Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city and most important business centre. Surrounded by wooded hills and situated at the northern tip of Lake Zurich where the Limmat River departs, Zurich is not just the world’s banking center, but a city where visitors can indulge in world-class shopping and embrace the fine arts and culture of Switzerland.
High-end shopping does not get any better than in Zurich. The Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most beautiful and celebrated shopping streets in Europe. It is accessible from the Hauptbahnhof, the city’s main train station, and the street continues on down to Paradeplatz, which is the most famous square in Switzerland. At Paradeplatz, you’ll find some of Switzerland’s biggest banks headquartered there, but you’ll also find a renowned high-end chocolate shop and café called Confiserie Sprüngli. Along Bahnhofstrasse, there are many elite brand name stores like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co., Cartier, and Giorgio Armani. There are also smaller boutique shops, department stores, and shops specializing in high quality goods. For those who can’t afford anything expensive, there are lower budget shops mixed in with old and luxurious stores on the other side of the Limmat River in the Niederdorf district.
Zurich is also a cultural center and it is worth visiting the Kunsthaus, which is one of Switzerland’s major art museums – known in particular for its collection of sculptures by Giacometti and paintings by Fuesli. The Rietberg Museum is another notable, being one of the best collections of Asian and Indian art in all of Europe. Theater is also an important component of Zurich’s offerings. You can enjoy plays and dramas at the famous Schauspielhaus theatre as well as a number of smaller theatres in the city.
Other notable tourist sites in Zurich include the “Grossmünster”, the “Fraumünster”, and the Old Town. The Grossmünster is the old Romanesque church where the famous protestant reformer, Huldyrch Zwingli was appointed a priest. The “Fraumünster” is an old Gothic church and former convent and has a magnificent display of stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. The Old Town in the Niederdorf district spans the Limmat River and is a great place to enjoy elegant, cobbled alleys, steep narrow streets, and small-scale architecture and all the while browsing trendy shops in the process.
Zurich’s nightlife has also improved substantially. The Escher-Wyss Platz area in Zurich West has a number of bars, clubs, and restaurants, including jazz bars, discos, and smokey clubs showing cabaret performances.