Shopping is Singapore’s national pastime – followed very closely by eating of course! So it’s safe to say we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping malls. But not all retail hubs are created equal, especially if you’re a parent trying to shop with a few hectic kids in tow. We know life after kids means waving goodbye to weekends spent browsing boutiques. Now our key criteria for choosing a shopping destination include whether there are wide-open spaces for pushing our lightweight pram, baby changing facilities, easily accessible lifts, play areas, kid-friendly dining options and generous car parking spaces (to avoid that horrifying moment your child dents the car next to you). Here are our top five family-friendly shopping malls in Singapore.
VivoCity is our top pick – as Singapore’s biggest and best retail and lifestyle mall, serious thought has been put in to making it a magnet for families. Apart from stores like Toys “R” Us, Seed, Cotton on Kids and Mothercare, VivoCity is also home to Golden Village Cinemas, so you can catch the latest family blockbuster. Parenting rooms are dotted liberally throughout the mall – complete with breastfeeding chair, nappy changing area and boiling water for heating that urgent bottle or baby food! Once you’ve had your shopping fix unleash the kiddos at the open-air playground on level two, have a splash on the happy paddleboats at the level 3 Sky Park or hop aboard the vintage mini-express train for a ride along the waterfront promenade.
And, if you want to make a day of it, catch the monorail over the water to Sentosa! Psst: Our tip – go mid-week or at opening time on the weekend as VivoCity is hugely popular with locals and expats alike.
1 Harbourfront Walk, VivoCity Singapore 098585; www.vivocity.com.sg
2. Tanglin Mall
Judging by the number of Bugaboos whizzing around Tanglin Mall, it’s safe to say it’s a mum-friendly mall. Level 3 is where it’s at for new parents, with Mother & Child prenatal and post natal services, including Baby Café on Monday afternoons where new mothers can drop in for lactation and baby advice, meet other mums and have a cuppa and a piece of cake. Just around the corner there’s a dedicated baby care room kitted out with everything you need for your little one – it even has private breastfeeding rooms with soft armchairs. Stand-out stores include The Children’s Showcase, Small, The Better Toy Store, Ocean Paradise, and House of AnLi. Brunetti serves authentic Italian coffee and desserts (and the cutest chocolate lollipops we’ve ever seen). Ooh, and stock up on all your organic food and groceries at Brown Rice Paradise.
Don’t miss the excellent food court (currently under renovation, re-opening April 2017), voted by our kids as having the best chicken rice and roti prata with curry dipping sauce in Singapore.
163 Tanglin Road, Singapore, 247933; www.tanglinmall.com.sg
3. i12 Katong
Drop in to i12 Katong any day of the week and you’ll find it abuzz with families. It’s that good that Westsiders make the trek across. Why so good you say? Well, i12 Katong is home to some cracking kid-centric spots like The City indoor playground, Motherswork, Scissors Paper Stone children’s hair salon (with distracting iPads and kids movies) and the super-popular The Ballet & Music Company. Need to get some groceries at Marketplace? Bribe the kids with a frolic at Playcots. The three innovative play zones – cassia seed playground (the new breed of sandpits), sand art and tempera art are a big hit with our crew. If they’ve still got energy to burn outdoors, swing past the rooftop landscaped garden with a free water-play park on level 4 (bring your swimmers!).
Don’t worry, parents aren’t left out in the cold with to-die-for coffee and bakery goodies at Artisan Boulangerie Co. And how does a mums-and-bubs movie session at Golden Village Cinemas sound?
112 East Coast Road, Singapore 428802; www.112katong.com.sg
4. Plaza Singapura
An oldie but a goodie is centrally located Plaza Singapura. It’s our go-to destination when we’re buying birthday party supplies – and any other time really as we’re just quietly obsessed with haberdashery giant Spotlight. For your next craft project stock up your sad craft box at Japanese gem Daiso (you can afford to give in to requests for bedazzled glittery masks here as nothing is over two dollars!). We had our little person’s party at Build-A-Bear Workshop last year (level 3), and she’s still raving about it (a new toy is waaay better than a sweetie bag). The pizza afterwards at Pizza Hut scored major points with the discerning kid crowd too.
For fans of fine British toys, Hamleys is on Orchard Road just outside the front doors. Plaza Singapura is also well located for a spot of lunch before catching a show at nearby School of The Arts Singapore (SOTA).
68 Orchard Road, Singapore, 238839; www.plazasingapura.com.sg
5. City Square Mall
Singapore’s first eco-friendly shopping mall, City Square Mall is also a veritable kiddie-haven! Aside from shops like Smiggle, Toys “R” Us and Daiso, it is also home to some renowned enrichment centres. There’s a living maze at level one and an environmentally-friendly wooden playground at level six. Nursing rooms, baby and potty seats, child basins and family car parks make the whole experience easier for parents of small tots. And City Square Mall often hosts live shows for kids – think Dora, Paw Patrol, Barney and Hi-5 – so make sure to keep an eye on the website for deets of upcoming events.
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