Family neighbourhoods in Singapore: the best child-friendly areas to live near schools, shopping and parks

Are you new to Singapore or to the parenting gig and not sure where to live? We’ve got the lowdown on the top kid-friendly hoods to kick off your search!

Need to know which neighbourhoods in Singapore are the most family-friendly? If you’re fresh off the boat, finding the perfect Singapore home for your brood can be a daunting prospect. Equally, if you’re making that transition from ‘DINKS’ (Double Income No Kids) to first-time parents, you’ll need to move out of your cool Tiong Bahru Art Deco walk-up or hip Chinatown shoebox, and move to one of the more pram-friendly family neighbourhoods.

Singapore may be a small in stature, but it more than makes up for it with loads of interesting, culture-packed districts, all with their own unique allure, from top kid-friendly restaurants, to schools and green parks. Just make sure to take a little time out from gruelling house or condo hunting to enjoy all the wonderful sights, sounds, food and culture that this amazing Lion City has to offer. Don’t worry, with our handy list of Singapore neighbourhoods, you’ll be happily settled in the home of your dreams before you know it!



Retail therapy is just a street away!

Orchard is a great place to start out if you’re a young family still wanting to feel the buzz of inner-city living. You’ll pay through the nose for rent per square metre, given the prime location and proximity to niceties such as retail, F&B outlets and entertainment. But fret not, you’ll save on travel costs (you won’t need a car thanks to all the public transport links). But if you’re a family with one baby and your space requirements are lower, this could be the ‘hood for you.

The streets are blissfully flat and wide – just perfect for Bugaboo sets – which is more than what can be said for other streets around Singapore. You are also within walking distance of Chatsworth International School, and first-rate international clubs The American Club and The Tanglin Club.

River Valley

River Valley is a much-loved spot offering the perfect blend of city living and space (it’s less hustle and bustle and more residential). The high rise condos range from the older, larger style (like Aspen Heights) to chic, river facing homes with large balconies (along Robertson Quay). In the Mohammed Sultan Road area you’ll also find some quirky shophouses and buddhist temples. It’s definitely the spot to be if you’re a fan of al fresco dining or river cruising. It’s only a short taxi ride (or solid 20 minutes walk from the CBD) and is close to the ISS International School.


HoneyKids Asia Botanic Gardens guide

Wandering the Botanic Gardens isn’t a bad way to spend a school day! Photography: Choo Yut Shing

Tanglin is a charming, verdant area on the doorstep of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Singapore Botanic Gardens, and is known for its family-friendly low-rise condos and fabulous houses (we’ve got our hearts set on a Black and White house one day). It’s surrounded by embassies, has the fabulous Tanglin Mall as its local shopping centre (with great toy stores for kids, boutiques for mums and cafes to hang out after grabbing groceries at Market Place) and is just a stone’s throw from the wildly popular Dempsey Hill, where you can eat out and shop for modern art and furniture all in one place. You’re spoilt for school choice with White Lodge Preschool and Invictus International School in the vicinity.


Holland Village

parks for kids in Holland Village

There’s loads of age-appropriate play equipment at Watten Heights Playground, just a stone’s throw away from Holland Village. Photography: Annie McGrath

Holland Village is a sought-after locale for expats and locals alike, not least for its abundant bars and restaurants. The Lorong Mambong stretch comes alive with revellers at night, spilling out onto the pedestrianised street. It’s also home to the charming Chip Bee Gardens strip, which is lined with great restaurants, gourmet food stores and legendary kitchen supply stores Pantry Magic and Phoon Huat. The MRT station makes HV highly accessible (within 10 minutes from Orchard) and boasts two Cold Storage Stores (Jelita always has that hard-to-find ingredient!). Clementi Mall is around five minutes away, with tenants including Fair Price Finest and Art Friend (both of which are massive and very popular for young families).

Tips from our resident insider Georgina, mum of Minnie, Willa and Ginger

Why I love my ‘hood:
I love living in Holland Village because it has a vibrant dining scene, especially along the quaint Chip Bee Gardens strip. The Holland Village Shopping Centre is a treasure trove of little local stores offering everything from mani-pedis to Lego and curios, so I never make it home empty-handed. georgina

Why it’s great for kids:
My area is jam-packed with young families, which is a pretty good indicator of its suitability for kids! It’s also predominantly low-rise condos or houses, so my girls have plenty of green space to run around. It feels similar to living in a small house at home, which was a must-have for our second stint living in Singapore.

My fave place to hang out with my kids:
It’s nigh on impossible to narrow it down to one favourite family location! The girls love the Watten Estate playground (and my husband and I make sure to grab a coffee on route from Baker and Cook). We often find ourselves having chicken rice and lime juice at the Holland Village hawker’s centre followed by an ice cream at the Daily Scoop on Jalan Merah Saga.

Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah is a well-loved residential enclave teeming with young families drawn in by its leafy tree-lined streets and semi-suburban vibe. At one end you have the reputable Newton Circus hawker centre, and at the other the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. We love the boutique-style shopping found at Cluny Court, the excellent kids’ activities on offer at Turf City, and the proximity to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. It’s close to plenty of international schools including the Reggio Emilia inspired Blue House Nursery & International Pre School. And with the Hollandse Club and British Club on your doorstep you’ll be more inclined to move into a semi-detached place without a pool.

Braddell and Serangoon

As you journey out from Bukit Timah up Thomson Road you run in to the excellent family ‘burbs of Braddell and Serangoon. This is where the city opens up to reveal picturesque open green spaces like the MacRitchie Reservoir and the Singapore Polo Club. Make sure to brighten your home with some plants from the Thomson Road gardening nurseries. Not only will you get more bang for your housing buck out here, you’re also conveniently close to a raft of international schools including the Australian International School, the Stamford American International School and the French School of Singapore.


3P-Garden_Gallery-hort-park Cycling Guide Honeykids Asia Singapore

Why not drop by the playground while riding around Hort Park? Image courtesy of Nparks

Queenstown, Singapore’s first satellite town, is enjoying something of a renaissance right now. For the full scoop on why this unpretentious, quiet neighbourhood is earning a solid reputation as the place to be and be seen, check out Honeycombers’ guide to Queenstown. Expect to hear about delish local food, discount sporting goods, arty cafes and restaurants serving up honest family fare. It’s also perfectly situated to reach some of the best international schools in Singapore including Tanglin Trust School, Dover Court International School and UWC South East Asia.

Tips from our resident insider Suzanne, and mum of and Emily and Olivia

Why I love my ‘hood:
Alexandra Road has great public transport links and feels close to everywhere including Bukit Timah, the CBD and Sentosa (except the East Coast – that feels far!) We live at the crest of a hill at the Interlace condo (the infamous Lego blocks, as taxi uncles like to call them), so we get a fabulous cool breeze. The condo is a city in itself, with an unheard of five pools, two play areas (one with real grass!), and a 1km cycling/running track. It makes life easier not having to leave home to entertain the little ones. suze

We also have a great mix of food options from Western-style burger joints (Fat Boys), to local Thai (E-sarn), plus loads of little local hawker centres close by. I practically live at VivoCity, and have been known to linger a little at shopping mecca IKEA from time to time…

Why it’s great for kids:
We have many great parks just around the corner, including Hort Park and Labrador Park. We’ll often be found on a weekend navigating the Southern Ridges walk, starting with the steps at HarbourFront, up to Mount Faber, across the Henderson Bridge to Hort Park. It’s an invigorating trip with amazing views, and the whole family loves it!

My fave place to hang out with my kids:
Timbre’s Saturday Social BBQ is one awesome family-friendly spots we go back to time after time. Timbre @ Gillman’s remind me of a relaxed Australian backyard barbecue with friends.



Imagine all this at your doorstep!

If you’re steeled with a solid budget and a willingness to get over the mental block of living on an island, Sentosa could be the place for you. You’ll feel like you’re on a permanent holiday while enjoying the perks of a tropical idyll abode. You can play golf, wander along the boardwalk post-brunch at Quayside Isle, or jump aboard a Stand Up Paddleboard at one of the island’s many beaches. The supermarket shopping on Sentosa is expensive and limited, but a short trip to mainland VivoCity will fix that in a jiffy. Did somebody say Universal Studios? (Don’t forget to check out our guide to Universal Studios Singapore – all the essentials are here at HoneyKids!)


West-side dwellers have been leaving in droves over recent years to relocate to the more relaxed, better-value-for-money East Coast precinct. It runs an impressive length (some 15 km and 185 hectares) from Kallang to Changi Airport. It has a whole different feel to the rest of Singapore, and is blessed with cool sea breezes, bike tracks, local eats (think Long Beach Seafood) and eons of sand for kids to make castles and potter about. Due to its location it can be a little isolating from the rest of the island, but most Eastsiders rarely leave their little bubble (there’s no need to as its well-equipped with all conveniences). Sure the average expat may feel more at ease surrounded by home comforts in Tanglin, but Katong has come a long way with flash local malls including Katong I12 and Parkway Parade. And the coffee quaffing crew are delighted with joints like Penny University, Merchants and Oh Deli springing up all over the place.


