Zurich is the financial centre of Switzerland and most travellers come with an expense account. The hospitality sector focuses therefore mostly on the 4 and 5 star sector. Zurich is known for its superb hotels, but these won't come cheap. Best is to go on a company rate, because rack rates are sometimes ridiculous.
Zurich is the financial centre of Switzerland and most travellers come with an expense account. The hospitality sector focuses therefore mostly on the 4 and 5 star sector. Zurich is known for its superb hotels, but these won't come cheap. Best is to go on a company rate, because rack rates are sometimes ridiculous.
<!-- When updating these hotels please always give the year, because prices change. --->
<!-- When updating these hotels please always give the year, because prices change. --->
Revision as of 15:03, 15 July 2013
Zurich (German: Zürich, Zürich German: Züri) is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of some 390,000 in the city proper and 1.2 million in the agglomeration area. Zurich is on Lake Zurich, where the lake flows into the River Limmat , in the north of Switzerland.
Zurich is the largest city of the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland) by land area and population. It is the financial centre of Switzerland and houses the stock exchange and the headquarters of a large number of national and international companies, and also home of FIFA's headquarter. German Swiss national and international media agencies as well as the German Swiss national TV channel company are also located here. Its two major universities, ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 21 Nobel Prize laureats) and University of Zurich (12 Nobel Prize laureats) are listed among world's 15, or 50, respectively, best universities. You also find Google's world-wide second largest development center in Zurich.
View across Zurich from Grossmünster
Because Zurich is the central node of the Swiss-wide train network and also runs the biggest and busiest international airport in the country, it generally is the first place where tourists arrive. Because of the city's close distance to tourist resorts in the Swiss Alps and its mountainous scenery, it is often referred to as the "portal to the Alps".
Contrary to a generally wrongly made assumption, Zurich is not the capital of Switzerland -- that honor falls to Berne. Zurich has long been known for being clean and efficient. Due to this, it has been continuously ranked as the city with the highest living standard world-wide for many years. However, only for the last fifteen years it has truly become a fascinating and worthwhile travel destination. This is mostly thanks to the liberalization of the party (more than 80 clubs are open at weekends) and gastronomy sectors (over 500 bars and more than 1500 restaurants). An increasingly cosmopolitan population has helped (every third inhabitant is a foreigner), as well, though more button-down Geneva remains Switzerland's most culturally heterogeneous city. Zurich always used to be well known for a demanding audience in opera/ballet, classical concerts, and theater. You find more than 50 museums and over 100 galeries in a inner city circle. Traditionally, the majority of all 59 movie show rooms show a diversity of international and arthouse cinema productions mostly shown in their original languages with German and French subtitles.
Limmatquai street and river Limmat
The official language is (the Swiss variety of) Standard German , used in all official publications and announcements, or in any written form, and practically everyone can speak it, but the native spoken language of the masses is Swiss German . The most common dialect is called Züridüütsch (Zürich German), though quite mixed up with any of the many Swiss German dialects, because of Zurich's central importance and hence its high fluctuation. English and French are also quite widely spoken and often used in official publications and announcements alongside German. Any of these languages will do easily. Note that it is often wise to speak Standard German rather than attempting to speak Swiss German; some people may think you are trying to make fun of their language.
Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH) (German: Flughafen Zürich-Kloten) is Switzerland's largest and busiest airport run with Swiss efficiency. The airport is actually part of the community of Kloten and a brief 12 minutes train ride from central Zurich. Trains run every few up to 12 minutes. Early in the morning and late at evenings trains run a bit less frequent, so if you travel at these times check the schedules here  (ZVV: Zurich's city and suburban public transport system), or here  (SBB-CFF-FFS, the Swiss country-wide integrated ticket and public transport system by the Swiss Federal Railways).
The train station is to be found at the lowest underground level G02 of the adjacent airport shopping center just accross the street of the arrival gates (). A single ticket to Zürich Hauptbahnhof (central train station in Zurich, on time tables usually listed as: Zürich HB) costs CHF 6.60 for 2nd class (full fare) and is valid for 1 hour, a return ticket costs CHF 13.20 and is valid from the airport to the city and within the city for 24 hours. Kids under 16 pay a reduced fare, kids under 6 travel for free if accompanied by an adult. There are also reduced multi-day tickets for youth under 25 at the SBB ticket booth.
You can board any kind of train, since the ticket is valid for ANY kind of public transport (including SBB-CFF-FFS trains, S-Bahn (suburban trains), tram, bus, boat and cable cars) within on the ticket indicated areas, the so-called fare zones (zones 121 for Zurich Airport et al., and 110 for Zurich City for the ticket from the airport to the city, , zones 110 for Zurich City and 120 for Winterthur count double in price calculations). Also take into consideration ZVV's special tourist offer ZurichCARD, a ticket valid, either for 24, or for 72 hours, for the whole area of Zurich city and its adjacent zones , including free access to all Zurich museums, either for CHF 24.-, or CHF 48.-.
Make sure that you have a valid ticket before you board the train, or whatever vehicle, and that the ticket is valid for the respective class, either 1st or 2nd class, if you travel by train; indicated by large big number 1 or 2 on the coaches' exteriour, 1st class is also indicated by a yellow stripe along the 1st class seats outside the coaches. Fines for travelling without any ticket, or a wrong ticket, even for the wrong class, can be hefty (around CHF 100.-)!
There is also a tram (tramway/streetcar) line No. 10 (colored pink) running between the airport and the city centre, a 37 minutes ride to Zurich HB, valid with the same ticket (only 2nd class necessary), though eventually gives you a better first insight into Zurich  and its adjacent suburban area, since running exclusively above ground and through the streets of the communities. Several bus lines connect to the airport and provide access to the suburban area  as well as the Winterthur region .
The bus terminal and the tram(way) stop are to be found at ground level south of the airport shopping center at level G1.
Most major airlines fly to Zurich, but SWISS is still the Swiss flag carrier and covers the biggest part of the international traffic at the airport. Almost every large hotel in Zurich provides shuttle buses from the airport to your hotel. The stops for these buses are a short walk to the right from the arrival 1 gate .
Zurich Airport has high passenger costs due to several noise reduction and approach restrictions. Most no-frill airlines fly to EuroAirport Basel which is 1 1/2 hour away by train and airport bus. EasyJet resumed its flights to Zurich in 2007 after a three year absence and Air Berlin offers several flights to Germany and Southern Europe.
If you are travelling without a Schengen Visa to another destination in Europe (via Zurich airport) and if you are not European citizen, you must not stay in Europe for longer than 90 days - even if your final destination would allow citizens of your country to stay for more than 90 days. Failure to do so will lead to very high fines (around 8100 Euros) should you try to leave Europe via Zurich airport .
Regular trains to and from other Swiss and European cities leave from and arrive at Hauptbahnhof (HB), the main train station, conveniently located in the city centre at the beginning of Bahnhofstrasse, with easy access to mass transit (map: ). The Zurich Hauptbahnhof is served by suburban (S-Bahn), regional (RE) and long-distance trains (IR, IC and ICN) with connections throughout Switzerland, Germany's ICE, France's TGV, and various other direct (night) train services to/from as far as Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart, Rome, Lecce, Milano, Paris, Barcelona, Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb, and Beograd.
Zurich's Main Station is an extremly high busy passenger node. There are between 350'000 to 500'000 commuters daily taking usage of this central network node. Put this into relation to Zurich's amount of inhabitants: around 400'000. Regarding the amount of trains daily entering and leaving a single train station, Zürich's Hauptbahnhof is the world's most frequent train station: 2915 trains every day!
For train time tables and tickets (see Switzerland's public transport hints), visit the SBB-CFF-FFS website, although it would sometimes be advisable to book international journeys online through the respective websites by the operating railways (e.g.: France's TGV , Germany's DB , Austria's ÖBB , Italy's Trenitalia ), especially regarding pre-booking deduction possibilities. If you are already in Europe, your local train station office should usually be able to book these trains. A rail pass may make your trip cheaper.
The SBB train station and the connecting underground mall RailCity Zürich has shops, restaurants, and grocery stores, which locals use when they need to do Sunday shopping, as it is not subject to the closing hours laws otherwise in force in Switzerland. It also hosts a Christmas market around Christmas times.
Among the 16 train stations (and 10 additional stops) within Zurich's city borders, there are other five major passenger train stations. Three of them belong to the five most frequented train stations in Switzerland.
Zürich Oerlikon, in the north from the center, connecting an old industrial quarter turned into an evolving business center around the station and Zurich's fastest growing business and living quarter Zürich Nord/Stettbach north of it and midway on the way to the airport. Trains from/to the airport, the northern suburbs, Winterthur, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen/Rhine Falls, Stuttgart, Munich, Salzburg and Vienna run through this heavy commuter train station. The direct InterCity trains Zurich Airport - Basel (does not serve Zurich HB) and Zurich Airport - Luzern (stops in Zurich HB) stop here as well.
Zürich Stadelhofen, just squeezed between two tunnel ends, is Switzerland's third most frequented train station (135'000 commuters per day), though it has only three tracks. It had been rebuilt 1991 by star architect Santiago Calatrava along with the introduction of Zurich's S-Bahn network. Nowadays, it is already again a bottle neck with up to 40 trains per hour serving mainly S-Bahn lines for a fast connection with Winterthur and Zurich's Oberland, as well as for the S-Bahn connection with the lines at the Lake Zurich's east shore up to Rapperswil. Its central location just next to Bellevue, the opera and the lake does not make it less important for both, the working people, as well as the culture/fun commuters. In its underground you also find a small mall.
Zürich Hardbrücke, looks more like a people underpass, because it is located exactely below the Hardbrücke, a street bridge connecting Kreis 3 and Kreis 4, otherwise by many train tracks seperated quarters, is another bottle neck in Zurich's S-Bahn network. Just next to Switzerland's tallest building and again a commuter's culmination point just about 4 km west of Zurich HB. During the day it serves the evolving business quarter of the 1990ies, at evenings and especially at weekends, Zurich's most pulsating party area.
