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Zurich

Travel guide for a weekend in Zurich including food, art, walks and parks, from someone who was once a local. This guide takes you through all the main bits of Zurich.

We lived in Zurich up till 2016, but Zurich is the kind of place that stays pretty constant. So, unlike some of the other guides, we hope this one can remain useful. While the Swiss Alps are beautiful all year long, it's probably best to visit Zurich in the summer time, when you can enjoy outdoor swimming and drinking. The following guide is based on a summer visit.


Friday evening

Nightlife in Langstrasse


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Not far from the train station is the red light district known as
. This is the seediest part of Zurich, but you know, it's still Zurich. To warm up, start by people watching and a drink at
, a bar next to the water filled with expats and some locals, or at
, a bar situated right on top of the water. Both have plenty of outdoor seating and have snacks too.

🍲From there, walk across one of the bridges towards Langstrasse for dinner. Our favorite restaurant here is
, a large Swiss restaurant with comfortable seating and funky lighting. The menu consists of tartare, soups, meats and potatoes. It's a very nice vibe. If you're feeling less Swiss, then try the really very good ramen at
or Thai at
. If you're feeling very swiss then go for
for raclette or fondue, but be warned that you will come out smelling like cheese.

From here, you can begin to really get into the Langstrasse. You can make a pit stop at
, an indie cinema with an outdoor bar area. It's nice to sit outside there in the summertime. Or you can just walk down Langstrasse towards
.

🍻The main thing to do on Langstrasse, besides people watch, is to visit the bars. We like
or
r for nice cocktails. Or you can try
for something a bit more low key. If you wander up and down here you'll find a ton of bars though, so have your pick.


💃 If you want to get into a party mode you can try clubbing:
is right on Langstrasse and has some good DJs.
is a bit further out but has a fun 60s themed retro vibe. If you want a very large clubbing experience, then head to
in Hardbrucke.


Saturday

Swimming near Niederdorf


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Carlo biking around.


Zurich is expensive, so we recommend grabbing a chocolate croissant from a Migros or Co-Op in the morning, they're super tasty. And then heading to
, the old town, to begin your day with a view. Go up to
, a hill that overlooks the old town and the river.

After your view, head straight into the. heart of Niederdorf and just wander around a bit. Some standout places are
for a hot chocolate or tea, lots of cozy couches like in a grandmas livingroom. Other places to call out are:
, another cafe or bar, which was the birthplace of Dada. Or,
a classic cocktail bar that also serves coffee. If you want to see a beautiful and expensive design furniture store then check out
.

If it's the summer time then we hope you brought your swimming clothes so you can swim in the Limmat or Zurich Lake. This is without a doubt a non-negotiable unless you hate swimming. Go to
where you can get changed, lay down a towel and then head into the river. The river is strong! But it's very fun. If you want a more chill swim, then head over to
to swim in the Lake.

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After a swim, you can have a sausage snack at one of the swim spots. Get a radler too, if you want a beverage. If meat isn't your thing, then check out
, supposedly the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe. Or try,
for middle eastern food.

🍽 Other dinner spots to consider are:

By night time you may be wiped out, so you might just have enough energy to walk down
, a very fancy shopping street. Don't go past 7:30pm though or everything will already be closed, or do go and just window shop which is just as good.

💃If you've got plenty of energy left then see what's on at
, where they hosts concerts and other parties next to the water. It's a little far out, but everything is close on bike.



Sunday

Museums and Hardbrucke


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On your last day in Zurich you might consider making a day trip to
, a popular weekend destination. But one more day in Zurich can be good for making it a museum day and some time to check out the industrial part of Zurich,
.

Begin your day in the
, where you can have coffee or brunch at ___ . Check out some of the shops and cafes here. Another worthwhile place to start is
if you're there in the evening. While you're here, visit the
( recycled messenger bags that originated in Switzerland) store. It's made out of containers and it's quite cool.

After that, walk over to the
, the design museum, which also houses the design and art school. The exhibitions here are pretty great if you're into...design. The other half of this museum is located not too far away, so ask at the front desk for double tickets if you want to see both.

If you've had enough design then take the tram to
near Niederdorf , which is the contemporary art museum of Zurich. They have really amazing exhibitions if you're even mildly into art.

Other worthwhile museums to check out are:
(Focus on Constructive art) and.
(Swiss contemp. art).

General tips


Zurich centers around a large lake called Zurich lake, there are a couple of rivers that run through it.
It's very very expensive, in all things food and drinks. Beers and sausages in the train station are the exception.
Zurich in the summer time actually transforms into a dream world because you can swim in all the lakes and rivers.
There's lots of cool art and music happening in Zurich but it's very very on the down low, and not really advertised anywhere.
If you want to see what local events are, you can sign up for a newsletter called "Ron Orp" before you head, and wait for their weekend email.) It's kind of hit or miss though.
The chocolate here is actually amazing and you will want to have some, we like Laderach but Sprungli is also good. It's very expensive, and very worth it.
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