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Light To Night Festival
Photograph: Singapore Art Week/Light To Night Festival

The best things to do in Singapore this January

Start the new year with a major arts-travaganza, a star-studded virtual music festival, and Chinese New Year celebrations

By Cam Khalid

Stuck in the New Year-Chrimbo limbo? Don't sweat. It's out with the old and in with the new this January – like, let's leave 2020 behind and start afresh in 2021. And thanks to Phase 3, you can gather in bigger groups (of up to eight!), catch live performance on-stage IRL, and more. 

The new year kicks off with the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival featuring thought-provoking theatrics from around the world. Singapore Art Week also returns this month with a plethora of attention-grabbing hues and art installations. Then paint the town mandarin red as the city gets an early start on ushering the Year of the Ox this Lunar New Year. Mark your January calendar for all the best online and offline events in town.

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Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition
Photograph: Lucasfilm Ltd

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

Things to do Exhibitions ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay

You don't have to wait until May the Fourth to be the ultimate Fanboy. This January, get to know the characters of Star Wars on a whole new level as The Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition finally lands on our shores, making Singapore the final stop of its global tour. The Force is strong with close to 200 original props, costumes, models and artwork from the film franchise occupying the ArtScience Museum. It's not your typical movie exhibition either – it takes you on a customised, interactive identity quest to gain new insights into how the characters were developed, and gives you the opportunity to discover your own personal identities in the Star Wars galaxy.

Moo Moo PARK
Photograph: Mithra

Moo Moo Park

Art Digital and interactive Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), Tanjong Pagar

Accelerate for the very first drive-through art exhibition in Asia. Say what? The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre is ushering in the Year of the Ox with an immersive outdoor experience that brings together art and technology to spotlight the Chinese culture in Singapore as well as the importance of sustainability. At the comfort of your four-wheeler, you can learn about the ox's cultural significance through the digital masterpieces of eight local artists including Almostasthma, André Wee, Antz, Puffingmuffin, and Mithra which have been transformed into 3D installation art, selfie filters, and augmented reality murals. Don't have a car? Walk-throughs are also allowed.

Wan Qing Festival of Spring 2020
Photography: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Wan Qing Festival of Spring

Things to do Festivals Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Novena

Gather the fam and usher in the Year of the Ox at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall with lion dance and festive drum workshops, heritage walking trails, and craft activities for the kids. Capture this memorable day out with a family photo by the memorial hall's outdoor installation Double Prosperity which features two large 'Foo Dou' Guardian Lions. The celebrations continue online where you can learn the ways on how to huat your home to usher in the new year, the dos and don’ts when watching a lion dance performance, and the recipe for fried nian gao, a sweet rice cake. The little ones can also cosy up for the story of the Ox and the characteristics of the Chinese zodiac.

Home, Truly
Photograph: National Museum of Singapore

Home, Truly: Growing Up with Singapore, 1950s to the Present

Things to do National Museum of Singapore, City Hall

Sing Kit Chan's Home all you want but do you really know what makes Singapore home? Showcased across five key themes, the National Museum of Singapore's latest exhibition features artefacts and photographs from the National Collection and members of the public, as well as audio-visual footage, sounds, scents and special digital features that reveal the personal stories of over 100 Singaporeans. Like a time capsule, Home, Truly chronicles the past and present, expressing our identity and collective memory as Singaporeans. You can also check out the digital companion @ Home, Truly from your humble abode too. Just get ready for a heavy dose of nostalgia.

Kampong Glam, Sultan Mosque
Photograph: Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock

Aliwal Tracks

Things to do Singapore City, Raffles Place

Once reigned by Malay Sultans, Kampong Glam is a historical precinct rich with vibrant sights, scents and sounds. And with Aliwal Tracks, you can rediscover this cultural enclave through the lens of some of the city's leading street, urban and traditional artists and creatives. The 13-part web series features digital performances, behind-the-scenes footage and virtual exhibitions centered around the everyday sounds of the neighbourhood. Get ready to explore hidden street art, age-old stories from residents as well as sounds and beats of Kampong Glam from the comfort of your couch.

The Wizard's Den
Photograph: The Wizard's Den

The Wizard's Den

Things to do Food and drink events Singapore City, Raffles Place

Calling all witches and wizards – grab your wand as Australia's unique wizard-themed pop-up bar experience is landing on our sunny shores. It's one of the few places in the Muggle World (ie. earth) where you can channel the powers of your favourite coven icon, from Harry Potter to Sabrina, and create 'riddikulus' cocktail concoctions with a twist. Participants have to take part in challenges – think tricky riddles and mind-boggling puzzles – to unlock the ingredients for their concoctions. With the help of a trusty potion master, things get boozier with a swish and a flick from there.

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