Zurich is an underrated city that offers more than banking and finance.

But a trip to Zurich doesn’t come cheap – in fact, in 2018 it was ranked as the third most expensive city in the world.

Which is exactly why we wrote this epic guide for where to stay in Zurich.

By travellers for travellers, this article breaks down the best neighbourhoods in Zurich so you’ll know exactly where to stay based on your needs.

So whether your goal is to party all night long, immerse yourself in history, or find the cheapest bed in town, our article will help you find the best place to stay – and hopefully, save a little money while you’re at it.

So here we go – here’s our guide for where to stay in Zurich, Switzerland.

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Zurich

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN ZURICH

Bahnhofstrasse

The Bahnhofstrasse neighbourhood makes up one half of Zurich’s downtown. Located on the west side of the Limmat river, Bahnhofstrasse is where you’ll find a number of Zurich’s most famous tourist attractions and landmarks

Places to visit:
  • Dine on classic Swiss cuisines at Lindenhofkeller
  • Enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle at the Old Botanical Garden
  • Browse the humorous works of artists and writers at the Museum Strauhof

Where to Stay in Zurich

Have you sorted your accommodation in Switzerland yet? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Zurich.

Best Hostel in Zurich: Oldtown Hostel Otter

This charming and colourful hostel is located at the heart of Zurich’s Altstadt. It is close to trendy cafes, hip restaurants, and the city’s top tourist attractions. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, and each dorm reservation includes a basic breakfast, coffee and tea, and free wifi. Private rooms are also available.

If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Zurich!

Best Airbnb in Zurich: Modern studio with a killer location

This home away from home is just a five minute walk from all the central train terminals. Throw in the wifi, air conditioning, and coffee machine and you’re in for a treat. The two-tone colours won’t look bad on your social media feed either.

Best Hotel in Zurich: Motel One Zurich

Motel One is tucked away in central Zurich. It is a short walk from major sightseeing and historical landmarks, as well as great options for shopping, dining and nightlife. This three-star hotel offers cosy rooms with essential amenities. There’s also a social in-house bar and free wifi throughout.

Zurich Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN ZURICH
Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich
FIRST TIME IN ZURICH

Bahnhofstrasse

The Bahnhofstrasse neighbourhood makes up one half of Zurich’s downtown. Located on the west side of the Limmat river, Bahnhofstrasse is where you’ll find a number of Zurich’s most famous tourist attractions and landmarks

ON A BUDGET
Altstadt, Zurich
ON A BUDGET

Altstadt

Situated across the river from Bahnhofstrasse is Altstadt, Zurich’s Old Town. This downtown neighbourhood has long been a social, cultural and historical melting pot with its medieval houses, meandering lanes, and exquisite ancient architecture

NIGHTLIFE
District 4, Zurich
NIGHTLIFE

District 4

District 4 is located northwest of the city centre. A few years ago, District 4 was home to Zurich’s main red light district. It was populated with sleazy bars, sex shops and streetwalkers on many corners

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Zurich West
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Zurich West

Zurich West is one of the newest and hippest neighbourhoods in town. A former industrial area, Zurich West used to be characterized by abandoned warehouses and dilapidated factories

FOR FAMILIES
District 2, Zurich
FOR FAMILIES

District 2

District 2 is an expansive and lush neighbourhood located south of Zurich’s city centre. Nestled along the western shores of Lake Zurich, District 2 allows travellers to enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland. It is a global hub for banking and finance and is home to the headquarters of many national and international companies.

But there’s so much more to Zurich than business, money and banks. The city is ensconced by stunning natural scenery thanks to its location on the shores of Lake Zurich. It also boasts a rich and diverse history and is one of the top cultural and nightlife destinations in Switzerland.

Zurich is divided into 12 unique districts, each home to a number of interesting neighbourhoods just waiting to be explored. This guide includes the “must-sees” broken down by interest and budget.

Altstadt is Zurich’s Old Town. Located at the heart of the city, this neighbourhood is compact and cosy, perfect for exploring on foot.

Across the river is Bahnhofstrasse. One of Zurich’s downtown district, this is where you’ll find popular sightseeing attractions, incredible culture, and a fantastic selection of Swiss restaurants.

Head northwest to Zurich West. One of the newest and coolest neighbourhoods in the city, Zurich West is packed with trendy cafes, hip restaurants and stylish boutiques.

Travel south and you’ll pass through District 4. A hotspot for nightlife, this neighbourhood is the best destination for culture vultures and party animals.

Continue travelling south to District 2. This neighbourhood sits on the shores of stunning Lake Zurich. It’s a fantastic option for travellers looking to get outside and enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle without straying too far from the city centre.

There are great Zurich Airbnbs across the city catering for all travel styles and budgets.

