Zurich unites creative city life and idyllic scenery within the smallest of areas. Art connoisseurs and culture enthusiasts have over 50 museums and more than 100 galleries to choose from, while inquisitive city explorers can discover the striking contrast between the picturesque Old Town and the modern, constantly changing urban quarters. Nature lovers seeking fresh air and green open spaces will delight in the city’s location directly by the lake, in its abundant expanses of forest and parkland, and in its very own mountain, the Uetliberg. In addition, the vibrant nightlife, offering the widest choice of entertainment facilities in Switzerland, is perfectly suited to night owls and the young-at-heart.
Zurich in Brief
Zurich is situated in the very heart of Europe and at the foot of the Swiss Alps, and is the ideal base from which to explore Switzerland. Zurich Airport, which has direct connections to 170 destinations all over the world, is just a 10-minute train ride from the centrally located Zurich Main Station.
Event Highlights in Zurich
The city on the River Limmat pulsates all year round. The highlights of Zurich’s event calendar include the Street Parade, the Zurich Festival, open-air concerts and cinemas in summer, the Weltklasse Zurich and New Year’s Eve Magic organized by Zurich’s hoteliers.
Zurich, the Water City
Water is omnipresent in Zurich. Lake Zurich, around which the city is built, and the River Limmat, which winds its way past Old Town buildings and through up-and-coming urban quarters, lend it a refreshing Mediterranean ambiance. Top-quality, pleasant-tasting drinking water flows from the city's water taps, as well as from its 1,200 public fountains. Whether with watersports, wellness facilities or Europe's mightiest waterfall, the Rhine Falls, Zurich entices with a variety of watery experiences, ranging from laid back to action packed.
Art and Culture in Zurich
Art and culture play a key role in Zurich, for the city already showed itself to be avant-garde as early as the Middle Ages – as a major center for silk production and the silk trade in the 13th century, as the birthplace of the Dada art movement at the beginning of the 20th century and later of Constructivism, or as the home city by birth or choice of many important artists and intellectuals.
Humor and irony were their preferred means of expression. To this day, they are regarded as chaotic, irrational and steeped in legend. The artists belonging to the long misunderstood art movement known as Dadaism or Dada. During the First World War, Dadaists brought turmoil and disorder to Zurich and caused an uproar. But something happened that the upright Swiss citizens did not consider possible: from its base in Zurich, the Dada art movement conquered the world. In 2016, it returns to its birthplace to celebrate its centenary.
Architecture, Design and Fashion
As far as creative work is concerned, the same applies to Zurich: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Legendary institutions, an inspiring vibe and international influences – it is no coincidence that Zurich is regarded as center of excellence in the matter of design.
“At some stage, every outstanding person comes to Zurich,” Swiss author and Zurich resident Robert Walser once said. And indeed, Zurich seems to have a special attraction for outstanding literati.
Gastronomy in Zurich
Zurich's restaurant scene is just as diverse as the city itself. Its over 2,000 restaurants range from award-winning gourmet establishments to traditional guild houses with an eventful past, right through to out-of-the-ordinary venues in factory halls.
Zurich and the Chocolate
Zurich is a deliciously sweet melting pot of international visionaries, experts, and chocolate lovers.
Whether street food, slow food or haute cuisine: At FOOD ZURICH, everything goes as long as it stimulates the taste buds. Over a period of eleven days, the festival celebrates Zurich’s culinary culture in all its many facets. It is where experimental Swiss dishes meet traditional recipes and international trends, while seasoned restaurants serve it up at surprising new venues.
Hardly has the sun set than the respectable City on the Limmat shows itself from a completely different side: here, in Switzerland’s melting pot, where different cultures, young energy, and visions converge, the night is celebrated and in the darkness the world is reinvented. Within a compact area, Zurich offers visitors a world-class choice of clubs, bars, and music venues – which have been free of licensing hours since 1997.
Shopping in Zurich
From luxury to international brands, and from tradition-steeped businesses to urban Zurich labels – shopping in Zurich inspires both aficionados of exclusive items and lovers of fashion.
Urban Zurich West
In the district where in days gone by machines clattered and soot hung in the air, a trendy entertainment mile has now breathed new life into the former industrial quarter. Nowadays in a constant state of change, Zurich-West unites the city’s industrial past with urban advances and a diversity of leisure activities. Here, in the Kreis 5 quarter, machines have given way to art, design, gastronomy, shopping and music.
Christmas in Zurich
During Advent and at Christmas, Zurich exudes a truly magical atmosphere. However, in addition to enchanting Christmas markets, events, and light installations, Christmas in Zurich is also urban, chic, and contemporary: quirky pop-up bars, designer markets, and not-so-silent Christmas sounds make Advent in Zurich an unforgettable experience.
Zurich is renowned far and wide as a banking and shopping metropolis, but less so as a family destination. Yet both the city and the region around Lake Zurich have a host of exciting and varied attractions and excursion options that are particularly suitable for children.
Reformation in Zurich
In the 16th century, under Huldrych Zwingli and his successor, Heinrich Bullinger, Zurich became the birthplace and center of the Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland. Nowadays, churches, monuments and buildings invite visitors to explore Zurich on the trail of Christianity and the Reformation. In 2019, Zurich celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The Zwinglis of Today
Ever since Huldrych Zwingli set the Reformation in motion from his base in Zurich, the city has continued to be a source of stimulus for societal change. It is a perfect environment for innovators like Christian Bärtsch or Reto Knutti.
New Directions in Energy Supply
A revolutionary like Zwingli before him: Through his work, climate researcher Reto Knutti actively encourages people to change the way they think. ETH Zurich professor Reto Knutti develops computer models that simulate climate change. To him, delivering the message behind the data is just as important as the data itself.
The Food of the Future
A revolutionary like Zwingli before him: Christian Bärtsch of Essento develops products made from edible insects. Economist Christian Bärtsch was one of the founding members of startup company, Essento, in 2013. He now intends to introduce Switzerland to the lifestyle of the future.
Over the last decades, the tolerant, liberal-minded city of Zurich has become home to a lively gay and lesbian scene. Various associations and societies actively promote a dialogue between each other, and fight for the rights of and equality for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.
Fun Facts about Zurich
Did you know that one-third of all buildings in the city of Zurich were built before 1931 or that Zurich with its 25 “Badis” (open-air riverside or lakeside bathing areas) is the city with the highest concentration of bathing facilities in the world?
Sustainability in Zurich
Zurich, its tourism organization, and creative entrepreneurs are working together with the city and canton to systematically develop sustainability concepts and pursue their strategy for a long-term Smart Destination.