Get to know Zurich and meet new people
As the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich is where it is all happening. Luckily, while there is quite a lot going on, it is still a manageable city to live in and get to know. Reading local publications, participating in expat groups and checking out Zurich Tourism are good ways to start learning about things going on in your city. Stay up to date on interesting events in town with the Hello Switzerland Events page.
There are several international groups in Zurich, including the Zurich International Women's Association, the American Club of Zurich, British Resident's Association and the Indian Association of Greater Zurich. You can also check for Meetups near you. They all organise regular events and are a great way to meet new people. Language and integration classes are another good place to meet people. Zurich offers free integration classes for its residents.
For English news resources read the article Entertainment, News & Media in Zurich.
Things to do in Zurich
Zurich is one of the liveliest cities in Switzerland. As an important economic centre, many people come here to work, bringing a variety of cultures. Its lakeside location and historical buildings make it an attractive tourist destination. As with most Swiss cities, it is well connected by road and rail and navigable by foot, car or bicycle.
Orange Cinema shows open air film screenings during the summer months. Or check out the Kinoprogramm (DE) for movie times. For those interested in sport, visit this page of the city website. Find other great suggestions in the Family activities in Zurich article.
Cultural activities in Zurich
For live music, the Rote Fabrik is an experimental arts and music venue. The Opernhaus is another important Zurich venue. Check out the Zurich Comedy Club for regularly delivered shows, plays and comedies in English. The club also welcomes new members.
Definitely visit a few of the many museums in Zurich. The Swiss National Musuem presents three museums under one umbrella. Learn about Swiss cultural history through permanent and temporary exhibitions. Kunsthaus is the museum for modern art in Zurich. Numerous trade fairs and exhibitions also come through Zurich.
Visit the large, year around flea market (flohmarkt) (DE) in Helvetia Court or Bürkliplatz / the seasonal market (DE) from the beginning of May to the end of October. At these markets find everything from clothes to vintage items to flowers to meat to cheese.
Zurich offers a whole list of amazing festivals throughout the year. Below are just a few examples.
- At the end of summer, the Zürcher Theater Spektakel is one of the most important European festivals for contemporary performing arts.
- At the annual Night at the Museum (DE), doors stay open well into the night.
- Caliente is a music and culture festival celebrating Latin American and Caribbean culture.
- Streetparade is the largest "technoparade" in Europe. Revellers gather in the street to dance to trance and techno DJs.
- Expovina (German) is a celebration for the appreciation of wine.
- During Dörfli-Fäscht bars in the Niederdorf open their doors for a celebration.
- Open Air Zurich is a massive outdoor music festival that last for a whole weekend.
- There is a strong circus culture in Switzerland and the travelling circuses that pass through Zurich in spring and at Christmas time are an important part of the city's culture. Attend a show to watch magnificent performances by people and animals. The Knie Circus (DE/FR) is based in Zurich.
- Salto Natale is a traditional Christmas show brought to you by the famous Knie circus family. Even if you do not understand German you can enjoy this special holiday show.
- Albanifest (DE) is another large seasonal festival that takes place in Winterthur.
- The Knabenschiessen (DE) is a unique yearly festival for youth centered around shooting accuracy.
- Don't miss the yearly blues'n'jazz festival (DE) in Rapperswil-Jona.
- During Sechseläuten (DE) in spring, the guilds of Zurich parade through the city, then burn a symbolic snowman known as the Böögg.
- The Zurich Film Festival takes place in the autumn each year.
Eating out, restaurants & nightlife
Zurich has a wide choice of restaurants offering Swiss specialities and international cuisine. Continue the night by exploring clubs, discos and bars. Arrive home safely with the late-night bus service Nachtnetz (DE). This guide in English has excellent recommendations for eating out in Zurich. The Zurich "geht aus" (DE) is another very useful guide to follow. It is updated every year and can be a good source of inspiration to go out.
Summertime is amazing around the lake. You can swim in the lake and then eat and drink at one of the many restaurants along the lakefront.
Leisure and day trips in and around Zurich
- Take a boat to the picturesque lakefront town of Rapperswil.
- Hop on the train to Uetliberg (DE) for walking in summer, sledding in winter and panoramic views over the city.
- If you need time out to rejuvenate, treat yourself to a getaway at one of the wellness centres.
Photo: swiss-image/MARTIN RUETSCHI SWITZERLAND