It’s not a capital city, and it’s found in one of the smallest countries in the world. Yet, it’s one of the most beautiful gems that the middle of Western Europe treasures so much. Iconic to Switzerland, Zurich is one of the most incredible and beautiful cities to visit with your family. However, compared to larger and more popular cities among tourists like Paris or Madrid, Zurich has remained quite in the background. In fact, many questions whether there truly are things to do in the city to keep busy. But this is where we come in and say yes! The alps and exquisite culture of cheese, wine, and chocolate is just the tip of the iceberg. In this guide, you’ll not only find the best tips on things to do in Zurich with kids. We’ve also many other secrets and tips to make the most out of your travels to this incredible city.
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Best Time to Visit Zurich
In any European city, one of the most beautiful times to visit is during December. You’ll get to experience the Christmas markets and celebrate in the ultimate holiday spirit. However, you should keep in mind that any time after that the temperatures decrease quite a lot. They get as low as 36.1°F (2.3°C)! In winter, Zurich tends to be under the rain or the snow quite a lot. The sun starts to set at around 4:30 pm as well. This means that your days are going to be cut a lot shorter, and it won’t be as comfortable to walk through the medieval streets. It’s not the best time to visit for sure!
During spring, the weather in Zurich can vary quite a lot. From March, the heat starts increasing exponentially from 46.2°F (7.9°C) to 69.2°F (20.7°C). Rainfall still remains rather usual, so you’ll have to plan around it to explore the city by foot; but it decreases the more you move towards the summer. On the other hand, it might be a good time to find lowered accommodation prices. Since it’s such an expensive city, this could be quite the incentive!
Zurich is an absolute beauty to visit during the summer. The weather is gorgeous and makes walking around such a beautiful pleasure. By summer, restaurants and bars have opened their terraces. And with longer days, the cheerfulness of the sun fills the city. However, it is tourist season and accommodation prices tend to rise, so you may want to book them in advance. With the amazing weather, Zurich fills with different markets, festivals and planned activities on the river. You are welcome to take a dip!
For us, the fall is definitely the best time to visit Zurich with kids. The crowds start to disappear, and the warm colors of the trees seem to do their best to keep the joyfulness from summer as much as they can as winter approaches. Even though the weather seems to get colder, it’s certainly still warm enough to walk around the city without feeling uncomfortable. Since tourist season starts to decrease, you might be able to find more affordable hotels as well. The best part about visiting Zurich in fall is its celebrations of the harvesting season. There are many famous wine tasting sessions and visits to grape farms; which is a lot of fun for the entire family.
How To Move Around Zurich
Even though Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, its center and main cast are actually quite small. It’s definitely small enough for the family to be able to get to the majority of the city’s best attractions.
Public transport (buses, trams and trains)
Some of Zurich’s best things to see are located closer to the mountains, where some of the most breathtaking alpine views are. To reach places that may be a little farther away, taking any of their available forms of public transport (buses, trams and trains) will assure you get to your destination on time and safely. The Swiss are known for their punctuality, but also very expensive cost of living – so prepare for expensive public transport ticket prices. You’ll be able to purchase your tickets at any station; there are usually ticket machines.
Best Areas to Stay in Zurich
Bahnhofstrasse is the largest and most popular area shopping boulevard in the city. Whether you stay in a hotel on this avenue or in any of its adjacent streets, you can trust that it’s the best area to stay in Zurich with kids. It’s by far the most ideal neighborhood since it’s possible to either walk or take a quick tram ride to most of the city’s landmarks and attractions. It also goes without saying that Bahnhofstrasse is also incredibly beautiful, with imposing buildings, and some of the most expensive and luxurious stores and hotels. If you happen to be traveling in December, this street looks absolutely stunning. It tends to be decorated in what seems to be millions of Christmas lights and decorations. It’s one of the best areas in Zurich that showcases the Christmas spirit like no other place in the city.
