Singapore’s First Heritage Town A Guide to Katong-Joo Chiat
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Singapore’s First Heritage Town: A Guide to Katong-Joo Chiat

For people living on the East Coast, one reason they love this region is the neighborhoods here have a rich history and are oozing with charm and culture. Katong-Joo Chiat, in particular, is a prime example of this. 

In fact, Katong-Joo Chiat is acknowledged as the first heritage town in Singapore. It used to be where the wealthy came for their seaside retreats, but now, it’s a time capsule of everything related to Peranakan culture. 

If you’re planning to explore East Singapore soon, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Katong-Joo Chiat. Here are some of the best things to do, places to eat, and more in this neighborhood. 

Things to Know

History and Background

Katong-Joo Chiat is actually made up of two small villages. Katong was popular among wealthy Eurasians and Peranakans, while Joo Chiat was named after a wealthy Chinese landowner, and they are known for their pre-war architecture. 

Since both villages are right next to each other, they’ve been combined into one big neighborhood aptly named Katong-Joo Chiat. Though it’s been redeveloped for modern times, the neighborhood still has its historic landmarks. 

For this reason, Katong-Joo Chiat is often referred to as a Peranakan paradise since it’s home to several museums and dining spots dedicated to Peranakan culture.   

How to Get There

MRT: Katong-Joo Chiat is well-served by the MRT system. There are two MRT stations here: Tanjong Katong MRT station and Katong Park MRT station. 

Bus: If the bus is your preferred mode of public transportation, there are several that pass by Joo Chiat Road. These are bus services 16, 36B, 43E, and 48. 

Taxi/Ride-Hailing Services: If you’re in a rush or you just want privacy, you can ride a taxi or book a ride from any ride-hailing app (e.g. Grab, Ryde, and Gojek) to travel to and around the neighborhood. 

Best Time to Go

If you really want to explore as much of Katong-Joo Chiat as possible, I recommend coming here in the morning. This is because you’ll be doing a lot of walking around, so it’s best if you start your journey as early as possible.

I also believe Katong-Joo Chiat is best explored when the sun is still out because many of the landmarks here are colorful. You might not be able to see them in their fullest glory if you come at night. 

What to Do

Visit several museums

As mentioned earlier, Katong-Joo Chiat is incredibly rich in Peranakan culture, so getting to learn more about said culture is a must when visiting this neighborhood. 

And what better way to immerse yourself in Peranakan culture than visiting museums dedicated to it? 

Here are some of the museums in Katong-Joo Chiat that you should check out. 

Straits Enclave

Address: 318A Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427569
Contact Number: +6597897628

If you can only visit one Peranakan museum, let it be the Straits Enclave. This museum highlights the golden era of Peranakan culture, so all you can see are precious heirlooms and antiques that date back to the early 1900s!

Additionally, this museum also keeps the said culture and its crafts alive by offering workshops and cultural talks. You can even get a taste of Peranakan treats, such as kueh and tea.

Keep in mind that visits to this museum are done by appointment only; no walk-ins are allowed. So be sure to contact them before you plan to come here.

The Intan

Address: 69 Joo Chiat Terrace, Singapore 427231
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—7 am to 10 pm
Contact Number: +6564401148

Another great Peranakan museum in Katong-Joo Chiat is The Intan. This one specifically focuses on the old-world charm of Peranakan culture, and you can see that in various black-and-white photographs and vintage furniture.

For a memorable experience, I recommend going on a tour around the museum because you’ll be guided by the owner himself. So you’ll really gain a lot of insight into the culture. 

The one-hour tour also includes snacks and tea, and if you opt for the two-hour tour, you can enjoy lunch or dinner with authentic dishes. Yum!

Eurasian Heritage Gallery

Address: 139 Ceylon Rd, The Eurasian Association, Singapore 429744
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—10 am to 6 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Contact Number: +6564471578

This one isn’t dedicated to Peranakan culture, but it’s still a gallery worth visiting. As the name suggests, this gallery focuses on the rich history and culture of the Eurasian community in Singapore.

Inside the Eurasian Heritage Gallery, you can find over 130 artifacts, 400 images, and 10 multimedia items. By browsing all these items, you’ll be able to learn about the community’s customs and traditions, cuisine, and more. 

Explore Katong Antique House

Address: 208 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428907
Contact Number: +6563458544

Katong Antique House is like a preserved historical artifact. It has been passed down several generations, and the current owners have kept everything intact.

When you step inside, you can find an impressive collection of traditional Peranakan crockery, jewelry, furniture, costumes, and photographs. You can also ask for the stories behind the antiques to gain more insight. 

