Zurich’s Hidden Gems

Hidden away and somewhat off the beaten track, these cultural locations are worth a visit.  Some of these places are not on the tourist routes or have special opening hours.  Here is a list of the hidden gems that shared by the locals:

Street Parade

Considering the size of the Street Parade, it might not appear quite so secret, yet few people are aware that Zurich sets the scene for one the largest techno parties in the world. Since the end of the Love Parade in 2010, Zurich became home to the largest techno parade in Europe, representing a celebration of freedom, love and tolerance. Up to one million people follow the peaceful yet energetic parade along the shores of Lake Zurich on the second Saturday of August each year, and around 30 Love mobiles filled with dancers and DJs spread rhythmic vibes that transform the city’s otherwise tranquil atmosphere into an animated and engaging party.

Pegasus Small World Toy Museum

Both the strange and enchanting can be found at Pegasus, where toys from days past are on display in all their unusual glory. Dating back as far as 1890, with over 4,000 original items, perhaps the most intriguing is the 700 Steiff teddy bears and the intricate model train set. Decidedly Swiss in its appeal, the store also has many unique and hard to find items.

MFO Park

Created from the ruins of an old machine factory, vines snake up metal bars in this unique and otherworldly Zurich park. Great for unwinding and grabbing a few snaps of the truly unique design experience.

Cloister (Grossmünster)

While many are familiar with the Grossmünster, not many knew that the church also has its own cloister.  It is open to the public during weekdays.  From the main entrance, there is a separate entrance on the left.  The columns and arches feature animal scenes and gargoyles with ornamental plants.  The compilation of the plants was inspired by the naturalist and universal scholar, Konrad Gessner.

Villa Patumbah

The villa is a gem of Zurich garden culture.  On the first floor, you can explore interactive exhibition, architectural monument, and landscape.  On the second floor, there is an Asian temple under a glass dome.

Wasserkirche

The Wasserkirche of Zürich, first mentioned as ecclesia Aquatica Turicensi around 1250 and as wazzirkilcha in 1256, is a church built on a small island in the Limmat, situated between the two main churches of medieval Zürich, the Grossmünster and the Fraumünster, at the Limmatquai and the Münsterbrücke

Archäologische Fenster (archaeological windows)

Archäologische Fenster (archaeological windows), the Department of City Planning shows treasures from Zurich’s past, such as the ruins of a Roman fort, the remains of prehistoric pile dwellings, and the Ehgraben sewer, which reveals how a medieval town dealt with its waste and sewage problems.

However, a key is needed to visit the Ehgraben, Lindenhof-Keller, Stadtmauerkeller, and Brunngasse. It can be collected from Monday to Saturday from the Stadthaus (City Hall) at Stadthausquai 17, Counter 04 on the ground floor (please note opening hours).

Marc Chagall Church Windows – World famous Artwork at the Fraumünster

In the 1970s, Belarussian-born Marc Chagall created a five-part stained-glass window series and a rosette for the chancel of the Fraumünster church in Zurich. Marc Chagall remained true to his motto “When I create something from my heart, almost everything goes well” throughout his whole life.

Urania Observatory 

In the 50m (164ft) high round tower of the Urania observatory, visitors can observe the heavenly bodies through a telescope that allows magnifications of up to 600 times.  The Urania observatory, which opened in 1907, was the first building in Zurich to be made from concrete. It is still one of the most distinctive buildings in the historical Old Town, and has been listed as a protected monument since 1989. The 12-ton Zeiss telescope underwent extensive renovation on the occasion of the observatory’s centenary in 2007.

Enge Church

It is considered the most important Neo-Renaissance church in Switzerland.  This architectural gem, affectionately known by some locals as the “Sacré-Coeur of Zurich”, stands in an elevated location on a moraine hill. Built by architect and ETH professor Alfred Friedrich Bluntschli between 1892 and 1894, it offers a magnificent view of the lake basin and the city.  On every second Thursday from May to September, the sexton of Enge Church invites interested visitors to join him on a tour of the tower and dome.

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