Updated: Aug 2, 2022
You’ve seen the centre, done the Münsters, been up the Uetliberg and maybe even down the lake to Rapperswil, so what now? The best-kept secrets in town may be the banking ones, but there’s definitely a lot of life beyond Bahnhofstrasse. Take some time to explore the places below and you’ll be a big step close to understanding what makes this intriguing city really tick.
Lazing on the Limmat
It’s a FITCITY dream to be able to swim in a sparkling clean lake in your lunch hour, and every Zürich resident has their favourite badi. When the heat is on, city girls head for the Frauenbadi, a women-only outdoor pool on the Limmat. Book a massage, join a yoga class or just let the outside world slip away as you relax in its original art-deco elegance.
Grab a salad from the snack stand and stay for the day; once evening falls, the lights go on and the badi becomes the Barfuss (barefoot) bar, open to men as well as women, hosting music and cultural events throughout the summer.
Not unique to Zürich, but if you’ve just arrived want to get your bearings on your new home, this is one of the most fun ways to do it. Follow the Foxtrail clues (in English) along one of five different routes to unlock the secrets of the city, from the historic Niederdorf to the urban chic of Zurich West.
The trails take around two and a half hours, engaging both body and brain, and we guarantee you’ll know a lot more about the city when you finish. Great for groups, fun for families, find out more at https://www.foxtrail.ch/en/home
As a country that didn’t grant women the vote until 1971, Switzerland is not exactly at the forefront of feminism, so it’s heartening to see female pioneers being celebrated. Dr Emilie Kempin-Spyri was the first Swiss woman to achieve a law degree in 1887. She went on to become a vocal equal rights activist, moving to the US to start a law school for women before returning to lecture at the University of Zürich.
Today the doctor’s achievements are honoured with a huge blue chaise lounge in the beautiful, light-flooded atrium of the university. An odd choice for a memorial perhaps, but sit on it for a moment and you might find inspiration of your own ... Emilie was already a 32-year-old mother of three when she started studying, so it’s never too late to step up!
That Freitag Feeling
Freitag bags are iconic, summing up the city’s reputation for innovation and commitment to more sustainable living. The bags are made from cargo tarpaulins, and the flagship store is a colourful tower of shipping containers. Climb to the top for an alternative city view, plus the widest selection of one-off messenger bags and backpacks designed to last a lifetime.
While you’re up there, look out for the little oasis of Frau Gerold’s below. First impressions are more shabby than chic, but don’t be put off; this urban garden is one the coolest places in town to shop, eat and drink.
Imagine dining in total darkness. Textures, sounds and flavours are suddenly super intense. Your eyes strain for definition, but there’s nothing. Welcome to the Blindekuh, promising enlightenment without light, and possibly the most memorable meal you’ll ever eat.
Moreover, Blindekuh is also one of the largest private-sector employers for people with impaired vision. They create valuable jobs, foster dialogue between sighted people and those with visual impairments, and open up new perspectives for young and old alike.
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