Have a memorable trip with our list of the top things to do in Zurich. 

Switzerland is known for its beautiful sprawling mountains and stunning scenery. For many travelers who have been here, another iconic location that you cannot miss out on in the beautiful city of Zurich. In this robust town, there are so many things to do in Zurich. 

Although there are plenty of wonderful locations in this country, Zurich is not a town that is a hidden gem in Switzerland. In fact, this popular location is as culturally rich as it is historically rich. For starters, you can get lost in the past by exploring some of its famous landmarks. Some of these landmarks include the four churches that call Zurich home. Along with that, there are museums galore that house some of the city’s most treasured artifacts. 

Today, we are going to go over some of the best things to do in Zurich. From lounging around to enjoying the rich history, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this popular landmark. Get your bags packed, because we are sure you are going to love this popular landmark. Here are our top picks of the best things to do in Zurich, Switzerland. 

1. Stroll Around Lake Zurich

Things to do in Zurich - Lake

Credit: Visit Zurich / ​Facebook

One of the best things to do in Zurich is to visit the ever popular Lake Zurich. This tranquil lake is a long crescent shaped body of water that stops right at the western tip of Zurich. On the Eastern end of the lake, you will find the peaks of Pfannenstiel.  And on the western shores of the lake, you will be greeted with by the Albis Chain. 

If you are strolling around the beautiful city of Zurich, then it is worth your time to spend a moment or two admiring this beautiful lake. Here you can see not only enjoy the beautiful waters. But there are drink in sights of the many yachts and other boats that call the lake home.

One of the best times to experience this iconic lake is during the summer months. In the summer months, you can actually swim in the lake and go out quite a distance all while still being comfortable and safe. If you would rather explore the lake without getting in it, then taking a tour of the lake is an option as well. If you are in the iconic city of Zurich, then visiting the lake for an afternoon picnic is easily one of the best things to do in Zurich.

2. Visit the Iconic Fraumunster

Things to do in Zurich - Fraumunster

Another popular location that is also one of the best things to do in Zurich is to visit the historically famous Fraumunster. When it comes to the main churches of Zurich, the Fraumunster is one of the four main churches that the city has to offer.

This 11th century church is as historic as it is beautiful. Before the Fraumunster was built, the site of the church was the former abbey for aristocratic women.  In 853, the abbey was constructed for a special individual. The abbey was founded by Louis the German for his daughter Hildegard. After the abbey became no more than a ruin, the church that is now known as Fraumunster was built  on top of the abbey’s remains. 

One of the highlights of this beautiful church is the iconic Chagall windows. For art lovers everywhere, the Marc Chagall windows are a must see. The delicate stained glass is an original conception by Marc Chagall himself. He captured the history and elegance of this time period through the stunning stained glass windows house here. Another standout feature of this church is the delicate copper topped spire. In fact, it is one of the defining features of the Fraumunster. No matter where you go in Zurich, you cannot miss it. 

There are a couple ways that you can experience this church. One of the most popular ways to experience this prominent church is with an audio guided tour. Using audio guides, Travelers and explorers can learn all that there is to know about the history of the Fraumunster.

If you have an appreciation for the arts and are looking forward to experiencing the churches of Zurich, then the Fraumunster is certainly one of the best things to do in Zurich.  Coupled with affordable entrance fee and incredibly stunning art, we are sure you will not be disappointed.

3. Explore the Peak of Lindenhof

Things to do in Zurich - Peak of Lindenhof

If you are looking for a beautiful place to relax in and enjoy the city, then Lindenhof is easily one of the best things to do in Zurich. This elevated spot gives you a beautiful view of the city below you. You will also get a fabulous veiw of the wonderful Lake Zurich. Once you make your way to Lindenhof,  you will be able to pick out all the famous landmarks that call Zurich home.

One of the highlighting features of Lindenhof is the fact that the hill was once capped by a Roman Fortress. Along with the Roman Fortress, its history is connected with Charlemagne. It is here were Charlemagne’s grandson Louie the German constructed his Palace in the ninth century.  Not only that, but Lindenhof is the very location where the citizens of Zurich swore the oath to the Helvetic Constitution in 1798.

While it is plagued with a rich history, Lindenhof does look a little bit different now. It is the perfect spot if you are looking to have a picnic outdoors and just relax. Unwind during the evening hours or spend a lazy afternoon up here soaking up all that Zurich has to offer. If you are here during the summer months, there is plenty of shade up here that will keep you cool all day long.

