Online shopping became mainstream. With top e-Commerce stores promising free returns and short delivery times above competitive prices, shops in Orchard Road are finding it hard to compete.
Retailers know this too. They don’t need to set up shop to achieve visibility at a costly place like Orchard Road anymore in an age where Facebook, Instagram and Youtube marketing have become mainstream.
Heartland malls have gotten a lot better. Once upon a time, shopping in heartland malls meant wearing This Fashion clothes or being limited to the book selection at Popular.
That’s no longer the case. There are stores like Kate Spade Saturday, Calvin Klein Jeans and Armani Exchange at Westgate, while Nex at Serangoon has a rooftop garden with, get this, a dog park, which we have to admit is freaking cool.
There are better hangout spots. Let’s face it, there are about a million places more appealing to spend your weekend at than Orchard Road. If you’re into cafe hopping, you head to Tiong Bahru. If you want to buy hipster clothes, you head to Haji Lane. If you want to buy luxury goods, you head to Marina Bay Sands. If you want to eat at a nice restaurant, you can head almost anywhere else.
With all these being said, there are still some cool things you can do in Orchard Road, given the new changes. Here are 7 fun things to do in Orchard Road today.
1. SHOP GST-FREE ON JULY 7, 2019
In a bid to create its own shopping day, Orchard Road is implementing a 7/7 GST-free day, where the 7 per cent goods and services tax will be absorbed by participating shops and restaurants.
This could mean considerable savings. Additionally, as part of GSS, from 21 June to July 28, shoppers get to enjoy extra discounts (up to 80 per cent off) on Fridays.
Still belong to the online shopping camp? Read this article on GSS 2019 online shopping deals on the best promo codes.
2. DINE WITH A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF ORCHARD ROAD
While you could shop with a few clicks, your bedroom probably doesn’t let you dine with a view, and Orchard Road offers some good spots to do just that.
Head to levels 11 and 12 of the Orchard Central building and you’ll find restaurants such as Joie and Ban Heng. Next to these dining options is a charming roof garden overlooking the city. Little waterfalls provide very zen sound effects, and it’s pretty much deserted late at night, when you’ll have only the kitschy Yayoi Kusama sculptures for company.
Address: 181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, 238896
Another place where you can dine with a bird’s eye view of Orchard is at Salt Grill & Sky Bar on level 55 of Orchard Road. You’ll discover a lovely viewing gallery with dizzying views over the city. You can even spot Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer in the distance.
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #55-01 ION Orchard Mall, Singapore 238801
Currently, there is a Travel the World with Lego Bricks show on the same floor, which is free, under the condition that you spend a minimum of $20 in ION Orchard.
3. LOCAL BRANDS AND FILM SCREENINGS AT DESIGN ORCHARD
Orchard Road is well-known for its luxury boutiques, but the younger generations of today no longer crave branded goods engraved with conspicuous logos. Instead, affluent millennials are paying for unique experiences and will splash out more for brands that reflect their ethics and values.
So while Orchard Road is bigger and brighter than it ever was before, the brashness and boldness of its malls no longer attract the younger crowd.
Design Orchard seeks to step in the gap. It’s a retail space stocked with local brands with a rooftop garden that can be used for film screenings and fashion shows.
Inside the building, there are workshop venues and a co-working space. The industrial looking exterior is also a great backdrop for a winning Instagram shot.
Address: 250 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238905
4. FLIP THROUGH BOOKS IN KINOKUNIYA AND LIBRARY@ORCHARD
Online shopping has hit retail businesses hard, and this no less true for book stores. After 36 years of operation, Kinokuniya has closed its doors at Liang Court, a sad occasion for book lovers. Thankfully, the outlet at Ngee Ann City is still operating, along with two other outlets at Bugis Junction and JEM.
The Ngee Ann City outlet is a longstanding treasure trove for book lovers in Singapore, with endless rows of English, Chinese and Japanese titles.
Address: 391 Orchard Road #04-20/20B/20C/20E Takashimaya Shopping Centre Ngee Ann City, 238872
And if you are at the other end of Orchard Road nearer to Somerset, you can steal some time in Library@Orchard in Orchard Gateway instead. The books that you can find here lean more towards Design and Art, though they do have a selection of novels, cookbooks, AV materials and even Chinese books.
Address: 277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway, #03-12/#04-11, 238858
5. GO ON A FARM TOUR TO LEARN ABOUT URBAN FARMING AT COMCROP
Urban farming is riding on a huge wave in Singapore. Millennials love dressing up their apartment in plants, and now, you can even learn how to do it at SCAPE, Orchard Road.
There’s a free farm tour every first Saturday of the month from 1030am to 12pm, and they regularly organise Farmer’s Markets where they sell fresh Cai Xin, Pesto and so on. You just need to check Comcrop’s Facebook Page for the latest updates.
Address: #04-01, Scape, 2 Orchard Link, 237978
6. JUMP ON A TRAMPOLINE AT BOUNCE SINGAPORE
BOUNCE Singapore is purportedly Singapore’s largest trampoline park located on the 9th floor of Cineleisure. There are 28 interconnected trampolines, a climbing wall, dunking nets and a dodgeball arena.
It costs $25 for adults to jump for the first session and $21 for the second session. Children above 3 years old and under 110 cm pay $17 for the first session and $12 for the second session.
Check BOUNCE Singapore’s website if you’re keen to sign up for multi-session packages.
Address: 8 Grange Rd, #09-01 Cineleisure, Singapore 239695
7. CAR-FREE ROADS LINKING TO SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS AND FORT CANNING PARK (COMING SOON)
While Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA)’s suggestion that the 2ha plot of state land behind Ngee Ann City be used to create a green space in 2014 wasn’t heeded, greenery will be one of the key additions to Orchard Road in the near future.
In the URA Master Draft Plan 2019, Orchard Road will be divided into 4 themed sub-precincts and part of the road may even become completely car-free to connect green spaces at Istana Park, Dhoby Ghaut Green and Plaza Singapura.
This article was first published in MoneySmart.