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Zurich's 10 Best Cultural Events and Festivals in August 2014
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Zurich's 10 Best Cultural Events and Festivals in August 2014

Picture of Imogen Beecroft
Updated: 9 February 2017
Zürich has an advantage over many cities when organizing summer events: the beauty of its location. Many of the exhibitions and events occurring this August feature Zürich’s wonderful scenery in some way, whether as a backdrop to an open-air cinema, or for a dip in the Lake. Even for Alpine aficionados accustomed to the city’s beauty, the breadth of summer events taking place in Zürich is impressive, and these ten are well worth checking out.

Music | Street Parade

2 August

The first Street Parade was held in 1992, and the colorful house and techno music event has continued to grow in both size and popularity ever since. The festival is a sight to behold, as 30 Love Mobiles parade along the streets around Lake Zurich, blasting electronic music from their impressive speakers. It is one of the biggest electronic music festivals in Europe, and is certainly not something to be missed if you’re a fan. With the beautiful waters of Lake Zurich as a backdrop to this exciting event, and seven large stages on which top international DJs perform, this is a unique and special occasion hosted by the non-profit Street Parade Zürich Association.

Verein Street Parade Zürich, Sihlhallenstrasse 19, Zürich, Switzerland

Theater | Theater Spektakel

14 – 31 August

Since its founding in 1980, Theater Spektakel has quickly become one of the largest and most important events on the performing arts calendar, highly-esteemed by professionals and punters alike. Sandro Lunin has led the event since 2007, and continues to put on excellent displays of new and established artworks, performed by group and individual artists. The open-air venue is a wonderful place to spend lazy summer evenings taking in some culture, and this year’s event looks set to be the best yet, featuring performances from Olivier Dubois & Ballet du Nord and Cie du Poivre Rose. Taking place across 18 days towards the end of August, there’s no excuse for not seeing at least one performance.

Zurich Theatre Spectacle, Stadthausquai 17, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 412 35 51

Film | Zurich Open-Air Cinema

Until 17 August

To northern Europeans, the idea of an open-air cinema might conjure up images of people huddled together on blankets, desperately trying to keep warm while a film plays on a small screen a few hundred meters away. But Zurich Open-Air Cinema provides something very different. Throughout July and August, Orange are putting on a number of open-air cinemas in cities throughout Europe, and Zurich looks set to be one of the finest. With new releases such as Captain Phillips and American Hustle, as well as old favorites like Pulp Fiction, set against the beautiful scenery of Lake Zürich, this is how open-air cinema should be done.

Zürichhorn, Dufourstrasse 142, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 382 36 55

Zurich Open-Air Cinema | © Orange Cinema
Zurich Open-Air Cinema | © Orange Cinema

Sport | Seeueberquerung

20 August

One of the city’s most unusual and iconic events, Seeueberquerung sees thousands of swimmers take to the waters of Lake Zurich and swim 1,500m from bank to bank. Both an incredible physical feat, and a wonderful opportunity for spectators, the number of competitors has risen from just 250 to 9,000. While the race is not a competition, there are inevitably a few would-be-Phelps at the starting line, so we recommend arriving early to see them set off.

Verein Stadtzürcher Seeüberquerung, Sportamt der Stadt Zürich, Tödistrasse 48

Postfach 2108, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 413 93 93

Swimmers ready to begin the challenge | Courtesy of Seeueberquerung
Swimmers ready to begin the challenge | Courtesy of Seeueberquerung
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Festival | Kulturfestival Integration

22 – 24 August

One of the best things about this festival is the wide array of food choices to be sampled, with cuisines from as far afield as Brazil and the Caribbean. Many spend the three-day festival simply trying out different dining experiences, but for those who can tear themselves away from the colorful and lively food stalls, there is much to be seen and done. The Kulturfestival Integration has two main stages which will see international performers such as Pow Pow Movement and Gospel Young Preachers play their finest music, all under the theme of ‘respect and tolerance’.

OK Vereinspräsident, HelferInnen-Koordination, Bristenstrasse 2, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 430 52 35

Festival | DÖRFLIFÄSCHT

29 – 31 August

The Dörflifäscht, or Old Town Festival is hosted in Niederdorf on the last weekend of August, and is sure to be a merry occasion. Throughout the three-day festival, crowds of locals and tourists gather in the streets to browse the stalls and try delicious culinary delicacies, as well as enjoy the many varieties of musical performance. From traditional Swiss music to more modern bands, this festival has something for everyone and this year will feature performances from High Heels Breaker and The Lautsprechers.

Niederdorf, Mühlegasse 11, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 43 268 22 70

Art | Stencil Bastards 3

Until 29 August

Zurich has always pushed the boundaries of artistic and cultural tradition, and nothing exemplifies this more so than the work of Stencil Bastards 3. This group of stencil artists hail from Norway, Germany, France, and the USA, and these different influences can be clearly seen in the variety of their work. Both a commentary on the state of the art world today, and an exciting exhibition in its own right, this will challenge anyone with conservative views of contemporary art.

Starkart Exhibitions, Brauerstrasse 126, Zürich, Switzerland

Art | Florian Dombois – Struck Modernism

Until 7 September

A fascinating conflation of the worlds of science and art, Dombois considers geography, geology and seismology in the works contained in this exhibition. Interested in finding a way to represent scientific discovery and phenomena – such as tectonic activity – in the artistic realm, Florian Dombois – Struck Modernism captures this melding of two seemingly disparate worlds immaculately.

Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Selnaustrasse 25, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 217 70 80

One of Florian Dombois' seminal artworks | © Stefan Altenburger
One of Florian Dombois’ seminal artworks | © Stefan Altenburger

Art | Tobias Putrih – Solar Limb

Until 7 September

This exhibition of Tobias Putrih’s work is one of the most exciting to be staged this year. An incredibly innovative and unusual artist, Putrih is concerned with ideas of utopia and the way in which changing architectural styles are impacting on the world today. Solar Limb is a collection of some of his finest works, and includes much to be marveled at, as well as giving the viewer a glimpse of the trajectory of Putrih’s career. It is rare that an exhibition of a solo artist includes such a wide variety of forms of art, but at Solar Limb it seems that the beauty of Putrih’s sculptures can only be rivaled by the insight he shows in his video works.

Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Selnaustrasse 25, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 217 70 80

Tobias Putrih, Solar Limb | © Stefan Altenburger
Tobias Putrih, Solar Limb | © Stefan Altenburger

Film | Grand Cinema Switzerland? All a Film

Until 19 September

This exhibition provides an exciting new way of examining the changes in Swiss history. Grand Cinema Switzerland? All a Film is a collection of motion picture clips chosen specially to illuminate Swiss history and culture and the changes within them. Screened in ten cinemas built specifically for the occasion, Walter Keller has created a truly special and innovative exhibition. Children under 16 can go to the exhibition for free, so it is a great place for a very reasonable family day out. Films to be shown include Beresina oder Die letzten Tag der Schweiz (Berezina, or The Last Days of Switzerland) and the classic Wilder Urlaub.

Landesmuseum Zürich, Museumstrasse 2, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 218 65 11