Zurich’s old industrial centre has been reborn. Where before lay abandoned land and warehouses, now sit trendy clubs, bars and cafés in what’s become the city’s newly born bohemian district. At Frau Gerolds Garden old shipping containers have been turned into a bar, while along Im Viaduct, the city’s railway viaduct has transformed into a street of shops and restaurants, where trains still trundle overhead. As night falls, Zurich West is filled with youngsters, flocking to the many bars and clubs. Visitors familiar with London will likely draw comparisons with Brixton.
The name says it all – this is the heart of Zurich and where you’ll find the Paradeplatz, home to the city’s many banks and businesses. The world-famous Bahnhofstrasse, packed with high-end shopping outlets, is also here and is a must-visit even for those who aren’t keen on emptying their bank account. Walking up the Lindenhof hill takes you to the historic Lindenhofplatz, which once was the site of a Roman fort, and became the place where the people of Zurich held town meetings. From here the views of the surrounding Old Town are excellent.
Covering part of the city’s historic Old Town, Niederdorf is almost completely pedestrianised. It’s a blend of restaurants, cafés, bars and shops that are dotted around its medieval alleyways and squares. Around the streets of Härringstrasse lies the red light district, so don’t be surprised by the presence of sex workers. With the pull of trendy shopping streets, the nearby City gets most of the attention, but a visit to Zurich isn’t really complete until you’ve explored Niederdorf.
Langstrasse is known as the district that never sleeps for good reason – it’s the nightlife centre of Zurich. Once the main red light district of Zurich, the Langstrasse is now a hub of international restaurants, bars and late-night shops, as well as plenty of take-away places for a post-party pit stop. While the area is still a thriving red-light district, with strip clubs dotted around, it’s quickly become one of the most diverse and popular parts of the city, and well worth getting to know.
What Seefeld, on the eastern side of Lake Zurich, can boast above all others is its lakeside promenade. The ever-popular, and incredibly busy, Blatterwiese park is one of the best places in the city to lay back relax and enjoy some sunshine. While there’s not much more to see or do here other than sunbathe and swim, there are a number of good restaurants and bars around the area, catering to the mass of sun-seeking visitors.