Zürich Altstetten in the west of Zurich, serves an old working collar quarter Altstetten, which already turned itself also into a more lively white collar business center during working hours, is also on the capillary route to Bern - Lausanne - Geneva, Basel - Paris/Frankfurt/Hamburg/Berlin/Amsterdam, and Biel-Bienne/Neuchâtel (Swiss Jura).
Zürich Enge at the Tessinerplatz in the south, west of Lake Zurich's shore, impresses with its old building from 1927 made of Ticino's granite and serves only S-Bahn commuters mainly from Lake Zurich's west shore, but is on the major route to Chur/Davos/St. Moritz (Grisons/Graubünden), Salzburg - Linz - Vienna - Budapest/Beograd, Luzern, Arth-Goldau - St. Gotthard - Ticino (Bellinzona, Lugano) - Milano. It also provides a small 365-day shop.
The other train stations within city borders are called (clockwise from south-west to south-east): Wollishofen (S8, S24), Leimbach (S4), Giesshübel (S4), Wiedikon (several S-Bahnen), Selnau (the underground, below the Sihl river station of the S4 and S10), Affoltern (S6), Seebach (S6), Wipkingen (several S-Bahnen), Stettbach (several S-Bahnen), and Tiefenbrunnen (S6, S16).
The four stops within city borders of the S10 up to the Üetliberg: Bienz, Friesenberg, Schweighof, and Triemli (one of the city hospitals). The three additional stops (within city border) of the S4 into the Shiltal (valley): Saalsporthalle, Brunau, and Manegg. The three stops of the ForchbahnS18 shared with the Tram No. 11 (within city border): Hegibachplatz, Balgrist (several hospitals), and Rehalp, besides its starting point Stadelhofen.
Almost every highway in Switzerland leads straight into Zurich. This might be quite easy for tourists, but is also really painful if you have to cross Zurich on a daily basis.
Long distance coach services (Swiss Standard German term: Car) normally end at the coach terminal next to the main train station, where the river Sihl flows into the river Limmat.
Note: Do not confuse the blue/white ZVV buses, which are part of the local public transport system ZVV, with long distance coaches, mainly used by extreme low-cost travellers to and from traditional blue color countries.
As Zurich is located at the end of lake Zurich, it can be reached by boat from other lake villages, e.g. Rapperswil at the upper end of the lake.
Zürich is famous for its highly efficient, clean and safe public transport system, owned by the several municipal transport agencies and managed by the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (ZVV), which covers the entire canton of Zürich, plus some municipalities in bordering cantons for the passenger's convenience (in fact the 18x fare zones and some stops in zone 155). The network includes trams, buses (local city/municipality buses as well as the yellow bright Swiss PostAuto buses), suburban trains (S-Bahn), regular trains (SBB), cable cars and boats. The size and complexity of the network may be daunting at first, but you will soon realize that there are dozens of ways to get from one place to another and following any of them will still be efficient. ZVV's transport system is coherently and comprehensively integrated (fare-wise and timetable-wise) into Switzerland's Federal Railways system SBB-CFF-FFS, Swiss PostAuto bus network, and any cities/area's local bus and tram system of the covered area.
Timetable information for any public transportation in Switzerland is available on sbb.ch or can be obtained using SBB's free smart Phone apps, which also informs you about any train's position or delay in real-time. ZVV's own free app delivers you timetable information and real-time updates about ZVV's transport system condition and any delays. All of them require a working internet connection. The free Wemlin App gives you offline access to timetable information and network maps for the canton of Zurich area without internet connection and is therefore ideally for on the go usage in case you do not want to use data roaming.
The system is divided into numerous fare zones, with the Zurich's city centre and innermost suburbs being in zone 110 and the outer suburbs located in other zones (Winterthur is in zone 120, for example), and the more zones you pass through, the more you will have to pay for your journey. There are single tickets, day cards, monthly cards and annual cards. The monthly and annual cards are collectively referred to as ZVV NetworkPass.
Tickets must be purchased from a ticket vending machine before boarding or from one of the ticket selling kiosks. The ticket vending machines are in German, English, French and Italian and offer almost all regular tickets available. They come along with a zone map on every machine as well as clear instructions coming to your aid, so feel free to choose! Once you have got your ticket it gives you access to all modes of transport.
If you are staying for a longer period, consider a monthly ZVV NetworkPass, because even though there are no regular tickets valid for something between one day and a month, it takes only ten zone 110 day cards for a zone 110 monthly card to be cheaper. When travelling in all zones, it takes only eight day cards for the monthly card to be cheaper. A 24-hour ticket (marketed as a Day Pass) for zone 110 costs the same as two single rides. Be aware of that the two zones for the city of Zurich (zone 110) and for the city of Winterthur (zone 120) count double in calculating the fare!
If you do not mind starting your travels after 9:00, the 9 o'clock-Pass is the best option. It is available as both daily, monthly and annual cards and will save you a lot of money compared to regular similarities, especially given that the 9:00 rule does not apply on weekends. It takes only 5 9 o'clock day cards for an all-zone 9 o'clock monthly card to be cheaper.
For travels between the canton of Zürich and the neighbouring cantons, you use a so-called Z-Pass, available as daily, monthly and annual cards as well as single tickets. The Z-Pass system also has its fare zones , even in the neighbouring transport regions and can be used in ZVV's covered area plus one of the neighbouring local transport regions/cantons (Aargau: A-Welle / zones 5xx, Schaffhausen: Flextax / zones 8xx, Schwyz and Zug: Schwyz-Zug / zones 6xx, St. Gallen and Thurgau; OSTWIND / zones 9xx). Z-Pass tickets and cards cannot yet be bought from the ZVV ticket vending machines.
The restriction is that you can only combine one additional transport region with ZVV. So if you are not going to one neighbouring region more frequently than the others, you are probably better off with just an appropriate ZVV card and buying an additional Z-Pass single ticket/daily card for the not covered zones of your ZVV card to your final destination's zone, which is often cheaper than buying a single ticket all the way from your departing place. Attention: your chosen vehicle of transport must have a stop in one of your ZVV ticket's valid zones. Its last stop within your ZVV's card/ticket valid zones will then count as the point from where you have to add additional Z-Pass zones, or buy a point-to-point ticket. This does not work with with all (inter-)regional (RE, IR) or most long-distance (IC, ICN, EC) trains, which do not usually stop in one of your ZVV's card valid zones (except in Zurich HB, Zurich Airport, Winterthur, and sometimes Oerlikon and Thalwil), so you would have to buy a normal point-to-point ticket. S-Bahn and R, however, are local trains and usually stop at every station, or at worst far more often, so your chances of getting a cheaper ticket are better. Z-Pass officially claims: "The condition is that the mode of transport used stops within one of the ZVV fare zones given on the Z-Pass ticket".
Example 1: You have an all-zones ZVV card and want to travel from Zürich HB to Aarau. If using the S-Bahn S3, which stops at all stations, you need a ticket from Dietikon (the last station in the ZVV area) to Aarau, i.e. a 7 zones Z-Pass A-Welle ticket. However, (inter-)regional (RE, IR) and long-distance (IC, ICN) trains run non-stop to Lenzburg or Aarau (both far beyond Dietikon) so you would need a ticket all the way from Zürich to Aarau: a 9 zones Z-Pass A-Welle ticket.
Example 2: You have a valid all-zones ZVV card and want to travel from Zürich HB to Zug. If using the S-Bahn S2/S8/S24 and S21, you need a ticket from Horgen Oberdorf (the last station by S21 in the ZVV area) to Zug, i.e. a 4 zones Z-Pass Schwyz/Zug ticket. If using the InterRegio (IR) you will need a ticket from Thalwil (the last call of the IR in the ZVV area) to Zug, i.e. a 5 zones Z-Pass Schwyz/Zug ticket (this is also valid for a ZürichCard). Long-distance trains (ICN, EC) run non-stop to Zug so you will need a ticket all the way from Zürich HB: 7 zones Z-Pass Schwyz/Zug ticket.
Example 3: You have a valid ZürichCard (valid for the zones 110, 111, 121, 140, 150, 154, 155) and you want to travel from Zurich Airport to Baden by using the the InterRegio (IR) to Basel. Then you only have to pay a ticket from Dietikon (last valid stop by this InterRegio within ZürichCard's valid zones) to Baden, resulting in the purchase of a 3 zones Z-Pass A-Welle ticket (valid for the zones 154, 184 (you get this zone for free, for convenience reasons), 572, 570). If you want to travel to Basel, then you have to buy a ticket from Dietikon to Basel.
Example 4: Assuming you are living in Fischenthal (zone 173) and you are working in Rapperswil (zone 180) and you own therefore a monthly/annual ZVV-pass for the three zones 173, 134, 180. Now you want to travel to Schmerikon (zone 995). If you travel via Rapperswil (S-Bahn) and then change there to the regional train (R) to Schmerikon, then you only have to pay a ticket from Blumenau to Schmerikon, resulting in a 1 zone Ostwind ticket for the zone 995. However, if you want to take the buses through the hills just for fun along Wald (zone 134) and Goldingen-Egligen (zone 994) and Eschenbach (zone 995), then you have to buy a 3 zones Tarifverbund ZVV-OST ticket (valid for the zones 134, 994, 995).
For all details regarding fares, see zvv.ch (in German) or zvv.ch/en (in English). Also, staffed service desks called Ticketeria are available at the major tram hubs, if you need assistance in choosing the right travel pass for your needs. You can also ask the personel at the ticket counters in any of the SBB-CFF-FFS railway stations as they sell ZVV tickets as well.
The Swiss Pass by Swiss Travel System is valid on all public transport in Zurich and, if you are a tourist visiting most of Switzerland, this may be your best way to saving both money and time spent trying to figure out zones, routes, and fare options. Eurail passes are valid only on the S-Bahn and boats. Interrail passes are valid on the S-Bahn (although the ZVV website claims a "reduction" for other routes for Interrail holders). Nevertheless, you may find you do not need the trams and buses if you do not mind walking around a little.
By tram and bus
Trams in Zurich
Several tram lines and buses (most of them electrified) cover the city at street level. Like all other public transport in Zurich, you purchase and validate tickets before boarding, or risk a fine if they decide to spot check. You can find a schedule at every stop which is accurate to the minute, and are most of the time accurate. However these schedules can be missed, because of snow, wet leaves on the tracks during autumn, or exceptional traffic can mix up the schedule. But this does not really matter, since their frequency is that high (every 7 to 15 minutes) you just wait for the next. Check ZVV's free mobile app for updated real-time infos, or listen to the annoncements, available at many stops.
