Top 14 free things to do in Zurich (2023)

Regularly named as one of the most expensive cities in the world,ZurichIt's not the first place you'd think of for a cheap city break. With its chic designer shops, exclusive restaurants, and impressive admission prices, Zurich can easily empty your wallet.

Fortunately, the financial powerhouse also has a lot going for Zilch. From stuffed sloths and succulent collections to river pools and Rembrandt, here's a frugal guide.

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1. Enjoy a complimentary drink with a stunning view at Lindenhof

The winding, narrow streets of Zurich's Old Town meander upwardslindenhof, an ancient Roman fortress overlooking the Limmat. Take a break on a bench overlooking the view and quench your thirst.not a thingfill up your water bottle at the beautiful stone fountain, it's just one of many throughout the city that provide fresh drinking water from the tap.

If you're lucky, you might even get free entertainment - chess and petanque enthusiasts often come here to play.

2. See the sprawl of the city from the Friday Tower

You'll find something less like a fairy tale in the industrial district of Zurich WestFreitag(a local brand that makes stylish bags out of recycled seatbelts, old tarpaulins, and used bike inner tubes) has a flagship store made entirely of shipping containers. Its colorful tower, made up of nine containers stacked one on top of the other, is a landmark of the modern city and is free to visit.

It's quite a climb up the many stairs to the top, and the rugged, slightly bumpy nature of the tower is a little unnerving, but your reward is the fascinating view - an extensive network of roads, railways, warehouses and office buildings interspersed with each other. the others. with some other surprise like the swimming pool at the surf center Urban Surf.

3. Stroll through the tropics in the city's botanical gardens

One of the best free experiences in the city is to visit one or both of the University of Zurich.Botanical Gardens. The original garden, dating from 1837, is located on top of a hill in the center of the city and contains numerous exotic trees, as well as a palm house and a medieval herb garden named after a Zurich doctor. from the 16th century who knew medicinal plants.

If it looks like it's going to rain, or not, head to the "new" (built in the 1970s) in Seefeld, whose vaulted greenhouses are the main attraction. Home to some 7,000 species of plants, including ferns, orchids, cacti, tulips, and bromeliads, these humid tropical greenhouses can be at odds with the weather outside.

4. Take a look behind the scenes at FC Zurich

If you prefer sport to science, check it outFCZ Museum, entirely dedicated to FC Zurich. Seven themed areas trace the history of the club from its founding in 1896, explore the ups and downs of the team and the development of football in Switzerland.

It is illustrated with photographs, films, trophies and finds. The much larger and more visibleFIFA World Football MuseumIt is also in Zurich and children under six are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult.

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5. Get Additional Training at the University of Zurich Museums

Dinosaur skeletons, giant mammoths, stuffed sloths and countless insects - you can touch themZoological Museum of the University of Zurichit is home to 1,500 animals with interactive exhibits that allow visitors to listen to whales sing or get up close to insects with a magnifying glass. The indoor cinema shows free nature movies twice a day. those of the universityarchaeological collection,paleontological museum(with fossils from the UNESCO World Heritage site Monte San Giorgio in southern Switzerland) and the Museum of Geosciences,FocusErdeThey are also all free.

6. See the best of Zurich art without paying a dime

Appreciating the great art of Zurich for free is difficult, but not impossible. Two of the most important art galleries in the city offer free admission on certain days. Visitors can marvel at works by Rembrandt, Manet, Warhol, Van Gogh and the Swiss housefree on Wednesdays (and kids under 16 are free every day), while contemporary (and often controversial) art atMigros MuseumIt can be viewed for free on Thursday nights from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

7. Do bird watching in the center

Thanks toZurich Aviary, Ornithologists don't need to venture into the wild to enjoy world-class birding; Instead, they can stay in town and see a variety of exotic breeds for free. Since its inception in 1898, this Mythenquai bird sanctuary and aviary has welcomed injured birds and helped save parakeets, toucans and everything in between.

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8. Visit the grave of James Joyce

The famous Irish author James Joyce wroteUlisesin Zurich before dying in the city in 1941James Joyce Foundationpromotes free and regular meetings and workshops dedicated to the best-known works of the author, includingFinnegan's Stele. Joyce is buried in the city's Fluntern Cemetery, where a statue of the writer sits and she contemplates with a pencil in one hand and a book in the other.

9. Into the wilderness in the Langenberg wildlife park

For a city break, head toLangenberg nature park, west of Lake Zurich, where wolves, brown bears, lynx, deer and elk roam freely among vast expanses of forest. A 2 km forest adventure trail takes visitors through the forest itself via 12 interactive stations and is accessible year-round, even when the visitor center is closed.

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10. Climb the Uetliberg, Zurich's miniature mountain

By high Swiss standards, Zurich's local mountain, the Uetliberg, is closer to the shins than the shoulders of its contemporaries, but at 871m above sea level, its undulating, forest-covered haunches are a playground. covered with pine trees for hikers and bikers. It is particularly popular in the fall, as its peak is above the mist that sometimes shrouds the city. climb theobservation towerfor a very special panorama.

11. Ride around the city on a bike for free

Zurich is easily explored on foot, but if you want to get around faster and avoid the expense of public transportation, pick up a free bike at theZurich Rolls. A deposit is required, but is fully refundable when the bike is returned at the end of the day. In the meantime, explore the banks of the Limmat, the industrial maze of Züri West and, if your legs can hold it, the hilly streets of the Old Town on two wheels.

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12. Crazy about cacti in the succulent collection

Sounds like the answer to a quiz question, but with over 4,400 species from over 78 different plant families, Zurich is home to one of the largest collections of succulent plants in the world. With seven greenhouses, an outdoor rock garden, and cacti, agaves, aloes, and ball lightning of all shapes and sizes, thesucculent collectionIt's free and full of surprises.

14. Take a dip in a river pool

Swimming in Lake Zurich is free, but the real action takes place in the city's river pools. Catering to the adventurous swimmer whoLower Basin Latviatakes full advantage of a fast flow while theLatvian Upper Basinit is a bit more relaxed with a 400m long swimming channel and diving board. the historicalSchanzengraben River PoolOpened in 1864, it sits on a secluded bend in the river, but is open to men only. is open to allWerdisnel, a small island in Limmat that is popular in summer for its swimming pools, barbecues and sunbathing areas. Lockers are free, but please bring your own lock.

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