A quick jaunt in the Swiss capital
Famous for banking and frequently top-ranked for quality of life, this cultural, compact city is also a pleasure for leisure
Clouds Kitchen at Prime Tower
Begin your four-hour walking tour of Zurich West in the former Ind us triequ ar tier at the mirrored 36-storey Prime Tower. It was the tallest building in Switzerland until 2015 when the Roche Tower was unveiled in Basel. For visiting businesspeople this may well be a venue they nd themselves having meetings in. Take the li to the 35th oor and you will nd Clouds Kitchen, a restaurant, bistro and bar.
ere’s also a smokers’ lounge where you can enjoy a cigar. Whatever time of day or night you visit, the views are impressive, and give you a great opportunity to see Zurich West and the train lines that run alongside up to the main Hauptbahnhof station. Visit for a co ee or cocktail. Hardstrasse 201; clouds.ch/en.
Cross the road (Hardbrucke) and walk a short way down Geroldstrasse to another, smaller tower, this time built out of colourful shipping containers stacked on top of one another. is unusual construction houses the four- oor Freitag store, a brand that has carved a niche in “upcycling” old truck tarpaulins and turning them into one-of-a-kind, highly durable bags and wallets. e concept was launched in 1993 and has since been so successful that the homegrown Swiss company now has 18 outlets around the world, as well as 450 resellers. e Zurich West agship store is well worth a visit, and is a good place to buy a souvenir. It’s possible to apply for a tour of the factory in the Noerd industrial complex 6km away. Open MondaysFridays 10:30am-7pm, Saturday 10am6pm. Geroldstrasse 17; freitag.ch/en.
Frau Gerolds Garten
Next door to the Freitag store is veyear-old Frau Gerolds Garten, a beer garden strung with lights. During the warmer months between April and September, enjoy gravel walkways, trees, potted plants and herbs, murals on walls, bars, food stalls and some quirky outdoor sculpture. Head up to the terrace (again built out of shipping containers), which is a perfect vantage point for trainspotting, and order a cold brew. If you come in winter (October to March), it will probably be too chilly to sit outside; in which case, head for the giant wooden yurt in the middle. Inside is a cosy restaurant furnished with throws and cushions; if hungry, order the fondue. Open Mondays-Saturdays 11am-12am, Sundays 12pm-10pm (summer), Mondays-Sundays 6pm-12am; Geroldstrasse 23/23a; fraugerold.ch.
At the heart of Zurich West is Im Viadukt, a 500-metre-long warehouse that sits beneath the arches of a 19th century railway viaduct. Under every arch (there are 36 in total) is a di erent boutique, interior design store, café or concept shop, on both the Viaduktstrasse side and the other side where there is a park. Only a couple of minutes’ walk from Frau Gerolds Garten, it’s an interesting place to browse ateliers such as Timetunnel Living, Klangwandel, Kitchener Plus, Brankob and Street Files. ese brands sell everything from stylish trainers, watches and jeans to hand-woven throws and headphones. ere’s also the cavernous Markthalle, stocked with sausages, deli goods, bread, pastries, owers and vegetables. Open Mondays-Fridays 11am-7pm, Saturdays 10am-6pm; im-viadukt.ch/en.
Complete your tour at the Schi au, a ten-minute stroll from Im Viadukt. Once used for shipbuilding, this imposing brick structure has been turned into a theatre with three stages (visit schauspielhaus.ch/en/ for more information); there is also a jazz club and restaurant La Salle. Set to the le of the great entrance hall, the restaurant is an ideal place to come for lunch or dinner, either with clients (it’s popular with professionals) or a companion for something less formal. e modern cuisine takes in uences from French and Italian cooking with dishes such as veal cutlet with herb butter, horse llet with garlic, or ravioli of the day. Open Mondays-Fridays from 11am, weekends from 5pm; Schi austrasse 6; lasalle-restaurant.ch.