Things To Do

8 Things To Do In CHIJMES Even If You Are Not Getting Hitched – Glass Cafe, Live Music Bar & Teahouse

Things to do at CHIJMES

A popular attraction in City Hall, CHIJMES is one of those chic destinations that’s been posted, tagged, and storied over and over again.

The vibes here are a combination of old-school charm and influencer-level aesthetics that are tailor-made for the ‘Gram. That, coupled with a long list of bars and restaurants, explains why people flock to this location. Below, we’ve put together a guide to things to do at CHIJMES in case you want to take a deeper dive into things to do at this IG-worthy attraction. 

– Things to do at CHIJMES –

1. Snap pics with the neo-classical architecture

The architecture at CHIJMES is neo-classic charm at its finest.

Get lost in the winding alleyways that wrap around the Chapel, where ornate windows and facade act as the perfect backdrop for your photos. Nearby, the Lawn and Courtyard contain vast open spaces overlooking the stunning structures and spiral staircases. If you’re an avid Instagrammer, frame and snap your shots away.

2. Shop for Mexican products at La Mexicana grocery store

Pillowy sweet bread, tangy sauces that belong on everything, and airy chicharrones – you can get your fill of Mexican treats at La Mexicana grocery store at CHIJMES.

Image credit: @crazy_asian_ferments_official via Instagram

They even sell fresh guacamole and salsa for your chips, and homemade Mexican rice and refried beans for those looking to DIY burritos from scratch. If you want to be transported to the south of the border without having to hop on a plane, a trip to La Mexicana will do the trick.

Location: #01-19
Opening hours: Sun-Wed 12pm-8pm | Thu-Sat 12pm-9pm
Contact: 8707 9010 | La Mexicana website

3. Catch live bands at Simply Retro by Tin Box

Simply Retro by Tin Box has always been known for its live music.

Image credit: @engchinan via Instagram

Every Tuesday till Saturday, belly up to this venue to catch everything from English classics and retro tunes to synth-pop and glam rock. You’ll get to take in some sweet live music and a selection of tasty bar bites like spam fries ($10) and wasabi prawns ($13).

Location: #B1-06
Opening hours: Tue 5.3pm-11pm | Wed-Sat 5.30pm-12am (Closed on Sunday and Monday)
Contact: Simply Retro by Tin Box website

– Where to eat at CHIJMES –

4. Tuck into a bowl of ramen at Hakata Ikkousha Ramen

Hakata Ikkousha Ramen is lauded for its Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen that’s characterised with a milky 20-hour simmered pork broth and springy noodles.

Image credit: @ikkoushaca via Instagram

Go for the classic Tonkotsu Special ($18.50) that comes with 4 giant chashu slices, seasoned egg, nori, and seaweed. If you’re a fan of spicy ramen, opt for the God Fire ($15.50) that’s so spicy it’ll clear your tear ducts.

Location: #01-07
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-9.30pm | Sun 11.30am-8.30pm
Contact: 6338 8460 | Hakata Ikkousha Ramen website

5. Dig into brunch at The Glasshouse

Part cafe, part photo spot, The Glasshouse is as picturesque as the rest of the nearby hangouts at CHIJMES.

Image credit: @theglasshousesg via Instagram

The bright and airy shop serves up excellent brunch dishes, desserts, and drinks so you can get great food and grid content at the same time. Come hungry and order some standouts such as Breakfast Bagel ($19), Classic Smoke Salmon Tartine ($20), and Revuelto Gramajo ($20).

Location: #01-03
Opening hours: 8am-6pm, Daily
Contact: The Glasshouse website

6. Have a Japanese BBQ feast at Renga-Ya

If you’re in the mood for a Japanese BBQ feast, make a beeline to the wildly popular Renga-Ya.

Image credit: @oho_yumz via Instagram

The restaurant specialises in Wagyu meat that’s imported from Japan. Come see whether it lives up to its hype with top-notch meat like Wagyu Tokusen Karubi ($39) and Wagyu Jo Harami ($36). The menu also contains long lists of seafood and fried dishes if you still have room for them.  

Location: #01-11
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 12.30pm-10.30pm (Closed on Monday)
Contact: 6352 1966 | Renga-Ya website

7. Splurge on premium Cantonese food at Lei Garden Restaurant

It’s pretty difficult to resist the Cantonese food at Lei Garden Restaurant.

Image credit: @yr_sglife via Instagram

If you find yourself splurging on premium dishes at this Michelin-starred spot, get the Crispy Roasted Pork, Sauteed King Crab Legs with Butter and Salt, and Geo-duck Clam Poached in Lobster Soup. The chefs here churn out some of the most flavourful braises and stir-fries too, so try them all if you can.

Location: #01-24
Opening hours: 11.30am-3pm & 6pm-10pm, Daily
Contact: 6339 3822 | Lei Garden website

8. Sip on traditional matcha at Hvala

You won’t need to travel to Japan to experience a legit teahouse. Instead, head to Hvala.

Image credit: @hvla_sg via Instagram

The tarts, mochis, and slices of cake piled at the bar counter might be tempting, but the draw here is the matcha drinks. Try the ceremonial-grade matcha, creamy matcha latte, or blended green tea with ice and milk. The baristas are serious about their brews and will ensure your drinks taste as good as they look.

Location: #01-04
Opening hours: 12pm-9.30pm, Daily
Contact: Hvala website

Everything you need to know about CHIJMES

There’s more to CHIJMES than just a pretty backdrop for photoshoots. Look beyond the European-esque architecture, and you’ll find a treasure trove of things to do and places to eat.

So, the next time you venture into CHIJMES, use this guide to hunt down delish food and drinks to pad your stomach. And bring a fully charged phone for your IG content.

Who owns CHIJMES?

In 2011, Perennial Real Estate Holdings, the folks behind establishments like Chinatown Point and Capitol Singapore, acquired CHIJMES. In 2019, the Chapel was featured in blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians where Nicholas Young and Rachel Chu’s wedding took place.

What does CHIJMES stand for?

CHIJMES stands for Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Middle Education School. In 1852, the complex was a girls’ school, an orphanage, nuns’ apartments, and the Chapel.

What is the nearest MRT station to CHIJMES?

CHIJMES is located near several MRT stations including City Hall, Bras Basah, and Esplanade. 

For more things to do in Singapore:

Cover image adapted from: @crazy_asian_ferments_official, @ikkoushaca via Instagram

Samantha Nguyen

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