a couple days in Zurich
January 25, 2018 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I'll have some free time in Zurich this coming week -- my first time in the city and in Switzerland. Where should I go and what should I do? I'm thinking more in the arena of culture, architecture, and the arts rather than partying. (I don't drink.) Thanks!
posted by gerryblog to Travel & Transportation around Zürich, Switzerland (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Kunsthaus for art, moods for live jazz, Chagall windows in Fraumünster church; counterculture atmosphere, food, and concerts at Rote Fabrik and Café Zaehringer. Walk around a lot, it’s not a very big city but has some different areas.
posted by meijusa at 12:19 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you can, you might want to take a day (or morning, or afternoon) trip to Lucerne - I think it's a more-attractive city than Zurich and it's less than an hour away by train.
posted by mskyle at 12:27 PM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Design museum. Architecture: main train station and compare to Stadelhofen train station by Calatrava. University aula and ETH main building next door. Eat sausage at Zeughaus and look at the bankers and bourgeoisie dressed in black. Eat fondue and raclette, not on the same day.
posted by meijusa at 12:28 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Cabaret Voltaire, home of the Dada art movement.
posted by xo at 12:32 PM on January 25, 2018

On Thursdays the Tagesanzeiger newspaper has a supplement, the Zueritipp, listing upcoming events for the week.
posted by meijusa at 12:36 PM on January 25, 2018

Seconding the advice on the Fraumünster, which not only has Chagall stained glass but also modern frescoes -- plus the crypt was finally opened last summer after being sealed for 116 years, so who knows what you'll be able to see that was denied to the rest of us. I also liked the Jung Institute, which is located in Jung's old house.
posted by ubiquity at 12:50 PM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by kevinbelt at 1:09 PM on January 25, 2018

My only advice is to spend a bit more time researching food options before you go, since Swiss food is so expensive. We went to one restaurant in Basel that was nice, not super fancy, and the fondue (which was just bread and cheese, no meats or sides) was $26, the schnitzel was $45. It seemed like everything was half the price on the other side of the border. At least tax and tip were included.
posted by wnissen at 1:21 PM on January 25, 2018

Seconding Lucerne if you like historical architecture--we spent 3 days there in November, mostly wandering through the Old Town.
posted by telophase at 1:48 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed eating traditional raclette when I was in Zurich.
posted by Cogito at 6:32 PM on January 25, 2018

Consider visiting James Joyce's grave.
posted by filthy_prescriptivist at 7:25 PM on January 25, 2018

Also, have a drink at Cafe Odeon.
posted by filthy_prescriptivist at 7:26 PM on January 25, 2018

If you want some fresh air for a few hours, Uetliberg is a big hill on the edge of Zurich that has a one-billionth scale model of the solar system along a trail in the forest. You can take the S-Bahn to the starting point. Great views over the city & the lake.
posted by rd45 at 12:25 AM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'll second Uetliberg. Although in winter there's a good chance of hochnebel, or "high fog". Then again, Zurich is generally a summer city. There's no need to go to Luzern. The whole ZurichSee area is worth exploring.

The Fraumünster is fantastic as is the Grossmünster. As mentioned earlier, Stodelhofen is worth it just to see how an iconic bridge architect handled a metro train station. I'd also suggest some places along the Gold Coast, the communities along the northeastern-side of the lake, ending up in Rapperswil . It really is worth a visit.

A few outlier things. The industrial museum of food and baking culture in Tiefenbrunnen, at the end of the 2 and 8 trams (this might have changed over the years.) Finish the evening at the Blaue Ente for a proper modern Swiss meal. Yes, it's expensive. There are many really good cheap places to eat around the city as well.

Lastly, just hang out in my old neighbourhood, Seefeld. Close to the lake, the Opera house, Stadelhofen. Really good public transport. Tons of good restaurants, Chinese and Japanese fine dining and affordable vegetarian options, high-end Swiss and just solid locals with a proper stamtisch in the middle of the room as well as a few small unique galleries and museums.

While I haven't lived there for quite a while, I have a good friend that visits frequently for work and has confirmed it's all still good.

All this is accessible on the Zurich regional trains and local trams. I miss the place.
posted by michswiss at 1:42 AM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lastly, The SternenGrill is still at Bellevue Platz. It looks like it's been modernised and the staff have finally changed. But for an afternoon snack and beer, the menu still has my favourite, St. Galler Bratwurst with a Buurli, hot Senf and a Stange (small beer) for under 11 CHF.
posted by michswiss at 2:03 AM on January 26, 2018

We had something like a 20 hour stopover on a long train trip, and I wanted to get out on the lake because it's beautiful. Not sure how it is this time of year, but rather than do a tourist boat, we got a ferry to ZurichHorn, which is the first stop on a regular ferry, and then walked back to our hotel via a park with some great sculptures. We had planned on stopping for lunch at Miracle, an Italian/Pizza place recommended by friends that had just moved, but it was closed for a bank holiday.
posted by lettezilla at 12:01 PM on January 27, 2018

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