By Laura Schwartz

East Coast Park is the largest park in Singapore and what most people picture when East Coast is mentioned. Unsurprisingly, the list of available outdoor activities is quite a long one. However, there’s plenty of treats inland as well should rain clouds appear, or if the sunshine gets too intense, or if you’re just not much of an outdoorsy person. For those whose base of operations is Orchard or Woodlands, East Coast might seem a bit out of the way, but it is well worth making the effort to explore.

Since the district is sprawling and encompasses everything from boutique shopping to beaches, it’s best to have a game plan. Even with two itineraries, we’re barely scratching the surface of all the cultural, creative, active, indulgent and tasty hidden gems in this part of the country. I’ve divided the indoor pursuits and the outdoor activities. Dive headlong into one itinerary or mix’n’match as you see fit!

9am – 10am

OUT AND ABOUT

Baker’s Well offers a delectable selection of freshly baked bread, savory pastries and muffins for a breakfast on the go. And Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata is to die for, though their opening hours are only 6:30am-1pm.

INLAND AND INDOORS

You might know Group Therapy Coffee from their outlet on Duxton Hill, but they also have a café in Katong V mall that’s perfect for starting your day with delicious coffee and breakfast fare. Ninethirty (by Awfully Chocolate) is another decadent option, though it’s only open for breakfast on weekends.

10am – 12pm

OUT AND ABOUT

Time to tackle the park! Take advantage of the morning before it gets too hot. The 15-kilometer stretch of beach features well-maintained paths for walkers, runners and roller skaters. The Cyclist Park features two circuits that serve both beginners and experts, while the Xtreme Skatepark ups the ante for sporty people seeking a bit more adrenaline.

INLAND AND INDOORS

Katong Antique House on East Coast Road is a beautiful century-old shophouse filled with carefully curated vestiges of Peranakan culture. Tours begin at 11am and take 45 minutes, during which owner Peter Wee explains the fascinating history of Singapore’s uniquely diverse population.

For children aged 12 and below, The Artground near the National Arts Council provides interactive installations, storytelling sessions and creative programs.

12pm – 1pm

OUT AND ABOUT

Marine Cove was developed as a recreational space specifically for families, and their array of dining options keep you near to the sprawling playground. Picnic space abounds at East Coast Park, so another fun possibility is to grill up lunch yourself at one of the barbecue pits. Note that you’ll need to reserve in advance at an AXS machine.

INLAND AND INDOORS

Right next door to The Artground is Café Melba, which serves a mean brunch and is notably kid friendly. The grassy field that borders its outdoor seating features a bouncy castle in the afternoons.

East Coast Road is home to the much raved about 328 Katong Laksa, Zaffron Kitchen for scrumptious Indian fare and Alt. Pizza, which I consider one of the best pizza places in the country (and I’m from NYC). All also make excellent starting points for an afternoon of shopping.

3pm – 5pm

OUT AND ABOUT

Got a big group of people and are looking to do something totally off the beaten path? Head to Castle Beach and learn how to build your own incredible sand sculptures with Castles Can Fly. They also do eye-popping exhibitions.

INLAND AND INDOORS

Take a load off and get zhushed up before your night out. Boo-ti Parlour is pure French luxury for nails and facials. And both BeautyLane and Orchidée have won awards for their services.

Alternatively, delight the kids with a lively puppetry performance at Paper Monkey Theatre. Check their website: papermonkey.com.sg for showtimes.

5pm – 7pm

OUT AND ABOUT

Whether you want to start winding down the day or still have some fuel to burn, head to the Singapore Wake Park, where novices and expert riders are welcome to wakeboard. For those happy to stay on the shore, the waterside Coastal Rhythm offers a chill atmosphere perfect for watching the sunset.

INLAND AND INDOORS

Chill out with cocktails, tea or homemade sodas at Baba Chews, the delectable bar and restaurant of Hotel Indigo. Formerly the Joo Chiat Police Station, the space is an elegant blend of modern Singapore and its Peranakan heritage. If you want to stay on for dinner, no one will blame you.

7pm – 9pm

OUT AND ABOUT

If all that seaside activity has put seafood on your mind, end the day with an extravagant dinner at Long Beach or Jumbo, just two of many restaurants at East Coast Seafood Centre.

For a more varied spread, head to East Coast Lagoon Food Village. I recommend Cheok Kee Duck Rice, which has been around for 60 years and always has a line.

INLAND AND INDOORS

Indulge in some high-end Italian cuisine at either Al Forno or Etna, neither of which will disappoint.

Or head further inland to feast yourself on delicious hawker food at Old Airport Road Food Centre, one of Singapore’s largest hawker centers. Check out Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow and Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wan Ton Mee, which have been staples there since the 1970s and 1930s respectively.