This piece is part of our GATEZERO hub — a travel-focused content series celebrating GATEZERO, our concept store at Zurich airport.
There’s a reason Zurich consistently ranks among the most livable places in the world. A friend once described it as the ultimate site where gray meets green, where the constructed meets the elemental. The city sits at the crucial juncture between the natural world, with a slew of swimming spots and mountain hikes nearby, and the urban—Zurich’s city center plays host to a world class selection of architecture, restaurants, bars, and museums.
Nestled between rivers and lakes and the greenest of foliage, the Swiss city is an oft overlooked destination—at least by the creative powers that be. But not us. Highsnobiety has long been hip to what the city has to offer, so it’s no coincidence that we’ve launched our first brick-and-mortar outpost, GATEZERO, in the Zurich Airport.
In celebration of our new airport concept store, we’ve tasked our friends from across the company to recommend their favorite places in the city. Between all of them, we’ve put together the ultimate weekend guide. Whether you’re just passing through or giving the city a little more time, these are the places you won’t want to miss. And don’t forget to swing by the shop for the coolest airport shopping experience... maybe ever.
Any good trip is, of course, going to start with something to eat. Dive in headfirst with a bite at Kronenhalle. One of Zurich’s most iconic eateries, its walls are decorated with the art of some of its famous (like famous famous) patrons over the years. Tuck into some of their classic dishes while sitting under a Chagall or a Miró.
If you’re looking for more modern fare, then the pizza at MODO, a Roman-inspired pizzeria, is a good bet. They serve slices with inventive toppings as well as a variety of small plates, in a bright and airy space with a natural wine shop attached. Or there’s Schnupf, a cocktail bar and bistro located in Langstrasse that boasts updated classics like steak and fries. The vibe is laid back and unfussy but done just right.
If cafes are more your thing then Monocle Shop and Café, an extension of the beloved magazine is going to be a welcome addition to your list. There’s also Nude Bar, a sleek and minimal stop for the design oriented. And if you’re looking for a warm buttery pastry, look no further than Collective Bakery.
If it’s old-school glamour you’re after, check out the palatial dining room at zum Kropf. The institution in the center of the city serves traditional Swiss/Bavarian fare in a vaulted space replete with murals and painted ceilings. And as you head out of the city, and stop by the GATEZERO shop in the Zurich airport, swing by our neighbors at Sprüngli. Our Head of Buying, Herbert Hoffman, recommends the pralines covered with pure vanilla.
Zurich has no shortage of places to stay, but we’ve zeroed in on three. For the traveler in search of elegance there’s the iconic Dolder Grand Hotel, a stately palace with sweeping views of the city. It delivers all the Grand Budapest vibes and, thanks to a free shuttle, gets you to the city center in no time. For the more urban inclined, the B2 Boutique Hotel is a short jaunt from the Bahnhof Zurich Enge railway station and features modern rooms and appliances. If a spot to sleep with an in-house restaurant is what you’re after, the 25 Hours Hotel in Langstrasse is host to Neni, a happening Israeli eatery.
The Swiss are no strangers to good design and Zurich is a testament to this legacy. To pay homage to that strong Swiss penchant for all things aesthetic, a stop at the Museum für Gestaltung (The Museum of Design) is in store. The institution is a mecca for the history of Swiss design and celebrates everything from posters to decorative arts to everyday objects. Follow that up with a visit to the Pavilion Le Corbusier, a house designed by the blockbuster architect that you almost have to see to believe. While it’s worth a visit for the structure alone, the inside hosts a series of exhibitions as well.
If it’s more architecture you’re after, then a stroll by (and inside of) RWI should be top of list. A portion of the university library was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and boasts an impressive interior central atrium. It’s one for the books.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Zurich in those resplendent summer months, then no visit would be complete without a dip in Oberer Letten, a lively swimming spot in the center of the city. Gather with some friends and cool off in this outdoor pool before going on about your day.
No guide would be complete without some options for where to let loose once the sun sets. There’s no shortage of nice bars in the city, but we’ve lowered it down to a select few. Raygrodski offers some of the city’s most creative cocktails, plus it sports a buzzy patio that’s friendly for people watching. Just down the block is Bar Sacchi, an Italian style cafe and cocktail bar with stylish digs.
If you’re in search of something uber polished, Bar am Wasser serves up award-winning cocktails in a moody interior with impressive chandeliers. Meanwhile Widder Bar offers over 250 varieties of malt whiskey and the occasional live jazz show. It’s a Zurich bar scene staple.
And if you’re still awake past bedtime, then check out Bar3000 for a variety of live shows and dance nights. Here the music can range from anything from old school to techno. Make sure to check out their Instagram to see what events are playing that weekend.
Learn more about our airport store on our online hub for all things GATEZERO.