4. Stop by the Zurich Zoo

Things to do in Zurich - Zoo

Zoos are fascinating locations.  When it comes to the Zurich Zoo, you will not be disappointed. Ask any local, and they will tell you that the Zurich Zoo is easily one of the best things to do in Zurich.

There is a range of animals that you can observe at the zoo.  in fact, the Zurich Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals and represents about 340 species. When it comes to the different exhibits the range of animals here is pretty impressive.

Some of the top highlights you can find here include the adorable emperor penguins. In fact, you will be able to follow along as the emperor penguins stroll through the zoo alongside you. There is also a very beautiful Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park. This park features Indian elephants that are as majestic as they are beautiful.  One of the cool things about the elephant park is that there is a glass underwater viewing area. This viewing area is neat because it allows you to see the elephants when they go into the water for a quick dip. Not only that, but another favorite in the Zurich Zoo is the petting zoo. The wonderful petting zoo you will give you some one on one interaction with the zoo animals which is pretty neat.

Finally, what we love about the zoo in Zurich is the way it cares about the animals. The zoo pays close attention to the needs of all the animals.  The Zurich Zoo allows a wonderful amount of space for the animals to roam. Not only that, but the zoo has been able to synthesize whole ecosystems so that the animals feel as comfortable as they can. Take for example the elephant park. The elephant park is home to an environment that is favorable to the elephants. Elephants here will have the satisfaction of roaming around freely in an environment that is not restrictive.

5. Spend a Day in the Swiss National Museum

Things to do in Zurich - Museum

Credit: Landesmuseum Zürich / ​Facebook

One of the best things to do in Zurich is to take a day trip over to the Swiss National Museum. It is at the Swiss National Museum where you really get to dive into the history of this iconic location. The Swiss National Museum is home to Switzerland biggest collection when it comes to historical artifacts. The setup of the museum is pretty cool too. When you start out, you will get to dive into the past and take a look at how the country was formed. 

In the museum, you will get an in depth look at some of the prehistoric weapons, tools, and pottery that once dominated Swiss civilization. Not only that, but you will get a glimpse into a range of different time periods. Some of these time periods include the Medieval period and the Renaissance period. If you are an art lover, you are sure to especially enjoy the gallery that has houses a range of beautiful art. Travel back in time in one of the best museums that has done a fascinating job of collecting and displaying the past of Switzerland.

6. Grossmunster

Things to do in Zurich - Grossmunster

Another one of the best this to do in Zurich is to visit the beautiful Grossmunster. Grossmunster is another one of the four iconic churches here in Zurich. When comes to iconic locations, Grossmunster is one of the most iconic things to do in Zurich. What makes Grossmunster iconic is the fact that it features two dominating towers that are easy to spot.

The history of this church of Grossmunster is simply fascinating. It first began as a monastic Church.  Its origination was established in the 12th century and was later finished in the following century. This church and its towers make for the perfect location for a couple of reasons. For starters, if you have an appreciation for medieval architecture, then this church has so much to offer. One of the most fascinating parts of the church is the Crypt. The Crypt is also the oldest part of the church. On the Crypt you will find faded frescoes from the 1400s by Hans Leu the Elder.

The history of the church continues into the 6th century. It is here that the Swiss recognizes the birthplace of the Reformation in Switzerland. This Reformation is when the church separated itself away from the papacy.  The Reformation is accepted to have been led by Huldrych Zwingli. It was in 1523 when the Reformation took place and changed the social landscape of the land. You can experience and understand the significance of this historic moment once you actually enter the church.  There is a museum housed in the church that details the significance of these events and the way they played out. Along with that, you will get a deep understanding of how the Reformation helped to shape Switzerland. 

Finally, Grossmunster is simply one of the most beautiful places to photograph. Besides the iconic architecture, there are some modern designs that are simply stunning. For example, the stained glass windows here have kept up with the times. Travelers from all over come here to marvel at their beauty. If you are a travel photographer, it is worth spending some time here to really appreciate and capture the beauty of Grossmunster.

7. Visit Old Town Zurich (Altstadt)

Things to do in Zurich - Old Town

One of the most iconic things to do in Zurich is to step back in time and take a visit to Old Town Zurich. Old Town Zurich is commonly referred to as Altstadt.  here you will find a range of historic monuments. Not only that, but it is home to four medieval churches and the town hall that dates all the way back to the 17th century. Speaking of the 17th century, if you had over to the west side of Altstadt,  you will be greeted with the enormous defensive works that were established here during that time period. For history buffs, this is quite an interesting sight to take in.