The S-Bahn is Zürich's convenient and fast suburban rail system which covers nearly all suburbs of Zürich and beyond. All lines except the rural ones pass through the Hauptbahnhof. The ZVV offers directions  for a series of excursions on the S-Bahn.
You must have a validated ticket before you board. If you do not have a ticket you will be liable for an on-the-spot fine (around CHF 100.-).
There are two types of boat-based public transport operated in Zürich: river buses and lake steamers. The river boats operate in the summer months only and the lake boats operate on a much reduced schedule during the winter.
The river buses operate between the Landesmuseum (near the Hauptbahnhof) along the Limmat River and out in the Zürichsee (Zürich Lake) to Tiefenbrunnen. There are several stops along the Limmat River.
The Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG)  operates lake steamers which leave from Burkliplatz (at the end of Bahnhofstrasse). The ZSG's website provides information on destinations and ships. The ZSG offers a variety of tourist-oriented trips (including Jazz Brunch, and historic restored steam ships), and a popular trip is to Rapperswil at the south end of the Zürichsee. The town has a beautiful castle overlooking the lake surrounded by a medieval town.
ZVV fares apply to both boat service lines.
Night buses and trains
Regular bus, tram and S-bahn service ends around half past midnight. Past that time, a bus and S-bahn based nighttime network is available on weekends and connects in 30-minute intervals the main hubs within the city and the greater Zurich region. Passengers require a valid ZVV ticket plus a night supplement (CHF 5.-) to be purchased before you board. Tickets can be purchased from any ticket machine or by SMS from a swiss mobile number.
The main train station, old town and the lake promenade and all nearby tourist attractions are easily walkable. You may find that you don't need transport for most of your tourist needs once you get into the city.
You can "rent" bikes, skateboards etc. for free from 7AM-9:20PM daily May-Oct at several places in Zurich and year-round at the central train station. All you need is your passport and a CHF 20 deposit as guarantee. This offer is called "Züri rollt (German only)". You can get and return the bikes at several locations: the bikegate just next to the central station, next to the "Globus City" shopping centre, next to the opera, or at the Swissotel in Oerlikon. If you can't find these places, don't hesitate to ask some locals, they should know at least the bikegate at the central station. The Zurich Transit Company, VBZ also provides information about these bikes in English . Nevertheless, you shouldn't count on it because sometimes the "rent" spots run out of bikes.
Driving in Zurich is possible, but it is painful as the city centre is not easy to navigate by car by north-americans or Australians, who are not used to such conditions. See also Switzerland's recommendations for driving.
View on the city from along river Limmat
St. Peter Church from Lindenhof
Grossmünster in Zurich
Fraumunster windows by Chagal
Most of the interesting sights are in the old town around the river and lakefront.
Grossmünster, Zwingliplatz, . Old Romanesque church, symbol of reformed Zurich, where reformer Huldrych Zwingli was appointed the people's priest in 1519. Go up the tower for a great view of Zurich, though the stairs can be quite small and steep. Tower 4CHF/2CHF students.
Fraumünster, Kämbelgasse 2, . Old Gothic church (former convent) with window paintings made by Marc Chagall. No photos or videos allowed inside.
Landesmuseum, Museumstrasse 2, ☎ +41 44 218 65 11, . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM and most public holidays including M. The biggest Swiss history museum. You can also learn about the various traditions of the cantons comprising Switzerland. 10CHF.
Kunsthaus, Heimplatz, 2, ☎ +41 44 253 84 84, . One of the major Swiss art museums. Its specialities are modern sculpturer Giacometti and the surrealist 18th Century painter Fuseli, both Swiss. Entry is free to the main collection Wednesdays.
Schanzengraben. A small canal that used to be part of the city fortifications between Limmat and Sihl. From the main station, go to Gessnerallee, find the stairways down to the tiny creek, and walk all the way to the lake.
Rietberg Museum, Gablerstrasse 15, ☎ +41 (0)44 206 31 31, . One of Europe's best collections of Asian art (mainly Indian drawings).
Langstrasse. Red light ateliers and stylish bars start to coexist side by side to the about 15 strip clubs.
Zoo, Zürichbergstrasse 221, ☎ +41 44 254 25 05, . With the new Masoala Rainforest Hall, the Zoo is really worth a visit!
Lake Promenade. Especially during summer, the lake is a beautiful place to spend the evening or the weekend. Starting from Bellevue, the boardwalk goes for about three kilometers along the lake towards Tiefenbrunnen. About halfway from Bellevue there is a meadow where you will find thousands of people on a sunny day.
Chinese Garden, ☎ +41 44 435 21 11, . This small but beautiful Chinese garden was offered to the city of Zurich by the Chinese city of Kunming as symbol of gratitude after Zurich helped Kunming with technical knowledge.
Le Corbusier House, (near Chinese Garden), . A beautiful, modern villa planned by the famous Swiss architect. The visiting hours are very limited (i.e. one day / week only in the summer) and entry is expensive. Additionally, there is a legal battle between the city (owner) and the long time tenant.
Lindenhof. The hill in the heart of the old town. A beautiful view of the city and one time location of a Roman fort.
Niederdorf. The old town offers beautiful alleys, restaurants and shopping mainly aimed at younger consumers. In the evenings, people visit the Niederdorf's many bars.
Bahnhofstrasse. One of the busiest and best known shopping streets in the world. Highly refined. Certainly a must-see for every tourist in Zurich! (see below).
Museum Buehrle, Zollikerstrasse 172, ☎ +41 44 422 00 86, . A rich private art collection worth visiting - although a little less rich after a recent brazen robbery in broad daylight. Call ahead, as it's currently not open during regular hours.
Jacob Coffee Museum, Seefeldquai 17, ☎ +41 44 388 61 51, . An original museum which describes the evolution of coffee and different aspects of the culture that has developed around it. The museum is closed for renovation until September 2013.
Zurich West. This modern quarter used to be an industrial one, but modern urban developments made it into a centre of vibrant night life.
Buildings on Lake Zurich
Beyer Watch Museum, Bahnhofstrasse 31 - 8001 Zurich, ☎ 043 344 63 63, . Monday to Friday 2.00pm - 6.00pm. The Beyer Watch museum is located downstairs from the very fancy (and expensive) Beyer Store on Bahnhofstrasse. It is small but fascinating. They have many watches dating back hundreds of years. Many are one-of-a-kind, beautiful examples of exquisite watch-making. Open Monday-Friday 2-6 pm. CHF 8.
Take the Polybahn, a 19th century funicular, up the steep hill for a fine view. Starts at tram station Central and goes up to the ETH. Zone 110 ZVV ticket is valid. Nice terrace up there. During the week, the student cafeteria below the terrace is also open to the public.
Go skiing by train — Buy a snow'n'rail ticket (train & skipass) at the Hauptbahnhof during winter months, train out in morning, back in evening. Flumserberg is the closest large ski-resort, popular with people from Zurich, with a good range of runs for beginners and experts. Retreat to the right side of the resort if the rest gets busy.
Take a trip on the Zürichsee with one of the two old steam ships. There are a few different routes you can choose from, which will vary mainly in the distance. Or rent a small rowboat.
Go up Uetliberg, a hill overlooking Zurich. You can hike up, or take a train from the main station. Enjoy the 360 degree view from a tall viewing tower (not for vertigo sufferers!). This is also the start of the planetenweg (planetary walk), an 8 mile walk along the ridge with models of the planets along the way. These are scaled down in true proportion to the solar system. To look at Zürich from the other hills, go to the Irchel (Tram station Milchbuck) or Käferberg (Bucheggplatz, walk up the hill and keep right of the forest).
Go club-hopping — Zürich has proportionately the largest number of clubs per capita in Europe. Pick up a free copy of the 20 Minuten (20 Minutes) paper and start exploring.
Go for a bike ride! You can get free bikes, skates or other fun transport at several stops throughout town. Beware though that biking within the city is only for the experienced, as trams and buses frequent the roads and tram tracks are a serious hazard to inexperienced cyclists.
The Grossmunster sometimes has organ concerts in the evenings. Check the front door for notices.
Take a 45 min train ride to see the largest waterfall in Europe, the Rhine Falls. Take the train from the Zurich Airport or Zurich HB (central station) to either Winterthur then transfer trains to Schloss Laufen (from April-Oct) or Schaffhausen then take the city bus #1 or #6 to Neuhausen Zentrum.
Streetparade,  — Currently the biggest open air techno rave in Europe. It happens one day each year on the second Saturday of August, during which trucks which function as mobile soundsystems ("Love mobiles") start driving along the lake side, starting from the east at Utoquai and ending at the west at Hafen Enge. Every year this event attracts nearly a million visitors who dance in the streets to the music which you can hear from anywhere in the city. After the Streetparade the party doesn't stop, there are open air parties along the route until midnight and club parties at various locations in town until late the next day, to keep the party going. Don't be surprised if the city's cleanliness isn't up to its usual standard the next day.
Swiss national day, August 1st — Celebrations are carried out in many cities in the evenings and fireworks are launched at night. Watch them over the lake, or if you're experienced with safely launching fireworks yourself, you can buy them in the days leading up to the national holiday and have fun. The display over the Rheinfall, one hour away by S-Bahn, is also extremely popular.
Züri Fäscht, which occurs every 3 years (last held 5-7th July 2013, next 2016), is a weekend festival celebrating Zurich.
Sechseläuten, around mid-April, the guilds of Zürich celebrate their traditional spring festival with the burning of the snow man (Böögg). A procession of several hundreds of people with historical guild costumes and horses takes place in the centre of the town.
Shows and Theatre
Rote Fabrik (Red Factory), . An old silk factory converted to a centre of youth culture and art in the 1980s. The Red Factory became one of the most exciting parts of cultural life. An artists coop, a couple of kilometres south, form along the west bank of Lake Zurich. They have a variety of events, including music, film and theatre.
Theater am Neumarkt, Neumarkt 5, . Closed Summer. Closer to the city centre.
