While Zurich is known as the financial and business capital of Switzerland, there’s still plenty to see and do both in and around the city, from relaxing in peaceful parks to exploring quirky shopping areas in refurbished industrial sites.
What are the top things to do in Zurich? 👇
If you’re planning to explore the picture-perfect city of Zurich, here are the best must-see attractions you won’t want to miss.
#1 Lake Zurich
Enjoy Lake Zurich along the lakeside promenade. In the summer, it’s always bustling with people, including skaters, cyclists and walkers. Along the path, you’ll see incredible views from the Bürkliplatz. And towards the Seefeld quarter, you’ll find the splendid Chinese Garden.
#2 Zurich Old Town
A visit to the Old Town (Altstadt) should be on the very top of any Zurich bucket list. District 1 is home to the Old Town and its cobblestone streets – filled with bars, classic Swiss restaurants, museums, and churches. Along the popular Limmat river promenade, you’ll find exclusive boutiques, jewelers and chocolatiers.
#3 Kunsthaus Zürich & Zurich Opera House
In Zurich, culture is always a must. If you’re looking for a culturally enriching activity, swing by the Kunsthaus Zürich and the Opera House. The Kunsthaus Zürich is Switzerland’s largest art museum, where you can marvel at the phenomenal art and sculptures of Picasso, Monet, Chagall and many more.
The must-see Zurich Opera House is known for its outstanding performances. An extraordinary neoclassical building on its own, it should be at the top of your Zurich bucket list.
#4 Swiss Chocolate
When thinking of Switzerland, you probably think of Swiss Chocolate! If you’re in Zurich, you simply must taste the world-famous chocolate for yourself. Stop by Laderach Chocolatier and Sprüngli Boutiques in the Old Town for some samples. Or check out the Lindt Chocolate Factory and learn from master chocolatiers alongside some delicious tasting.
#5 Zoo Zurich & Zoological Museum
If you’re looking for a family-friendly adventure, be sure to visit the Zurich Zoo and the Zoological Museum. All kinds of animals will compete for your attention in the Zoo’s various artificial ecosystems.
The Zoological Museum is home to skeletons and taxidermies of hundreds of animals, even extinct ones. You can listen to animal sounds and touch their various furs.
Nature lovers definitely get their money’s worth in Zurich, with quite a few mountains surrounding the city. Uetliberg Mountain offers several easy hiking trails, and the peak provides a panoramic view of the city below. In winter, it is THE place for sledding.
If you’re looking for the ultimate alpine experience, take a revolving cable car up Mount Titlis, where you can mountain bike in the summer or explore ice caves in the winter.
A local tip is to visit Grindelwald. A magical little village surrounded by mountains and lakes, Grindelwald has the most stunning trail networks in the country. Mount Pilatus in particular is known for its legends of dragons and giants. Hike or take a cable car up to the top for some truly unforgettable views.
#7 Zurich on a hot summer day
If it’s hot out, take a stroll along the Limmat River through Old Town (Altstadt) or hop on a sightseeing river cruise. Enjoy a boat ride along waterfront landmarks like the Town Hall, the National Museum and Grossmünster church.
Rhine Falls should also be on your Zurich to-do list. As one of Europe’s biggest waterfalls, you can take a boat ride up close and feel the enormous power of the waterfall yourself during the summer months.
#8 Zurich on a rainy day
If you’re looking for the top things to do in Zurich during rainy weather, here’s a local tip: visit the city’s unusual museums.
The Beyer Clock and Watch Museum is like no other. Located under the Beyer Clock and Watch Shop, it’s difficult to find but well worth the visit. Inside, you’ll learn about watchmaking and the history of time before modern watches existed.
The FIFA World Football Museum is a must for any football fan. Here you can learn about the history of football through various exhibitions and audio-visual experiences, and see a real World Cup trophy.
#9 Chinese Garden & Botanical Garden
A perfect way to escape the bustle of Zurich is paying a visit to the Chinese Garden or the Botanical Garden.
Located right beside Lake Zurich, the Chinese Garden is a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. It has a wonderful pond, pavilions, and a miniature palace.
The Botanical Garden is home to over 8,000 indoor and outdoor plants. The Garden can be easily spotted by its three giant domes – each one hosts different climate conditions, whether it’s tropical, subtropical or savannah.
#10 Explore Zurich West
Originally a run-down area full of derelict warehouses, Zurich West – also called ‘Kreis 5’ or ‘Industriequartier ‘ – is now an alternative hub of the town.
Its major attraction is the Viadukt, a stretch of shops, restaurants and bars built into the arches of the old railway viaduct that runs between the bank of the river Limmat and Hardbrücke station.
Frau Gerolds Garten nearby offers cute little shops, an urban garden and some seasonal attractions, such as a Saturday market in the summer and a fondue tent in the winter.
Where to stay in Zurich?
The Greencity district is one of the best options. Here, the city reaches the green slopes of Sihl Valley with sprawling walking trails.
It’s close to the city center and Niederdorf Zurich, and conveniently connected by the nearby Manegg railway station.