Altstadt is considered the best place to stay in Zurich if you’re planning on a shorter stay. It’s in the middle of Zurich’s historical center and spreads over both sides of the city’s beautiful river, the Limmat. It’s a great location for families as you’ll be staying a few minutes’ walk from it’s most visited attractions like the Fraumunster, countless Swiss restaurants that will for sure make you want to stay forever. The Lindenhof park is one of the most beautiful parks in the city where your kids will love to run around and play by the water with the ducks. In the summer, it’s the perfect place for a picnic. When looking around the medieval buildings and gilded houses, make sure to pay special attention to the paint and old signs. Although they might have faded, many of them still have medieval signs and banners of what their use was centuries back. For example, you may find that what is now a restaurant, used to be a carpenter’s workshop several centuries back!
The “cool” area of Zurich is also its newest – Zurich West. This area has been completely renovated from its previous industrial quarters and is now a charming and creative neighborhood full of city gardens, wacky and witty cafes, restaurants, market halls, and boutiques. The second-hand stores in this area of town are quite popular among the kids too, they seem to enjoy experiencing a more vibrant and modern side of medieval cities like this one. The only downside of staying here is that it’s a little more complicated to get to the main attractions by foot. If you don’t mind hopping on a tram or train though, this is a great place to take in a different side of Zurich that not many tourists even think of discovering.
Things to do in Zurich with Kids
Rigi Panoramic Trail
The Rigi Panoramic Trail is definitely the first thing you should do when traveling to Zurich with kids. For anyone who dreams of seeing the most incredible and acclaimed views of Switzerland, there really isn’t a better way to experience the beautiful Swiss landscapes. This trail, also known as the “Queen of the Mountain”, set on an old train track that takes across many different amazing viewpoints, providing one of the most unique and beautiful sceneries.
You’ll be able to see an incredible view of some of the most iconic lakes in Switzerland; Lake Lucerne and Lake Zug. It takes around 2 hours to complete, and it’s not tiring for children. There are several BBQ areas that are great to set up a Swiss picnic in for the summer, but there are also plenty of other mountainous restaurants to choose from. It’s such a great day trip to do in Zurich, we recommend it very much.
Website: Rigi Panoramic Trails
Address: Start Rigi-Panoramaweg, Bahnhof Arth-Goldau, 6415 Arth-Goldau
Museum Scholss Kyburg
The Museum Scholss Kyburg is inside a genuine castle in Zurich. Differently to what you may expect, the main attraction is not the castle itself, but what each of the rooms contains. Every chamber, tower and dungeons, and hall has items from the middle ages such as original armors, traditional costumes, and weapons. It’s a modest museum to see some of the understated histories that roamed the streets of this great city centuries ago. If you’re wondering what to do in Zurich with kids on a rainy day, this is a great option. For 2 CHF, you’ll be able to get an audio guide, which can help keep the kids more entertained, and give them the chance to learn a little bit more about the knights and maidens that lived in the castle back in the day.
Website: Museum Scholss Kyburg
Address: Schloss 1, 8314 Kyburg
(April 1 to October 31) Tue - Sun 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Adults 12 CHF
Children (6 to 16 years old) 9 CHF
Students and Seniors: 5 CHF
Boat Ride Around Lake Zurich
One of the best things to do in Zurich with kids, or in any other city in Switzerland for that matter, is taking a boat trip around the lake. Lake Zurich is quite an imposing and large lake that you’ll constantly be circling on your travels, so why actually take the time to experience it on its own? Although they have boat trips available in the colder months of the year, it’s always a better plan to do during the summer or the fall. It’s much more enjoyable, and you’ll probably be able to sit on the outer deck to enjoy the breeze and sunshine. It only takes about an hour and a half to complete, so it’s a great way to have a general view of the city from a different angle.
Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg
Located just outside the city, the Wildnispark Zurich is an incredible place to treat your children to. The idea behind this wild park is to provide the most natural and safe environment for the animals native to the alpine area of Switzerland to live in, while remaining visible to visitors without being disturbed.
While walking along the trail through the forest, you might be able to spot anything from bears, mountain goats, boars, wildcats and deer. This is an incredible park to visit in Zurich with kids because it gives them the opportunity to be incredibly close to nature and animals; they usually get very excited about it and are eager to explore the grounds further. The natural surroundings of the park are also incredible – we consider Switzerland to have some of the best forests and nature we’ve ever seen!
Besides the animals, the kids will love playing on the zipline, swings and playground as well. There is also a restaurant and outdoor grills available if you want to plan a picnic.
