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The meandering lanes of Zurich’s stunning old town are lined with medieval churches, Renaissance artwork, and hundreds of enthralling museums. Set at the meeting point of a scenic lake and winding river, Zurich is the perfect city to explore on foot.
But with such a wide variety of unique attractions and one-of-a-kind experiences to look forward to, navigating Switzerland’s largest city can be overwhelming for first-time tourists.
That’s why we’ve created this handy go-to guide of all the best things to do in Zurich, whether you’re travelling with family, friends or going solo.
So if you’re looking for a way to spend a glorious summer’s day or the best things to do in Zurich at night, just take a look at our guide. Here are our must-do activities in the sprawling city of Zurich…
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From thrilling adventures by Segway and tuk-tuk to mouth-watering foodie experiences where you can get a true taste of Switzerland, there are many fun things to do in Zurich. Here are our favourites:
Switzerland is known for its incredible Swiss chocolate so it’s only fair that the first thing to do in Zurich would be to try some of it. This epic chocolate tour offers 100 minutes of pure sugar-filled pleasure as you taste your way through the delectable offerings of not one, not two, but THREE Swiss Maître Chocolatiers!
Hop on board a tuk-tuk for an exclusive tour of the city and explore this spectacular Limmat town known for its age-old chocolate-making history. Along the way, you’ll learn about many of the city’s famous landmarks.
The best part? Nobody has to miss out on this incredible experience as there are even vegan-friendly and gluten-free chocolate options available! Mmm.
There are all sorts of fun things to do in Zurich, but this city Segway tour has to be one of the best. Zip past some notable city landmarks on this exciting three-hour tour by Segway.
Visit the Bürglihügel and the Hürlimann Areal, see the Paradeplatz, and do some window shopping as you ride down the Bahnhofstrasse, the most expensive shopping street in the world!
You’ll also see the National Bank, built from Mägenwil shell limestone, and do a drive-by of the Münsterbrücke – an electric scooter is a great way to cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time.
Running all year round, this tour is available come storm or shine – ponchos are available if it’s raining.
The mountains of Switzerland are heralded for their epic skiing opportunities. Escape Zurich on a full day trip into the Jungfrau region for the ski adventure of a lifetime!
Passing through the peaceful Swiss countryside in the early morning, you’ll wake up slowly as you listen to some fascinating facts about the region from your guide. Stop for a bite to eat at the famous mountain resort of Interlaken before reaching Grindelwald where the true adventure will begin.
Once you’re fitted with all the gear you need, you’ll descend the slopes for a two and a half hour beginner’s course with a professional ski instructor. The views of the north face of Eiger Mountain are phenomenal from here so don’t forget your camera!
Switzerland’s largest city is filled with bucket loads of chocolate, wine, and cheese, making the city a perfect choice for an intimate date. Here are the most romantic things to do in Zurich:
Treat your significant other to a memorable day of cheese and wine on the move, easily one of the most romantic things to do in Zurich! This 90-minute tour is the ultimate way to enjoy an authentic Swiss fondue in an electric tuk-tuk with some incredible views along the way.
Your private foodie experience will begin at the main station where you’ll hop into a tuk-tuk for an exploratory tour of the Old Town. At the first stop, you’ll be served the full set up of a traditional Swiss fondue in the back of the tuk-tuk with a bottle of local wine to savour as you sightsee.
The menu has a choice of sides to dip into the Swiss fondue, and while the traditional way is to use pieces of torn bread, you can also order a side of salad or fries. Swiss cheese, wine, and sightseeing? Honestly, it doesn’t get more Swiss than this!
The Muhlesteg Bridge is Zurich’s version of Paris’ Pont des Arts love lock bridge, although it’s certainly nowhere near as popular…yet. Steeped in tradition, locking your love down here is one of the most romantic things to do in Zurich – and pretty much a rite of passage for first-time couples in Switzerland.