Just like Straits Enclave, Katong Antique House doesn’t allow walk-ins. If you want a chance to explore this house, be sure to contact them beforehand. 

Take pictures of the iconic colorful shophouses

If Katong-Joo Chiat has an icon, it would definitely be these heritage shophouses. These shophouses have been around since the early 20th century, and they’ve been carefully preserved in recent years.  

But aside from their historical significance, these shophouses have become a tourist attraction because of their appearance. They’re so colorful and feature the signature ceramic Peranakan floral and geometrical tiles. 

If you have eyes like a hawk, be on the lookout for the Chinese couples below the windows. Legends say that seeing these motifs will bring good fortune to people. 

Play around at Carpmael Park 

Address: 166 Ceylon Rd, Singapore 429728 
Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Who says only children can play in parks? At Carpmael Park, everyone is encouraged to get adventurous—including us adults!

The heart of the park is the giant netted structure with a wave-like contraption inside. 

You have to navigate the structure by climbing up. Sounds easy, but it’s actually a lot more challenging than you think!

There are also swings in the park if you just want to relax and enjoy the cool air. 

Where to Eat

Blue Smoke

Address: 261 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427515
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Thursday—4 to 11 pm
  • Friday and Saturday—12:30 pm to 12 am
  • Sunday—12:30 to 10 pm 
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6589231592

If you’re looking for a cozy night out with a group of friends, you can’t go wrong with Blue Smoke. This restaurant specializes in hearty BBQ dishes and briskets, and it also has a cozy environment, so you can fully relax while dining. 

Additionally, since this restaurant is under The 1925 Brewing Co. SG, you can find several beer options, which are all brewed in-house! I highly suggest ordering a pint or two to round out your dining experience.

Smokey’s BBQ

Address: 73 Joo Chiat Pl, Singapore 427790
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Thursday—3 to 11 pm
  • Friday and Saturday—12 pm to 12 am
  • Sunday—12 to 11 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6563456914

Another great BBQ joint in Katong-Joo Chiat is Smokey’s BBQ. This restaurant is perfect for people craving authentic American BBQ because that’s the specialty here. 

Smokey’s BBQ only makes use of US beef and purpose-built smokers that are also imported from the US. They season and slow-roast meat cuts (which can take up to more than 20 hours!) to perfection. 

That’s why no matter what dish you choose—be it baby back pork ribs or any of their burgers—the meat will always be tender and bursting with savory flavors. To complete your meal, order a glass of Southern iced tea or milkshake. 

Lower East Side Taqueria

Address: 19 E Coast Rd, #01-02, Singapore 428746
Operating Hours

  • Sunday to Thursday—11 am to 11 pm
  • Friday and Saturday—11 am to 1 am 

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6563481302

If Mexican cuisine is what you’re craving, then you better head to Lower East Side Taqueria. In this restaurant, you can enjoy classic Mexican dishes, such as tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. 

There’s also an impressive selection of alcoholic drinks here—from draft beers to cocktails to tequilas and more. And if you don’t drink alcohol, you can order any of the fresh juices instead (I personally love the fresh coconut one). 


Address: 477 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427683 
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—8 am to 6 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6588751122

Charming and cozy is the vibe you’ll get at Nimbus. That’s why it’s the go-to place for people who want a quiet and relaxing dining experience. 

The menu here is also pretty impressive since it contains dishes from various cuisines. If you’re coming here early in the morning, you might want to order the Breakfast of Champions, but if you want something more indulgent, you’ll love the Wagyu burger.

Of course, don’t forget to buy a sweet treat after the main course. The croissants and cheesecakes are so decadent, but if you want a healthier option, you can try the tropical açaí bowl (it’s topped with fresh fruits and Açaí berries!).


Address: 382 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427622 
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—11 am to 12 am
  • Saturday and Sunday—8 am to 12 am

Pricing: $$$
Contact Number: +6569808835

Picotin is where you go when you’re in the mood for a memorable epicurean experience. The menu features dishes from various European cuisines, so dining here feels like taking a trip around the continent. 

Start your meal with a Caesar salad or lamb kofta, then devour duck leg confit or the Pico Wagyu burger. If you’re a big fan of pizzas, there’s also a great selection here; my favorite is the Falabella because it’s savory and sweet at the same time. 

When it comes to desserts, you can’t go wrong with the in-house tiramisu. The flambé waffle with a scoop of mocha almond fudge ice cream is also quite indulgent.