Still not sure where to stay in Zurich? Don’t worry, in this next section, we’ll break down each neighbourhood in detail.

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Zurich’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Getting around Zurich couldn’t be simpler. The city boasts a robust, reliable, and affordable system of buses, trams, trains and boats, making it easy to get from one area to the next. So, no matter where you stay, you’ll be able to explore and enjoy all that Zurich has to offer.

Now, let’s take a look at the five best neighbourhoods to stay in Zurich.

1. Bahnhofstrasse – Where to stay in Zurich first time

The Bahnhofstrasse neighbourhood makes up one half of Zurich’s downtown. Located on the west side of the Limmat river, Bahnhofstrasse is where you’ll find a number of Zurich’s most famous tourist attractions and landmarks. It’s also home to well-known statues and monuments, as well as plenty of Instagram hotspots, which is why it’s our pick for where to stay in Zurich if you’re visiting for the first time.

Bahnhofstrasse is also a great place to indulge in a little Swiss cuisine. Whether you’re craving fondue, chocolate, burger or beyond, Bahnhofstrasse is packed with delicious options to satisfy your cravings.

Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich

Things to See and Do in Bahnhofstrasse

– Be amazed by the stained glass windows of the Fraumünster Church.

– Browse the humorous works of artists and writers at the Museum Strauhof.

– Dine on classic Swiss cuisines at Lindenhofkeller.

– Eat, drink, dance and play at V!OR.

– Enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle at the Old Botanical Garden.

– Explore the Limmat Waterfront.

– Feel like a kid again the at Zürcher Spielzeugmuseum, Zurich’s toy museum.

– Marvel at Kirche St. Peter.

– See Geiserbrunnen, a monumental fountain.

– Take in the incredible Giacometti Murals, which decorate the vaulted ceiling and walls of the city’s police headquarters.

– View the Centralhof Monument.

– Visit the Museum Bärengasse.

– Wander through bustling Paradeplatz.

Best Budget Hotel in Bahnhofstrasse: Hotel Arlette Beim Hauptbahnhof

This small and charming hotel is located in central Zurich. It is close to public transit, great shopping, and plenty of restaurants. This hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms with showers, free wifi and modern amenities, including flat-screen TVs. A continental breakfast is also available.

Best Airbnb in Bahnhofstrasse: Modern studio with a killer location

This home away from home is just a five minute walk from all the central train terminals. Throw in the wifi, air conditioning, and coffee machine and you’re in for a treat. The two-tone colours won’t look bad on your social media feed either.

Best Hotel in Bahnhofstrasse: Motel One Zurich

Motel One is tucked away in central Zurich. It is a short walk from major sightseeing and historical landmarks, as well as great options for shopping, dining and nightlife. This three-star hotel offers cosy rooms with essential amenities. All of this combined makes it our recommendation for where to stay in Bahnhofstrasse.

Best Hotel in Bahnhofstrasse: Townhouse Boutique Hotel Zurich

Thanks to its central location, this hotel is a great choice for your time in Zurich. It offers easy access to top tourist attractions and there are many shops, dining and nightlife options on its doorstep. Rooms are unique, comfortable and outfitted with contemporary amenities.

2. Altstadt – Where to stay in Zurich on a budget

Situated across the river from Bahnhofstrasse is Altstadt, Zurich’s Old Town. This downtown neighbourhood has long been a social, cultural and historical melting pot with its medieval houses, meandering lanes, and exquisite ancient architecture. It’s small and compact, making it ideal for exploring on foot and taking in the stunning sights and sounds of Zurich.

Altstadt is also our recommendation for where to stay if you’re travelling on a budget. Although Zurich is a notoriously expensive city, Altstadt is where you can find a good selection of budget hostels and boutique hotels allowing you to save a little bit of money on accommodations.

Altstadt, Zurich

Things to See and Do in Altstadt

– Browse works of art by independent artists at Musée Visionnaire.

– Catch a performance at the Kulturhaus Helferei.

– Explore the Cabaret Voltaire Art Center.

– Indulge in sweet treats and delicious pastries at Café Schober.

– Jump into the world of literature at the Zentralbibliothek Zürich, the main city library.

– Marvel at the architecture of the Romanesque-style Grossmünster Church.

– See the Zurich Town Hall (Rathaus), which overlooks the Limmat River.

– Sip a coffee at Grande Café & Bar.

– Step back in time at the Zunftstadt History Museum.

– View incredible works of contemporary art at the Helmhaus Art Museum.

– Visit the Predigerkirche Church.

Best Hostel in Altstadt: Oldtown Hostel Otter

This charming and colourful hostel is located at the heart of Zurich’s Altstadt. It’s close to trendy cafes, hip restaurants, and top tourist attractions. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, and each dorm reservation includes a basic breakfast, coffee and tea, and free wifi. This is our pick for where to stay in Altstadt.