Schauspielhaus, Schauspielhaus Pfauen, Rämistrasse 34, 8001 Zürich (Tram stop Kunsthaus), ☎ +41 44 258 77 77, . Zurich's Schauspielhaus is one of the most important theatres in the German speaking part of Europe. The Schauspielhaus has several locations, the most important one being the Pfauen. Students can get cheap last minute tickets (10 minutes before the show) if they show their student ID.
Opernhaus, Falkenstrasse 1, CH-8008 Zurich (Tram stop Opernhaus, or take the S-train to Stadelhofen), ☎ +41 44 268 64 00, . The Zurich Opera house shows frequently changing productions of world famous operas. As with the Schauspielhaus, students get a big last-minute discount. The best seats costs 45 CHF for students.
Cinema Arthouse Le Paris (Arthouse Le Paris), Gottfriedkellerstrasse 1, CH-8001 Zurich (Tram stop Stadelhofen, or take the S-train to Stadelhofen), ☎ +41 44 250 55 00, . Frequently changing Arthouse Movies, students get a discount.
ETH Zürich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule)  is one of the most renowned technical universities in the world.
Switzerland has a very strict labor market. You will need a work permission visa and promotion from an employer.
For citizens of the EU-25 countries the bilateral agreements makes it easier to gain a temporary work permit typically for 5 years that is renewable if you have worked. Often a 1 year permit is issued to EU applicants, as such candidates can repeatedly renew even these 1 year permits. Legally, EU applicants have the same status as Swiss applicants when applying for jobs (employer does not need to justify hiring them, and must hire them in preference to non-EU/non-Swiss applicants if skills are equivalent).
For all other citizenships you need a company behind you and you must have skills that are rare in the Swiss (or EU!) labor market.
Working without permission can lead to a night in prison and deportation depending on you and the agreement with your home country.
For shopping in Zürich there are three different areas in the centre:
Bahnhofstrasse, which runs from the Zürich Train Main station "Hauptbahnhof" right down to the lake. Bahnhofsstrasse is famous for being one of the most exclusive and expensive shopping streets in the world. Here you can get anything from diamond rings to chocolate to fur coats. Globus and Jelmoli are two fiercely competitive department stores, both of whom carry items from many high-end brands.
Niederdorf, which is the Old Part of Zurich and expands from "Bellevue" by the Lake right to "Central" which is just over the River from the train station. The Niederdorf is more for young people. Aside from a lot of fast food places you will find a lot of trendy clothes stores here.
Löwenstrasse, which runs west of Bahnhofstrasse from the main train station, has lower range shops and a large branch of Migros, a department store chain.
Swiss clocks and watches
You may be disappointed to know that most of the cheap watches and clocks in Switzerland are imported from China and Japan for their cheap quartz movements (including most of the wall clocks and alarm clocks sold at department stores, for example). Don't purchase a "Migros Budget" clock for 8CHF thinking it is a Swiss clock! Nevertheless, real Swiss-made clocks are still well-known for their quality and reliability, and intricate mechanics. The following are true Swiss-made watches:
Swatch, possibly your best bet for a "cheap" Swiss watch (40-100CHF) and perhaps better suited for the younger generation. Available in their stores on Bahnhofstrasse and various other locations, or in department stores.
M-Watch, based on both Mondaine and Migros and available in Migros Electronics stores such as the one on the 2nd floor of the Lowenplatz location. Also relatively inexpensive (40-100CHF). Do not confuse this with "M-Budget" which is an imported cheap watch.
Mondaine is known for their use of the famous SBB railway clock face. You can buy a replica of the SBB clock as a watch or a wall clock in most major railway stations, among other locations. However, you should note that most of them do not replicate the hallmark smooth movement of the second hand for 58.5 seconds followed by the 1.5 second pause that is characteristic of real SBB railway clocks, but they do replicate the clock face. They are quartz, and the price may seem a little inflated to you (130-180CHF). The vast majority of SBB railway clocks are actually produced by Mobatime (Moser-Baer AG), not Mondaine, even though Mondaine's name appears on some of the larger clocks such as the Treffpunkt in Zurich HB. Mondaine's wall and desk clocks, however, are only of "Swiss design" and are manufactured in China and Taiwan.
Mid-range brands (100-500CHF) can be found at clock and watch stores throughout the city. Just walk in and have a look if you're interested.
Upper-end watches and clocks, such as Rolex, are also sold, but you should probably do more research into them than you can find here. If you just want to stare at some of the most expensive watches for sale, take a look at the Bucherer store window at Bahnhofstrasse and see what a 25,000CHF watch looks like.
Freyis the number one in the Swiss Chocolate market and is mainly sold in Migros supermarkets. It is offering a premium quality for a customer friendly price. Having a market share of almost 40% it is well established in the market.
Chocolat Frey is accessible by taking S-Bahn line S3 to Aarau (42 min) and then the local bus number 1 to the stop "Industrie" (8 min). It offers factory tours on request for groups of at least 12 persons at a small fee per person. It is 100% Swiss and produces as one of the few Swiss manufacturers from bean to bar. It also is present in more than 50 export markets. In Export it is besides the Frey branded chocolates very often also available under Private Label offers such as those from Marks & Spencer, Loblaw, Tesco, Coles, Woolworths and many more.
Lindt is available at the Coop and other supermarkets besides Migros for 2-2.50CHF, but Lindt chocolates are also sold at the factory store, which is accessible by taking the S-Bahn S8 to Kilchberg (12 min) and then bus 163 to the stop "Lindt & Sprüngli" (2-3 min). Hours are limited (M-F 9AM-5PM). The factory store prices are somewhat lower than supermarket prices (on the order of 10-20%), but there are some sale items, including factory rejects (for underweight chocolates, improper packaging, or filling showing through) that are sold for roughly half-price.
The Lindt factory used to offer tours and free samples, but this is no longer the case.
The larger Coop supermarkets carry many brands, including Lindt, Camille Bloch, Goldkenn, and others, including all sorts of alcohol-filled chocolates.
Teuscher — An upscale confiserie that specializes in truffles. There are three stores in Zürich: Bahnhofstrasse 46, Storchengasse 9 and Jelmoli Department Store.
Sprüngli — A Zurich institution that offers a variety of sweet and savory goodies including a wide variety of chocolates, from hand-made truffles to special chocolate bars. There are locations throughout the city, including Bahnhofstrasse and inside Zurich HB. Some specialities include the Luxemburgerli, a sort of soft macaroon resembling a hamburger in looks but is actually completely pastry and cream, and comes in a variety of flavors; the Truffe du Jour, a chocolate truffle that is made daily from raw cream and is meant to be consumed immediately; and the extraordinary Grand Cru Sauvage truffle, made from wild cacao beans from Bolivia. Most items are rather pricey but worth it. The flagship store on the Paradeplatz is a very popular spot for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Try their berry-filled muesli, it's like no other muesli you've ever had. There are two handy stores at the Kloten airport for last-minute gifts to bring home.
St. Jakobs Confiserie, Badenerstrasse 41, . The background organisation, Behindertenwerk St. Jacob, aims at providing jobs for disabled people.
Schweizer Heimatwerk, Uraniastr 1 (on the Limmat river), . Also branches in the Hauptbahnhof (main station), airport, and Rennweg 14 in the Bellevue area. Quality Swiss handcrafts and other Swiss-made products presented in a gallery-like setting. You won't find many cuckoo clocks and the like here (cuckoo clocks are not really Swiss, they are from the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany!), the emphasis is on real traditional crafts and the work of modern craftspeople. You will find things like sleek modern hand-blown glassware and beautiful hand-carved wooden items from the Appenzell region. A worthwhile visit even if you just browse.
Swiss army knives
Coop City in Bahnhofstrasse sells the Victorinox line at uninflated prices, although you won't get additional features such as customised faceplates or engraving. Many other department stores also sell them.
Any cutlery shop will probably carry both Victorinox and Wenger lines of products. However, do make sure they are not inflating the price. For example, a SwissChamp (possibly the most popular model) should cost around 78CHF.
Flohmarkt Bürkliplatz (Fleamarket), Bürkliplatz (in the Bellevue area near the Stadelhofen station). May-Oct Sa 6AM-3:30PM. Fairly relaxed yet large flea market with many interesting stalls.
Flohmarkt Kanzlei (Fleamarket), Helvetiaplatz, . Open Sa 8AM-4PM. A big fleamarket that hosts up to 400 stalls on busy days.
Pastorini Spielzeug, Weinplatz 3 (near the river). A high-end toy store.
There is an English language bookstore at the intersection of Bahnhofstrasse and Rennweg.
The quintessential Zürich dish is Zürigeschnätzltes, veal in a cream and wine sauce. Various kinds of grilled Wurst (sausages) are also popular. These are most often accompanied by boiled potatoes, Rösti, a Swiss potato pancake (grated potato, formed into a pancake then pan fried until crisp in butter or oil) or Chnöpfli, in German sometimes called Spätzle, (small noodle dumplings).
Veal is still very popular, though the use of turkey and other meats as a substitute is growing.
While Fondue (melted cheese in a central pot, dip bread into it) and Raclette (cheese melted in small portions, served with potatoes and pickles) are not really local to Zürich (they come from the Western Switzerland) they are commonly available at restaurants aimed at tourists.
The bread available in Zürich is generally delicious. There are many varieties, and your best bet is to go to a bakery or a supermarket in the morning or just after work hours, when most people are doing their shopping and bread is coming out fresh.
Try grilled Bratwurst from street stands, served with a large crusty roll of sourdough bread and mustard, or sandwiches made with fresh baked Bretzeln (large, soft pretzels). A typically Swiss bread is the Zopf, a braided soft bread that is commonly served on Sundays (the other name for it is Sonntagszopf).
For breakfast, try a bowl of Muesli, which was invented as a health food in Switzerland. The Sprüngli confectionery store tea rooms serve a deluxe version of this fiber-filled cereal with whole milk, crushed berries and cream.
There are a huge variety of cheeses available at the supermarkets, specialty stores and markets, as well as all kinds of hams and dried sausages. Dairy products are generally delicious, especially the butter. Do not miss the supermarkets! You should take a thorough look through Migros or Coop and maybe even assemble your own lunch or dinner some time. Even the cheap, budget prepackaged desserts in the supermarket exceed the quality of what you may be used to.