Simply bring your own padlock along with you or purchase one from one of the nearby shop, adorn it with your initials and attach it to any part of the bridge that’s free. Don’t forget to throw the key over into the Limmat River – its tradition!
Luckily, the Muhlesteg Bridge is a pedestrian bridge which means you will have plenty of time to admire the incredible views of Central Square and the old town when you’ve finished photographing your addition to the pile.
We couldn’t think of anything more romantic to do in Zurich than relaxing in a bubbling thermal bath above the rooftops of the city. The Thermal Baths & Spa Zurich is housed in what was once the Hurlimann Brewery and has become one of the city’s best attractions.
The architecture here is simply incredible. The old stone vaults that used to store oak casts of Hurlimann beer now hold wooden basins filled with warm thermal waters for you to soak your tired muscles in after a day of sightseeing. The baths come with bubble seats, whirlpools, and massage jets!
But the pride and joy has to be the rooftop pool where you can soak away under the stars until 9 pm. The hot water from the Aqui sources is a lovely 35 to 41 degrees, enriched with healing minerals that will have you feeling relaxed in no time!
With fascinating museums, 160 playgrounds and wide open spaces where little ones can run and play, the city is ideal for a family fun day out. Need a few ideas? Here are our picks of the best things to do in Zurich with kids:
Take the kids on their own ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ tour in Zurich! This half-day chocolate factory tour is the perfect way to get a real taste of the world-famous Swiss chocolate.
The four-hour tour is completely private which means you’ll have a guide reserved just for you and your family. Inside Chocoworld at the Aeschbach Chocolatier, you’ll get to discover the world of chocolate through your senses, from sight, to touch, smell and taste.
Learn about the cocoa bean, how chocolate is made and how it is processed with tips from expert chocolatiers. And – saving the best to last – you’ll even get to make your very own chocolate bar!
Zurich is full of fascinating interactive museums that even your kids won’t say no to. Visit a science museum and discover a world of immersive learning across two Zurich science centres.
Visit the Technorama Swiss Science Centre where the whole family can experiment with more than 500 exhibits across 6,500 square metres of space. There are 12 sections to choose from across three floors, so you’re bound to find something that interests you. Mindscapes and Light and Sight are excellent for families with young kids.
Kindercity is another alternative for creative minds. A science city tailored to kids from the age of three to 12 years old, this museum is completely hands-on. Stroll through the museum and find unique areas dedicated to the human body, renewable energy, and sight, sound, and smell.
Little ones will love the open-air play areas, magic trains and the car driving school for under-aged drivers. Kindercity is the perfect way to make learning fun again!
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If you think that sunny days shouldn’t pass without a good old summer barbeque, you’re in luck! Zurich has a wonderful local hangout where you can enjoy just that.
Josefwiese Park in West Zurich is the ultimate family hotspot. Not only does it have wide open lawns for kids to kick a ball around on, but it also has a communal grill where you can cook your own food – perfect for a summer picnic!
Bring a packed lunch from home or pick up some fresh salads, snacks, and drinks from the nearby kiosk and enjoy a lazy day in this scenic public park. Lazy for you, that is – the kids will be having a jam at the playground, volleyball nets, and knee-high water fountains. Bliss! Everyone’s happy.
The fun continues well after sunset in this dynamic Swiss city. If you’re looking to get out and about, here are some of the very best things to do in Zurich at night:
An evening cruise down the Limmat River is one of the best things to do in Zurich at night. Cruises depart from the quay in front of the Swiss National Museum every half an hour between April and October.
Passing beneath all seven of Zurich’s beautiful bridges, there’s plenty to see on both sides of the river. Grab the perfect shot of the city’s ancient churches, the Grossmunster and the Fraumunster.
If you’re in Zurich during the peak summer months of July and August, you can find a cruise departing all the way up until 9 pm! That means you’ll enjoy some incredible views of the old town on both sides of the river after the heat of the day.