Website: Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg
Address: Stiftung Wildnispark Zürich, Alte Sihltalstrasse 38
Hours: Temporarily unavailable
Adults 10 CHF
Children (0 to 6 years old) Free
Children 5 CHF
Families 20 CHF
Zurich Toy Museum
One of our favourite museums to visit in Zurich with kids was definitely the Zurich Toy Museum. This beautiful museum is known to take visitors down a nostalgic trip down memory lane. It showcases all the toys that made up people’s childhood over 300 years. Both of their temporary and permanent exhibitions offer amazing moments of appreciation for leisure and fun; managing to awaken and reconnect with the curious child that lives in all of us. To give you an idea, they have a great exhibit on the evolution of Barbie dolls, traditional Swiss toys, dolls, wartime toys, and a lot more. It’s really a true gem. It’s a great way to both learn about history and bring families together by bonding over sharing good memories, and stories about childhood.
Website: Zurich Toy Museum
Address: Zürcher Spielzeugmuseum, Fortunagasse 15 8001 Zürich
Mon - Fri 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Sat 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Adults 5 CHF
Children (6 to 16 years old) Free
Let’s be honest. The alpine views of Switzerland are incomparable to anything else in the world, and you can never get enough. We certainly can’t anyway. The Zuri Oberland-Hohnenweg is another incredible Swiss pre-Alpine hiking area to go to when traveling in Zurich with kids. The main views you’ll get from walking this trail are from the lake from a very high point, so we strongly recommend it. You’ll also get to see the valleys and simply gorgeous colors of nature. There are four different trails you can choose to do. Each is completely unique and will take you through the most incredible views of the valleys and mountains you can imagine. They’re also relatively easy to complete for kids.
Website: Zuri Oberland-Hohenweg
Address: Start Züri Oberland-Höhenweg Winterthur Bahnhof 8400 Winterthur
When we imagine Switzerland, many of us may have a mental image of a steaming outdoor jacuzzi and thermal baths in front of enormous mountains and forests. At Alpamare, there’s no need to imagine. It’s the largest thermal bath in Switzerland, and located in the middle of the most beautiful alpine surroundings. It has some of the most wonderful pools with natural spring water, and provides spaces for all your needs; whether it is to relax, or to have a more thrilling and fun adventure with the kids. The kids will be happy to spend most of their time at the wave pool, slide and toboggans. Parents may find it a lot more fun to stay at the most liked Brine Bath. It’s fun for the entire family without it being too over the top. Keeping it Swiss!
Address: Bad Seedamm AG, Gwattstrasse 12, 8808 Pfäffikon SZ
Mon–Thu 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Cost: (Ticket valid for four hours)
Adults 43 CHF (38 CHF online ticket)
Children 6-15 years old 35 CHF (31 CHF online ticket)
Toddlers 0-5 years old 10 CHF (10 CHF online ticket)
Jucker Farm is an incredible place that has something for everyone. It’s one of the best ways to experience agrotourism that offers a lot more than fruits and vegetables. Their goal is to give visitors the opportunity to experience the goodness of agriculture. They are very proud of their wide variety of vegetables, berries, flowers and legumes growing in the garden. But the farm is also a lot more than that. They have a wide range of activities, performances and exhibitions surrounding the main theme of agriculture, but molded into a fun and engaging day trip. Children can play endlessly on castles made out of hay and feed the goats in the petting zoo.
However, we have to admit that the best time to visit the farm is fall (by far). The fall is harvesting season for Switzerland, so you can expect the freshest and most delicious recipes of home-grown vegetables to take over their menu at the restaurant. They also have special activities and events planned for this particular time such as their famous pumpkin statue exhibitions, a natural maze and labyrinth, and blueberry picking activities for the kids. They have a gift shop where you’ll be able to buy the best locally made products to take home. After trying some at the restaurant, we couldn’t not have them in our kitchen!
Last but not least, the farm is located in one of the best mountain areas of Zurich, so going on a stroll around the grounds is always a pleasure to do no matter the time of the year. Many tourists who have visited the farm in the past have said that it’s been the highlight of their trip to Zurich with kids, so we look forward to seeing what you think!
