In the days of Captain William G. Scott, Harbour and Post Master of Singapore, there were few better treats than to enjoy his wonderful garden on his nutmeg and cocoa plantation on the corner of Scotts and Orchard Roads. “One of the most picturesque, shady, pleasing retreats that possibly could be imagined,” according to one visitor. Entertainment options in the area have thankfully expanded. And while shopping takes centrestage here, it’s not all about hunting down the best buys in Singapore’s finest malls.
The street buskers that serenade passers-by with their versions of popular tunes at the junction of traffic lights or in underground tunnels offer only a vestige of the wealth of entertainment that can be found today. Delve a little deeper beneath the immaculate veneer of Orchard Road and discover the refreshing edginess at Cineleisure Orchard. The quirky street fashion, activity and casual dining options here make it the definitive place to be for youths and the young-at-heart. It is home to multiplex cinemas that screen the latest blockbusters late into the night, and Timezone, a gaming arena where you can pit your sharp-shooting or motor-racing skills against other players.
Go up a little higher (literally) in Cineleisure Orchard, and you’ll find a host of other entertainment options. On the eighth floor, KBox is taking the karaoke experience to a new level, by offering different-sized rooms, as well as a stage set for those who want to perform for their friends. There are also party rooms equipped with pool tables, and a huge function room that comes with a KJ station, pool table and projector screen for those who want a full-on karaoke party. A floor up from KBox, cyber-gaming arena E2MAX features over 200 PCs and consoles with different genres of games for single or multi-player gameplay till as late as 3am.
Next to Cineleisure Orchard is *scape Youth Centre, a spanking new building that consolidates youth activities into a single venue. Walk into an exhibition or discover the mini bazaar selling one-of-a-kind concept items. Everything exists as a platform for youths to showcase and hone their talents, from exhibition spaces, performance areas, IT and gaming labs and recording studios.
Across the road from the *scape Youth Centre, catch a performance or two at the Youth Park where teenagers show off their nifty dance steps or musical prowess in a concert on a permanent stage. As it’s mostly local kids who put on performances, expect to see Mandopop and Malay performances in addition to English ones. Nearer towards Somerset MRT station is the popular Skate Park, which draw both expat and local kids. Sit by the sides of the Park and watch skaters skillfully ollie and elguerial over ramps, and stunt bikers who share the space to practice their mid-air flips in one of the few open spaces in Orchard Road.
Orchard Central rock-climbing wall
Why not test your wall-scaling dexterity in full view of shoppers for an adrenaline rush? At Orchard Central, the indoor five-storey high rock-climbing wall caters to different levels of expertise and daring, with a route leading to the roof of the building, Divided into two sections – the via ferrata wall and a regular wall – you can choose to use the rungs and cables for help or free-climb with a lanyard.
While shiny designer brands sit alongside street fashion, and cafes exist with quick-bite food kiosks, everything on Orchard Road come together into an all-encompassing retail, dining and entertainment precinct that make it one of the liveliest places to be, day or night.