Zaffron Kitchen

Address: 137 E Coast Rd, #135, Singapore 428820 
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Thursday—11:30 am to 3 pm, 5 to 9:30 pm
  • Friday—11:30 am to 3 pm, 5 to 10:30 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—11:30 am to 10:30 pm

Pricing: $$$
Contact Number: +6564406786

If you’re looking for an Indian restaurant in Katong-Joo Chiat, why not give Zaffron Kitchen a try? This dining spot has won several awards and accolades throughout the years, so you know that they’re serving quality dishes. 

I always like to start my meals with samosas and chat masala fries; then, for the main course, I order tandoori chicken and butter chicken. If you don’t eat meat, don’t worry because there are also vegetarian options available. 

If you feel overwhelmed because of the extensive menu, I suggest ordering the Zaffron Tandoori Platter. It already comes with malai kebab, chicken tikka, mutton seekh kebab, murg pudina, and fish tikka; it’s perfect for sharing too!

Baba Chews Bar and Eatery

Address: 86 E Coast Rd, Katong Square, Singapore 428788
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—6:30 am to 10:30 pm
Pricing: $$$
Contact Number: +6567232025

What I love about Baba Chews Bar and Eatery is that it puts a modern twist on the classic Asian dishes. That’s why you can find meals like Nikkei-inspired grilled assam halibut, Singapore chili crab risotto, and dry bak kut teh.

Additionally, this restaurant is open all day long, you can come here as early or as late as you want. I recommend coming here as soon as the door opens because you’ll get to enjoy a semi-buffet breakfast with a mix of Western and Asian options. 

Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice

Address: 191 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428897
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—11 am to 2 am
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6563445911

Simple yet bursting with flavor, Hainanese chicken rice is one of my favorite Asian dishes ever. And one of my go-to places when I crave it is Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice. 

What makes this restaurant stand out is the fact that it uses fresh kampung chicken. This type of chicken has less fat, making it a healthy option, but at the same time, it’s still tender, juicy, and flavorful. 

Chicken isn’t the only thing served here. You can also find a good variety of dishes featuring pork, fish, seafood, vegetables, and more. 

Ponggol Nasi Lemak

Address: 238 Tanjong Katong Rd, Singapore 437026
Operating Hours

  • Friday to Wednesday—4:30 to 11:30 pm
  • Closed on Thursday

Pricing: $
Contact Number: +6562870020

Nasi lemak is another classic Singaporean dish, and a great dining spot that specializes in it is Ponggol Nasi Lemak. 

Aside from nasi lemak, this restaurant also serves chicken wings, fried fish, vegetable dishes, and more. There are also many drink options—from the classic kopi to homemade barley and homemade preserved plum and lime. 

Sometimes, the restaurant even holds a lunch promotion where you can order soft drinks for only S$1! Be sure to come here between 12 and 4 pm just in case. 

Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata 

Address: 300 Joo Chiat Rd, Tin Yeang Restaurant, Singapore 427551
Operating Hours

  • Thursday to Tuesday—6:30 am to 1 pm
  • Closed on Wednesday

Pricing: $

Are you on a budget? No worries because there are still affordable options in Katong-Joo Chiat, and one of them is Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata.

Mr. Mohgan has been making prata for over three decades now, so you can trust him to know what he’s doing. The prata here is moderately thick and perfectly fried to get that beautiful brown crispy crust. 

Eating the prata on its own is delicious enough, but to add even more flavor, you should try pairing it with curry. The curry—be it mutton, fish, or dhal—is slightly sweet and has a nice kick of spice. 

Al Falah Barakah Restaurant

Address: 363 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427608
Operating Hours: Open 24 hours
Pricing: $

In a way, Al Falah Barakah Restaurant is a hidden gem in Katong-Joo Chiat. This restaurant serves delicious meals at an affordable price and is open 24/7—what’s not to love?

I love the fresh prata and the curry sauce combo here, and the Maggi goreng is perfectly spicy. If you’re vegetarian, you have some options, too, like daal and dosa. 

The star of the show is their breakfast prata roti. I don’t like waking up early to eat out, but sometimes, I do it just to get a plate of prata roti in this restaurant.

Micro Red House

Address: 63 E Coast Rd, #01-06, Singapore 428776
Operating Hours

  • Wednesday to Sunday—8:30 am to 4 pm
  • Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6588794890

Micro Red House is labeled as a coffee shop, but it can also work as a brunch spot. For brunch, I highly suggest the Big Breakfast since it already has everything (sausage, eggs, salad, and more), but the four-cheese grilled sandwich is also good.

In addition to breakfast items, this shop sells different kinds of breads and pastries. I recommend trying out the sourdough bread and the sourdough egg tarts (they’re so flaky, crispy, and perfectly sweet!).

