One Day in Zurich: Best Things To Do Guide 2023

One Day in Zurich: The Best Way to Discover Switzerland’s Largest City with Kids

Have you ever wondered how to make the most of one day in Zurich? Well, you’re in the right place. Today, we’ll uncover all the best things to do, places to visit, and even some tasty treats to try – all with your little ones in mind.

Planning a family trip to Switzerland? Don’t miss our comprehensive guide on the best things to do during a Switzerland Family Vacation. If you’re tight on time, check out our suggested itinerary for three days in Switzerland or even just two days in Switzerland.

One Day in Zurich: A City with Something for Everyone

Whether you’re keen on history, love to shop, or crave the serenity of the Swiss Alps, this cosmopolitan city has got you covered. With its city center brimming with activities and a public transportation system that’s second to none, getting around is a breeze. But where should you start?

Kick-Off at Lake Zurich

Begin your day at Lake Zurich. The spectacular views alone are worth a visit, but the place transforms into a kid’s paradise during the warmer months. Try a boat ride for an unforgettable start to your day. The lake is the city’s heart, with sides of the River Limmat crisscrossing the city, offering great views and an excellent place for a picnic.

Discover the Swiss National Museum

The Swiss National Museum offers an immersive dive into the Middle Ages, just a short walk from the city center. Kids will love the interactive exhibits, and you’ll appreciate the chance to understand Switzerland’s rich history.

The Historic Old Town

Explore the narrow streets of Zurich’s Historic Old Town for a blast from the past. At the heart of the old town, you’ll find the twin towers of the Great Minster, a magnificent Protestant church dating back to the 16th century.

Stroll around the Zurich Opera House, a grand neoclassical building that stages world-class performances.

The Zurich Town Hall, known locally as ‘Rathaus,’ is a must-visit. This splendid building dating back to the late Middle Ages, stands on the sides of the Limmat River. Its bell tower offers panoramic views of the city.

St Peter’s Church

Zurich Church: One Day In Zurich Things To Do

St. Peter’s Church, Zurich’s oldest church, must be visited. The church has a massive clock face – the largest in Europe – in its bell tower. The dial measures nearly nine square meters!

As one of Zurich’s main cultural attractions, the Kunsthaus Zurich houses works by Marc Chagall and Vincent Van Gogh. Prepare to get your minds blown by world-class art.

Zurich Zoo

Take a walk on the wild side and visit the Zurich Zoo. Kids will love exploring the different animal exhibits and getting up close to fascinating creatures worldwide.

Technorama Science Center

Let your kids unleash their curiosity and creativity at the Technorama Science Center. With hands-on experiments and interactive displays, this museum is a perfect blend of education and entertainment.

Zurich Toy Museum

Step into a world of nostalgia at the Zurich Toy Museum. The museum houses an extensive collection of vintage toys and offers a glimpse into the past, delighting kids and adults alike.

Zurich Botanical Garden

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourselves in nature at the Zurich Botanical Garden. The garden features beautiful plant displays, a playground, and even a tropical greenhouse.

A Glimpse of the Stars at Urania Sternwarte

Take a short evening break at Urania Sternwarte. With a telescope that reaches the stars, your little ones will be captivated by the universe’s wonders.

Fondue and Swiss Chocolate: A Tasting Extravaganza

Zurich is also a great place to indulge in Cheese Fondue, a Swiss culinary staple. Nothing beats dipping chunks of crusty bread into a communal pot of melted cheese, especially during winter.

Without trying Swiss fondue and Swiss chocolate, no visit to Zurich would be complete. The city center is the perfect place to indulge in these traditional treats. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

The Patron Saints of Zurich

Zurich has two patron saints – Felix and Regula. They are celebrated in the Great Minster Church, where their relics are preserved. This unique aspect of Zurich’s religious and cultural heritage is worth exploring.

Top it Off with a Boat Cruise

After a day of exploring, unwind with a river cruise on the Limmat River. As you sail under the city’s bridges, you’ll see Zurich’s beauty from a fresh perspective. Don’t forget to watch for the largest clock face in Europe at St Peter’s Church!

