Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, and one of the wealthiest in Europe. Located right on the northwestern shores of Lake Zurich, this cosmopolitan town mixes seamlessly with the past and creates an environment that is often rated as one of the best places to live in the world.
For the gay traveler, it is an outstanding place to visit. Zurich has been permanently settled for over 7,000 years, which means there are plenty of historical sites to absorb. The Kunsthaus is one of the most important art museums in Europe, and the Swiss National Museum was built in 1898 and is one of the most revered cultural institutions on the continent. Bars, cafes and more clubs than most cities in Europe make Zurich an exciting and always-fun place to explore.
Zurich Gay Scene
Zurich’s Gay Scene is non-stop action and adventure with plenty of attractions and entertainment that will keep gay and lesbian travelers busy. The Altstadt neighborhood is home to many gay-friendly cafes and bars, as well as heaps of dining, shopping, art and theatre. Many of the gay venues are located here, so pop in for a post-adventure cocktail at Cranberry Bar, a conversation with the locals at Lobby Bar or a traditional German lager at the oldest gay bar in town, the Barfüsser.
The old Industrial Zone, now known as Zurich West, as well as the Aussersihl area, are both home to a hip and edgy community of creative types redefining the urban space with exceptional restaurants, art galleries, unusual stores and rowdy nightlife establishments.
Bars in Zurich close earlier than in most countries, and it is not uncommon for groups to hang out at cafés late into the night. Clubs are where the majority of the late-night partying happens, so when the cafés and bars shut down the crowds flock to the many clubs around the city. T&M is one of the original gay clubs, and remains popular. On the weekends, cover there also gets you into Aaah! on the second floor, which has a labyrinth in the back and more variety on the dancefloor. For a raucous good time, hop over to the mixed Lotus Club, where you will find serious European trance, techno and progressive beats.
Gays are everywhere in Zurich, with gay Pride peaking in late June, but don’t hesitate to visit the more straight clubs with the big-name DJs if that’s your thing, or to sip the night away at any of the traditional beer halls that dot the city. Zum Wohl!
Swiss Chuchi is a happening little spot, in Zurich’s Old Town, or as the Swiss would say “Alstadt” Some locals recommended the spot to me and said that it was a pretty authentic fondue spot. Because of the location, the spot attracts a lot of tourist and tends to be packed most of the week.
This culinary mecca will take you out of the city center and will probably put a dent in the wallet, but after you experience this one of a kind restaurant you will agree that it was all worth it. Head Chef Horst Petermann is always innovating and the ever-changing menu always offers something totally original. The best time to go is in summer when Petermann’s Kunststuben sets up the outdoor terrace.
Formerly a beer hall this restaurant certainly has character. Art from some of the 20th Century’s best adorn the walls and compete for your attention with medieval crests. However stunning the art may be your attention will quickly be drawn back to the table in front of you as the staff drops off hefty portions of hearty food. While enjoying your sumptuous feast make sure to take a break if only to take in the restaurant’s energetic scene.
Bierhalle Kropf is the kind of place where everything takes a back seat to great food and a lively atmosphere. Shared tables will lead to making new friends as everyone feasts on the hearty portions of sausages, potato croquettes, liver dumplings.
Local Tips, Tricks & News
Exploring Zurich is easy, thanks to an extensive public transportation system that is used by pretty much everyone. Trams and buses will take you wherever you need to go, and most of the town is walkable – especially the popular Altstadt. Bikes are also preferred conveyances, and during the summer months you can even exchange your ID for a free bike rental through the Zurirollt program!
A visit during the peak months of July and August will bring often warm and sometimes even hot temperatures, and many crowds – especially in August. Visit in May, June or September to avoid some of the hassles of peak travel season. Venues will be open on their summer schedules, and much of the infrastructure is ready and excited to welcome you. The winter brings cold temperatures and snow – but also opens up the word of alpine skiing just hours away from Zurich.