Awfully Chocolate Bakery and Cafe

Address: 131 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428816
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Thursday—11 am to 10 pm
  • Friday—11 am to 11 pm
  • Saturday—8 am to 11 pm
  • Sunday—8 am to 10 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6563452190

Awfully Chocolate Bakery and Cafe is a haven for dessert lovers. As the name suggests, you can enjoy all kinds of chocolatey treats here, such as hot chocolate drinks and chocolate cakes

But more than that, this restaurant also serves savory dishes. Personally, I’m a big fan of truffle fries and steak and cheese panini, and when the weather is cold, I like to slurp down a bowl of wild mushroom soup. 

For dinner, you can never go wrong with the Angus beef brisket, ribeye steak, or grilled seabass.

Baker’s Well

Address: 35 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428754
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—8 am to 9 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6563486864

Enjoy the taste of freshly baked goodies at Baker’s Well. This bakery offers all kinds of products—from breads to pastries—so you can satisfy your sweet cravings in no time. 

My favorite things to order here are the croissants (the matcha almond one has my heart) and the mini fruit tarts. I also really love the B&W Nutella Cake and the chocolate mousse cake because they’re so decadent. 

If you’re not a big fan of sweets, you can try any of the savory pastries instead. The mushroom chicken pie is very comforting to eat; it also fills your stomach easily, making it a great snack to nibble on.

Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique

Address: 63 E Coast Rd, #01-05, Singapore 428776
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—12 to 10 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6596786092

The Singaporean weather is hot, so be sure to cool down by getting an ice cream. In Katong-Joo Chiat, one of the most well-known ice cream shops is Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique. 

What I love about this shop is that the gelato flavors are always so unique that I can’t help but be intrigued. So far, I’ve tried and loved the White Chrysanthemum, which tastes floral and sweet, and the Macadamia Butterfly Pea, which is creamy and nutty.

If you can afford to splurge, I recommend getting the Paradise Set, which includes gelato tubs of assorted flavors (White Chrysanthemum, Lychee Raspberry, Roasted Sesame, Sea Salt Hojicha, and Thyme Cone Chips).   

Where to Shop

Singapore Trading Post

Address: 426 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427644
Operating Hours

  • Sunday to Wednesday—10:30 am to 5 pm
  • Thursday to Saturday—10:30 am to 6 pm

Contact Number: +6588919950

If you’re a massive enthusiast of gorgeous furniture and home decor, then the Singapore Trading Post is going to delight you. This charming shop in Katong-Joo Chiat aims to provide stylish and unique homeware items to visitors. 

The great thing about this store is that they source every piece of homeware from manufacturers across Singapore. So, you can consider anything you buy here to be a Singaporean souvenir—and a unique one at that.

Some of the things you might want to buy include the adorable aqua glass rabbit, the charming trinket dishes that have elaborate paintings on them, or the black iguana ornament. Seriously, there are a lot to choose from here!  

TheAC Boutique

Address: 420 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427641
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—12 to 6 pm
Contact Number: +6587427670

Right next to the Singapore Trading Post is TheAC Boutique, and this one also specializes in charming trinkets, though you can find other products as well, such as fashion and lifestyle items.

If you’re in the mood to shop for new clothes, this is the store to go to because you can find everything here; there are even items for children too! While you’re at it, you should browse the home decor section as well; you never know what you might find. 

Cat Socrates

Address: 448 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427661
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Saturday—11 am to 8 pm
  • Sunday—11 am to 7 pm
  • Monday—11 am to 6 pm

Contact Number: +6563480863

For many home decor lovers, Cat Socrates is their happy place. This store along Joo Chiat Road sells homeware items and other accessories with adorable designs.

There are also fun items for people who love gardening. In particular, you might be interested in any of the ceramic pots and vases; some of them even feature interesting designs like a cat-shaped one or a pot with an antique-style print. 

For tourists, there are various Singapore-themed items that you can bring home as souvenirs. Truly, Cat Socrates is a gold mine of adorable trinkets. 

A Vintage Tale

Address: 277 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-01, Singapore 427531
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Thursday—11:30 am to 6:30 pm
  • Friday and Saturday—11:30 am to 7:30 pm
  • Closed on Sunday and Monday

Contact Number: +6591870410

As you can gather from the name, A Vintage Tale is all about vintage clothes, jewelry, accessories, and more. The products here are also strikingly vibrant, so you’ll really be tempted to bring them home with you. 

If you’re a fashionista, you’ll love trying on their various apparel options and accessories until you find your style. There are even designer bags here if you want to splurge further. 

