Looking for cool things to do in Zürich? No, the words cool and Zürich don’t cancel each other out. In fact, this tiny city known mostly for things like finance and fine watches is so much more than her conservative image lets on. Here’s my definitive guide, including things to do in Zürich West as well as things to do in Zürich at night.
I get tired of hearing from people who don’t know what they’re talking about that Zürich is bland, buttoned up, unavoidably expensive and culturally vanilla. Those people don’t know my Zürich. Buckle up kids. I’m about to take you on a ride through all of the coolest things to do in Zürich.
Zürich? Cool? Is This Possible?
Get ready to discover all of my favorite cool things to do in Zürich.
We’re talking the coolest shopping in Zürich, the coolest neighborhoods in Zürich, the best music venues, pubs and restaurants in Zürich, things to do in Zürich at night and so much more!
I’ve even created an interactive map, so it’s easy to find all the coolest spots.
Check back regularly because I’ll be updating every time I find something new. You’re welcome.
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My Cool Zürich Map
It took me a long time to find all the cool things to do in Zürich. That’s why I made you this interactive map!
Cool Shopping in Zürich
Start at Zürich Hauptbanhof (Main train Station). What’s that crazy, graffiti covered building by the train tracks? it’s Zürcher Brockenhaus, one of the largest and most well curated thrift stores I’ve ever been to. I purposely placed this cool shopping mecca first on your list so you can go there early to beat other shoppers to scoring the best vintage deals.
Arguably my favorite vintage shop on the planet, leave yourself lots of time to explore this multi-leveled museum of cool. The Swiss take very good care of their things so you could score some mid-century tchotchkes in mint condition.
Update your vinyl collection, buy yourself a genuine antique steamer trunk, swan around in a fur coat in front of a vintage art deco mirror, you can even buy yourself a coffee in the cafe. You’ve started your day with one of the coolest things to do in Zürich!
Grab a Drink at El Lokal
If you’re thirsty from all that shopping grab some libations at el Lokal, where you can sip a beer and nosh on Swiss comfort food underneath the watchful eye of a skeleton suspended from the ceiling. There’s live music here sometimes and a laid back outdoor beer garden and BBQ in the summer. Chilling at El Lokal is truly an authentic cool thing to do in Zürich.
Cool Things to Do in Zürich West
From Zürich HB, head over to Zürich’s epicenter of industrial cool, Zürich West. Only a 7 minute train ride from the hustle and bustle of Banhofstrasse, Zürich West (or Züri-West as the locals call it) feels a world away…in a cool way, of course!
Exit Hardbrucke station and head toward Viadukstrasse. Don’t forget to check out all the rad street art on your way!
Frau Gerold’s Garten
Frau Gerold’s Garten is an outdoor beer garden linked with cute, artisanal boutiques. This cozy, laid back city oasis is the place where Zürichers go for a casual meetup in all seasons. Grab a beer and some food truck food in summer, or enjoy some fondue in the winter! It really is an ideal place to start or end your day or night out. Chilling like a local is a very cool thing to do in Zürich West.
The entire street running from the Hardbrücke train station to the Viadukt is a delight, packed with street art, cool alleyway stores and restaurants. From Frau Gerold’s, Make sure you head next door to the famed Freitag store. This tower of shipping containers is home to a true Swiss original.
For the uninitiated, the Freitag brand is a unique marriage between sustainability and Swiss design. Every item you purchase there is made out of recycled truck tarpaulins. Freitag pieces may be pricy, but they are close to indestructable. I’ve bought myself quite a few items there over the years and they are well worth the investment. Not only that, but you’ll have a piece of Zürich cool that will last you many years to come.
Housed in a working train Viadukt, Im Viadukt is a boutique fashion, shopping cultural and social street like no other. They’ve got a little bit of everything. I’ve even seen bands play here after hours! This is a very unexpectedly cool thing to do in Zürich West!
And now…look around you. The sun is setting…but the adventure is just beginning. Read on to discover my favorite things to do in Zürich at night.
Things to Do In Zürich at Night
Zürich comes alive after dark, with a thriving arts, culture and music scene full of unexpected surprises. If you’re looking for something unusual to do to do with your evening, get ready kids because this is where Zürich really sheds her buttoned up exterior. There’s and endless variety of amazingly cool things to do in Zürich at night.
