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Best things to do in Canton of Zurich

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Switzerland  /  Canton of Zurich

Top 15 things to do in Canton of Zurich

1. Lake Zurich, Zurich

Fed by crisp mountain waters, Lake Zurich once served mostly for passenger traffic and cargo transport. Today the sprawling lake counts among Switzerland's top tourist destinations, luring visitors with its sightseeing boat tours, walking paths, and lush parks, set against a chain of photogenic hills. Used to supply clean water to the surrounding cities, the lake is 40 km (25 mi) long and about 3 km (2 mi) wide. The city of Zurich wraps itself around the northwestern end of lake and provides a base for cycling tours and paddle steamer cruises along the sun-kissed and prosperous "Golden Coast." Zurich's well-developed lakefront areas boast several immaculate beaches, a big draw for active vacationers from all over the world.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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2. Old Town, Zurich

The city's historic heart, the atmospheric Old Town serves as one of the area's major tourist attractions, famed for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture and cobblestoned lanes flanked by trendy shops, galleries, and restaurants. A convenient starting point for tours around the city, the district stretches along both banks of the Limmat River. Begin your walk through medieval Zurich at the Old Town's landmark bridge, which connects two monumental cathedrals situated on opposite sides of the river. From there you can easily reach the nearby shopping streets, packed with hip cafes and quirky boutiques. In the evening the neighborhood's bars and clubs become the center of Zurich's lively nightlife.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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3. Zoo Zurich, Zurich

An oasis of greenery on a wooded hill east of the city's downtown area, Zoo Zurich shelters over 2,000 animals of about 250 different species. In addition to a large aquarium and open-air aviary, the park features special areas dedicated to African animals, as well as large enclosures for red pandas, snow leopards, tigers, lions, and otters. A replica of a tropical rainforest, the zoo's top attraction, provides visitors with a hands-on learning experience about the natural environments of Madagascar. If you time things right, you may be able to catch the daily penguin parade. Check the website for special events and guided tour options.
Suggested duration: 5h 30 min
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4. Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich

Indulge your inner shopaholic with a stroll through Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. The elegant avenue runs from the city's main train station all the way to the city's eponymous lake. Largely pedestrianized, the thoroughfare dates back to the 1860s, when city planners decided to fill in and pave a ditch in front of the demolished city walls. Take a stroll and window-shop at upscale stores selling everything from diamond rings and fur coats, to fine chocolates and branded watches. Two of Switzerland's biggest banks have their headquarters on this avenue; the bank vaults below street level allegedly contain huge reserves of gold and silver.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Uetliberg Mountain, Zurich

Scale Uetliberg Mountain to admire Switzerland's largest city and its location on the edge of the Alps. At 869 m (2,851 ft) tall, the small mountain rises above the city and is easily accessible from Zurich. Take a short ride on the train to just below the summit, where you can continue your ascent on foot. The mountain is popular for hiking and mountain biking as well as sledding, depending on the season. For the best views, climb to the top of the lookout tower.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Landesmuseum, Zurich

In a city filled with renowned galleries and museums, Landesmuseum stands out with its collection of over a million artifacts, arranged in evocative exhibits designed to present the history and cultural heritage of Switzerland. Narrating the birth and the evolution of the Swiss nation, the museum takes visitors from prehistoric times to the present day. Housed inside one of the Old Town's landmark 19th-century buildings, the collection includes furnishings, household items, handicrafts, liturgical sculptures, panel paintings, and carved altars. Be sure to drop by the galleries displaying a collection of 9th-century art, medieval coins, and weapons and armor.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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7. Museum of Art (Kunsthaus Zurich), Zurich

An art lover's dream come true, Museum of Art (Kunsthaus Zurich) houses one of the most significant art collections in Switzerland. Designed by architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel, the museum opened in 1910. Today, the permanent collection boasts major works by Gauguin, van Gogh, Cezanne, and Monet. The museum also houses a comprehensive collection of works by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, including the trademark stick figures that catapulted this artist to world fame. Be sure to leave plenty of time for the galleries displaying classic photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, and Andre Kertesz. Before you set off on a self-guided tour of the collection, check the website for a downloadable museum map.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Museum Rietberg, Zurich

Admire displays of Asian, African, American, and Oceanian art at Museum Rietberg, the only art museum of non-European cultures in the country. Housed in several historical buildings, the museum's core collection comes from a donation from Baron Eduard von der Heydt. Highlights from the Indian collection include the South Indian bronze of Shiva Nataraja, dating back to the Chola dynasty. The site also offers Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sculpture and bronzes from the 3rd to 16th centuries, as well as paintings on paper, fabric, and palm leaf from the 12th to 19th centuries. The African collection showcases sculptures from the Dogon region in Mali and masks and figures from the Ivory Coast, as well as other areas. The China collection includes Ming dynasty pottery. You can take a public tour upon entry to the museum. Use public transportation to reach the site, as there are no public parking spaces nearby.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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9. Lindenhof Hill, Zurich

Climb up to Lindenhof Hill, a quiet park overlooking the city's charming old town. The park draws local chess players to compete against one another amidst large, leafy trees. From your vantage point in the square, take in views of the old town and Limmat River, as well as historical buildings such as Grossmunster Church and city hall. Descend from the park via stone steps leading to the old town to explore little shops tucked cozily into narrow lanes.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Room Escape Games, Zurich

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Hauptbahnhof, Zurich

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Spas, Zurich

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Limmat, Zurich

The Limmat is a river in Switzerland. The river commences at the outfall of Lake Zurich, in the southern part of the city of Zurich. From Zurich it flows in a northwesterly direction, after 35 km reaching the river Aare. The confluence is located north of the small town of Brugg and shortly after the mouth of the Reuss.The main towns along the Limmat Valley downstream of Zurich are Dietikon, Wettingen, and Baden. Its main tributaries are the Linth, via Lake Zurich, the Sihl, in Zurich, and the Reppisch, in Dietikon.The hydronym is first attested in the 8th century, as Lindimacus. It is of Gaulish origin, from *lindo- "lake" and *magos "plain", and was thus presumably in origin the name of the plain formed by the Linth.Power generationLike many Swiss rivers, the Limmat is intensively used for production of hydroelectric power: along its course of 35km, its fall is used by no less than ten hydroelectric power stations. These include:
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. FIFA Museum, Zurich

The FIFA Museum is an association football museum operated (but not owned) by FIFA. It is rented under suspicious circumstances (the building renovation costed SFr 140 million and was paid by FIFA, enriching the landlord, who signed a lucrative contract with above the market fees for long-term rental; the case has been referred to the Swiss prosecutors, who are investigating potential fraud by Sepp Blatter, FIFA's former president, and his associates). The museum is located in Zürich, Switzerland, across town from the FIFA headquarters. It opened on 28 February 2016. The project, costing over SFr500 million ($563m), is currently under investigation for "suspected criminal mismanagement".
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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15. Confiserie Sprungli, Zurich

Indulge your taste buds at Confiserie Sprungli. Sample a range of sweets like pastries, signature chocolates, and the Luxemburgerli, the shop's signature macaroon. Founded in 1836, the family-owned Swiss luxury confectionery opened this shop in 1859. The store offers pralines and truffles made from Swiss chocolate, among many other desserts, including their flagship macaroons, of which they produce approximately 650 kg (1,430 lb) daily. Purchase boxed candy in decorative tins or and send treats to others. Staff in the cafe and bakery speak English, so you may direct any questions you have to them.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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