A Vintage Tale also has a bar, so when you’re done shopping, stop by here to take a sip of gin or wine. 


Address: 17 Joo Chiat Pl, Singapore 427747
Operating Hours

  • Wednesday to Saturday—10:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • Closed from Sunday to Tuesday

Contact Number: +6591124685

Onlewo specializes in upholstery, wallpapers, and curtains, so this is the perfect place to go when you want to buy stuff like cushion covers and ottomans. You can also find plates, silk scarves, notebooks, and other stationery items. 

What I love about the items here is that their designs are so cute. I’ve always loved floral-themed artwork, and there’s a lot of that here; there are also designs that are cute, artistic depictions of Singapore, and they’re perfect for tourists who want souvenirs. 


Address: 329 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427586
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—11 am to 7 pm
  • Saturday—11 am to 5 pm
  • Closed on Sunday


For some people, knobs and handles are easily overlooked details, but Lavavella doesn’t think so. Instead, Lavavella believes that knobs and handles make or break the room’s design, and that’s why they aim to provide the best knobs and handles.    

The products sold here are made from brass, and they’re designed in a way that looks simple yet elegant and practical at the same time. They have several options on display, so don’t hesitate to look around.

Additionally, you can buy any of the ready-made items, you can also request a customized design! Just chat with a representative about your idea, and be sure to be as descriptive as possible to get the end product that you want. 


Address: 450a Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427663
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday—12 to 6 pm
  • Saturday—11 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday—12 to 5 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Contact Number: +6587187370

If you’re a music lover, then you shouldn’t miss out on visiting RetroCrates. This store sells vinyls of artists (both old and new); you can even find collector’s edition vinyls of your favorite artists if you’re lucky!

Aside from their collection of vinyl records, RetroCrates sells the hardware you need to play your music. A few examples include turntables and high-end wireless HiFi speakers.  

Sometimes, merch from various artists is available here as well. Be sure to snag one that you like—you might never see it again in any other store!

Where to Stay

Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong

Address: 86 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428788
Contact Number: +6567237001
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Treat yourself to a luxurious stay in Katong-Joo Chiat by booking a room in Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong. This five-star hotel boasts rooms that are stylishly decorated to reflect the charming nature of the neighborhood it’s in.

Additionally, the hotel offers amazing perks to its visitors. The rooftop pool is a big winner because you get to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood; other amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and a function room for business travelers.


Address: Joo Chiat Terrace, Singapore
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For the ultimate memorable stay in Katong-Joo Chiat, you need to try staying at a Figment house. If you’re unaware, Figment is a company that offers accommodation services in some of Singapore’s historic shophouses. 

Right now, they have more than 30 shophouses and 17 design studios, and all of them feature artwork by 65 local artists. Each property is unique on its own, so you’ll have a unique experience every time. 

The property located on Joo Chiat Terrace is called the Fig House, and it’s noted for its airy and homely ambiance. It’s also fully equipped, with a kitchen, washer and dryer, and fast Wi-Fi, so you’ll really feel at home here. 

Village Hotel Katong

Address: 25 Marine Parade Rd, Singapore 449536
Contact Number: +6563442200
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Inspired by the rich culture and heritage of Katong-Joo Chiat, Village Hotel Katong has vibrant and colorful interiors. Additionally, the rooms are spacious, with a desk area if you need to work; there are also family rooms if you’re traveling with your loved ones.

After a day of exploring the neighborhood, come back to this hotel to unwind. You can take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, work out in the gymnasium, or dine in any of the on-site restaurants. 

Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy

Address: 50 East Coast Road, Marine Parade Rd, Roxy Square, Singapore 428769
Contact Number: +6563448000
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One of the great things about Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy is its location. It’s in both Katong-Joo Chiat and Marine Parade, allowing you to explore both neighborhoods, and it’s also near other famous attractions like East Coast Park

Aside from its strategic location, this four-star hotel offers cozy rooms. The standard rooms only have 32 square meters of space, but if you want something more spacious, you can choose any of the available suites. 

This hotel has a swimming pool and fitness center as well, so feel free to unwind in any of these facilities.  

ibis Budget Singapore Joo Chiat

Address: 219 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427485
Contact Number: +6563449888
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If you’re on a budget, then ibis Budget Singapore Joo Chiat is the ideal place to stay for you. 

Despite offering affordable rates, the rooms in this hotel are charming and colorful. They also have pieces of artwork that depict the rich culture of the neighborhood. 

If you’re driving, there’s an on-site car park for your vehicle. It also has accessibility features for visitors in wheelchairs.