For those with a sweet tooth, there's a huge variety of chocolates to enjoy, from the cheapest chocolate bar to individually hand-made truffles. (See the Shopping section above). The chocolate bar displays at the supermarkets will overwhelm you! Also enjoy pastries and cakes from the various Konditorei scattered around town. In pastry shops, you can also find special pastry from Zurich: The most famous of them probably is Tirggel, a rather hard pastry made of flour and honey. Although traditionally made and eaten during the Winter holidays, many pastry shops (including larger supermarkets) sell them throughout the year. Often, they've got sights of Zurich printed on the top, can be stored for months and thus make up a pretty good and cheap souvenir. Another famous type of pastry are Luxemburgerli exclusively sold by the confectionery chain of Sprüngli (part of the famous chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli). A typical cake is the Mandelfisch, an almond cake shaped like a fish.
Like most European cities, Zürich abounds with cafés where you can enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, glass of wine or other beverage, and watch the world go by.
There are many international dining options available too. The current hot trend seems to be pan-Asian noodle/rice/sushi places. However, due to the far distance to the sea and the lack of original, well-trained Chinese/ Japanese cooks, the quality cannot live up to that of the original countries. Instead, the Italian cuisine holds the highest popularity among the foreign restaurants. They can be found throughout the city and are relatively cheap. Turkish fast food restaurants are also a delicious, cheap option.
Vegetarian food is easy to find throughout the city. Vegans may have a little trouble because cheese is used generously in most food, but should be fine living off supermarkets at the very least. Hiltl, the first vegetarian-only restaurant in Europe, is also worth a visit. You choose from the buffet, where your meal is priced by weight or from a variety of à la carte menus, which are a bit more pricey, but include vegetarian/vegan versions of popular Swiss meals like Züri-Gschnätzlets or Beef Stroganoff amongst Indian food and classic vegetarian plates. Another vegan friendly restaurant is "Bona Dea", which is located directly at Zurich Mainstation.
Baba's take-away part of the Restaurant Pumpstation  is located direct at the lake promenade (south of Banhof Stadelhofen). During the summer (April-October) serves fresh grilled sausages, ribs, and chicken for about 6 to 10 Francs.
Lee's take-away, Preyergasse 8 (in the Niederdorf). Stand-up place serving excellent large portions of Asian food. Special student dishes under 10CHF.
Pizzeria Molino, Limmatquai 16 (near Stauffacher), +41 044 261 01 17. Pizzas and pastas in a relaxed setting.
Ah-Hua, Ankerstrasse 110 (next to Helvetiaplatz) offers delicious Thai dishes to budget prices. Great pit-stop in a Langstrasse pub crawl.
Gambrinus, Langstrasse 103 (near Helvetiaplatz) is a typical Swiss restaurant with good food and cold beer. It is located in the Red Light District (Langstrasse) of Zurich and is not the ideal place to bring children or acquaintances. Gambrinus looks like a pub more than anything else,but the staff are friendly and speak English. Try the Zürigschnätzlets mit Rösti or the Fondue (one of the best in Town). Prices are from CHF 14 onwards.
Rheinfelder Bierhalle, Niederdorfstrasse 76 (at the beginning of the Niederdorf, near Central), +41 44 251 57 09. In this huge and boisterous restaurant you get good-value food and rich portions (only try the Jumbo Jumbo Cordon-Bleu when really hungry). Cheap beer.
Millennium Restaurant, on Limmatplatz (Limmatstrasse at Langstrasse) (right across the X-tra bar). Offers great pizzas, large hamburgers, spicy kebabs and other Italian and Turkish dishes at reasonable prices. Staff is very friendly and service is great. Perfect for lunch or a late-night snack.
Vorderer Sternen Grill, 22 Theaterstrasse. Zurich's most famous sausage stand near Bellevue tram stop. Red or white sausage for 6CHF, piece of bread and (hot!) mustard is included. Currently located across from the Globus between Bellevue and Stadelhofen train station in a silver travel trailer.
Restaurant in Zurich
The Migros and Coop supermarkets (several branches all over the city) are good places to assemble an inexpensive and delicious picnic lunch consisting of freshly baked bread, cheese or ham and fresh fruit. Migros Gourmessa is the 'gourmet' takeaway counter, available in larger Migros stores including the Migros City branch at Löwenstrasse. The Coop Bahnhofbrücke branch near the main station also has a small fast-food restaurant. Note: the Migros branch in the main station is open on Sundays when most other stores are closed, and also until 9PM on weekdays, whereas the Coop Bahnhofbrücke is open 7 AM to 10 PM every day except Sunday.
Jelmoli, St. Annahof and Manor department store restaurant for a cheap buffet lunch, good salad and vegetable stands. All located at Bahnhofstrasse and open during the day
Rosalys, Freieckgasse 7 (near Bellevue), +41 044 261 44 30. Typical Swiss food including Älplermacrone (pasta with apple purée). Excellent cocktail bar, too.
Commercio, Mühlebachstrasse 2 (near Stadelhofen station, Mühlebachstrasse) +41 044 250 59 30. Excellent pasta and a busy atmosphere.
Commi-Halle,Stampfenbachstrasse 8 (near Central), +41 044 250 59 60. Italian food served late.
Swiss Chuchi, Roseng 10, (in the Niederdorf), +41 044 266 96 66 . A kitchy place serving up classic Swiss fare, mainly for tourists. Serves fondue year-round.
Zeughauskeller, Bahnhofstrasse 28a (near Paradeplatz), +41 044 211 26 90. Offers hearty sausages, stews, rösti potato etc. in a Brauhaus-like setting. Touristy, but good and large portions. Housed in a historical building, built in 1487. Open 11:30AM-11PM.
Bierhalle Kropf, In Gassen 16 (just down the street from the Zeughauskeller), +41 044 221 18 05. Offers beer hall fare such as sausages and pork shanks in a somewhat refined setting. The restaurant features a beautiful painted ceiling.
Globus Bellevue — This relatively new branch of the Globus department store in the Bellevue near the Stadelhofen station is totally dedicated to food. There is a large eatery on the ground floor that serves various fusion-type foods (decent noodle bowl) and a passable sushi bar. The ground floor has a gourmet food market, and upstairs there are kitchen wares.
Sprüngli Paradeplatz, at Paradeplatz. The flagship store of the Sprüngli confectionery store chain has a beautiful turn-of-the-century style dining room upstairs that is extremely popular for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Choose from the menu or from the gorgeous display case filled with beautiful cakes, tarts, open-face and regular sandwiches. Try the muesli! Great people watching too, since this is the place for an after-shopping snack for the rich ladies of Zurich.
King's Kurry, Freyastr 3, (next to Bahnhof Wiedikon), +41 43 268 48 28. Offers a good value daily Indian lunch buffet.
Hiltl, Sihlstrasse 102 (behind Jelmoli department store), +41 044 227 70 00, . The oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe (from 1890). Reopened in March 2007 after renovation work.
Tibits, Seefeldstrasse 2 (behind the Opera house), ☎ 044 260 32 22, . The fast-food outlet of Hiltl, Europe's oldest vegetarian restaurant. Offers a nice self-service buffet of fresh veggies and fruit and a surprising variety. Try the freshly squeezed juices.Buffet: 3.60 for 100g.
Outback Lodge, Stadelhoferstrasse 18 (at Bahnhof Stadelhofen), +41 44 252 15 75. Unrelated to the U.S. Outback Steakhouse chain. Enjoy Aussie tucker like ostrich, kangaroo, and crocodile, as well as more conventional fare. Popular with locals as well as expats. Has a hopping bar scene (see Drink section). There's also a branch in Winterthur.
Iroquois, Seefeldstrasse 120, +41 44 383 7077. Tex-mex food in the trendiest part of town, with the best margaritas in Zurich.
Tiffin's, Seefeldstrasse 61 (between Kreuzstrasse and Feldeggstrasse), +41 44 382 18 88. Great place for Asian food. Crowded, closed on Sundays.
Lily's, Langstrasse 197, (between the railway and Limmatplatz), +41 44 440 18 85. Great Thai and other Asian food. The curries are particularly good and come in huge portions. Come before 7PM or after 9PM if you don't want to wait.
Manzioni Bar, Bahnhofstrasse 87, +41(0)44 227 77 00. The „Manzoni“ is an authentic Italian Coffee and Aperitif Bar that offers clients over 20 different coffee specialties and a vast take away menu. The concept was created by the Manz brothers together with Francesco Illy, the most famous Coffee brand in Italy. For those looking for the “italianità” from morning till evening the “Manzoni” caters to everything.
Nooba, Kreuzplatz 5, +41 43 243 60 06. Pan-Asian noodle bar, a short walk up the hill from Stadelhofen station. Stylish setting, attentive and multi-lingual service and a broad selection of freshly prepared noodle, rice and curry dishes.
Nooch, Heinrichstrasse 267 (opposite the Cinemax movie multiplex), +41 43 366 85 35 [www.nooch.ch]. Yet another Pan-Asian noodle, rice and curry joint. Also has a sushi bar.
Ristoranto Toscano, Schmidgasse 17, . A very good Italian restaurant in the old part of the city (Niederdorf). You should try the Spaghetti al Bacio! Closed for lunch on Saturday and all day on Sunday.
Restaurant Eisenhof, Gasometerstrasse 20. Has the warm feel of an old pub. The house specialty is horse steak, served on a hot stone with fries.
Blinde Kuh, Mühlebachstrasse 148, . Restaurant in complete darkness, served by blind people. An amazing experience.
Mesa Restaurant, Weinbergstr. 75, 8006 Zürich, ☎ +41 (0) 43 321 75 75, . 17 points from Guide Gault Millau and one star from Guide Michelin proves that traditional kitchen with catalan influences as one of the best restaurants in Zurich
Kronenhalle, Rämistrasse 4 (at Bellevue), +41 44 262 99 00. The city's most famous restaurant where all the glitterati go to see and be seen. Good Swiss food and heavenly chocolate mousse are one reason to go, the opportunity to dine among original artwork by famous Swiss and European artists (who payed in paintings instead of money) the other. Dress nicely, and treat yourself to a drink at the classy bar before or after your meal. Mains 30-65CHF.
