Visiting a beautiful city like Zurich can be a memorable experience for the whole family, but a trip to a city with kids is always better if you plan ahead.
Knowing exactly where to go and what to see as a family is what this post is all about which is why I’ve asked local travel blogger, Anna, to share more about her recommendations for things to do in Zurich (with kids!) as part of my My City (with kids!) series.
Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on her travel blog with her husband.
Read on below for her recommendations of the most iconic spots for kids in Zurich including some of the best places to eat in Zurich…..
Fun Things to do with Kids in Zurich in Good Weather
Kids love to play outside, so having some fun options in good weather is always a good thing, right?
These are some of the most popular spots in the Zurich area, from the iconic to those a little lesser known.
Every time I got to Zurich Zoo it just keeps getting better, and bigger. It is such an amazing and enjoyable place to take kids, it’s no surprise that my in-laws wanted to go when they brought their 2 year old over to visit recently.
From the age-old classics like lions and tigers, to the huge Masoala Rainforest, and recent addition: the Australia Exhibit. There is enough here to keep your kids busy for days. And in the coming years, it’s going to get even bigger with a huge African Savannah for giraffes and rhinos!
Explore The Uetliberg
The Uetliberg is Zurich’s home mountain, keeping a watchful eye on the town from above. And catching the train up here for a day out with your children is a great idea. First, there is the train trip itself, which starts under the train station and then slowly emerges and then later climbs the mountain, almost to the top.
Next, you can take a small walk to the lookout viewpoint which also has a 70m (200ft) tower, which the kids will love climbing up. They have created a Planet Trail walk along the ridge at the top, which is a great way to experience the true size of the solar system as you walk along this scenic trail. At the end, you can treat the family to a small gondola ride down to the train back to Zurich. All of this is included in the Zurich Card if you happen to indulge in that while visiting. And in any case, all the walking and exploring is free, once the transport is covered.
Paddling On Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich is one of the most stunning and iconic locations in the whole city, so what better way to enjoy it than get out on it. There are quite a few options, depending on what floats your family’s boat (pun intended). From the more active, to the somewhat calm and relaxing.
The one that wins most people over is a good old foot-driven paddle boat, rented by the hour and usually able to fit up to 4 people. If you are a little more fit and can manage a stand-up paddle board, they can also be rented by the lake.
Lastly, locals love to swim in the lake in summer, once the water has warmed a little, so you can enjoy the local swimming baths – right in the lake. My favorites are Bade Enge and Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen.
For those looking for a little bit more of an adrenaline rush, Seilpark Zurich is a place your kids may never want to leave. “Seil” means rope or cable in German, so you can guess what is waiting for you here. All sorts and levels of hanging platforms, rope walls and obstacles to challenge your balance, strength and courage. They have a huge variety of levels, starting with ones for 4-6 year olds all the way up to adult. So, unless you have toddlers, there should be something for everyone!
Fun Things to do with Kids in Zurich in Bad Weather
The weather doesn’t always play along when visiting a city, even in summer. So, having a few bad weather options up your sleeve is crucial. Especially with kids in tow.
If your family is into sports, especially soccer (aka Football in Europe) then Zurich is the perfect spot for you. FIFA, the biggest worldwide football federation has it’s official museum right in the heart of Zurich.
Just 10 minutes tram ride from downtown, the FIFA Museum is a great way to spend a rainy day – from historical presentations and the original World Cup, to interactive games and educational pieces, there is something here for everyone. Compared to some indoor options this is also quite cheap – kids under 6 are free, adults 24 CHF and kids up to 15 years only 14 CHF.
Just outside of Zurich in Winterthur (only 25 min by train) is one of the best spots for the family on a rainy day – Technorama. It has 100s of science experiments all under one roof. From simple games and DIY experiments to labs and workshops, this place seems to have every base covered. I think you could entertain your kids (and maybe even the adults) in here for days. And, it’s educational!
Alpamare is Zurich’s premiere waterpark. From the simple and fun to the downright thrilling, there is enough range of slides and pools, as well as a wellness center here to keep the family wet and entertained for hours. Of course, it’s not the cheapest option on the table, but it’s challenging to do “free” on a rainy day. However, kids under 6 day only 10chf, and there is a 25% discount for online purchases. So, booking ahead might be a good idea.
<h2Eating Out With Kids
It’s always a challenge to find a great restaurant when traveling, especially when you want to keep your children entertained once they have finished their meal. Lucky for us, there are a few good options in and around Zurich.
I love going out for brunch on a Sunday in Zurich, but not every place is appropriate with kids. I have found a few that are particular good though.
Kafi fur Dich has a nice spot for kids to play, especially younger ones, including toys and books to keep them entertained.
Fork and Bottle is in a beautiful outdoor space below the Uetliberg, so there is plenty of space for kids to run around. But, on top of that, they also have a dedicated playroom for kids.
Maybe you want something a little more than just brunch, so here are a few dinner options to help you out.
Frau Gerold’s Garden
If you are in Zurich during summer then you absolutely have to bring the family to Frau Gerold’s Garden.
It is an eclectic mix of outdoor stalls and bars built using old shipping containers, with plants, chairs and tables thrown in amongst it all. The kids will love running around and exploring the complex, while you relax and have a cocktail amongst all those that are hip and cool in Zurich.
Right in the center of town, and a favorite with visitors, the Zeughaus offers all things meat and potatoes. It’s a great spot to get your fill of local food that is seriously not that healthy for you. But that is what vacation is all about, right?
And when you have kids with you at dinner, this is a good option because they have simple kids meals and the service is fast, so you won’t be stuck there for hours with bored kids on your hands waiting for the food to arrive.
If you want to treat the kids to some of the best hot chocolate (and accompanying treats) they might ever experience, Cafe Schober is a great pitstop.
It is right in the heart of the old town, on Niederdorfstrasse, and although the price of the hot chocolate is a little steep, it is well worth its weight in gold. The only downside I can see is that you might be expected to reproduce that kind of hot chocolate once you get home!
Speaking of chocolate… during your visit to Switzerland be sure to look out for these best Swiss chocolates to try.
B Good has made a name for itself in Zurich for serving tasty burgers as well as healthier options, all with locally sourced food.
It is a bit of a cross between a McDonalds and a more sustainable and healthy restaurant. The kids will love the burgers and sweet potato fries, and on Niederdorf they also have outside seating, which is great for people watching.
Getting Around & Where To Stay With Kids
As a visitor to Zurich, things just keep on getting better. Not only are you spoiled with views of the Alps, a historical town center and a very pedestrian-friendly downtown, it is also super easy to get around.
My recommendation while you are in town is to get yourself a day pass (or Zurich Card) and make use of the public transport. Nothing is very far in Zurich, and even further away places like Technorama or Alpamare are only half an hour train ride.
And on top of that, trains, trams and buses are super-regular and punctual, and many of the trams and trains have “low-rider” carriages so you can get prams on and off with ease!
That also means that you can stay almost anywhere in Zurich, and still not be far from the action. And, because it can be quite expensive to stay downtown, the cheaper options are also very accessible.
For those of you looking to save a little on accommodation, head outside of downtown to areas like: Oerlikon, Zurich West Side or even further out of town if you must. Just avoid anywhere around the old town and Seefeld, and you will then avoid the highest of the high prices.
Airbnb is also a great option for families, and I have reviewed some of the best in Zurich already.
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Thanks to Anna for this great guest post about her home town of Zurich!
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