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Zurich's 10 Best Events in Summer 2014 | Food, Art and Culture

Zurich's 10 Best Events in Summer 2014 | Food, Art and Culture

Picture of Isabella Bengoechea
Updated: 9 February 2017
Zürich may well be home to Switzerland’s financial hub, but the city has much more to offer than office blocks and sharp suits. A lively metropolis with a host of new restaurants, bars and museums, Zürich is a vibrant and fashionable young capital with an exciting summer calendar. Read on to explore ten of the most exciting events taking place in the city throughout June, July and August.

Music | Caliente Latin Festival

4 -6 July

Throughout July in Zürich comes the hottest event on the summer calendar, the Caliente Latin Festival. A veritable feast of some of the best rhythms and dance from Latin America, the festival is the largest celebration of Latin American culture of its kind in Germany, hosting all kinds of dance performances, markets, food stalls, concerts, live salsa and samba in the huge spaces of the Helvetiaplatz, Langstrasse, Kasernenareal and Volkshaus. After immersing yourself in the cuisine, dance and music of Latin culture during the day, many of the bars and clubs in the area continue the fun with music throughout the night. For some special events you will need to purchase tickets, but the majority of the festivities are free for all to enjoy.

Helvetiaplatz, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 401 50 50


Culture | Zürich Festival

Until 13 July

Every summer Zürich celebrates the best of its art, ballet, music, opera, literature, contemporary dance and theatre in the annual Zürich Festival, with events taking place in various venues throughout the centre of the city. Some of this year’s highlights include performances of Frank Molnár’s 1909 play Liliom, as well as the Torches of Prometheus exhibition. The latter exhibition utilises a variety of media to explore interpretations of the mythic figure of Prometheus with paintings and drawings by Henry Fuseli and film installations by Javier Téllez. Taking place throughout June and July, the festival allows visitors to explore the diversity, history and culture of the city in many of its most interesting venues such as the Opera House and the Schiffbau Theatre. Certainly not to be missed.

Event takes place in various locations around Zürich, +41 044 269 90 90


Music | Live At Sunset

9 -19 July

From 9th July until 19th July Zürich holds the yearly Live at Sunset Festival with huge concerts out in the open air every night of the festival. The festival always secures many of the biggest names in the music industry, with past acts including Simply Red, Joe Cocker and Diana Ross, and this year is no different. The 2014 event will see acts as renowned as Robert Plant, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Jamie Cullum, The Backstreet Boys, Texas and Pet Shop Boys take to the stage as the sun sets over Zürich. It takes place in the large scenic spaces of the Zürich Adlisberg, with beautiful views over the city. Furthermore, the festival is committed to doing its bit environmentally, supplying all its energy output with solar power.

Live at Sunset, Adlisbergstrasse 36, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 388 60 60


Art | Foray into Happiness, 1900-1914

Until 13 July

A new exhibition at the Landesmuseum explores the period immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, now perceived and yearned for as a ‘golden age of happiness’ when the idea of war barely entered the realm of possibility. Foray into Happiness considers the new spaces to which the period gave rise which permitted a questioning of the old order and the rise of the avant-garde, the assault on conventional gender roles, new technologies and rising prosperity. Works by artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Ferdinand Hodler and Egon Schiele explore this age of social upheaval: the hope and excitement of the new age as well as the pervasive uneasiness underlying each new step. Paintings, photographs, clothing, machines and everyday objects bring an often-overlooked period to life in this fascinating exhibition.

LandesMuseum, Museumstrasse 2, 8021 Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 218 65 11


Film | Orange Cinema Zurich

17 July – 17 August

Between 17th July and 17th August it will be Zürich’s turn to host the Orange Cinema, an event now in its 25th year and still going strong. Switzerland’s first open-air cinema, it now attracts hundreds of thousands of film fans across not only Zürich, but Basel and Bern throughout the summer. Every evening of the summer season a different film will be shown beneath the stars at the idyllically situated cinema beside the beautiful Lake Zürich. Films range from popular, iconic movies and renowned classics to cult or indie films and premieres, appealing to all kinds of audiences who enjoy cinema and want to soak up the atmosphere. Restaurants and bars can be found around the venue although as the weather can never be guaranteed it is best to be prepared with an umbrella.

