Zurich Like a Local

Advisor - Liz Schmittgens
Curated By

Liz Schmittgens

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  • City Travel

  • Digital Nomad Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Shopping

  • Entertainment

  • Relaxation

A view of buildings and a bridge.
Curator’s statement

The capital city of Switzerland is rich in history and features quiet cobblestone streets tucked in among impeccable public transit lines. If you’re traveling with children or catching a few days of work during your stay, Zurich has a lot to offer. Take your time and enjoy the cheese and chocolate.

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Where to stay in Zurich

25hours Hotel Langstrasse

An eclectic urban retreat that merges local charm, contemporary design, and a lively atmosphere in the vibrant district of Zurich.

Fora Perks
  • Complimentary bike rental

  • Upgrade whenever possible.

  • Guaranteed early check-in / late check-out.

La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich

Indulge in refined luxury and breathtaking views at La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich, a serene lakeside retreat that combines contemporary style with impeccable service for an unforgettable experience.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Park Hyatt Zürich

Chic property in the heart of Zürich with sophisticated rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Advisor - Liz Schmittgens

Unlock perks by contacting Liz to book your trip.

Things to do in Zurich

Aerial view of the city with church, buildings and lake.

Zurich Zoo

In a very on-brand move, the Zurich Zoo is built into the side of a hill. Animal exhibits and cafes are located along the switchback paths, making it a unique zoo experience. Be sure to check out the giraffe enclosure, the elephant habitat and try to time your visit to see the daily penguin parade. It's as adorable as it sounds. The Zoo Cafe is open to both zoo visitors and non-visitors. During the week, it's a quiet place to enjoy your coffee and take care of some emails. Before hopping back on the tram, explore the extensive map of walking trails in the area.

Opera Haus Pavilion

Begin at Bahnhofbrücke bridge and follow the Lammat River until it opens up at Lake Zurich. Along the lake's east bank, you will quickly arrive at the pavilion outside of Zurich's Opera House. Even if you do not attend a performance, the exterior of the venue and the pavilion space offer a wide-open area to enjoy and relax in a café chair for a while.

Lidenhof Hill

This historic area sits atop a hill that will make your hamstrings burn, but the view makes it worth the hike. There's a charming little park and playground with benches where you can take in your surroundings. After that, you can take a stroll through the nearby streets and visit the smaller shops. Take your time and appreciate the peaceful nature of the area before returning to the bustle of Bahnhofstrasse, where you'll find bigger brand stores.


Window shop or treat yourself to a luxury item. Perhaps a Swiss timepiece? It’s a timepiece, not a watch.

Lindt Chocolate Tour

Continue indulging by visiting the Lindt factory and enjoying the tour. The smells and the samples are worth the trip.

Botanischer Garten der Universität Zürich

Botanical gardens are a great place to enjoy a picnic and take a break from the city scape. The gardens in Zurich are no exception.

Zurich Tram Museum

You will find the public transit runs like clockwork in Zurich (insert Swiss watch joke here). Celebrate the history and development with a visit to this museum.


On campus at the University of Zurich, you will find one of the best views of the city. Brave the walk up the hill or take the Central Polybahn ride and you will be rewarded with a western panorama of the lake, mountains and rooftops.

Places to eat & drink in Zurich

People outside of a restaurant.

Tiffins: If you’re a fan of Thai food this place is special. I visited with some Zurich locals who had spent extensive time in Thailand, and they claim this to be the best asian cuisine in Zurich. You can’t go wrong with a curry or chow mien.

Starbucks at Central: Really! While I love experiencing local coffee shops and cafes, there is always something comforting about a familiar brand, like Starbucks, while traveling. The good news is the Starbucks at Central is totally distinctive with multiple floors of quiet tables and nooks. A reliable place for wifi and a quick refresher.

Tibits Bistro: For an elevated, kid-friendly experience, try out tidbits Bistro at Seefeld. Not only does it have a play area for children, but you can enjoy their delicious buffet style menu, including paying by weight for any pickier eaters to try a bite or two without committing to a whole plate. For those of us who are eager to try every dish, it gives you ultimate flexibility to choose as many different options as you can fit on your plate.

Santa Lucia: When I spoke with a friend in Zurich before my visit, I asked what to expect from Zurich cuisine. His response — “Italian!” Santa Lucia is a perfect example of delicious pasta and pizza just over the boarder from Italy. It can get crowded so consider a reservation or even take-out.

Dieci Primo: If you plan a visit to the Zoo and you want to cap it off with an experience that somehow feels fancy, but also family friendly, make a dinner reservation here. Your little ones can entertain themselves on the playground and you can enjoy a white table cloth experience

Cafe Elena: Go for coffee or brunch at this bright spot, complete with a wall covered in roses.

Franzos Coffee Shop: Speaking of beautiful walls, the gallery wall at this cafe is the perfect backdrop for a cappuccino.

Coop: If you need to stock up on picnic items, including beautiful fresh flowers, stop into this grocery store. The Bahnhofbrücke location is centrally located and casually located right on the water.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Lionel Buhler’s guide, 3-Day Itinerary Across Switzerland.

Advisor - Liz Schmittgens

Travel Advisor

Liz Schmittgens

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Switzerland.