Widder Hotel, Rennweg 7, +41 44 224 2526 High-class food in a cool setting. The hotel has a trendy bar, great piano music, cool red leather decor, and halogen lighting. Mains 20-50CHF.
Zunfthaus Zur Waag, Münsterhof 8, (near Bahnofstrasse), +41 44 216 99 66. Very authentic Swiss high end restaurant. To ensure your meal does not get cold, they split your order into 2 plates and bring you one at a time. Mains 25-50CHF.
Le Dezaley, Römergasse 7 (Near the Grossmünster Cathedral in a street connecting Limmatquai and the Niederdorf), ☎ +41 44 251 61 29, . Traditional French-Swiss food from the French-speaking Kanton Waadt (Vaud). One of many fondue restaurants in Zurich. Mains 25-40CHF.
Blaue Ente, Seefeldstrasse 223, (at the far end of tram 2 and 4 near Bahnhof Tiefenbrunnen), +41 44 388 68 40 . Romantic cuisine in a beautiful building.
Coco Grill & Bar, Bleicherweg 1A (next to Paradeplatz), ☎ +41 (0) 44 211 98 98, . Mo-Fri 10 AM-2:30PM & 5PM -Midnight, Sa 5:30-Midnight. Grill restaurant that offers set menus for lunch and a menu surprise for dinner (either fish or meat). Also has a good wine selection and very nice in the summer due to a small garden
The restaurants at the top of the Uetliberg are great to combine a nice view of town (a hike in the summer) and some great food. It also has a cheaper self-service area.
Zurich has a lot of places to go out. There are a lot of clubs (around 80 at weekends), restaurants, Cafés, bars (around 500) but also many museums and theaters, one opera and two classical concert halls. The most common drinks in Zurich/Switzerland include: Beer (consumation in CH in 2011: 4.6 mill. hectoliter (hl) ) and wine (2.7 mill. hl, 1/3 white and 2/3 red ).
During the last 20 years, virtually all of the large Swiss breweries have been closed by or sold to huge, foreign owners. Nevertheless, as a kind of counter-mouvement, numerous tiny and small regional breweries have been founded and are extremely successful, especially in Zurich (such as: TurbinenBräu, Amboss (Back und Brau), or Hirnibräu). Another well known Swiss beer and quite well known in Zurich is Vollmond by Brauerei Locher, Appenzell.
There are many different sites at which local wine is being cultivated and produced (Lac Léman (a majority of white wine: 68% Chasselas), Valais, Ticino (mainly red ones), around the three lakes of Neuchâtel/Biel/Murten, Grisons in order just to name a few major sites). Local productions are almost exclusively consumed locally, only 1-2% are being exported. In avarage, a Swiss citizen drinks 50 bottles of wine every year . Because of the high local request, prices can be quite high. About 170% of the local production quantity is being imported from different areas: France and Italy (34% each), Spain (14%), and Germany (4%), but as well as from Portugal or South Africa . There are countless many local culinary products you can enjoy, often depending on where you are: .
At Apéro time (after work, but actually meaning: informal meeting normally accompanied with alcoholic beverages and some snacks), you will find many people drinking a Cüpli (Swiss German term for a glass of Champagne).
Bierhalle Wolf, Limmatquai 132 (At the northern end of the old-town, facing the river), ☎ +41 44 251 01 30 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A lively beer hall often with live music. In addition to the beer selection, they serve great local food.
Federal, Main Station (Tram 3,4,6,7,10,11,13,14, Bus 31, Main Station). A big Brasserie-like bar inside the Main Station with a choice of 100 Swiss-only beers.
Nachtflug, Stüssihofstatt 4 (Niederdorf). Stylish, coffee and some snacks during the day, large choice of drinks at night.
Outback Lodge Stadelhoferstrasse 18, (at Bahnhof Stadelhofen), +41 44 252 15 75. Australian in theme, drinks and food, but also well visited by the locals.
Blue Note, Stockerstrasse 45. Jazz club, quite expensive but great atmosphere.
James Joyce bar, Pelikanstrasse 8. Where the writer himself used to go. Now mostly frequented by bankers.
Oliver Twist, Rindermarkt 6. An Irish/British style pub with a good atmosphere, and many English-speaking foreigners.
Öpfelchammere (apple chamber), Rindermarkt 12. Not a real pub or café, they only serve wine or water. But if you succeed in climbing over the roof beams, you get a free glass of wine to drink hanging upside down and you can mark your name into the wood afterwards.
Widder Bar, Widdergasse 6. By far the best stocked whiskey bar in town, with a separate whiskey menu containing 250 single malts. In the famous hotel of the same name.
Corazón, Zähringerplatz 11, +41 44 261 09 59. A Spanish themed bar with a good selection of wines and excellent service.
Bohemia, Kreuzplatz (just up from Stadelhofen), (email@example.com), . Trendy place popular for its coffee during the day and an even better nightlife. Usually a popular place for college students.
Barfussbar, Stadthausquai (a 3 minutes walk from Bürkliplatz along the Limmat river), . 20h-24h Wed, Thu, Sun, summer only. During the day this is a public bath for women only. But at night (after 8 o'clock) men are also allowed. It is a beautiful place to spend a warm summer night with a great view of Zurich.
Rimini, Schanzengraben (Go down Badweg from Talstrasse), . 7:30PM-12AM, Sa 5PM-12AM, only in summer and only when it's not raining. Another open air bar. This one is at the men's public baths. Really cool atmosphere because of the nice colored lights and the straw mats and pillows.
El Lokal, Gessnerallee 11 on the Sihl . Bar, restaurant, and intimate gig venue attracting alternative crowd, "soccer vs elvis vs che guevara" themed.
Kreis 2 (Wollishofen)
Shamrock Irish Pub, Studackerstrasse 1 (end station of the 7, Wollishofen), . Open to Midnight everyday. Irish Pub with regular event & good crowd (food served)
New Velvet, Ankerstrasse 116, (near Helvetiaplatz); nice little brazilian bar with cool music and cooler people. Closed on sunday.
Xenix, Kanzleistrasse 56 by Helvetiaplatz . Small art house cinema with a busy beer garden in summer. There's a mixture of students, bohemians, and bicycle messengers posing with their fixies.
Total Bar, Tellstrasse 19, (a block east of the Langstrasse). Tiny bar serving a range of Zurich's microbrews. There's always good music.
Acapulco, Neugasse 56, (near Langstrasse). Bar with comfortable seats and on week-ends quite crowded. Every Sunday is karaoke evening.
Riffraff, Neugasse 57, (near Langstrasse), +41 44 444 22 00, . Cinema bar attracting a largely alternative crowd.
Langstars Cafe-Bar & Backpacker-Hostel Langstrasse 120, (at the famous party-mile), +41 43 317 96 55. Cool cafe-bar with a lot of live music and very easy to meet up with people.
Kreis 5 (Zürich West)
4. Akt, Heinrichstrasse 262, (near Escher-Wyss Platzfor), +41 44 271 03 68. Teens and tweens love this place.
Hard One, Hardstrasse 260, (near Escher-Wyss Platz), +41 44 444 10 00. A roof lounge on top the Cinemax complex. Older crowd, very expensive, but stylish.
Moods, (in the Schiffsbau near Escher-Wyss Platz), +41 44 276 80 00, . Jazz club in the Schiffbau complex, concerts on Saturdays.
Zurich has proportionally more clubs than any other city in Europe. You will find anything from very "fancy" clubs to places you can just chill. If you want, you can go to a club every night. There is always a Club that has a party going and Zurich's young make sure to splash all their income on going out.
A lot of clubs are located in the so called Zurich West (District 5). The internet site usgang.ch is a good place to look up what's up.
Rohstofflager (raw material storage), Toni-Areal, Förrlibuckstr 109, . This club also has concerts. Sadly closed as of September 2010.
X-Tra, Limmatstrasse 118, . Probably the biggest Club near the Limmatplatz. Free admission on Mondays.
Hive Club, Geroldstrasse 5, +41 76 321 32 16, . Many rooms to wander through and listen to DJ's from Switzerland and abroad.
K5-Club, Hardturmstrasse 171, +41 44 440 04 90.
Indochine, Kaufleuten, St. Germain, and Mascotte are the more fancy clubs in Zurich.
Zukunft, Abart, and Helsinki are for a more alternative and artsy crowd.
Gay and lesbian travellers
Rathauscafé, Limmatquai 61, +41 44 261 07 70. Coffee and a croissant in the morning, moving over to sparkling wine in the afternoon and early evening. Nice terrace in the summer. Mixed crowd, friendly service.
Cranberry, Metzgergasse 3, (opposite Rathauscafé), +41 44 261 27 72. Very crowded on Fridays and Saturdays 8PM-midnight, before the boys head to the clubs.
Barfüsser, Spitalgasse 4. Once Europe's oldest gay bar, it has now been converted into a fancy and large lounge and sushi place. Has a relaxed atmosphere and mixed crowd.
T&M Disco club, Marktgasse 14, and Aaaah house club, . Open daily, but only crowded on Friday and Saturday. Share the same house and entry ticket at Marktgasse 14, you can switch atmosphere as much as you like. 23CHF cover charge on busy nights.
Sunday Trash, Schiffbaustrasse 3, +41 44 272 44 02. Gay and Lesbian party in Labor Bar, Schiffbaustrasse. Place to be on Sunday night, 9PM-3AM, 10CHF cover charge.
Zurich is the financial centre of Switzerland and most travellers come with an expense account. The hospitality sector focuses therefore mostly on the 4 and 5 star sector. Zurich is known for its superb hotels, but these won't come cheap. Best is to go on a company rate, because rack rates are sometimes ridiculous.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport, CH-8058 Zurich-Airport, ☎ +41 44 800 40 40, . Good location really close to the terminals
Couchsurfing. has a lot of members in Zurich. Public transport is very fast and good, so also consider staying in surrounding areas instead of in the city centre.