If you are looking to enjoy some authentic culture, then Old Town Zurich is the right place to be. In Old Town Zurich you will find a range of hotspots including bars, restaurants, nightlife scenery, and shopping. There are also plenty of cafes littered around that are perfect for popping into and grabbing a cup of joe at. Grab a seat out in the cobblestone streets and soak in the beauty that surrounds you. If you are looking for a unique yet authentic experience, then Old Town is easily one of the best things to do in Zurich.

8. Stroll Through the Niederdorf Neighborhood. 

Things to do in Zurich - Niederdorf

Credit: Jorge Franganillo

For carefree way to spend your afternoon, one of the best things to do in Zurich is to stroll through the Niederdorf neighborhood.  You do not have to go far to find the Niederdorf neighborhood. In fact, it is the same neighborhood in which Grossmunster is located. What makes the Niederdorf neighborhood so unique is that it offers a range of experiences for all types of travelers

One of the main features of this neighborhood is the fact that it offers some of the cutest shops, boutiques, and cafes that Zurich has to offer. During the daytime, the Niederdorf neighborhood is buzzing with tourists and locals who are doing some casual shopping. Once the evening sets in, it is a popular hangout spot for younger locals and tourists who are looking to have a fun time.

One of the main features of the Niederdorf neighborhood is the fact that it is so well known with food lovers. Food lovers can come here to sample the staple veal and a wine cream sauce. While the abundant locals call it Zurcher Geschnetzeltes, travelers fro abroad call it simply delicious.

Another one of the staple features of the Niederdorf neighborhood is the fact that it is a collection of many alleyways and hidden paths. These cobblestone alleyways and paths are perfect for getting lost in. Not only that, but you can stroll around in peace. This is because this neighborhood has absolutely no cars going through it. For a fun experience that is truly magical, exploring the Niederdorf neighborhood is an absolute must of the best things to do in Zurich.

9. Take a Relaxing Limmat Cruise Down the River

Things to do in Zurich - River

If you have got the time for it, then one of the best things to do in Zurich is to take a sweet little cruise down the city’s main river, Limmat. This small day cruise will give you an experience of the city that is unique in its own way.

What we love about taking a relaxing cruise down the river is the fact that you do not have to plan for it too well in advanced. Boats take off roughly every half an hour throughout the months of April to October. So you are sure to be able to snag a seat at a time that works best for you. If you are here during the summer months, then you have a little bit more flexibility as far as cruising goes. The time slots open up a little more and it is no surprise why. Summertime is one of the best times to experience the city of Zurich on the water.

While you are on the water, you can expect to get some beautiful views of Zurich’s Old Town. Along with that, your boat has the unique design of allowing it to go under the city’s bridges on the Limmat.  These seven crosses are simply a cool thing to experience. Finally, you can look forward to viewing the popular churches Grossmunster and Fraumunster as well. If you are looking for a romantic experience or simply a relaxing experience, then taking a Limmat cruise during your visit here is something you are sure to remember.

10. Visit the Zurich Opera House

Things to do in Zurich - Opera House

If you are a lover of the arts, then the Zurich Opera House is by far one of the best things to experience in Zurich. In fact, for many couples, it can make for the perfect romantic getaway. It is here where you can enjoy some of the world’s best operas and ballet performances. If you ask any local, they will tell you that the Zurich Opera House has a special place in their cultural experience of Zurich. It is here where famous plays such as Romeo and Juliet are regularly performed and experienced by locals and school children alike.

The Zurich Opera House holds a very special history to it as well. It was built in 1891 and has seen a range of events. Originally, the now standing opera house was built over the original that burned down. When the  Zurich Opera House was rebuilt, it was crafted with absolute care. Today, the opera house is beautifully designed and is such a treat to photograph. The architecture and attention to detail are simply stunning. When it comes to the inside of the opera house, the venue seats over 1000 people. This enormity is what has allowed it to put on some of the most popular shows around.

When you are visiting the opera house, there are different admission prices you will pay. Admissions depend on several factors. Before you visit, you want to be sure to check out the shows going on. Depending on the show and date admission prices can vary from a few bucks to a few hundred bucks. While you are planning your trip, you want to plan accordingly as well. The best time to experience a show here is during the evening times. The shows during this time slot offer a unique and memorable experience that only a prestigious location such as the  Zurich Opera House can provide.

