Looking for something to entertain your family with this upcoming long weekend but no idea where to start? Here on the SmileTutor blog, we have you covered with unique activities that will keep you and your family entertained across all ages and budgets!
If you and your family are celebrating Chinese New Year, there are plenty of themed decorations and exhibits to check out all over Singapore, most for a little to no entry fee.
As this year heralds in the Year of the Dragon, expect to be wowed by impressive displays of this magnificent mythical beast, from the traditional lantern sets, to the high-tech light shows that take the majestic creature to the skies.
1. River Hongbao 2024
A yearly staple every Chinese New Year, this artistic display never ceases to amaze families of all ages year after year. Located at the iconic Gardens by the Bay, this expansive attraction sprawls across the Golden Garden, Supertree Grove, The Meadow, the Colonnade and the Dragonfly Lake. Surely more than enough for you to sneak in a good walk, and tire out your young ones for the day!
The star of the show this year is none other than the “Prosperous Year of the Dragon” lantern set, a 140-metre long dragon that will be swirling around the Supertrees, alongside the 18-metre tall God of Fortune.
Once you have taken in your fill of the art, River Hongbao 2024 also boasts an array of performances of the local and cultural variety. With acts from our homegrown Mediacorp talents, to more nostalgic delights like getai shows.
Families stopping by for the sights and sounds can fuel up here as well, with a wide array of mouth watering food stalls open to tantalise your tastebuds.
River Hongbao 2024 will be open from:
Thurs, 8 Feb 2024 – 6.30pm to 10.30pm
Fri, 9 Feb 2024 – 6.30pm to 12.15am
Sat, 10 Feb to Sat, 17 Feb 2024 – 2.30pm to 10.30pm
2. Exploring Chinatown
If you and your family are in the mood to brave the crowds, the iconic Chinatown street is always worth a visit. Not only is it a staple for families and tourists to visit throughout the year, the ever-vibrant Chinatown comes to life during the Chinese New Year festive season. From decorations, to shopping and cultural immersion, Chinatown has a little special something for everyone!
On the main street, a giant dragon steals the show, dominating the central road with its presence. Further into Chinatown, stalls boasting a wide array of items crowd the walkways.
These assorted shops offer many different goods, from traditional goodies like sinfully delightful cookies and tarts to a cocktail of dried fruits and nuts.
Each special goodie on offer carries a special meaning, and this fact sharing experience can prove to be a unique and educational experience for the whole family.
For example, the iconic pineapple tart, a staple at every Chinese New Year gather, is said to be a symbol of good fortune. In the Hokkien dialect, the word for pineapple, or ‘ong lai’ is said to mean “the arrival of prosperity or good fortune”.
If pineapple tarts are not your thing, serving any type of sweet dessert is encouraged since it represents ushering a sweet life into the new year. If you have already stocked up on your fill of goodies, there is no shortage of decorations on sale at Chinatown. No time like the present for you and your family to pick out an array of auspicious decorations to usher in the new year.
If shopping is not the thing for you, definitely bring the family down to check out the lion dance performances that will be taking place. An iconic part of ever Chinese New Year, this feat of artistic athleticism is not to be missed.
Chinatown Street Light-Up: 19 Jan – 9 Mar
Festive Fair at People’s Park: 11 Jan – 9 Feb | 10am-10pm | open space in front of People’s Park Complex
Festive Fair: 19 Jan – 9 Feb | 6pm-10pm | Sago Street, Smith Street, Pagoda St, Trengganu St, Temple St
Countdown Party: 9 Feb | 10pm, Kreta Ayer Square
Weekly Stage Shows: 27-28 Jan, 3-4 Feb | 6pm-9pm | Kreta Ayer Square
3. Get wowed by technology at the Drone Show by the Bay
If you wish to be dazzled by the wonders of technology this Chinese New Year, stopping by the Drone Show by the Bay is a must do activity for the whole family.
This year, the sky above the Marina Bay is brought to live by 1500 drones, telling the legend of the Dragon King. Not just a beautiful display, the 10-minute performance will present themes of family reunion and perseverance, as well as symbols of luck and prosperity.
The performance starts at 8pm on February 6, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18.
If you have not had your fill of technological magic and wonder, you can linger around to take in *Spectra – A Light & Water Show*, which runs at 8.30pm and 9.30pm on these dates.
This light show runs for 15 minutes, free of charge, and blends in ingenious use of lights, fountains, projections and lasers, to a rousing orchestral soundtrack
4. Lion Dance and Craft Workshop at Ikea
Tired of spectating and want a more hands on activity? Why not bring the family down to any one of the Ikea outlets around Singapore. No matter where you are around the island, there is bound to be an Ikea outlet in easy access.
With activities taking place at their outlets at Tampines, Jurong and Alexandra, families all over Singapore are no doubt spoiled for choice.
Across all outlets, there are a wide range of activities to choose from, all free of charge. If you’re taking a break from shopping, pause to take in a traditional lion dance performance at all three outlets.
If you’re in the mood for gastronomical delights, have no fear! Ikea outlets are hosting a Lunar Delights Tasting at IKEA Tampines (Self-serve at Level 3), Alexandra (Swedish Food Market at Level 1) and Jurong (Swedish Food Market at Level 4).
Finally, stealing the show is the craft workshop, where you and your little ones can try your hand at crafting your very own dragon puppet to take home, nurturing the creative spirit if your little one with some festive flair.
All of Ikea’s festive events will be taking place from the 3rd to the 27th of February.
5. Museum Hopping with the family
If you would like to take a break from indulging in festive delights and activities but would still like to make full use of the long weekend, why not consider checking out some of the museums around Singapore.
Thankfully, even through the festive break, museums like the National Museum of Singapore and the National Gallery of Singapore remain open.
Although the National Museum does have festive activities lined up for the Chinese New Year period, visitors can check out the permanent exhibitions at the Singapore History Gallery, chronicling the development of Singapore from its inception.
At the National Gallery, permanent galleries include the Between Declarations and Dreams exhibition chronicling the art in Southeast Asia since the 19th century.
Here at SmileTutor, we wish you and your family a wonderful and prosperous Chinese New Year celebration filled with joy and laughter. We hope that these tips will provide you some inspiration on how to spend this long weekend!