Cool Bars and Music Venues in Zürich
Moods Jazz Club
Impress the skinny jeans off of your hipster date over at the Schiffbau, once a shipping factory, now a mega performance venue and home to the super atmospheric Moods Jazz Club.
Get Close to the action at Moods.
In the mood for something a bit divier? Head down the street to Helsinki Klub. This weird little venue offers live music in a cozy, if rough around the edges atmosphere. It’s the closest thing to a dive bar that I’ve found yet in Zürich.
Or maybe you fancy staying on the, “right”, side of the tracks? In that case, after drinking your fill at el Lokal, you might head across the street to Stall 6 for some experimental theater. Stall 6 is high on the list of cool things to do in Zürich at night if you love all things offbeat and arty.
Volkshaus, which houses a cool bar & restaurant and a gorgeous concert hall, for some live music. I saw Patti Smith play live here and it was a night I’ll never forget. What a cool thing to do at night in Zürich.
Have a hot date to impress? Knock their socks off with something a little classier. Take them to Old Crow for some fancy and well worth it cocktails, then indulge in some vintage glamour at Ohh! Lala! Cherie!, the Plaza Club’s monthly burlesque show.
Now you’re in the former red light district of Langstrasse . A neighborhood which is home to a few of my favorite bars! Don’t allow Langestrasse’s seedy image to turn you off. Zürich is a very safe city. I feel comfortable coming and going there after dark by myself. Hanging out onLangestrasse is a perfectly safe and cool thing to do in Zürich. Just use normal, big city common sense.
Don’t miss Mata Hari, a tiki themed bar offering an eclectic range of live entertainment from bands to burlesque. A freaky-tiki evening at Mata Hari was one of my favorite things to do in Zürich at night.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more chill, check laid back hipster hideaway, Der Kern.
True music lovers need to check out the Gonzo Klub. This cozy basement venue brings in live international acts from all over the world.
Looking for something a little bit different? One of the most offbeat things to do in Zürich at night is to pay a visit to Dynamo Zuerich is a kulturhaus (culture house) so it has a little bit of everything! Live music, performance art, theater, instillations. You never know what you’re going to experience there. This is a truly authentic way to connect with the alternative arts scene in this city.
The Rote Fabrik
It must be mentioned though, that my very favorite music venue in Zürich isn’t in the city– it’s right on Lake Zürich. If you love music and the arts, you owe it to yourself to check out the Rote Fabrik, a former brick factory turned graffiti strewed artist commune and bar with a spectacular lakeside location.
The Rote Fabrik is a music lover’s paradise
Looking for another achingly cool city break? Check out my guide to 48 Hours in Copenhagen!
Cool Restaurants in Zürich
Zürich can be an expensive city to dine out in, so I’m sharing a roundup of my favorite unfussy places to have a bite.
With the motto, “No reservations, just good food,” you can see why I’m a Lily’s fangirl. This casual Asian-fusion eatery has an outlet on Langestrasse and a larger Lily’s Factory location in the cute Weidikon neighborhood. No matter where you are in Zürich, you’re never too far from a Lily’s!
Serving Lebanese and Turkish style food in a colorful, trendy environment. Bebek is a great place to meet with friends as the small plates are perfect for sharing.
Binz & Kunz
Another lively outdoor garden style restaurant! Binz & Kunz is the perfect place to while away a summer afternoon with friends.
Who says there’s no such thing as good Mexican food in Zürich? You’d have to be loco not to have fun at el Luchador, this cute hole in the wall taco place around the corner from the main train station. They even serve a mean margarita!
Cool Places to Stay in Zürich
25 Hours Hotel
Don’t want the party to stop? Make sure you stay at 25 Hours hotel. They’ve got locations on Langestrasse and Züri West, so you’re always in the middle of the action!
I think by now you’ve got the memo now that Zürich is so much more than bankers and chocolate. I hope you have some really wild fun in Zürich. If you get into trouble at any of my favorite places, make sure you let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram!
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8 thoughts on “Cool Things to Do in Zürich: 2023 Ultimate Guide”
Amazing experiences. We’ve been to Zurich on a cold day as well, but decided to roam around a little bit nevertheless! Here’s what we experienced if you are interested: http://traveluxblog.com/zurich 🙂
Hey there! What a great post on the more practical aspects of getting around Zurich. I agree, it is a must see for anybody visiting Switzerland. I’m a big fan of the Zurich Zoo too!
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