Folks wanting to live in the heart of an authentic Singaporean district are drawn like a moth to a flame to Katong. It’s all about living as the locals do (this may or may not involve multiple bowls of famous Katong laksa!). The area is a great mix of landed properties and condos that offer ocean views and a lovely sea breeze – check out One Amber for a family-friendly vibe (and one of the coolest kids’ pools we’ve seen) in a prime position on East Coast Road; Aalto for a boutique feel with all the amenities a family could need; and new development The Meyerise on Meyer Road, which a little further afield from the restaurants and cafes on East Coast Road and Tanjong Rhu, but offers plenty of space for families. Family hangout East Coast Park is easily accessible via the many pedestrian links in the neighbourhood – so grab your scooters and bikes for some fresh air! Canadian International School Tanjong Katong Campus and Shaws Preschools are in the district and both are great choices for your little learner.

East Coast Park

Families flock to East Coast park for cycling, barbecue picnics and a cool dip in the sea.Photography: Tracy Tristram

Tips from our resident insider Selina, mum to Maxton and Grayson

Why I love my ‘hood:
I had fantasies of living in hipster ‘hood Tiong Bahru when we arrived in Singapore, but I’m absolutely loving the East Coast. We can see the water from our place, and after coming from London where we were super lucky to look out onto a tiny courtyard, there’s nothing like that expansive ocean view – our boys love spotting all the big ships, and the scene changes every day. Plus, I love that Katong is famous for its Peranakan food. And laksa! selina

Why it’s great for kids:
I can see why young families flock to this neighbourhood: it’s close to East Coast Park, there’s a great playground on my street where parents can meet, you’ll find loads of good cafes for mums to hang out and there’s a preschool practically on every corner.

My fave place to hang out with my kids:
We’re super close to one of the walkways to East Coast Park, so that’s where we like to take the scooter out for a spin, but I’m quite partial to taking the boys for one of the amazing pastries at Carry On Cafe on Tanjong Rhu.

Joo Chiat

The uber-hip neighbourhood of Joo Chiat more than fits the bill for the inhabitant in search of a grassroots Singapore experience. The colourful painted Peranakan houses (pictured top) are a highlight in this quirky area, as are the eclectic furniture stores and bang-on local grub. It’s the savvy sister of Katong.

Best free water play parks in Singapore HoneyKids Asia i12 Katong photography Selina Altomonte

East Coast mums love the rooftop water play area at I12 Katong.

Tips from our resident insider Kate, mum to Harrison

Why I love my ‘hood:
Joo Chiat is full of colourful Peranakan charm with a friendly, neighbourhood vibe. It’s convenient and super walkable – especially now that they’ve levelled out the sidewalks – way better for pushing a stroller! It also has loads of great food choices – and the variety keeps expanding – there are famous local favourites, great Vietnamese, and even fresh bakeries literally at your doorstep! kate

Why it’s great for kids:
The neighbourhood is super family-friendly and it seems as though everyone has a kid or two in tow. There’s a plenty of play groups, activity centres and schools easily accessible to you – we’re spoiled for choice!

My fave place to hang out with my kids:
Aside from the condo pool where we spend a lot of time, we love to cruise around the ‘hood as there’s always something new! Some of our favourite haunts include the FREE rooftop water park on top of the Katong i12 mall, Zaffron for great Indian food and a play corner perfect for the kiddos, and the East Coast Lagoon for great hawker treats and wide open space for the littlies to stretch their legs.


If you venture a little further out along East Coast Road to Siglap, you’ll be rewarded with spacious, wallet-friendly accommodation including semi-detached and fully fledged houses. The plentiful local playgrounds in this area mean that you and your kids are likely to make lots of local friends. It’s the favoured stomping ground of families at the One World International School and UWC East campus.


And, last stop east side before Changi, is the fantastic family hub of Simei. Families who put down roots here rave about the wide open green spaces and second-to-none Singaporean cuisine. It’s surprisingly easy and quick to get to the city (only 25 minutes) thanks to the speedy MRT. And you really can’t get much more convenient than Simei for that early morning airport run!

Tips from our resident insider Tracy, mum to Jack, Angelica and Rafferty

Why I love my ‘hood:
If you fancy a more ‘local’ area, then Simei is certainly that. No office blocks. No sky scrapers. And patches of green and playgrounds galore. There’s also a great choice of both local and international schools on our doorstep. UWC is in Tampines on an amazing purpose-built site, as well as Overseas Family School (OFS).


Why it’s great for kids:
Way out here in the Far East we have lots of hidden gems on our doorstep. One might not instantly consider some of these as gems but honest, give them a go, they really are!

First up, we are really close to the airport. There’s tons to do here for little legs. A must for any avid plane spotter, of course, but there is also ample room for the kids to just run and run, playgrounds, an indoor soft play, the tallest slide in Singapore, the free Sky Train and plenty of quick, cheap eateries to refuel at.