Langstars Backpacker-Hostel, Langstrasse 120 (at the party-mile of Zurich, a few minutes from the trainstation), ☎ +41 43 317 96 55 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 14h to 24h; checkout: 10:30. The coolest place to stay in Zurich with lot of free concerts and a nice cafe-bar where you easily meet locals.Dormitory 45 CHF incl. breakfast & bedsheets.
City Backpacker/Hotel Biber, Niederdorfstrasse 5 (In the old-town, a few minutes walk from the main station), ☎ +41 44 251 90 15 (email@example.com, fax: +41 44 251 90 24), . The most convenient hostel for backpackers. There are shared bathroom and cooking areas.Dormitory 34CHF, Private rooms available from 71CHF.
Hotel Krone Limmatquai, Limmatquai 88 (In the heart of the old-town), ☎ +41 44 251 42 22 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. A simple, small hostel. Some rooms have river view. from 34 p.p..
Hostel Krone Zurich, Limmatquai 88.1 (in the centre of the city), ☎ +41 44 260 11 70 (email@example.com), . checkin: 14:00. A simple, small hostel in old town of Zurich, 4 minutes from the mainstation. tripple room from 120 in summer till 98 CHF in winter.
Youth hostel, Mutschellenstrasse 114 (2 kilometer, 15 minute tram ride from the centre), ☎ +41 43 399 78 00 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A little way out of the centre, but the city is easily reached by public transport (take the S-Bahn to Wollishofen and walk over the hill). A clean and sleek facility, if a little quiet.From 42CHF for a dormitory bed with breakfast; 104CHF for a single room with shower.
Martahaus, Zaehringerstrasse 36, +41 44 251 45 50 (Fax +41 44 251 45 40, email: email@example.com), . A "clean and friendly" place which doubles as a hostel and a one-star hotel. They also have weekly and monthly rates for rooms, as well as a couple of studio apartments. 40-150 CHF (dormitory bed to double room with a shower). (current as of December 2008) - Closed for complete renovation. Reopening in autum 2010 (stand march 2010)
Otter, Oberdorfstr, 7, +41 44 251 22 07 (Fax: +41 44 251 22 75), . A good hotel for the price. The rooms have been decorated with the kind of care that one normally expects in a much more expensive hotel, each with its own theme. You can choose from the jungle room with its hammock, or the pink Carmen, or go for the top floor apartment. Each floor's three rooms share a bath, shower and toilet (WC), with the exception of the apartment which has its own shower. 115 CHF for a single room, 150 for a double, and 200 for 2-person apartment (240 for 4-person apartment).
Hotel Splendid, Rosengasse 5, . This hotel is relatively cheap. The rooms are clean but spare. Private showers and bathrooms are not available, you share with your floor. What is really great is the location, right close to the Gemüsebrücke and the city centre. 62CHF to CHF 85 for a single, from CHF 160 for a 4-person room, plus 2.50 City-Taxe per person.
Etap Hotel, Technoparkstrasse 2, +41 43 276 20 00, Fax : (+41) 44 276 20 01; website:  . This hotel is in a great place if you want to party. Located in Zurich West, next to some great bars and restaurants. The rooms are clean and comfortable. 90CHF (low season) to 155CHF (high season) for a single room, and from 100 CHF for double/triple occupancy. For Zurich, this is cheap. Located near a tram station, which takes 10 minutes to get to the main train station.
Hotel Schäfli, Badergasse 6, +41 44 251 41 44. Fax: +41 44 2513476. The location is the draw in this somewhat run-down hotel. Situated in the old-town near the station and just by the charming Niederdorfstrasse, where there are tons of bars and restaurants. The shower has a timer. Be sure to get all the coins for the shower you need by Saturday, as the reception desk closes on Sundays. 102 CHF for a double room.
Hotel Neufeld, Friesenbergstr.15, +41 43 960 7373, Fax: +41 43 960 7374; website: . The comfortable, modern 3*** owner-run hotel is located just a few minutes away from the city centre. All 40 new renovated rooms are comfortable and modern furnished. Perfect for businespeople and tourists. The rates start from CHF 110 for a single and CHF 155 for a double room, including tax breakfast and free wifi.
Hotel St. Georges, Weberstr.11, +41 +41 44 241 11 44, Fax: +41 241 11 42; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org website:. Traditional and charming owner run hotel in the city centre, 10 minutes walking distance to the train station. Convenient for businespeople as well as tourists and backpackers. The rates start from CHF 99 for a single and CHF 128 for a double room, including tax, breakfast and free wifi.
Hotel Adler, Rosengasse 10, ☎ +41 (0)44 266 96 96 (email@example.com, fax: +41 (0)44 266 96 69), . Clean rooms and breakfast is included in the price. They have a terrific restaurant attached and associated with the hotel that has delicious fondue. The hotel is in a great area for foot exploration. With many bars, restaurants, and cafes all within a few minutes. They have a single computer on the seond floor with free internet access.110-230CHF single room; 180-310CHF double.
Ambassador à l'Opéra, Falkenstrasse 6, CH-8008, ☎ +41 044 258 98 98 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +41 (0)44 258 98 00), . Four star boutique hotel situated in the town centre, opposite the Opera House and only 10 min away from the main station Hauptbahnhof and 30 minutes from the Zurich airport. Newly renovated and exquisitely decorated. Single room from 220CHF, two-person room from 390CHF in the low season.
Claridge Hotel Zurich, Steinwiesstrasse 8-10, ☎ +41 44 267 8787 (email@example.com, fax: +41 (0)44 251 24 76), . Four star hotel located within 5 minutes walking distance from Bahnhof Stadelhofen. The theater and the museum of art are just around the corner. Single room from 190CHF, double room from 230CHF.
Helmhaus, Schifflände 30, ☎ +41 44 266 95 95 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +41 (0)44 266 95 66), . Three tram stops with tram number 4 from the main station. Located directly next to the Limmat in the old town of Zurich. Very traditional four star hotel with first-class service, style and modern comfort. Single room from 230CHF, double room from 300CHF.
Rex, Weinbergstrasse 92, ☎ +41 44 360 25 25 (email@example.com, fax: +41 (0)44 251 24 76), . Three star hotel, 5 minutes by tram number 7 from the Hauptbahnhof. All rooms are non-smoking. Single room from 158CHF, twin room from 194CHF.
Wellenberg, Niederdorfstrasse 10, ☎ +41 043 888 44 44 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +41 (0)43 888 44 45). The four star Art Deco Hotel Wellenberg with its idyllic inner court terrace is in the car-free old town of Zurich, 10 walking minutes from the Hauptbahnhof. The rooms are modern and elegant. One-person room from 290CHF, two-person room from 370CHF.
Palais Kraft, Kraftstrasse 33, +41 44 388 84 85, Fax +41 44 388 84 86, email: email@example.com, . Three luxury rooms in Zurich's most prestigious residential building. Located 2 kilometers from the centre, above the university district at Toblerplatz (Trams 5 and 6, direction Zoo), in the heart of Zurich's prime residential area. The rooms come with a large well-stocked fridge, kitchenette, 32" or bigger flat screen TV, wireless internet access, and open to the terrace of the Palais Kraft. Beginning at 385 CHF per room/night, including continental breakfast, soft drinks, snacks, internet, local calls, and all taxes. 330CHF double-bed guest room with bath and kitchette.
Designer Hotel Greulich, Herman-Greulich-Strasse 56, ☎ +41 (0)43-243 42 43 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +41 (0)43-243 42 00), . Located in the heart of Zurich's vibrant Aussersihl district, the stunning Hotel Greulich is a haven of style and comfort with a renowned gourmet restaurant. Online booking.(47.37854477,8.52059215)
NH Zurich Airport, Schaffhauserstrasse 101. 8152 Glattbrugg, ☎ +41.44.808.5.000, . This modern hotel offers 140 rooms, function rooms, and a fitness room and sauna. There is a free shuttle service to take you to and from the airport. Rooms from 155CHF.
Hotel St. Gotthard Zürich, , Bahnhofstrasse 87 8021 Zürich Switzerland, +41(0)44 227 77 00. One of the leading business hotels today in Zurich. A five-floor building, with 143 spacious rooms, 11 of which are Suites, comfortable lobby and three restaurants, the Hotel Gotthard meets all the expectations of the demanding traveller. The Hotel Gotthard lies directly in the heart of the city, located on the world famous Bahnhofstrasse, within 10 minutes walk from sightseeing, the business district and Lake Zurich.
Hotel Widder, , Rennweg 7, +41 44 224 25 26. Best hotel in town, known for excellent service and unique location in the old town, but just 1-2 min from Bahnhofstrasse. Prices from from 600CHF single room up to 1500CHF for 1 bedroom suite.
Mövenpick Zurich Airport Hotel, , Glattbrugg, +41 44 808 88 88. 5 Star hotel minutes from Zurich Airport offering accommodation, 3 restaurants, meeting & conference facilities and a gym.
Mövenpick Hotel Zurich Regensdorf, , Im Zentrum 2, Regensdorf, +41 44 871 51 11. The Mövenpick Hotel Zurich Regensdorf is a family friendly hotel not far from the airport. The hotel has 150 modern hotel rooms, fitness studio and an Italian and Mediterranean restaurants to enjoy.
Hotel zum Storchen, , Am Weinplatz 2, +41 44 227 27 27. On the river Limmat with an exclusive restaurant.
Baur au lac, , Talstrasse 1, +41 44 220 50 20. Perfect location at the lake, excellent restaurant, popular with actors, celebrities, and politicians.
Savoy Baur en Ville, Paradeplatz, (fax: +41 (0)44 215 25 00), . Rooms are clean and modern but small.
Park Hyatt Zurich, Beethovenstrasse 21 (east on zurich after 200 miles on gimmelwald), ☎ +41 43 883 1234 (email@example.com), . expensive but has a very nice room and spa there is a casino too2000.
Dolder Grand, Kurhausstrasse 65, +41 44 456 60 00 Recently renovated flagship hotel of Zurich with amazing view and excellent spa.
ALDEN Hotel Splügenschloss, , Splügenstr. 2, +41 44 289 9999. A small and intimate five-star boutique hotel in Zürich, located on a quiet side street, near the lake shore and Bahnhofstrasse. The hotel comprises of two restored landmark buildings and has a modern interior.
