
📍2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore
SAM is Singapore’s Contemporary Art in South East Asia museum which is part of the Singapore Art Museum. It’s home to one of the most important collections of Southeast Asian art in the world in mutiple venues. At Tanjong Pagar Distripark, there are fascinating and educating programmes and educations that will leave you thinking long after leaving the museum.
📍39 Keppel Road, #01-02, Singapore
16. Gillman Barracks
Gillman Barracks is nine galleries and one workshop all in one place, which just so happens to be a former military barracks dating back to 1936. It has become one of Singapore’s leading and focal points for art lovers. There’s just so much going on at Gillman Barracks including art outreach and tours as well as after-dark activities that it should definitely be on any art list in Singapore.
📍9 Lock Road, Singapore
Mr Lim’s is by appointment only because it is often closed, but this “gallery thingy” has some pretty cool pieces from Mr Lim’s private collection. He’s also shaking up the Singapore art scene and showcasing some hot-art-star-stuff. A perfect activity to plan for a rainy day if you ask us!
📍#01-43 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Road, Singapore
When you’re looking for new artists to admire, then White Space Art Asia needs to be visited. While they won’t necessarily answer you if you ask Is this good art?, they will tell you that “good art starts with artists with strong fundamental grounding in art and has a compelling story to tell” and all that.
📍1H Yong Siak Street, Singapore
Editorial contribution by Megan Zara Walsh (2023)