Zurich is chock full of Swiss beer gardens where you can relax and enjoy a drink with the locals. By definition, these beer gardens are open-air areas where locals enjoy beer and local food along communal wooden benches – great for socialising!
If you’re looking for suggestions for a good beer garden to visit in Zurich, Frau Gerolds Garten is a particularly good one. Located alongside the railway tracks, it has a Boho vibe with a beer bar made from old cargo shipping boxes.
Pick up a local craft beer to enjoy on a picnic table, on a cushion on the stairs, or on the patio in the garden. It’s a great spot to end off on a warm summer’s night.
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Spending a classy evening at the Zurich Opera House is one of the best things to do in Zurich at night. And while the 1890s Neoclassic exterior is a sight for sore eyes, it’s nothing compared to what lies within!
Awarded ‘Best Opera Company’ at the 2014 International Opera Awards, Zurich Opera House is understandably a famous city landmark. Stroll through the square to spot sculptures of famous cultural figures, such as Mozart, Shakespeare, and Wagner.
A total of 250 performances are held here every year so you’ll have to do your best to get into one, but the talent portrayed on this stage is extraordinary. Dress up and enjoy a night at the opera in one of the best opera houses in the world!
Switzerland has a reputation for being expensive, but not everything in the city has to cost an arm and a leg. If you’re looking to save a few pennies, here are the best free things to do in Zurich:
Zurich is a fantastic city to explore on two wheels. You should definitely make use of the free bikes for use as part of the ‘Züri rollt’ initiative (free bicycle rental in Zurich).
There are two main spots to pick up a bike: the Swiss National Museum and the Postbrucke. These are open all year round but there are even more venues available during the summer months.
To make use of the free bikes all you need to do is download the Zürich Gratis Veloverleih App and check for live availability and rental locations near you. A deposit will be required which you will get back when you return the bike. Unfortunately you cannot reserve these bikes ahead of time – they are available on a first come, first served basis!
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Zurich is a fantastic destination in the summer months when you can enjoy a refreshing dip in one of the unique swimming pools built into the River Limmat. These pools are usually open from May to September each year.
While there are some great ones you can pay to enter, there are also a few free outdoor pools. If you’re up for an adventure and a bit of healthy exercise, the Lower Letten River Pool is one of the best free things to do in Zurich if you can battle the strong current.
For something more leisurely, there’s the Upper Letten River Pool which has a 400-metre long swimming canal, a two-metre high diving board as well as volleyball, boules and free books to read.
The Schanzengraben River Pool is a historic pool surrounded by the old Zurich city wall. While the pool is strictly men-only, the Riminibar opens in the evening and is open to both men and women.
The Uetilberg towers above the centre of Zurich and offers incredible views over the city, Lake Zurich, the Limmat Valley, and even the Swiss Alps if the weather’s good. You can reach the summit by train, and enjoy hikes through the woodlands at the top. While the mountain is great to visit all year long, it’s particularly popular in November when the peak, 2,850 feet above sea level, peeks out above the cloud of fog that blankets the city in winter.
During the summer months, there are hiking and mountain biking trails which are then turned into sledging routes in winter. Don’t miss the Planet Trail that takes you on a two-hour tour through a model of the solar system. As everything on Uetilberg is free of charge, it’s one of the top free things to do in Zurich.
If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you can take the train up and then hike the slopes back down into the city. If you’d prefer a more leisurely descent, there is a cable car system running from Felsenegg to Adliswil and back again.
As you can see, there is an endless supply of super-cool activities, tours, and attractions in Zurich, from free riverside pools and bike rides to incredible chocolate, cheese, and wine tasting opportunities.
And while everything in this city offers a different in-depth look at this metropolis, we think the best thing to do in Zurich has to be visiting a traditional Swiss chocolatier to learn how one of Switzerland’s main exports are made.
So whether you’re travelling with friends, family or your significant other, we hope our list of the best things to do in Zurich has been helpful for you. Have fun!
Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.