Best Airbnb in Altstadt: Make a saving while staying central

Zurich’s naturally a pricey city, but we’ve got you covered! It might not have the bohemian chic or killer amenities that you dreamt of, but this cosy flat’s got a killer location at the best price in town.

Best Hotel in Altstadt: Hotel California Zurich

Located in the middle of the city, this three-star hotel is the perfect base for exploring the city. It provides easy access throughout Old Town, and there are many cafes, eateries, shops and attractions nearby. This hotel has private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. It also offers a luggage service, free wifi, and a unique in-house restaurant.

Best Hotel in Altstadt: Comfort Inn Royal Zurich

This delightful three-star hotel is within walking distance of public transit, well-known attractions, restaurants and bars. It offers clean and spacious rooms, a fitness centre and free wifi. Their very attentive staff are on-hand to help you make the most of your time in Zurich.

3. District 4 – Best area to stay in Zurich for nightlife

District 4 is located northwest of the city centre. A few years ago, District 4 was home to Zurich’s main red light district. It was populated with sleazy bars, sex shops and streetwalkers on many corners. Today, it is one of the hottest neighbourhoods in the city and a top destination for night owls and party animals looking to drink and dance until dawn. Here you’ll find everything from underground clubs to chic wine bars and plenty of international eateries.

It is important to note that parts of Langstrasse are still home to strips clubs and the red-light district; however, the neighbourhood as a whole is much safer than it once was.

District 4, Zurich
source: MCaviglia www.mcaviglia.ch (Wikicommons)

Things to See and Do in District 4

– Catch an incredible show at Alte Kaserne.

– Dance the night away at Plaza Club.

– Drink cocktails at Vagabundo Bar.

– Enjoy a night of drinks, dancing and live music and DJs at Stall 6.

– Hear international DJs and live bands at Club Zukunft.

– Listen to edgy rock and indie tunes at Gonzo Nightclub.

– Party all night long as DJs play dance, funk and chart-topping hits at Kanzlei Club.

– Sample a great selection of wines at the Caduff’s Wine Loft.

– Take a stroll through Kasernenareal park.

– Visit the quirky and unique Jeansmuseum.

– Wander throughout Bäckeranlage.

Best Bed and Breakfast in District 4: Pension fuerDich

This bed and breakfast has three charming apartments with a shared bathroom. Each room is outfitted with vintage décor, a full-sized bed, a TV and a balcony. Guests can enjoy a delicious meal and social drink in the basement bar and café. This BnB is centrally located and close to bars and clubs.

Best Airbnb in District 4: Kitted out studio in the heart of town

This studio’s got everything you need to keep yourself fighting-fresh and ready for the night. It’s in the perfect spot for a night out, pretty much slap bang on top of some of Zurich’s biggest clubs. If that hasn’t convinced you yet, maybe the hot coffee and fresh linen every morning will? What more could you want the morning after the night before?

Best Hotel in District 4: St Georges Hotel Zurich

St Georges Hotel is our recommendation for where to stay in District 4. This three-star hotel is conveniently located in Zurich’s number one neighbourhood for nightlife. It’s close to bars and clubs, as well as shops and cafes. It has a clean room and offers a tasty breakfast each day.

Best Hotel in District 4: EasyHotel Zurich

A great location, comfortable beds and clean rooms – it’s no wonder we love this hotel! Set in District 4, this hotel has eating, dining and nightlife options at its doorstep. It provides modern rooms with free wifi and a myriad of amenities. There’s also an on-site restaurant to enjoy.

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4. Zurich West – Coolest place to stay in Zurich

Zurich West is one of the newest and hippest neighbourhoods in town. A former industrial area, Zurich West used to be characterized by abandoned warehouses and dilapidated factories. Thanks to a recent revival, it is now one of the trendiest and chicest spots in a town packed with restaurants, boutiques, bars and beyond. That’s why it’s our pick for the coolest neighbourhood in Zurich.

This buzzing and energetic neighbourhood has something for travellers of all styles and interests. Whether you’re a culture vulture keen to explore the art scene or a party animal wanting a night on the town, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this hip ‘hood.

Zurich West, Zurich

Things to See and Do in Zurich West

– Browse the shops and eateries of Im Viadukt.

– Climb to the top of Prime Tower and enjoy the view.

– Dine on delicious tapas and seafood at Les Halles.

– Eat home-style cuisine in an outdoor urban garden at Frau Gerolds Garten.

– Enjoy the view as you dine at Clouds.

– Explore the boutiques, bars and restaurants of Schiffbau.

– Indulge in incredible French cuisine at LaSalle.

– Savour homemade pasta, burgers and umbrella art at Gerold Chuchi.

