National Day 2023 sees Singapore turn 58 on Wednesday, August 9. In honour of the occasion, our little island nation comes alive with a range of thrilling things to do and festive events in the lead up to and on National Day. From family gatherings over the weekend on August 5, to the annual light-up by National Museum, and celebratory concerts…you can make incredible memories this year. Here’s 16 top picks of the best things to do this week for National Day in Singapore.
1. Be enchanted by the National Day Light-Up
Celebrate Singapore’s 58th birthday with the annual National Museum of Singapore Light-Up happening until August 26. This year’s event has a theme of Onward As One and sees significant landmarks around the city illuminated in red and white. For example, the National Design Centre, The Children’s Museum, The Cathay, Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, and other cultural buildings. Definitely, the perfect way to get your steps in from 7.30pm to midnight.
2. Go to a concert at Gardens By The Bay
On August 5, Gardens By The Bay and Mediacorp returns with its iconic National Day Concert at The Meadow in Gardens By The Bay. The one hour and 30 minute concert will take place from 7.30pm, featuring local musicians, a carnival with bouncy castles and other activities from 4.30pm, and a mesmerising fireworks display at night. It will be hosted by DJ Vernetta Lopez and award-winning host Pesta Perdana. Certainly, a superb activity to do with children and one of the best things to do this National Day in Singapore. Learn more about the National Day Concert.
📍The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay
3. Celebrate at a museum
Why not go museum hopping in honour of Singapore’s 58th birthday? Wonderfully, there is a myriad of activities, that explore Singapore’s history and culture, popping up at galleries and museums around the island. For example, Asian Civilisation Museum is hosting a fashion event on August 9 from 1pm to 6.30pm, where visitors can win themselves signature Barbie dolls and merch from Mattel. Meanwhile, the popular National Day Open House programme returns to National Museum of Singapore on August 9 from 10am to 8.30pm, with interactive exhibitions like Semangat yang Baru: Forging a New Singapore Spirit, pop-up rooms inspired by the Now Boarding exhibition, storytelling sessions, and a live outdoor screening of the Parade on the lawn, to name a few ideas.
4. Grab some meal and drink deals
There’s no better way to celebrate National Day than indulging in all our favourite foods. There are a number of locally-inspired menus and drink promotions happening this month for National Day. For example, there are nostalgic high teas, Black Tap created an iconic National Day crazyshake and pepper crab burger to try, Eggslut and Jumbo have teamed up to offer a seafood chili crab combo, while Tiger Beer is giving away 58 free pints of beer on August 4 and 5 at Holland Village, to name a few.
5. Catch the fireworks
We’ve seen the firework displays happening each weekend for the past few weeks. And now the real deal will take place on August 9 around 8.15pm, alongside the national anthem. Singaporeans can see electrifying fireworks displays being set off from five different locations across the nation. Particularly, the best viewpoints are at Merlion Park, Marina Barrage, The Lawn, Esplanade, atop Marina Bay Sands, to name a few.
6. See the parade at the Padang
The National Day Parade 2023 is the main event held at The Padang on August 9. Join thousands of fellow Singaporeans at the Defending our Nation as One parade with 1,700 participants, ceremony and total defence parade with an RSAF55 jets display, celebrating Singaporean identity and resilience as a nation. Afterward, the NDP show will feature four live acts with 43 artists and 2,400 performers, as well as three inspiring short films showcasing 19 Singaporeans and their stories in society. Get more details on the NDP website.
📍The Padang, Singapore 179861
7. Visit the Heartlands
If the Padang is too busy for you, there are dozens of exciting activities taking place at the Heartlands. On August 5, 6, and 9, the Singapore Heartland Festivals will see themed performances, cool exhibitions, sports games, and other NDP activities in many locations across the island from 4pm to 9pm. Including Central Singapore, South West, South East, North West, and North East. Get tickets on the NDP website.
8. Spot the RSAF planes
Be sure to catch the RSAF55 enhanced aerial display across the skies of Singapore on August 9. For 2023, the highlights include the usual fighter jets, Fly Our Flag flypast, as well as other aircrafts like a new A330 MRTT and Tanker Transport – all flying past the five Heartland sites. The flypast is expected to begin at 5.30pm and finish around 6.10pm.
9. Enjoy Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s Concert
The sixth edition of the Symphony Orchestra National Day Concert by Temasek Foundation is happening on August 13. It will take place at Esplanade Concert Hall but it can be streamed live on YouTube. The audience will be treated to enchanting melodies by talented composers, musicians, and youth performers. Definitely, one of the best things to do in honour of National Day 2023 in Singapore for music lovers!
📍 Esplande Concert Hall, Singapore
Other ways to celebrate National Day in Singapore
10. Watch a movie at the fort
Glenfiddich Films At The Fort is an iconic open-air cinema event on until August 20. Catch award-winning movies with the best whisky cocktails and gourmet food in the historic amphitheater at Fort Canning Green. There will be 11 different movies broadcasted, from new releases to indie classics, and festival hits from the likes of Cannes. Films on the agenda include nostalgic movies like Dirty Dancing and The Notebook, the new Aftersun starring Oscar-nominee Paul Mescal, Top Gun, and Roadrunner, to name a few. Learn more about Glenfiddich Films At The Fort.
📍Fort Canning Park, Singapore
11. Wander hundreds of Orchids
Five Southeast Asian countries come together, for the first time, to bring you on a journey around orchids at Flower Dome. Until September 17, the embassies of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei have partnered with Singapore for Orchid Extravaganza 2023. It will feature a floral display of orchids from each country, as well as cultural artefacts like traditional houses and Thai Kebaya on display, and more.
📍Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay, Singapore
12. Enjoy a rooftop meal or drink
Why not celebrate Singapore’s 58th birthday from one of the best rooftop dining destinations in the city? Think the likes of Ce La Vi, VUE and Level 33. Pick your favourite rooftop dining spot to visit here.
13. Have a picnic at Marina Barrage
Celebrate the weekend with your family, friends and dogs at the rooftop garden at Marina Barrage. Bring a picnic, practice kite-flying, take some instagrammable shots and you can even admire the fireworks there on August 9.
📍8 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018951
14. Go for a Hike
Why not grab a friend and go on a scenic hike across one of the best hiking trails in Singapore? It’s predicted to be dry this coming weekend, so it’s the perfect way to connect with nature. Pick one of the best hiking trails here.
15. Book a staycation
If you’ve got time off, why not book one of the best staycations in the city? It’s the perfect place to get in on all the NDP celebrations. From beautiful new hotels to unique staycations in Sentosa, there is much to discover. Get the full list of staycations here.
16. Go on a day trip this weekend
Escape to a refreshing and exciting location nearby and indulge in endless fun activities this weekend. For instance, Johor Bahru and Malacca in Malaysia are crowd-pleasers. Pick from one of the best day trips here.