Cheap things to do in Zurich

Here's 26 cheap things to eat, drink, do and see in Zurich

Wildnispark Zürich, park, nature, trails

1. Wildnispark Zürich

Things to do Zurich

This park less than half an hour away from the city of Zurich consists of two parts: the Sihlwald forest and Langenberg, Switzerland’s oldest wildlife park. Most of it is accessible at all times. There is an educational forest trail, and in Langenberg visitors can watch 16 native or formerly native animals such as bears, bison and hares.

2. Freitag Store and F-actory Zurich Noerd

Shopping Bags and luggage Oerlikon

Famous for their truck-tarp bags, you can visit the Freitag factory right here in Zurich's northern suburb of Oerlikon. If you're a group, you can pre-register to take a fascinating factory tour. And punters can swing by Monday-Friday to pick up cheap(er) products in the form of Freitag Rarities (bags with a small defect).

Focus Terra Zürich
© Susana Bruell

3. Focus Terra

Things to do Unterstrass

Run by the ETH's university's geology department, this museum focuses on our planet and its wonders. From rocks and minerals to volcanism and plate tectonics there is a lot to learn. If you participate in a guided tour you will even be allowed inside the spectacular earthquake simulator! The museum organises special tours and events for children's birthday parties and other pastimes for children throughout the year.

4. Flohmarkt Kanzlei

Things to do Aussersihl

Switzerland's largest all year round flea market takes place every Saturday and boasts a variety of goods and vendors. From used mobiles, to collector's items like early 20th century cameras, from pensioners selling delicate china and parents offering the skis their children have grown out of, to local fashionistas cleaning out their wardrobes, there is something for everyone. 


5. Sasso

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Mediterranean Wollishofen

Situated in the old train station of Wollishofen built in 1897, this spacious restaurant with its overlong bar comes with tasteful interiors and a smoking option - inside. The lunch comes at a price that is hard to beat: starters, main, water, wine and an espresso, all together for CHF 20 (vegetarian) to CHF 30 (fish).

Landesmuseum Zürich
© Swiss National Museum Photo: Thomas Schneider

6. Landesmuseum

Things to do City

It hosts a vast collection of documents and artefacts from Switzerland's culture and history - from the Stone Ages to the 21st century. There are guided tours in English once a week and various activities for children.


7. Bürkliplatz Markt

Things to do City

Expect only quality goods at this upscale flea market. Stalls sell second hand designer fashion, antiques, collectibles, art and prints – and none of it comes for cheap. If you are looking for that special something you should get up early; the best items will be sold long before 9am.

8. Tram-Museum

Things to do Hottingen

You can learn more about the history of Zurich’s trams in its own tram museum. Original carriages from 1897 onwards are on display as well as models. A special museum tram runs to the venue every last weekend of the month (check the website for timetable), and there are special family Sundays with handicraft activities.


9. Zum guten Glück l Café

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Cafés Alt-Wiedikon

This small café is for those with a sweet tooth. Cakes, waffles and crêpes are all delicious - and the atmosphere is deliciously sweet, too. 

10. Luxury

Shopping Designer Hochschulen

Formerly an online second-hand shop on eBay, Luxury has now become the hottest ticket in town when it comes to high fashion vintage items. 


11. Samses

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Vegetarian Industriequartier

With the world famous Hiltl in town, Samses is often referred to as the 'other' vegetarian restaurant. They need not hide from the spotlight though, with their relaxed atmosphere, quirky staff and small but delicious buffet. 

12. Zürcher Brockenhaus

Shopping Antiques Industriequartier

Parts of it might remind you of a fancy vintage design store - and the prices are definitely not flea market - but there is always a great find to make at this upscale second hand shop with its several floors and special corners for books, classic furniture and design objects. 

Limmat-Schifffahrt boat trip Zurich
© Christof Schuerpf

13. Limmat-Schifffahrt Boat Trip

Things to do Walks and tours Wollishofen

The flat boats with their panoramic glass roofs offer a different view of the city - from the bottom up. Built to pass below the seven bridges over the Limmat, they offer space for up to 51 passengers. On a summer day, the boat is a fun (and cheap!) way to get from Badi to Badi - have a morning swim at the Letten, continue your sunbathing at the Zürichhorn and have a last dip at Badi Enge.

Botanischer Garten
Elisabeth Real

14. Botanischer Garten

Things to do Weinegg

The three glass domes of the botanical garden's palm houses might make you worry about an alien invasion. But despite their exotic and often stunning appearance, all the plants inside the spheres appear to be earthlings. Take an early morning stroll across the vast grounds or just sit and relax for a while on a sunny afternoon. 

