Zurich, Switzerland Guide - - Hotels, Restaurants, Nightlife - Classic Travel
Everyone knows the Swiss capital is clean, runs on time, and is home to the emblematic Swiss bank accounts. But Zurich, which is promoting itself as “Downtown Switzerland,” is propagating a reputation as a funky, haute shopping and culture capital as well. With the revival of Zurich-West, a one time red light district and industrial area, young designers and design-savvy restaurateurs are setting up shop. The fact that it is possible to swim in the river running through downtown alone gives it loads of character. This very managable city has 1100 fountains and views of the snowcovered alps. What's not to like!
Starting from the tram hub at Bellevueplatz, take a leisurely walk along the shimmering lake (which, unlike most urban waterways, is clean enough to swim in). Take a stroll through Zurichhorn Park, which is lively with young people and creative types and filled with sculptures by Jean Tinguely and Henry Moore, among others.
Top of Fortunagasse
Go to this beautiful little square at sunset and be seduced by the quaint charm. Climb the steps and stand where the initial Roman fortress, Terricum, once stood. Play chess on one of two giant boards, or practice tai chi in the mornings with students who head there.
Beyer Clock and Watch Museum
Tel. +41 (44) 344.6363
While it seems there couldn’t be a more stereotypical touristy thing to do in Switzerland, looking at timepieces can be very interesting and educational. This place will surprise and impress, because not only are there cuckoo clocks and watches, but all kinds of timepieces dating back thousands of years – sundials, pictorial clocks, grandfather clocks and more. This is a memorable experience.
This hip, up-and-coming neighborhood used to be home to the red-light district and was a downtrodden part of town. If coming to Zurich by train, head north from the Hauptbahnhof to Langstrasse, the main street of this gentrifying area. Great people watching, hip boutiques and bars, and great multi-ethnic cuisine can be had here.
Tel. +41 (44) 251.6765
This solid art museum features the second largest collection of Munch paintings, and the best works by Alberto Giacometti.
Flussbad Oberer Letten
This riverfront oasis in the middle of the city is where bankers, athletes, Bohemians and young mothers all hang in the warm months. There are wooden terraces and squares of grass to have a picnic or a nap. Cafes and small beer gardens are everywhere.
Tel. +41 (44) 251.6659
This classic, consistent Swiss institution once served the likes of James Joyce and Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. Unmistakably noted by the gold crowns above the first-floor windows, Kronenhalle today still is a favorite among celebrities. Try the bundnerfleisch, thinly smoked beef, or at least a glass of champagne. The very grown up bar is where the captains of capitalism often meet and is certainly worth a pre-dinner cocktail or a night cap.
Bahnhofstrasse 28a (beim Paradeplatz)
Tel +41 (44) 211.2690
It may seem a bit touristy at first but this typical Swiss restaurant has an amazing selection of sausage. Be sure to have the potato salad as well. Fun ambiance and great Swiss food. You can't go wrong here!
Tel. +41 (44) 258.7071
Another happening haunt in Zurich-West, LaSalle is located in a red brick former shipbuilding facility known as Schiffbau, which includes a theater and a jazz venue. This open industrial space with ornate chandeliers serves food that is undeniably Swiss: fusing Italian, French and German cuisine.
Tel. +41 (44) 224.4646
Since 1836 this traditional Zurich shop has been noted for it's amazing pastries and coffee. Afternoon tea and sandwiches are the best as well as the Swiss chocolates. Now you can even order online!
This somewhat raucous bohemian restaurant can be quite fun. The decor is 50 year old grand that's a bit seedy. Never the less the food is pretty good with the emphasis on meat heavy dishes like pork corden bleu served by theatrical waiters.
Nothing could be more pleasant then lunching here in warm weather. You are in the heart of city and on the waterfront where the river meets the lake. You can have a drink, coffee or a three course meal. Brasserie.
In Gassen 6
The restaurant is located between Zurich's two most famous shopping streets, Bahnhofstrasse and Storchengasse. Great for lunch time people watching and good Venetian style cuisine.
Geroldstrasse 31 (Zurich-West)
Tel. +41 (44) 818.2254
This converted warehouse is the hip place to get thin crust pizza or pasta primavera. This is where the creative people in the Swiss media and arts are seen. They also have a fine selection of Italian wines that get passed around the tables. Drinkers get charged only what they pour. Not an exclusive restaurant, but a must try for those who think Zurich is dull and square.
The most elegant and quintessentially Swiss shopping is found in Bahnhofstrasse. The newer and trendier shopping area is Zurich-West.
St Jakobstrsse 39
Tel. +41 (44) 242.6044
For delightfully Swiss bric-a-brac, be sure to visit this retro 1950’s store.
Tel. +41 (44) 366.9520
Recycled truck tarps, inner tubes, seatbelts and more are the material for these rugged bags. But, equally interesting is the store they are in: 17 ship containers stacked on top and beside each other. This is a very cool, very avante guarde store.
Tel. +41 (44) 272.7422
Knitted clothes take on a whole new chic label at Zurich-West’s Beige. Local stylists Karin Maurer and Manuela Helg custom design figure-hugging wool skirts and accessories.
Tel. +41 (44) 211.5902
Zurich used to be a major textile center, and En Soie still embodies its whimsical design flair with delicious silk patterned accessories.
In a little side street is a store with detail and a color palette no less inspiring then Milan's Corso Como 10. From Swiss and Indian sources, products have a worldly humor; gifts just waiting to be bought.
Hauser & Wirth
Limmanstrasse 270 (Kreis 5)
Zurich is know for it's excellent art galleries and this is one of the best. It's located in a converted brewery. If you not in the art buying mood you'll also find an excellent art bookstore located in the complex.
Although the site is in German, it has a comprehensive list of the city’s many galleries – sorted alphabetically and geographically.
Tel. +41 (44) 253.7070
This combination luxury restaurant and bar serves Mediteranean food, but most come for the dark and intimate lounge atmosphere. The minimalist dÈcor caught the admiring eye of Wallpaper* magazine.
Tel. +41 (44) 225.3333
This local dance club/lounge complex and landmark is a favorite intimate venue for world-class performers when they are in town, such as Prince. Madonna once rented out the whole VIP section, and the Rolling Stones played an impromptu concert. We recommend the comfy, cushy lounge.
Tel. +41 (44) 211.9594
Dining above the river next to an old city wall and amongst the trees somehow makes this open air bar feel like southeast Asia, or at least the Mediterranean. Built on a wooden platform above the Schanzengraben, Rimini serves barbequed meat squeezers for patrons on Arabian-esque cushions. During the day, citizens of Zurich swim in the next-door swimming hole.
Tel. +41 (44) 268.6666
From Verdi operas to Mozart ballets, any traveler staying in Zurich for more than a day between the months of September through July ought to see a show. Be sure to book in advance, though.
20 something pierced crowd at a intimate store front bar with a post disco interior. This is one of the places to start the evening!!