Jewel Changi Airport is home to a huge array of shops and restaurants, but the massive complex is more than just a mall. Built on the grounds of the former open-air car park at Terminal 1, the $1.7 billion development houses a medley of new-to Singapore brands, flagship stores of homegrown retailers, lush green spaces, outdoor terraces, and loads more. And after four years, it’s finally ready to reveal itself to the public, with a series of previews leading up to its April 17 launch.
The dome-shaped structure is located right by the Arrival Hall of Terminal 1, but it’s also got connecting link ways to Terminals 2 and 3 for easy access. It’s a massive space to maneuver around, but fret not if you’re overwhelmed by the number of tenants, which take up more than 280 units. Just set aside a good amount of time to explore the 10-story space, which also hosts an early check-in lounge, Asia’s first YotelAir, and 24-hour stores. But take note that transit travelers will have to go through customs to see Jewel and check in again after for their next flight.
Scroll through our list below for the top highlights of where to dine, shop, and be entertained.
Just for fun
At the top of Jewel, where you’ll be closest to the glass ceiling, the sprawling green space houses themed gardens, play areas, and a medley of dining concepts. Several eateries are already open, but the other attractions will only debut on June 10. Highlights include the glass-bottomed Canopy Bridge, suspended 23m above ground, the Manulife sky nets, where you can bounce on the 250m-long trampoline, hedge and mirror mazes, Discovery Slides, and Foggy Bowls, where kids can dart in and out of cloud puffs.
d’good Café’s Coffee Museum
After you’ve had a bite to eat at the monochrome colonial cafe, slip past the seating area to its back doors, which lead to the brand’s Singapore Coffee Museum. You could grab a seat at the two booths here as well, if you’d like a little peace and quiet. Otherwise, feel free to walk around the tiny space, which houses an old school 3D kopitiam set-up, a vintage Elektra machine, and retro artifacts like a Nescafe coffee can from the 1930s and an antique coffee bean roaster barrel.
HSBC Rain vortex
Much fuss has been made about the rain vortex, it being the tallest indoor waterfall in the world standing at 40m high and all. But we have to say, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Picturesque in its majesty, the sight is lovely to behold. And come nightfall, the light show dances across the dome in an elegant swirl of colors that’s stunning to see.
Shaw Theatres Jewel
If you’ve got a couple hours to spare before your flight, unwind in peace at the 11-screen Cineplex. Featuring a sweeping green wall and a heritage display of Shaw’s history created in collaboration with local fine artist Sarah Choo Jing, the space includes an Imax with Laser theater, two 26-seater Lumiere premium screens with plush recliners, backrest cushions, and USB charging ports, and a family-friendly hall called Dreamers, which offers kid flicks and colorful seats for little ones.
Shiseido Forest Valley
The glorious garden is lush and cooling, so you can actually enjoy being amidst greenery without sweating through your clothes. Several restaurants are studded within the valley, but visitors can also choose to stroll up two cobblestone trails for views of the waterfall and cloudy mists. It’s all very Jurassic Park, especially when you add the Rain Vortex, skytrains and epic instrumental music tinkling through the speakers into the mix. Minus the terror and the Pterodactyls, of course.
Get a bite to eat
A comeback 16 years in the making, the dearly missed fast food chain finally returns to our shores. Complete with vintage American neon signs and a life-sized version of its mascot Rooty the Great Root Bear, A&W is serving up classics like chicken/beef coney dog ($5.20), curly fries ($3.60), root beer float ($3.50), and waffle ice cream ($7.90).
Also look out for new items such as cream cheese chicken/beef burgers ($7.90), waffle sundae ($4.90), and chicken/beef coney cheese fries ($4.90). But beware the queues, which have already started to stack up to hour-long lines.
Nestled nicely at Canopy Park, the highest floor in Jewel with a view of the starry night sky, the London-born eatery’s debut in Singapore will feature its signatures including lobsters, lobster rolls, and burgers with Nebraskan beef patties. The crustaceans are flown in live from Canada, just like its UK outlets, and you can expect new items on the menu made with locally sourced ingredients and influenced by local flavors.
The 81-seater will only open in late May, with a décor of reds, marble, crackle-glazed tiles, and lobster tanks, but we managed to get our hands on a sample of the lobster roll, and let’s just say it was divine.
After several successful pop-ups over the years, the Swiss chocolatier sets up a permanent shop at Jewel, displaying its famous slabs of FrischSchoggi (fresh chocolate) in all their rich goodness. Each chunk of the 20 flavors, studded with a variety of nuts and berries, is made by chocolatiers in Switzerland and air-flown to our shores. You can sample little nibbles before you get it by the gram, or pick up a box of pralines and truffles for bite-sized treats.
The basement levels are full of food options, from classy food court Five Spice to little snack stalls, but Pink Fish stands out as the debut of the chain restaurant in Singapore. The fast-casual concept, which stars Norwegian salmon on its menu, offers signatures like the Asian Burger ($9.90) with chopped salmon fillet, a Vietnamese spicy soya sauce, and mango salsa, American Raw (from $10.90), a poke bowl of raw salmon and greens with rice, and the Asian Wrap (from $10.90) with tandoori grilled salmon, yogurt, and mint.
