The Best Festive Light-Ups in Singapore

Singapore hosts magnificent festive light-ups throughout the year. If you’re visiting soon, here are the best festive illuminations to attend.

Multicultural Singapore loves illuminations and festive light-ups. In recent years, it also seems as if there’s a light-up somewhere in the city-state every month.

If you’re visiting Singapore soon, the following are the major festive light-up events not to be missed. This list is arranged according to chronological order. Included are also “artistic” illuminations, i.e. events celebrating Singaporean culture and heritage.

Chinatown Chinese New Year Light-Up (Jan – Feb)
The annual Chinese New Year Light-Up at Singapore’s Chinatown district is the first major ethnic festive illumination event of Singapore’s calendar year and one of the most anticipated. Typically, the two main thoroughfares of the district (Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road) will be adorned with oriental decorations and lights.

Each year, a huge showpiece celebrating the incoming animal of the Chinese Zodiac will also be displayed at the busy traffic junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Cross Street. For many Singaporean photographers, an evening shot of this showpiece is a must.

Location: Chinatown

Light to Night Singapore (Usually Mid Jan)
Light to Night Singapore is the first “artistic” night event in Singapore each year, often concurrent with the above-mentioned Chinatown light-up.

Located in Singapore’s historical civic district, the highlight of the artsy festival is always mesmerizing light projections on landmarks such as National Gallery Singapore. There will also be outdoor art displays as well as festive bazaars or food streets.

Since the civic district is just a short subway ride from Chinatown, this event can easily be enjoyed together with the Chinatown light-up.

Location: Civic District

Hari Raya (Ramadan) Light-Up at Geylang Serai (Dates Vary Each Year)
The Geylang Serai Ramadan Light-up, or Hari Raya Light-up, is beloved not just for its charming street illuminations but also for its expansive food bazaars. In recent years, the food bazaars are also the showgrounds for the modern street cuisine of the country. Visiting the light-up is thus a feast for the tummy and the eyes.

Location: Geylang Serai

iLight Singapore/Marina Bay (Usually Jun)
iLight Singapore used to be called iLight Marina Bay and was typically hosted in March/April. Since the pandemic, however, the festival has been rescheduled to June each year. It was also renamed iLight Singapore even though the festival retained its identity as a celebration of creativity and sustainability.

Promoted as Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival, the main highlights of the iLight Singapore are avant-garde outdoor displays at the perimeter of Singapore’s Marina Bay. For travelers, the good news is that almost all displays are free to enjoy.

Lastly, as June is also a term break for Singaporean schools, iLight Singapore often includes food bazaars and fun activities for children. A visit to it makes for a fun family excursion.

Location: Marina Bay

Singapore National Day Light-Up (July)
One of the newest illumination events on the Singaporean calendar and originally conceptualized as a replacement for the canceled Singapore Night Festival in 2020, this lead-up event to Singapore’s National Day sees famous landmarks of the country awash in red and white, i.e., Singapore’s national colors.

Locations vary each year but the biggest illumination will always be at National Museum Singapore.

Of note too, this event is, curiously, minimally promoted despite its patriotic nature. If you’re keen to enjoy it, you have to actively check Singaporean publications for dates and venues. Information is typically announced around the middle of July.

Singapore Night Festival (Aug)
Singapore’s signature “mid-summer” arts festival is always hosted at what is now called the Bras Basah.Bugis Precinct. Over a fortnight, light projections on landmarks, outdoor art displays, and festive markets are aplenty throughout the precinct and free for all to enjoy. There will also be paid and free workshops and leading museums will open late into the night, with free entrance at some venues.

Needless to say, the Night Festival is one of the most anticipated arts events in Singapore.

Location: Bugis and Bras Basah Districts

Lights by the Lake (Usually Aug – Sep)
Like the illuminations for Singapore’s National Day, Lights by the Lake is a newer event. It is always hosted at the Jurong Lake Gardens in the west of the country.

With August and September considered “Mid-Autumn Festival” months in the country, the highlights of this event are always huge outdoor lantern displays. Themes vary every year. For example, travel was celebrated in 2022. In 2023, iconic buildings of Singapore were honored.

There is usually a mini food market too, making this event also great for sampling Singaporean street food.

Mid-Autumn (Mooncake Festival) Light-Up (Usually Sep – Oct)
The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is not a public holiday in Singapore. However, Chinatown will still be decorated with festive lights. Like the illuminations for the Chinese New Year, a huge showpiece will also be erected at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Cross Street.

Such showpieces typically feature the icons of the festival such as mooncakes, rabbits, and Chang’e, the Chinese mythical lunar fairy associated with the festival.

Location: Chinatown

Deepavali Light-Up (Oct – Nov)
The annual Deepavali/Diwali light-up at the Little India district is one of the most dazzling illumination events of Singapore.

In the lead-up to the Hindu Festival of Lights, the southern stretch of Serangoon Road will be transformed into a tunnel of mesmerizing lights that seems to go on forever. Like the other ethnic celebrations of the country, there will also be festive and food bazaars, as well as street decorations like traditional Hindu horse chariots.

Visiting Little India during the light-up is akin to walking into a fairy land of lights.

Location: Little India and Southern Stretch of Serangoon Road

Orchard Road Christmas Light-Up (Nov – Dec)
The oldest festive light-up of Singapore began in the 80s and has since undergone many transformations, with some shopping malls no longer putting up elaborate showpieces outside their premises too. That being said, the entire Orchard Road shopping street will still be bedecked with beautiful fairy lights throughout the final weeks of the calendar year.

In recent years, it is also a custom of sorts for some malls and hotels to put up huge Christmas trees towering as high as 15 meters. Definitely a year-end event not to be missed when visiting Singapore during the Yuletide season.

Location: Orchard Road from Tanglin Road to Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station

Share the Moment (Last Week of Dec)
Like other metropolises of the world, spectacular fireworks welcome the New Year every Dec 31 at Singapore’s Marina Bay. Other than these fiery displays, some landmarks of Marina Bay might also display light art projections.

In 2022 and 2023, these light projections were grouped and named “Share the Moment.” It remains to be seen whether these projections will become an annual event. Nevertheless, if you’re welcoming the New Year in Singapore, do keep an eye out for announcements about these light art displays.