You’re going for the cheese, chocolate, beautiful scenery and proximity to great skiing. Bring lots of cash (it’s an expensive city).
Train from airport A fast train takes you straight to the city center, which is easy and inexpensive.
Uber It is available in the city and an option from the airport and around town.
Walking You can easily walk around the center and along the river.
good to know
Fondue If cuddling under a blanket and dipping bread in hot melted cheese while sipping on mulled wine is your idea of a good time, then you will find happiness here.
Swiss chocolate Visit the famous ones and, through hard work and research, decide which is your favorite.
Best time to visit While winter is the obvious choice on the way to ski, Switzerland is stunning in the summer, so you can’t go wrong
eats & drinks
Lumiere Located across from the Widder hotel, it has a classic French bistro-feel serving great entrecote and (expensive) wine. It would be easy to go to and even to dine alone or good with a group.
Gerod’s Garden A great place for fondue, the rumor on the streets is that it’s the best in the area, even though it’s a little out of town. It has a quirky setting and is more of an experience than just about the melted cheese, which is also fantastic.
Raclette Stube One of the better fondue places in the center of old town, if you want to be indoors. Be prepared to smell like cheese (a good or bad thing depending on your relationship with cheese).
Hitl There are a few locations, the one near Park Hyatt, Baur Au Lac and Widder is above PKZ (a department store similar to a Bloomingdales). It is vegetarian, but they have a buffet bar with pretty good Indian/Thai curries. It also serves wine and has Wi-Fi, so it can also be good if you need a working spot. A little pricey for what you get, but pretty good, easy and healthy.
Gaucho A steak-focused Argentinian restaurant, it is well-priced with good steak.
Bindella A decent Italian recent with red leather chairs, wooden paneling on the walls and white tablecloths in old town, so it’s convenient to walk to if you’re in the area. The food will most likely not blow your mind, but if you’re tired of eating meat and cheese, it’s a nice break.
Kronenhalle Every hotel concierge recommended this one as the place to have “Swiss” cuisine. The interior is gorgeous, the story nice but the food is fine. It might be a better place to stop by for a drink pre-dinner.
La Stanza A swanky yet low-key bar that has free food in the early afternoon – a rarity for anything in Zurich to be free, but, when you try it, you’ll understand why. Good for pre-dinner drinks.
Bar and Garage at Widder Hotel In the center of old town, the bar serves fantastic cocktails with a lengthy list available. Intimate and cozy, it’s a great date spot or place to start the evening. There is also an outdoor garden during the summer months.
Sprungli This one is best for the truffles and prepared chocolates — they had a caramel sea salt that was fantastic. Their milk chocolate bars are good, tastes like a better, thinner Lindt. The packaging is beautiful, so it makes good gifts for people. This store is near Widder and the river in the old town area and on the Bahnhofstrasse.
Läderach In addition to truffles and bars, their stand-out in my opinion are the giant slabs of chocolate, “fresh chocolate” as they are called, that they break up for you. They almost resemble thick baking chocolate bars, displayed behind protective glass walls (smart on their part) with offerings like milk, Brazilian dark chocolate, milk with hazelnuts (that tasted like deconstructed Nutella), and milk chocolate with salted Marcona almonds.
Teuscher Another chocolatier to visit, but it is available in America so less of a novelty than the others.
see & do
The River The river is beautiful to see and walk or run along and is where most of the cultural parts of the city are based around.
Shopping Along the streets of the Widder Hotel, cute and cobblestoned, you will find more local shops than what is on the main strip.
The Dolder Grand Spa If you are in need of some you time, then we highly suggest booking a day at the spa. With an outdoor whirlpool overlooking the Alps, an indoor steam, sauna and ice room as well as indoor pool and so much more, the spa is a luxurious way to spend the day.
Widder A small boutique hotel with funky, well-designed rooms and casual service, the hotel is in the center of the old town complete with the charm of windy cobble-stoned roads, which means you can’t beat it’s location. The Widder bar or garage is also great to go for a drink, whether you are staying there or not. $$$
25Hours Hotel Langstrasse This lower cost, hip hotel opened recently and is great for people on a budget and close to the train station and main strip in the center of the city. $$
The Dolder Grand A little outside of the city, it offers more of a resort experience. Rooms are updated with modern amenities while the exterior has a charming, Swiss Chateau feel to it. Go here for a romantic getaway or to relax at their incredible spa. You can easily get to the city in an Uber within 15 minutes. $$$$
Lingerie stores There happen to be a lot of them, which can be a good thing if you’re in the market.
Shopping In general is a good thing in this city, if you don’t plan on spending all your time eating cheese and chocolate.
Skiing Zurich is an ideal place to spend a night or two before you explore the other parts of the country.