The Zurich Card: Your Best Option for Unlimited Travel

Considering all these activities, the Zurich Card is a great way to save. Offering unlimited travel and free entry to most city attractions, it’s a no-brainer for a family on the go.

If you’ve opted for the Zurich Card, make sure you’ve planned your day itinerary well. This day pass provides free or discounted access to most attractions and unlimited travel on public transportation.

A Few More Travel Tips

  • The best time to visit Zurich is during the warmer months, but the festive season is also magical, thanks to the Christmas market at the main station. Switzerland is equally beautiful during the winter months. Experience the magic of Lucerne in Winter.
  • If you can squeeze it in, consider day trips to nearby gems like Rhine Falls, Mount Titlis, or the Bernese Oberland.
  • Don’t forget to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes. There’s a lot of ground to cover!

Day Trips from Zurich


Lauterbrunnen Waterfall

For an unforgettable experience, visit Lauterbrunnen and the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, and marvel at the stunning views. Our favorite day trip in Switzerland; see our guide here.

Lucerne & Swiss Museum of Transport

Hop on a tram and head to the Swiss Museum of Transport nearby Lucerne. This interactive museum offers many exhibits, including trains, planes, automobiles, and even a planetarium.


Discover the beauty of Mannlichen, Switzerland, with our detailed guide.

Where to Stay

Here are some of the top places to stay in Zurich near Old Town

Our Pick

Baur Au Lac

Established in 1844, the Baur Au Lac hotel offers luxurious accommodations with views of the Schanzengraben Canal and the Alps. This family-run hotel is a short walk from Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s prestigious boutique shopping street.

Our Pick

Widder Hotel

Widder Hotel is a unique establishment set within nine historic former residences. Its rooms and suites are all individually designed, combining modern features with original period details. It’s in the heart of the Old Town, providing easy access to nearby attractions.

Our Pick

Storchen Zurich

Storchen Zurich, located by the River Limmat, offers beautiful waterfront views and is within walking distance of many Old Town attractions. It has welcomed guests for over 650 years and is known for its exceptional service.

Our Pick

Hotel Adler Zürich

Hotel Adler is a charming, more budget-friendly option in the heart of the Old Town. Each room is adorned with murals depicting scenes from Zurich’s history, providing a truly unique experience.

Getting to Zurich – International Airport

Zurich’s International Airport is a popular destination in its own right. This ultra-modern airport offers a range of facilities and services that make it a pleasure to use, whether arriving, departing, or just passing through.

Zürich Hauptbahnhof: This isn’t just a train station and a shopping haven with various stores, including high-end ones like Louis Vuitton.

Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass and the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland are excellent options for travelers planning to explore Switzerland using public transportation. Each pass offers a range of benefits and discounts, making it easy to decide which one suits your itinerary best.

Swiss Travel Pass

Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass is a convenient, all-in-one ticket granting unlimited access to Switzerland’s public transportation network, including trains, buses, and boats. It also includes free admission to over 500 museums and discounts on mountain excursions. The Swiss Travel Pass is available for 3, 4, 8, or 15 consecutive days, making it perfect for short and extended trips. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Unlimited travel on trains, buses, and boats in Switzerland
  • Free admission to over 500 museums
  • Discounts on mountain excursions, such as Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi
  • Free travel for children under 16 when accompanied by a parent with a Swiss Family Card

Regional Pass Bernese Oberland

Regional Pass Bernese Oberland

The Regional Pass Bernese Oberland is designed specifically for travelers exploring the Bernese Oberland region, including popular destinations like Interlaken, Grindelwald, and Lauterbrunnen. The pass offers unlimited travel on select trains, buses, boats, and cable cars within the region and discounts on various mountain excursions. It is available for 3, 4, 6, 8, or 10 days within one month, allowing flexible travel planning. Key benefits of the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland include:

  • Unlimited travel on select trains, buses, boats, and cable cars within the Bernese Oberland region
  • Discounts on mountain excursions, such as the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn
  • Flexible travel days within one month

Ultimately, the choice between the Swiss Travel Pass and the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland depends on your travel plans and the specific areas of Switzerland you wish to explore. If you plan to visit multiple regions throughout the country, the Swiss Travel Pass may be the better option.

