Whistles Neighbourhood: Zurich
From offbeat cafes with a Dadaist flair, to concrete art and concept burgers – we’ve put together an insider’s guide to Zurich, showing it’s a lot more than just a financial district.
Visit our new Whistles Zurich store at Limmatquai 26, CH-8001.
Originally founded by Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings in 1916, the Cabaret Voltaire is historically a nightclub for artists to collaborate and express new ideas. Visiting the space, you will be able to learn about the events that proved pivotal in the founding of the anarchic art movement known as ‘Dada’. Spend an evening at the Cabaret Voltaire and watch neo-Dadaists artists performing, hear poetry readings or see a temporary exhibition. During the day, the space is a relaxed environment for a coffee and a place to read and share ideas.
If you are in need of your coffee fix while sightseeing in Zurich, hunt down self-professed coffee bean experts Miro Coffee in their espresso and brew bar coffee truck. Not only are their coffee beans organic and sustainably sourced, the guys behind Miro Coffee prepare and roast them fresh each week for the best possible coffee. You can catch their coffee truck on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday in various locations around Zurich or take a visit to their roastery on Butzenstrasse 60, District 2 for a masterclass in the perfect espresso.
A popular weekend eating spot, it’s no surprise that Maison Blunt encourages reservations. With bright coloured tiling, soft sofas and low round tables, the restaurant takes its inspiration from the Moroccan tea rooms of Fez. With its popular mezze plates, hot breads on demand and peppermint tea to finish, Maison Blunt provides a unique atmosphere boasting traditional Middle Eastern flavour, while also offering many vegan and vegetarian options in a relaxed, bohemian setting.
MuDA: Museum of Digital Art
Europe’s first museum dedicated to the digital arts, MuDA connects creativity and technology. Occupying the ground floor of the Herdern Hochhaus, Switzerland’s first high-rise building and now a protected landmark, MuDA supports the creators and communities turning data, codes, and algorithms into art. While visiting the exhibition, you will be accompanied by a special app containing interactive art and video documentation about the artist concerned, helping to bring the experience to life.
Catch an international independent film or unfinished versions of current film festival highlights at Zurich’s Arthouse Cinemas. With six cinemas across the city, we recommend you visit the impressive Arthouse Alba in District 1, with its beautifully preserved classic 50s infrastructure. Alternatively, take in the “Ewz-Stattkino”, an annual art and film festival hosted at the Arthouse Le Paris, where you can view films accompanied with live music, as well as readings and panel discussions. A must for any film buff.
Set against the backdrop of the more up-scale cocktail bars typical of Zurich, the Raygrodski Bar provides a much more relaxed atmosphere. With a minimalistic interior – an enormous counter and chesterfield sofas offer a warm feel – the cocktail bar is timeless without being retro. Both classic and signature cocktails are on offer but the menu is switched up regularly to keep things fresh. Over the weekend DJs bring in a larger crowd, and the terrace outside is perfect for a drink in the sun.
A Swiss-Canadian burger concept located in Kreis 4 district, The Bite offers handmade burgers made from quality Swiss beef using only the finest ingredients. Order the trio of the most popular burgers to get a taste of the distinctive flavourings used here, and choose from their extensive list of craft beers to sit alongside the “animal fries”: a gluttonous mix of thousand island sauce, melted cheddar cheese and roasted shallots. Their prices may be above standard for the average burger, but the ingenious flavour combinations make The Bite’s homespun concept burgers really stand out.
Combining landscape, botany, architecture and art and design, the Enea Baummuseum exhibits individual trees from the collection of Enzo Enea – a Swiss landscape architect and one of the world’s most prominent tree collectors. Set near the beautiful lake of upper Zurich, bold contemporary sculptures created by renowned artists contrast with the pre-Alpine horizon, creating an arresting relationship with the meticulously curated gardens. With many of the trees over 100 years old, this serene landscape is not to be missed. Ensure you stop by the towering Japanese maples and magnolia trees.
An obscure highlight of Zurich, Haus Konstruktiv is a leading institution for Constructivist, concrete and conceptual art. Visiting the gallery, viewers will be able to discover works of contemporary art and their relationship to the early 20th-century art movement of Constructivism. Ensure you don’t miss the museum’s highlight – Fritz Glarner’s ‘Rockefeller Dining Room’ – a love letter to concrete-based interior design. With the bright lighting and clean minimal architecture of Haus Konstruktiv, you’ll leave with a calming impression and new found admiration for concrete.
Mediterranean dishes and tapas with a French influence, Les Halles should be high on your list for places to eat. “Moules frites” are the speciality here and a favourite in Zurich. Inspired by the famous Les Halles in France, the Parisian market is known for its fresh food, which makes the mini market hall integrated into the restaurant a must see. Random accumulated objects from bicycles, retro Peugeot signage, cafe parasols to holiday postcards decorate the walls and ceiling of Les Halles, making this an entertaining place to dine in Zurich.