Zurich has numerous camping sites, in true Swiss style they are usually very clean, all the sites are the the southern end of the city, normally in river valleys (for obvious reasons). Most campsites close for the winter.
Camp site Waldhof. Quiet and idyllic campsite.
Zürich, like most cities in Switzerland, is relatively safe. Nevertheless, be on guard for thieves and pickpockets. Carry your wallet or purse in a secure way, not in your hip pocket or a backpack outer pocket. In particular, thieves are known to operate around the Zurich main train station. Do not let your bags out of sight for even a moment.
In recent years, certain areas along the lakefront are frequented by young people who sometimes try to pick a fight when they are drunk. Do not let them provoke you, as they are likely to be there in numbers and will use any excuse to go at you. You may also notice many of said young people smoking something that isn't a cigarette - Switzerland is surprisingly lenient about such things - but it is hardly a cause for alarm.
Public transport is very safe. You can use it without any special precautions.
If you decide to bicycle in the city, understand that Zurich is a city of public transport . Beware of tram tracks which can get your wheel stuck and send you flying into traffic, of the trams themselves which travel these tracks frequently (and may scare you into getting stuck into the track as just noted), and the buses, which make frequent stops in the rightmost lane. In short, bicycling downtown should be only done by those experienced with cycling with such traffic.
Gay and lesbian travelers — Zurich is the favorite place to live for Switzerland's (German-speaking) gays and lesbians. The Canton of Zurich was the second canton, after Geneva, to allow registered partnerships for same-sex partners for example. The city of Zurich is probably the place in Switzerland that offers the most open environment for gays and lesbians. Gays and lesbians need not take special precaution for their safety on the streets. It is always possible for random homophobic behaviour to happen, though.
Permanence Hauptbahnhof at the main train station provides urgent out-patient care for tourists without prior appointments.  There is also a dentist downstairs at the station. For serious emergencies rush to "Kantonsspital", the university clinic which has a 24/7 emergency ward. Tram stop "Universitätsspital" (look out for the golden boy in front, then follow the red "Notfall" signs). They will not send away people with serious, urgent health problems. Ambulance phone number is 144.
If you're on a budget, don't stay out too late — the "N" night buses only run on weekends. When they run, they run only once per hour and you must purchase a Nachtzuschlag for 5 CHF from the machine and validate it before boarding. On work nights, there is no public transport at all after about 12:30AM (although expensive taxis still exist in case you're stuck).
Stores are generally closed on Sundays including all supermarkets in the city, except those in the main train station and airport.
On Sundays, there are supermarkets open at the following train stations: Zurich main station, Enge, and Stadelhofen.
Avoid reaching/visiting Zurich on 1 May. The city is on a Labor Day/May Day holiday. The trams don't run for half the day so getting around could be a problem. Also, there could be some minor violent outbreaks and damages to cars.
Zurich has two police departments, the Stadtpolizei Zurich which is responsible for the city area and the Kantonspolizei Zürich which is responsible for the whole region. With approximately 1800 and 3000 employees, these departments are the biggest in Switzerland. While police officers in Zurich will happily help you out if you are in trouble or need an information, they are also known for approaching "suspicious" persons in order to check their papers. This procedure is annoying, but legal as you will probably have a hard time proving you were not acting suspicious. Carry a photocopy of your passport and your onward ticket with you, stay calm and polite and you probably won't have much trouble.
Kadampa Meditation Center Switzerland, Tel: (0) 44 461 33 88, . Offers relaxation meditations, meditation classes and retreats in Zurich.
Short excursions from Zurich:
Rapperswil — Pretty town on the other end of the Zurichsee, accessible by S-Bahn S5, S7 or S15 (35-40 min), or boat (tip), famous for its rose gardens, beautiful old-town with castle and many lake-side restaurants and cafés.
Winterthur — Since in winter there is little to do outdoors, people flock to this city, the city of museums. It can be reached by taking regular trains (26 min), or by S-Bahn S7 (34 min), S8 (28 min), S12 (21 min, fastest) or S16 (30 min).
The Rheinfall, a large-volume waterfall - the largest in Europe. Take any regular train, or S-Bahn S7, S8, S12 or S16 to Winterthur, and from Winterthur take S-Bahn S33 to Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall. This station is within the ZVV area, but only served between 08:00 and 16:30 (18:30 during summer). If you are going to the Rheinfall outside of these hours, you should get off at Dachsen, the station before Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall, and take the bus no. 634 to the stop Schloss Laufen, Rheinfall. Attention: The following stops Neuhausen and Schaffhausen are not covered by a ZVV ticket/card, since they are located outside of ZVV area!
Schaffhausen — Pretty town located very near the Rheinfall. It is not located within the ZVV area. You can travel either via Winterthur or via Bülach. If you already have an all-zones ZVV card and you are using the S-Bahn S16 (takes an hour), you should buy a 4 zones Z-Pass FlexTax ticket. If you take the S33 from Winterthur (and you have a all-zones ZVV card), you only need a 2 zones FlexTax ticket. Another option are regular trains (RE, IR, IC) from Zürich HB (only 38-41 min), or a combination of S5/S22 (change at Bülach, although in the peak, the S5 is instead extended to Schaffhausen), which all travel via Bülach and Eglisau to Schaffhausen. If you do not own any ZVV card/ticket (e.g. as a tourist), then this option is even cheaper: you then only pay a 9 zones Z-Pass FlexTax ticket, instead of a all-zones Z-Pass FlexTax ticket for the journey via Winterthur.
Stein am Rhein — A pretty town, accessible by S-Bahn S29 from Winterthur, where S7, S8, S12, S16 and regular trains connect from Zürich, or via Schaffhausen. It is not located within the ZVV area. If you have an all-zones ZVV card and you will travel with the S29 from Winterthur (total time from Zürich is 65 min), then you only need a 2 zones OSTWIND ticket.
Baden. A cosy town just outside Zurich. Accessible by by S-Bahn S6 (38 min), or S12 (28 min). It is not located within the ZVV area. If you have an all-zones ZVV card, you should additionally buy a 3 zones Z-Pass A-Welle ticket. If you do not have any ZVV ticket/cards (e.g. as a tourist), you should consider to take the much faster half-hourly and direct IR train which takes only 15 minutes to Baden. Then you pay a 5 zones Z-Pass A-Welle ticket.
Flumserberg  — Famous ski resort with 65 km of skiing at various levels and a peak altitude of 2222 metres. During ski season, mainly on weekends, but also weekdays during the highest peak season, the S-Bahn S2 has direct connections (3 each, in the morning and afternoon, 75-80 min) between Zürich and Unterterzen (via the regular S2 terminus at Ziegelbrücke), from where a gondola lift connects to the resort (12 min). You could also take the faster IR train bound for Chur, and change at Ziegelbrücke for a local train (also bound for Chur) to Unterterzen (62 min). The Snow'n'Rail promotional offer gives you 20% on the train fare, a reduced 1;- or 2-day ski pass, and 15% discount at Intersport Rent. Info at . The offer is available from any railway station of origin. This means if you have an all-zone ZVV card, you can buy the Snow n Rail ticket with Pfäffikon SZ (last ZVV station) as the origin, thereby reducing the fare. This works both with the S-Bahn and IR trains which all stop at Pfäffikon. If your ZVV card does not reach Pfäffikon but does reach Thalwil, Horgen, Wädenswil or Richterswil, you can buy a Snow n Rail ticket from these stations, but note that the IR trains only stop at Thalwil and Wädenswil before Pfäffikon, which means if you're buying a Snow n Rail ticket from Horgen or Richterswil, you need to use the S-Bahn.
Other further away easy excursions from Zurich include:
Sankt-Gallen — Famous for its convent and extremely ornate Stiftsbibliothek. Also the point of access for the Appenzeller Bahn system, which can take you to the pretty town of Appenzell where there is a cheese factory you can visit.
Solothurn — A very pretty baroque town in the northern metropolitan area of Berne, accessible by frequent ICN trains.
Lucerne (Luzern) — Pretty city, home of the transport museum, and further excursions possible. It can be reached by IR train in 45-50 minutes.
Basel — Near the triple point between France, Germany, and Switzerland. IC train takes you there in 53 minutes.
Berne — The capital of Switzerland, nice looking city, 56 minutes away by IC train.
Access to most other parts of Switzerland is extremely easy, thanks to the efficient and frequent SBB train system. Other locations easily accessible from Zurich worth a complete visit in their own right include:
Chur and Landquart — Although not so much to see within these cities, they are your starting points for exploration of the nature-rich and mountainous canton of Graubünden and the Rhaetische Bahn system which runs over naturally scenic routes.
Interlaken — Your gateway to the Berner Oberland, an incredibly scenic part of Switzerland with some of the highest peaks in the Alps. You can continue from there using the (also incredibly touristy) Berner Oberlandbahn to the Lauterbrunnen valley and beyond, or get off somewhere and hike away from the touristyness if you are fit for it. The fastest route to Interlaken is taking an IC train to Bern and then another IC to Interlaken (this takes 1 hour 55 min). You can also taking an IR train to Luzern and then another IR train to Interlaken (Golden Pass or Zentralbahn, takes 2 hours 51 min). It is a much more scenic route.
Jungfraujoch, if you feel ok to spend most of the time in a train (4:20h for one way) you can take a day trip from Zurich, although there is so much more that the Berner Oberland offers that you will be missing if you do not spend more time there.
From Interlaken, take the Berner Oberland Bahn to Lauterbrunnen, then Wengernalpbahn to Kleine Scheidegg and finally the submountain railway Jungfraubahn.
Lausanne is 2 hours and 10 minutes away by train and is a gateway to the Lavaux vineyard region.
The Italian-speaking region of Ticino, including the fortified city of Bellinzona are up to three hours away.
The canton of Valais includes the famed Matterhorn in Zermatt and other gorgeous scenery, and you can reach it in 3 hours and 11 minutes with one change.
The Schwarzwald (Black Forest) of Germany is also easily accessible from Zurich. IC trains run every two hours during the day to Stuttgart, stopping at Rottweil where you can find decent connections to most places in the Black Forest. There is also the Bodensee ("Lake Constance") which you can reach by good connections to Konstanz.