– See mind-blowing works of art at the Museum of Digital Art.

– Tease your taste buds at Markthalle.

– Treat yourself to a new bag at Freitag.

Best Budget Hotel in Zurich West: X-TRA The Hotel

This trendy hotel is located in the hottest neighbourhood in Zurich. It’s close to lively bars and vibrant clubs, as well as delicious restaurants and trendy shops. They offer stylish single and shared rooms that are outfitted with modern features. A continental breakfast is available at the restaurant across the street.

Best Airbnb in Zurich West: Oasis in Zurich’s hippest district

Warehouse conversions, secret bars, and shipping containers, West Zurich’s got it all. This cute flat will keep you within walking distance of all the action, and the bountiful natural light & balcony will help drag you back to fighting strength the morning after!

Best Hotel in Zurich West: Ibis Zurich City West

This two-star hotel is our pick for where to stay in Zurich West. Set amongst a range of shops, bars and restaurants, this hotel is ideally located for exploring the neighbourhood. It is comprised of 155 traditional rooms, each with a private bathroom and great amenities. You’ll also enjoy a library and an on-site bar.

Best Hotel in Zurich West: Zuri by Fassbind

A central location makes this hotel an excellent choice in Zurich West. It has modern rooms with air conditioning, private bathrooms and well-stocked minibars. Guests can enjoy a drink or a meal at the on-site restaurant, or relax on the stunning rooftop terrace.

5. District 2 – Best neighbourhood in Zurich for families

District 2 is an expansive and lush neighbourhood located south of Zurich’s city centre. Nestled along the western shores of Lake Zurich, District 2 allows travellers to enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle without travelling too far from the city centre. Its where you’ll find a great selection of outdoor activities and it’s our recommendation for where to stay for families in Zurich.

This district is packed with activities and attractions that will cater to all members of your family.

For the sports enthusiast, there’s the FIFA World Football Museum.

For the gardeners, spend a day at the Botanical Gardens.

And, for foodies and fashionistas, the Enge area is dotted with chic boutiques and trendy cafes – perfect for satisfying all your sartorial and culinary cravings.

District 2, Zurich

Things to See and Do in District 2

– Dine on delicious dishes at Belvoirpark Swiss Restaurant.

– Dive deep into the world of soccer at FIFA World Football Museum.

– Rest and relax at the Thermalbad & Spa Zurich where you can enjoy thermal baths, a bistro and an incredible rooftop pool.

– See incredible works of art and design at The Museum Reitberg.

– Spend a day building sandcastles at Strandbad Mythenquai, Zurich’s only sand beach.

– Stop and smell the roses at the Botanical Gardens of Zurich.

– Take a stroll through lush and impressive Rieter Park.

– Walk along the Lake Zurich Promenade.

– Wander through beautiful Klopstockwiese Park.

Best Hostel in District 2: Youthhostel Zurich

This cosy and colourful hostel was built on the site of a school cabin. It is a modern and spacious property that offers comfortable rooms and modern amenities. Located close to the lake shore, this hostel is ideally situated for exploring District 2 and Zurich’s main attractions.

Best Airbnb in District 2: Rustic condo with space for everyone

Hard wood floors, cosy decor, and enough space for family activities AND some peace and quiet. This apartment caters well to families, with its separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Theirs are parks are right outside the door, and the TV’s are located in the living room & kitchen should you need a quick distraction.

Best Apartment in District 2: Seestrasse Apartments Drei Konige Zurich

This chic property is located in the northern end of District 2. It is close to downtown Zurich as well as great bars, shops and restaurants. Each apartment comes complete with modern amenities including cable/satellite channels and free wifi. All of this combined makes it our pick for where to stay in District 2.

Best Hotel in District 2: FIFA Hotel Ascot

Fifa Hotel Ascot is a luxurious and modern hotel in District 2. It is conveniently situated for exploring downtown and there are plenty of eating, shopping and nightlife options nearby. This hotel offers comfortable and well-equipped rooms. On-site you’ll find a great restaurant and a stylish lounge bar.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Zurich

Zurich is so much more than a banking, financial and industrial hub. This Swiss city bursts with history and culture, and boasts one of the best nightlife scenes in the country. From north to south, east to west, this fantastic city is brimming with things to see, do, eat and experience. Trust us when we say, Zurich is a can’t miss when you’re touring Europe!

Here’s a quick recap of our favourite places and spaces in Zurich.

Oldtown Hostel Otter is our pick for the best hostel in Zurich. Set in the Old Town, this hostel has plenty of dining, shopping, nightlife and sightseeing options right on its doorstep.

Another fantastic choice is the Motel One Zurich in Bahnhofstrasse. Not only is it a short walk from major landmarks and monuments, but its surrounded by the city’s best restaurants, bars and cafes.

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