Going from retro to revamped, the family business takes minimal approach to its new store, with pastel pink shades and a delectable display of Swiss rolls handmade from the original store in Kampong Glam. Munch on the popular baked treat in flavors like chocolate, kaya, durian, mango, green tea, and coffee, and you’ll realized it truly lives up to its name: Rich and good.
The much talked about cult burger brand finally arrives here, and even though we anticipate snaking lines for a good while, we know there’s no stopping the cravings when they hit. Opening on Apr 17, Shake Shack’s first restaurant in Southeast Asia is a sleek duplex store with menu classics such as the ShackBurger, ‘Shroom Burger (fried Portobello with cheese), SmokeShack (bacon cheeseburger), and Shack-cago Dog.
But since it’s new to Singapore, you can also look out for items exclusive to the country, like the pandan shake (vanilla frozen custard ice cream with pandan, coconut, and gula melaka crumble) and three frozen custard ice cream flavors. These include Jewela Melaka, made with coconut salted caramel, Lemuel chocolate, shortbread, and gula melaka; It Takes Two To Mango, with mango, sago pearls and crispy freeze-dried mango; and Shack Attack, starring Plain Vanilla brownies and more chocolate-y goodness.
Local brewery Tiger Beer launches its first “global experiential concept” store, featuring seasonal brews, collaborations with local hawkers, customizable bottle labels, and exclusive merch design by homegrown artists. Keng Eng Kee Seafood is the first zi char eatery to join forces with the brand, bringing on board dishes like chicken cutlet with Tiger Beer Radler lemon sauce.
Yun Nans: #02-217
It’s everywhere in China, but this joint in Singapore is the first one out of the country, and the brand’s first opening in a decade. The chain doles out Yunnan ethnic “highland” cuisine, using ingredients from the region like wild black truffle, wheat pumpkin, and edible flowers such as jasmine and rose. Signatures include steam pot chicken soup ($23.90), stir fried wild porcini mushroom with dried chillies ($24.90), and beef stew in copper pot ($24.90).
Shop till you drop
Seven years since its debut, the local retailer opens its third stand-alone store in collaboration with Birds of Paradise, another homegrown brand known for its botanical gelato flavors. Its space at Jewel is its largest, with color-blocked walls highlighting a sleek selection of womenswear, menswear, apparel for kids, accessories, and lifestyle goods.
Just by the entrance, Birds of Paradise showcases its array of gelato in intriguing flavors like spiced pear and masala spice, with a little look-in nook for you to watch the signature thyme cones in production.
Popular with locals and tourists alike for its curation of quirky takes on Singaporean culture and heritage, homegrown retailer Naiise is still in the process of setting up its duplex unit. It’ll open in the weeks to come, and then you’ll get a chance to browse through hundreds of brands including The Mindful Company and The Shirt Bar. Plus, there’ll be a gift wrapping corner and a Naiise x Teapasar tea bar for fresh brews.
So you’ve gotta catch ‘em all? Well, now you can buy ‘em all at Pokemon’s first official merch store out of Japan, which has already attracted hundreds in its queue. Beyond the entrance statue of Lapras and Pikachu, the bustling store features rows of plushies (some exclusive to Singapore), trading cards, Pikachu flight attendant soft toys, finger puppets, miniatures, and even adorable face masks.
We weren’t kidding when we said the mall was massive, so here are some honorable mentions you can check out as well. For homeware and crafts, pop by local gallery store Supermama; for urban resort wear by local designers, try Yacht 21. Otherwise, get your shop on at the Muji or Tokyu Hands duplex units, Nike’s largest store in the region, Footlocker’s biggest outlet in the country, and Skechers’ massive “experiential concept” store.
Starbucks has also taken over two levels and filled it with features like the reserve bar, a four-tap nitro, and an art room. Right by the coffee chain, you’ll find Lady M’s open atrium space, while Shangri-La’s first concept outside a hotel, Shang Social, combines a restaurant, a bar, and a market corner. Oh, and you may not be wearing Pazzion shoes, but the local brand is now dabbling in cakes, which you can try at its café.
Plus, the bustling basement levels offer a busload of food choices, including Five Spice (quite possibly the most sophisticated-looking food court we’ve seen), which houses a collaboration space with Anthony The Spice Maker. Other options include Emack & Bolio’s Insta-worthy ice cream, Icenoie Hokkaido’s soft serve, otah in flavors like cream cheese and corn or pink salmon at O’tah, treats by Malaysian bakery Lavender, and bubble tea from Taiwanese brand The Alley.
Jewel Changi Airport is at 78 Airport Blvd.
MRT: Changi Airport
This article, Top things to do at Jewel Changi Airport: Where to eat, shop, and be entertained at the new lifestyle complex, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!