We also have Wild Wild Wet a short drive away, which is fun and great for kids of all ages. It’s one of the few places I can take all three of mine (they vary from three to 13 in age), and they are ALL happy with what is on offer!

Another of my top mentions has to be Pasir Ris Park, which boasts the best array of playgrounds in Singapore (according to my panel of junior judges). And there’s the beach, some cool eateries and wide open areas to play football, tag and generally run around on.

And finally, wait for it…. we have IKEA in Tampines. Small Land is a hit for my small two. And they all love a meatball lunch. Cheap and exceptionally cheerful!

My fave place to hang out with my kids:

Aside from our perennial favourites mentioned already, we are also rather partial to the free water playgrounds at both Changi City Point and Tampines One Malls. Both are close to home and a great option for a few hours of free fun.


Toa Payoh

Travelling north out of the city, you’ll find yourself in the hub of the heartlands, literally! Not only is Toa Payoh Hub home to the Housing Development Board, there’s family-friendly eats galore like Tim Ho Wan, Crystal Jade, hawker centres and even Popular Bookstore, with plenty of playgrounds dotting the area to keep the kids happy. The public swimming complex and library are also just a short walk from the station for fun afternoons spent indoors and outdoors. Although you might not be in ‘Expat Central’, this area is great for integrating with the locals and you’ll still be able to find international schools in the area like EtonHouse International School Thomson and SJI International.

Ang Mo Kio

Bishan-Ang_Mo_Kio_Park honeykids asia prettiest parks

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is beautifully integrated into the community. Photo: Wirbel1980 via Flickr

Ang Mo Kio is about as heartlands as you can get. Not only will you get to spend endless hours exploring parks and playgrounds like Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West, you’ll also be able to go park hopping using the Park Connector Network. If you don’t mind crowds, you’ll find everything you need at heartland malls Junction 8 and Ang Mo Kio Hub. You’ll be trading hipster cafes for kopitiams and department stores for HDB shops but you’ll be able to get your knick knacks and daily necessities at half the price. We have to say the standout winner for a perfect weekend is spending it at the Ang Mo Kio library before trooping over to maccas on the other side of the road and working off lunch at the playground beside it. There aren’t any international schools within walking distance but if great if you’re planning to send your kids to a local school.


While a bit of a trek from the city, Woodlands is a firm favourite for many families seeking large, affordable housing. While popular with local Singaporeans, there’s also a sizeable American community in Woodlands as it’s super close to the Singapore American School. If you ultimately put down roots in Woodlands, we’re sure you’ll be lured across the nearby causeway to Malaysia, so you’ll be needing our guide to cheap shopping in Johor Bahru.

Tips from our resident insider Nafeesa, aunt to niece Nayli, and nephews, Hariiz and Hariiq

Why I love my ‘hood:
Woodlands may be far from central Singapore but it’s got a wonderful buzzing, neighbourhood vibe. It has loads of great local food places, amenities for families and buses to take you everywhere (straight to PasarBella, IKEA Tampines and even the National Library). The best part? It’s only a stone’s throw away from Johor Bahru – the home of cheap shopping and Legoland!nafeesa

Why it’s great for kids:
The Singapore American School (SAS) and Singapore Sports School are located here, with plenty of other stellar preschools, enrichment centres and schools easily accessible to you. There’s also a three-storey library, perfect for voracious readers and older kids who need to catch up on homework, plus a stadium and public pool. For weekends, head to Woodlands Waterfront for a breezy evening stroll or hours of fishing.

My fave place to hang out with my niece and nephews:
My favourite place is Al-Ameen restaurant, a haven of Indian food (the roti prata with sugar is a hit with the kids!) and the library – it has a wealth of books for kids of all ages and open spaces for your little bubs to stretch out while they read in comfort.


Families who love the great outdoors can settle down in Punggol. It’s the perfect place to go back to nature with wide open green spaces, prawn fishing, and plenty of water play areas including the splash pad at Punggol Waterway Park, Waterway Point and the water park Splash @ Kids Amaze in SAFRA Punggol. Kids who love biking will have no shortage of paths to explore, especially with Coney Island and Punggol Settlement just a stone’s throw away. Plus with the newly opened Oasis Terraces mall fitted with community gardens, an outdoor playground and a fitness corner on the rooftop, you’ve got the ultimate community space. You’ll find Global Indian International School’s new SMART Campus right at your doorstep too.

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

Your ultimate guide to living as an expat with kids in Singapore
Guide to East Coast Park with kids
How to travel around Singapore with kids
Cafes that are up as early as you are

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