Chinagarten Zürich Chinese gardens
© Max Schmid

15. Chinagarten

Things to do Seefeld

Opened in 1994, the Chinagarten is a present from Zurich’s Chinese partner city Kunming. Its theme is the 'Three Friends of Winter': the three symbolic plants in Chinese culture - pine, bamboo and winter cherry. Several typical buildings are grouped around a lake, and the garden with its restaurant can be rented for events.

16. Hallenbad City

Things to do City

It's all about swimming in this bright, newly renovated public swimming pool built in the 1940's. Period posters at the entrance remind you that women come here to 'remain supple and youthful'. And come they do, women and men. It can get more than a bit crowded on the lanes of the 50 metre pool, and those who fancy a quiet long distance swim should check the timetables in advance - during mornings and evenings some of the lanes will be occupied by one of the many swimming classes.


17. Kafi für Dich Café

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Cafés Aussersihl

Kafi für Dich is of course not just a café. It offers free concerts twice a month, some wall space for local artists and a corner where you can let your offspring play all afternoon. Maybe not the most exciting café in town, but definitely a good option if you have small kids and want to meet your friends on a rainy afternoon. 

Lux Plus Vintage and second hand Zürich

18. Lux Plus

Shopping Boutiques Aussersihl

Often named as Zurich's best vintage and second hand shop, this store has hangers instead of piles. All items are presented as in a fancy fashion boutique, the shoes lined up nicely, the quirky jewellery put out to shine and their best finds on dolls in the window. Come here for a high fashion second-hand bargain or some inspiring new pieces by local designers.


19. Rosenhofmarkt

Things to do Zurich

If your aura is right and your karma is good then the market on Rosenhof is your place. Selling anything from Native American silver jewellery to Indian handicrafts and hand-woven scarves, this little square is a place to breathe in the incense and put your worries behind. 

20. Kafischnaps Guest House

Hotels Guest houses Wipkingen

Though not in the middle of town, this small pension offers the 'real' Zurich experience for those with a smaller budget. Its downstairs café bar is one of the liveliest in town, and the bustling Langstrasse area is only two bus stops (or a ten minute walk) away. It is, however, not a place for those who go to bed at sunset.

Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich
© Museum fur Gestaltung

21. Museum für Gestaltung

Things to do Industriequartier

Posters, design, applied arts and graphics are the four pillars of the massive collection at the Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich’s museum of design. 

22. Horn Richterswil

Things to do Festivals Richterswil-Samstagern

The Richterswil Horn is a popular local park, no doubt due to its stunning location on the shores of Lake Zurich. Offering access to a range of water sports as well as beach volleyball and lake swimming in the summer months, the Horn hosts annual events including Chibli (funfairs), the Beach Party dance music festival and Cine au Lac outdoor cinema. The park also has an excellent children's playground.


23. Züri rollt

Things to do Walks and tours City

Leave a CHF 20 deposit at one of the Züri rollt containers and enjoy the city on two wheels. You might want to cycle down part of either side of the lake or just use the bike to get around Zurich a bit quicker. There are several rental stations in town, but only two of them are open all year round.

24. Veg and the City

Shopping Art, craft and hobbies Aussersihl

Marking the forefront of Zurich's urban gardening scene, Veg and the City provides you with everything to turn your balcony into a green food wonderland. They have the plants (according to season), the seeds, the knowledge and - of course - the pots and pieces that you will need when space and soil are scarce. Whether you want a 'green wall' or a 'garden on wheels', you will find it all here. 

Uetliberg Zurich
© Christof Sonderegger

25. Uetliberg

Things to do Friesenberg

An observation tower at the top of Uetliberg offers panoramic views, and The Planet Trail ridge walk takes you all the way to the Felsenegg, from where you can take the cable car down to Adliswil. If you prefer to head straight back to town there are various hiking trails downhill,  but beware of the mountain bikers!

Bruno Weber Park
©Robert Elter

26. Bruno Weber Skulpturenpark Spreitenbach

Museums Zurich

Gaudí meets Hundertwasser: Plunge into the terrific fantasy park designed by Swiss artist Bruno Weber (†2011). Diving into the giant fairytale world is inspiring. Gaze at mythical creatures and walk along the water garden on top of two winged dogs. Walk up by the tail, pass the tongue and over the backbone. A family adventure, just 15 minutes outside Zurich. 


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