Like all the Sassy Mamas out there, I’m constantly trying to think of ways to maximize my family time. One thing my husband and I came up with together is After Work Outings. We both work in the CBD and about once a week we arrange for our helper to bring our kids (2.5 year old son and 7 month daughter) to meet us right after work so we can do a little evening Sassy Mama Field Trip in the area!
Au Chocolat & Wonder Full
We love strolling down Marina Boulevard (across from MBFC) all the way down to Marina Bay Sands. Dining options at MBS are endless as everyone knows but one particular spot equally popular among kids and grownups is Au Chocolat. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not just another chocolate store. The extensive menu includes everything from handmade crepes to pastas and, of course, desserts! The space alone is eye candy and you won’t be the only parents remembering Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Kids will especially love the vintage train set that runs along the ceiling and my son Carlos also happens to have a crush on their Little Girl mascot!
From there we catch Wonder Full, the free light and water show at the Marina Bay Waterfront. Voted “Best New Tourist Attraction” by ASEAN Tourism Forum it never gets old for us with spectacular visual effects and giant water screens. There are two performances on weeknights (8pm or 9:30pm) so there’s no need to rush through dinner if you get a late start.
Another easy destination from our office is One Fullerton and Merlion Park. My son loves visiting the iconic Merlion and watching the boats go down Singapore River. As you’d expect it’s a big tourist destination but with its magnificent view, particularly in the evening, but we never mind. We usually top off the excursion with dinner next door at OverEasy, an American restaurant bar that includes all day breakfast on the menu. Plus, on days that the STI market is down they offer $1 sliders as consolation – an additional bonus for my husband!
As a working Mom I sometimes have to find unconventional times to do certain activities with my kids. Library visits have become one of our after work outings and the Children’s Section in Central Public Library is one of the best kept secrets among families living in Singapore. While not technically in CBD the vast selection of children’s books in the 16 storey building with its high ceilings, glass walls and modern facilities make it worth the quick taxi trip (also conveniently located near City Hall and Bugis MRT stations). The indoor gardens and cafes are also nice places to relax with the family at the end of the day.
A great dinner spot after the library is Artichoke Café located just a couple of blocks away on Middle Road. The restaurant offers a tapas-mediterranean-fusion style menu (basically garlic and olive oil deliciousness!) in the most charming setting within the historical Sculpture Square. The kids will also get a kick out of the small paper bag of candy they hand you on the way out.
Pinnacle@Duxton Skybridge & Pasta Brava
As much as we enjoy the view from the top of Marina Bay Sands a much less touristy (and costly) option is the Skybridge on the 50th storey of Pinnacle. The Pinnacle@Duxton is the iconic housing project made up of nearly 2,000 apartments in 7 towering blocks located in Tanjong Pagar – walking distance from Chinatown and Central Business District. In general, my husband and I love strolling around this area with both its traditional and restored shophouses and increasing number of fabulous restaurants. Pinnacle is usually where we start. For a fee of $5 off your EZ link card, you can take in a stunning view from the 50th storey Skybridge, which is open to the public. The buildings around Pinnacle are all low rise so there are no obstructions as you look over Chinatown, Central Business District and Sentosa. The kids will love running around the spacious Skybridge where you’ll find residents of the building jogging about!
Across from Pinnacle on Craig Road is one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Pasta Brava. The cozy setting is very homey and the whole family will be more than satisfied with the tasty comfort food. Both parents and kids will appreciate that the tables are covered with big white sheets of paper to encourage doodling. Multi-coloured chalk is included!
There’s no way to cover the whole of Chinatown in an After Work Outing but since it’s exactly between the office in CBD and our home in River Valley it makes for a perfect evening pit stop with the kids. We often start at Temple Street and do a little wandering around before dinner. Chinatown Food Street is one block away and the various food stalls offer all the local favourites (chicken rice, char kway teow, etc.) from 5pm-11pm.
Since our kids are of the younger variety (toddler and infant) al fresco stool dining won’t always work so we often walk over to Chinatown Point on New Bridge Road for the indoor Chinatown experience. Don’t get me wrong, you still enter the world of Chinese arts and crafts – just more comfortable with prams and baby chairs. Here we often pick one of the usual suspects – Din Tai Fung or Peach Garden – but there are a host of options if you want to try something new.
Marie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-American working mum who moved from New York to Singapore two years ago. Wife of Alex and Mother of two-year-old Carlos and six-month-old Isabel, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citibank in Asia. She enjoys juggling career and family and stays actively involved in the international community with organizations that advance the role of women in business.