Orchard Road is a 2.2 kilometre-long boulevard that is the retail and entertainment hub of Singapore
. It is a huge tourist attraction, in addition to being the most popular shopping enclave in the city-state. Often, the surrounding area is known simply as Orchard, partly because the MRT station that serves the vicinity is named Orchard MRT.
The Orchard Planning Area is one of 55 urban planning areas as specified by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and is a commercial district. It is part of the Central Region and Singapore's central business district, the Central Area. Orchard Road underwent a $40 million revamp in 2009, with the addition of new street lamps, planter boxes, urban green rooms, street tiling and flower totem poles, which have since been removed.
Notable past and present landmarks
is at Orchard Road's southern end. Nibong palms survive near its entrance, with a plaque that reads, "As the nibong is a mangrove palm, this site must have once been a mangrove swamp." This information leads many to believe Orchard Road was once a muddy swamp and these palms are remnants of that original habitat.
On the northern side of Orchard Road is the Botanic Gardens. Along Scotts Road
is Goodwood Park Hotel, a fine example of colonial architecture and a monument. At the junction of Scotts Road and Orchard Road is TANGS, the first upmarket department store in Singapore.
About halfway down Orchard Road are Cairnhill and Emerald Hill, where the rich Chinese built their residences, now prime properties sought after by affluent professionals and expatriates. Next to Emerald Hill is Centrepoint, which houses the supermarket Cold Storage, possibly the oldest surviving business establishment in the area. Other establishments have not been so fortunate. Amber Mansions, one of the earliest apartment blocks in Singapore, built around the turn of the 20th century, was torn down in the 1980s to make way for the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station
Occupying the site of the former Pavilion Cinema, Specialists' Shopping Centre was one of the earliest redevelopment projects on Orchard Road. The shopping centre has since been demolished (2007) to make way for a new development, Orchard Central
. Its flagship store was John Little, which has been in Singapore since the mid-19th century, when it opened its first outlet in Commercial Square (now Raffles Place
Elsewhere just off Orchard Road on Scotts Road, Scotts Shopping Centre
housed Singapore's first food court, which sat below the Ascott Singapore. It was torn down in June 2007 to make way for a new building.
The first shop of note on Orchard Road was Tangs founded in 1934 and established on Orchard Road in the 1950s.
Orchard Road is flanked by pedestrian malls. Orchard Road contains numerous upmarket restaurants, coffee chains, cafés, nightclubs and hotels. It is the site of the official residence and office of the President of Singapore, the Istana.
Tanglin Mall is located at the junction of Tanglin Road and Grange Road. Its customer base is made up of expatriates, yuppies and professionals. Anchor tenants include Tanglin Market Place, a gourmet supermarket and bakery, and Tasty Food Court where up to 15 varieties of local cuisine can be found.
Orchard Central distinguishes itself from other malls on Orchard Road with architectural and design forms. Fronted by an exterior featuring local artist Matthew Ngui's digital art membrane, the mall offers cluster concept shopping by grouping complementary offerings for shoppers. The mall houses the World
's tallest indoor Via Ferrata climbing wall, a large collection of public art installations by international artists and a 24/7-operational Roof Garden and Discovery Walk. The Roof Garden offers dining options on an open-air veranda.
313@somerset is directly linked to the Somerset MRT Station
and features a concentration of mid-range retail and dining outlets. Retail options are made of a mix of local and global fashion labels including Zara, Uniqlo, New Look, Esprit and a Forever 21 flagship store that spans four floors.
Visitors in Singapore (from 27 May to 24 July 2011) qualified for Great Singapore Sale tourist privileges and discounts at malls along Orchard Road. During this period, a number of malls extend their opening hours till 11pm.
American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch opened a flagship store on Orchard Road on December 15, 2011. The store was marked by controversy over an ad during its construction phase.
Those driving into Orchard Road may enter from the west via Napier Road. Vehicles from Dunearn Road that travel via Scotts Road can turn left into Orchard Road at the Marriott Hotel junction. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction on Paterson Road can enter Orchard Road by turning right. There are a number of other roads leading into Orchard Road. Orchard Road is one-way heading south and leads into Bras Basah Road which is a one-way street heading south. Some people have been in "full-day restricted lane", that means some drivers have opted to switch to public transport due to a busy road.