However, if your focus is solely on the Bernese Oberland region, the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland could provide better value for your trip.

We ultimately went with the Oberland pass for our recent Switzerland trip, which focused mainly on Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, and Lucerne, with day trips to places like Jungfraujoch.

Swiss Trains

Switzerland is known for having one of the world’s most efficient and extensive train systems. The train network is a great way to get around the country and an excellent option for families traveling with kids. One of the main benefits of traveling by train in Switzerland is that it is safe, reliable, and eco-friendly. Additionally, many trains are equipped with features that make them especially kid-friendly.

Swiss Train Playground

Switzerland is known for having one of the world’s most efficient and extensive train systems. The train network is a great way to get around the country and an excellent option for families traveling with kids.

One of the main benefits of traveling by train in Switzerland is that it is safe, reliable, and eco-friendly.

Additionally, many trains are equipped with features that make them especially kid-friendly.

For example, some Swiss trains have playgrounds on the upper levels, which provide a fun and safe environment for kids to play and burn off energy during long journeys.

In this picture, the upper deck had a slide that our kids spent the whole two-hour ride playing with other kids on.

These play areas often contain slides, swings, and other toys to entertain children.

Some trains also have family compartments, which offer extra space and privacy for families traveling with young children.

Swiss Train Dining Car Scenery

Another great feature of Swiss trains is that they offer stunning views of the countryside and mountains.

Kids will love watching the changing scenery from the comfort of their seats, and parents will appreciate the opportunity to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Additionally, many Swiss trains offer onboard dining options, which are convenient for families traveling with kids who may need to eat or snack during their journey.

On this journey from Interlaken to Lucerne, the train featured a dining car, though full meals weren’t served.


  • Q: What are the main churches to visit in Zurich?
  • A: There are several notable churches in Zurich. The Great Minster, with its twin towers, the Fraumunster Church, famous for its stained glass windows by Marc Chagall and the bronze doors by Augusto Giacometti, and St. Peter’s Church, renowned for its largest clock face in Europe, are the main churches to visit.
  • Q: How can we get to Mount Pilatus from Zurich?
  • A: Mount Pilatus, located in Central Switzerland, can be reached by a scenic boat ride across Lake Lucerne and a cogwheel railway ride up the mountain. Don’t forget your Swiss Travel Pass for free travel!
  • Q: What is the best way to travel around Zurich?
  • A: Zurich’s public transportation system is excellent, with trams, buses, and trains connecting all parts of the city. The Zurich Card offers unlimited travel in the city, making it the best option.
  • Q: What’s special about Zurich Hauptbahnhof?
  • A: Zurich Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is one of the busiest train stations in Europe. It’s also a shopping paradise, with various department stores and the annual Christmas market.
  • Q: What’s the currency in Zurich?
  • A: The official currency is the Swiss Franc. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always handy to have some cash, especially for small town visits.
  • Q: Are there any day passes available for tourists?
  • A: The Zurich Card offers unlimited travel and free or discounted admission to many attractions.

A Day in Zurich: The Perfect City Break

In conclusion, Zurich is a spectacular destination that combines history, culture, and nature. It’s a great base for exploring the Swiss Alps and provides various experiences that kids and adults will love. From the boat cruise on Lake Zurich to the spectacular views from Lindenhof Hill, the city has everything you need for a memorable trip. So, why wait? Start planning your one-day Zurich itinerary today and discover the many wonders of Switzerland’s largest city.

Remember, the adventure is in the journey, not just the destination. So whether you’re taking a short time out or planning a longer stay, Zurich is always a good idea. And with our handy guide, you’re all set to make the most of your trip. Happy traveling!

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