When it comes to opera houses in general, the Zurich Opera House is quite a sight to see. The opera house is right up there with The the Sydney Opera House and the Vienna Opera House. Whatever show you do settle on, we are sure you will not be disappointed. The performances that go on here are simply wonderful. It is these performances and the overall impression of the  Zurich Opera House that makes it one of the best things to do in Zurich. Especially if you are looking for an elegant evening out.

11. Explore the Iconic Bellevue Square 

Things to do in Zurich - Bellevue Square

Another one of the best things to do in Zurich is to lounge around in the Bellevue Square. This square takes its name after the hallmark French hotel, the Bellevue. Unsurprisingly, Bellevue Square is pretty historic as well. Here you will find the iconic Zurich Opera House. Its location is pretty interesting in the fact that it was built between Lake Zurich and River Limmat. This Square was once a swamp land that has now been transformed into a beautiful location. In 1856, the Bellevue Square was established in his been a popular location ever since.

When you are at the square, you can easily explore it by hopping on one of the many trams and regional buses that take you between the square and nearby locations.  There is also a range of little boutiques in cafes to experience. If you are looking for a great place to grab an elegant lunch,  Bellevue Square has an abundance of restaurants to choose from as well. For a relaxing evening to stroll around and experience the town, Bellevue Square is one of the best things to do in Zurich.

12. Visit Missouri Botanical Garden

Things to do in Zurich - Missouri Botanical Garden

Credit: René Stalder / Flickr

The Zurich Botanical Garden is another one of the best things to do in Zurich. This Garden is fabulous for so many reasons. For starters, it is the perfect place to go to if you are looking for a relaxing and refreshing day out. The Zurich Botanical Garden is located near the Sihlporte city center. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. If you see college students roaming around do not be surprised. As the Botanical Garden is owned by the University of Zurich.

There is plenty for you to experience here at the botanical gardens. For starters, there are over 9000 different types of plants here. One of the main attraction in the Botanical Gardens is the tropical glass dome. Along with that, there is the stunning octagonal glass pavilion. It is in this glass Pavilion wear events such as concerts commonly take place. If you time your visit just right, you might have the opportunity to witness one of the wonderful events that take place here.

13. Visit the FIFA World Cup Museum

Things to do in Zurich - FIFA World Cup Museum

Credit: FIFA Museum

If you are traveling with a soccer lover (football to the rest of the world),  then Zurich is the place for you. One of the best things to do in Zurich is to explore the FIFA World Football Museum. The FIFA World football museum is actually operated and owned by FIFA itself. The FIFA World Cup museum is housed in the magnificent Haus zur Enge. In fact, the museum is so expansive that it takes up three floors of the Haus zur Enge. Every year, flocks of tourists come to this museum to get an in depth understanding of the history of FIFA.

With every FIFA World Cup game, you are sure to find memorabilia associated with that year here. There is even plenty of memorabilia from the FIFA Women’s World Cup games. Unsurprisingly, you will find a range of memorabilia revolving around the 2014 FIFA World Cup that was recently held in Brazil. 

Some of the popular object and memorabilia you can find here revolve around some of the sport’s most beloved players. For example, it is here where you will find the last goal ball the Pele scored in 1971. You can also see cool memorabilia such as Miroslav Klose’s Boots and Van Persie’s arm band. If you want to take a stroll through the iconic history of the FIFA world, then the FIFA World Football Museum is easily one of the best things to do in Zurich.

Final Thoughts

What makes the city of Zurich a cool place to explore is the fact that is simply so history. The popularity of Zurich lives on because the past here is so rich and well preserved. Along with that, Zurich offers the unique opportunity of actually going in and exploring its iconic locations first hand. While the main attractions might be the four churches that are so deeply rooted in history, it does not stop there. The art and overall culture of the town are too concentrated to pass up. 

If you have the opportunity or are actually planning on visiting this beautiful location, then you will not regret it. Be sure to include some of these best things to do in Zurich while you plan your itinerary here.

Related Article: 11 Best Things to Do In Munich, Germany

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Nadia El-Yaouti is a mother, English language arts middle school teacher, writer, and photographer. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, Nadia’s greatest pride is being a mom. When she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.

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