Zürich may be the largest city in Switzerland, but it's still small enough to get to know in a weekend — and that’s just one reason you should bump it to the top of your must-visit list. There, you’ll find enough to do, see, taste, and explore to fill your days, and most sites are easily accessible via short walks or tourist-friendly public transport.
Awe-inspiring art? Try one of Zürich's many well-curated museums, modern galleries, or halls filled with centuries-old paintings. Daytime activities? If paddleboarding or paddleboating on a picturesque lake filled with wild swans doesn't do it for you, we don't know what will. Nightlife? An outdoor bar nestled in a freshwater bath is not to be missed. And food? Well, Zürich's only got the best. The best cheese. The best meat. The best chocolate. And loads of it.
Tour the city in one minute in the video above, and peep our must-hit spots below. If you end up hankering to become not just a visitor but a resident of this cozy mountain-and-lake-flanked town, you certainly won’t be the first.
TO EAT, DRINK & CELEBRATE:
Café Schober Two floors of ornate decor may make you think this restaurant is nothing more than an Instagram haven, but the decadent food and desserts are as tasty as they are beautiful. We recommend coming hungry for breakfast.
Kronenhalle There’s no better place to eat Switzerland's signature rösti, a potato-pancake-y dish that’s often served with veal. This classy and classic old-world restaurant boasts a legendary history among artists and philosophers.
Münsterhof Thanks to Switzerland's high standards for produce and food in general, you'd be hard-pressed to find a bad meal in Zürich. But for one that’s particularly satisfying, fresh, light, and delicious, we recommend the modern Münsterhof, situated in a rustic building in the center of the city.
Café Sprüngli Chocolate is the name of the game in Switzerland, and Café Sprüngli is in it to win it. Try the signature macaroons, truffles, or fruit-topped treats for an after-lunch pick-me-up.
John Baker Baker. It's right there in the name. Here, you'll find some of the best bread and other baked goods in town. Come early for the ultimate freshness.
George Bar & Grill This swanky, well-designed room with a view nods to the late '60s and '70s — you can imagine businessmen coming to George for a cigar and a stiff drink. Try the indulgent surf-and-turf and the apple-pie-flavored cocktail.
Modissa Rooftop We've always dreamed of a place where we could shop all day, then pop up to a bumpin' rooftop for out-of-this-world drinks and light bites. Well, it exists in Zürich, right on the bustling Bahnhofstrasse. Come for the sunset, stay for cotton-candy-clad cocktails.
Widder Garage Attached to a fancy and thoughtfully designed hotel, Widder Garage is home to an impressive collection of records that you can bet a great DJ will have on rotation every night of the week. Even cooler? The bar is filled with old pianos, making it an all-the-more memorable after-work or date-night spot.
Gonzo Club At the super-popular, part-punk, part-speakeasy Gonzo Club, you'll find Swiss coeds ready to dance it out any night of the week. Heads up: Wednesday is hip-hop night.
Fat Tony A new late-night pizza spot and garden by the owners of Gonzo Club (located downstairs), Fat Tony promises a tasty end to any night out.
Seebad Enge Any sort of lakeside hangout gets our vote of approval. Start with some R & R, and proceed to the welcoming dock bar.
Frau Gerolds Garten If we lived in Zürich, we'd come to this relaxed BBQ spot and bar all the damn time. Constructed out of shipping containers and filled with plants and kitschy furniture galore, it seems straight out of Harriet the Spy…except with a wide selection of local beers.
Clouds With its panoramic city views, small pizzas, and local beers, Clouds is a beautiful place to come for a drink with a date or family alike.
Les Halles Located in the back of a gourmet market with order-at-the-bar service and rustic interiors, Les Halles is a locally beloved restaurant that specializes in mussels. It's truly not to be missed.
Dante At Dante, polished interiors are matched by pastel-purple and bright-pink drinks. Impress anyone by choosing to meet at this upscale cocktail bar; it’s an indulgence you won't soon forget.
Rimini A daytime swimming hole becomes a nighttime watering hole with picnic tables to gather 'round into the wee hours.
TO SEE & DO
Kunsthaus Art- and history-lovers should pass a lovely afternoon at Kunsthaus, which houses one of the most important collections in Switzerland.
Landesmuseum Take an interactive walk through Swiss history, and marvel at the technology used at this historical museum with futuristic flair.
FIFA Museum Say what you will about FIFA, but this museum's appeal is undeniable. Not only can you glance at the actual golden trophy, but you can also hone your skills on the soccer version of a mini-golf course located on the top floor.
Migros Museum Get your culture on with cutting-edge, rotating installations at this modern-art museum across from a viaduct-cum-shopping center.
Viadukt Shopping Lose an afternoon, gain some delicious foods and local wares. Under the Viadukt, you'll find tourist-friendly but locally beloved eateries and stores chock full of threads and trinkets.
Uetliberg A scenic overlook with the option for adventure, Uetliberg is well-known for its mountain-biking course and active-workout circuit situated right alongside the Swiss hills.
Zürich Zoologischer Garten "Let's go to the zoo!" is always a fun suggestion, especially when it comes to Zürich's top-of-the-line facility. Don't leave without seeing the elephants, whom, if you’re lucky, you can catch swimming.
Freitag Flagship Store & Tower The cult-favorite Freitag bag has become synonymous with recycled fashion, but in Zürich, it’s the local flagship that has us swooning. The store is built out of shipping containers, culminating in an observation deck up top.
Hauptbahnhof The largest train station in Zürich is also home to some of the easiest shopping. Stop by to run errands or pick up a snack underground.
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Best Zurich Switzerland Activities Museums Food Guide