Orange Cinema, Dufourstrasse 142, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 43 499 15 70


Theatre | Zürich Theatre Spectacle

14 – 31 August

One of the most exciting and cutting-edge theatrical events in Zürich is the Theatre Spectacle, a festival aimed at showcasing the best avant-garde performances by theatre companies from all over the world. Founded in 1980, the festival has grown to be one of the most prestigious European festival for performing arts, supporting both renowned and emerging theatrical groups. During the summer, over 20 different theatrical groups take to stages around the Landiwiese parks over 18 days in August to perform new pieces in exciting new settings, including outdoor productions beside the lake. Multimedia installations and outdoor entertainment along with restaurant and bars tend to attract visitors in their thousands, and the lovely open parkland makes this festival one of the most memorable experiences of the season.

Zurich Theatre Spectacle, Landiwiese, Wollishofen, 8038 Zürich, Switzerland +41 (0)44 412 35 51


Culture | Switzerland and the Great War

29 August – 26 October

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, and to commemorate the occasion the Landesmuseum in Zürich is holding an exhibition of how Switzerland was affected by the turmoil which engulfed Europe. Although the country was technically neutral, the war had huge repercussions for political, economic and social realities in Switzerland which resulted in social unrest, conflicts, lack of food and impoverishment which led to the general strike of November 1918. Switzerland and the Great War uses contemporary photos, objects, documentaries and films to explore the precarious internal situation in wartime Switzerland so visitors can understand more about an aspect of the war often overlooked. The exhibition promises a fascinating glimpse into this disregarded side of the history of the First World War.

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


Music | Zürich Street Parade

2 August

On the 2nd of August Zürich will once again play host to its yearly street parade, where music and dancing in the street are the order of the day. Every year since 1992, thousands of visitors have come to dance to some of the best house and techno music in the world, in a rhythmic demonstration for ‘love, peace, freedom and tolerance,’ and to ‘encourage diversity in music and in club life.’ Modelled on the Berlin Love Parade, the Zürich Street Parade involves numerous enormous and brightly coloured floats or ‘Love Mobiles’ advancing around Lake Zürich blaring deafening beats from monster sound systems while dancers, audio-visual performances and DJs entertain revellers with electronic music and art on huge stages located around the parade route.

Event takes place in various locations across Zurich


Art | Underground: The Spectacle of the Invisible

4 July – 29 September

Among the many exhibitions at the Design Museum of Zürich is Unterirdisch, or Underground: The Spectacle of the Invisible, running throughout the summer of 2014. This new exhibition utilises various different media, particularly photography, films and objects to explore the theme of the ‘underground,’ a fascinating and increasingly important part of all our lives. From basements, railway stations, roads, tunnels, water reservoirs, bunkers and clubs, the underground has become a way of life in the modern world. This exhibition seeks to make visible this world hidden beneath the surface, through considering major national and international constructions which have come to create a habitable underground life. This is not an exhibition to miss, particularly for those with a keen eye for gorgeous photography.

Museum of Design, Ausstellungsstrasse 60, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 43 446 44 67


Art | Untitled Horrors by Cindy Sherman

Until 14 September

Another must-see summer event is the exhibition Untitled Horrors dedicated to the works of world-famous American photographer and film director Cindy Sherman. Until September the Kunsthaus art gallery will be exhibiting many of Sherman’s best-known works, right from her earliest days back in 1975 up to her more recent contributions to the art world. Focus is on the gruesome and the grotesque as she presents and raises important questions about gender roles and established identities, and this exhibition pays particular attention to many of her lesser-known and rarely exhibited early works in the aim of showing her career in its full glory. Once you have taken in Sherman’s work, the world-class Kunsthaus art institution well warrants a wander through its enormous galleries which are filled to bursting with much of the world’s iconic artwork.

Kunsthaus, Heimplatz 1, Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 253 84 84


By Isabella Bengoechea