Website: Jucker Farm
Address: Dorfstrasse 23 Aathal-Seegräben, Seegraeben 8607 Switzerland
Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Chocolat Frey Visitor Centre
Switzerland is basically a synonym for chocolate. One of the most enjoyable things to do in Zurich with kids was to visit the Chocolate Frey Visitor Centre. Your kids will never refuse visiting the heart of their favourite sugary treat to snack on! At the Chocolate Frey Visitor Centre, you’ll learn everything about the chocolate-making process. From the moment you collect the raw chocolate materials from the trees, to its finger-licking chocolate bar form. The museum is very interactive and has many hands-on explanations and installations. Visitors are also allowed to walk around the factory, and have the exciting opportunity to meet the famous robot “Robi”. He is responsible for packing all the chocolate bars that are made in the factory, and getting them ready to go all over Switzerland.
The visitor center hosts regular workshops and activities such as chocolate molding or decorating, so make sure you take a look at their website for more information. And yes, we know what you’re thinking. The museum also provides chocolate tasting sessions, but prepare yourself to stay there for a long time. Not because it takes longer to get through it, but because the temptation for eating more chocolate will be difficult to overcome! They also have an amazing gift shop with all kinds of varieties of chocolate to try at home.
Website: Chocolate Frey Visitor Centre
Address: Chocolat Frey AG Bresteneggstrasse 4 5033 Buchs/AG
Tue - Sun 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Adults 12 CHF
Children (0 to 6 years old) Free
Children (6 to 16 years old) 6 CHF
Family 1 (1 adult and max. 5 children) 18 CHF
Family 2 (2 adults and max. 5 children) 30 CHF
Student and senior 10 CHF
Swiss Children’s Museum Baden
The Swiss Children’s Museum Baden is yet another center that cherishes and appreciates the importance of play, childhood and leisure. Within its walls, it treasures everything that’s been important to children since 300 years ago. It also focuses on showing gratitude and praise to children’s education, and dedicates a part of the museum to show how children would learn back in the day inside, and outside of the classroom. Some of the best pedagogues and education professionals on which entire educational systems and children’s psychology are from Switzerland, which explains the city’s love highlighting their contributions to the world.
From traditional folktales to miniatures, to old train tracks, to games, toys and books, there are thousands of objects and items from many periods throughout history to explore. The museum also has replicas of ancient classrooms that children can play in, and experience what school was like for their grandparents and even great-grandparents for themselves. In the summer, the museum has several outdoor theater performances and fairytale storytelling activities in the garden. In the colder months, there are also other workshops for children, but you’ll have to keep an eye on their website for more details.
Overall, it’s an incredible place to visit in Zurich with kids. It’s interactive, fun, and bound to be a great way to remember the charm of the acclaimed Swiss city by.
Website: Swiss Children's Museum Baden
Address: Schweizer Kindermuseum, Ländliweg 7 5400 Baden
Tue - Sat 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sun 10:00 - 5:00 PM
Adults 12 CHF
Children 4 CHF
Students 9 CHF
What To Eat in Zurich With Kids
Cheese is among the most produced and consumed foods in Switzerland; the endless miles of farmland and respect for cows probably gives it away. They have an incredible variety of cheese, but the best one is definitely in raclette. In fact, if there’s something we’re absolutely sure your kids will love to eat in Zurich it’s raclette.
Raclette is one of Switzerland’s best traditional dishes. It’s a slice of cheese placed on an individually sized pan and popped inside a heater in the middle of the table. As it melts, you’re more than welcome to place potatoes, pickles, tomatoes, bacon, bread or onion. There is truly nothing quite like it, and we should warn you – your kids are likely to get addicted.
Have potatoes ever failed to please your children? It’s highly unlikely. Rosti is another traditional dish in Zurich. It’s made out primarily from potatoes in the shape of a pie, more or less. Rosti is actually mostly served in children’s menus, so you won’t have any issues finding it. We recommend that you try it with some salad and traditional Swiss salad dressing.
For those with a sweet tooth, eating a Zuger Kirschtorte at the end of a meal is one of the greatest delight you can have while travelling around Zurich with kids. It’s a tart consisting of various layers of meringue, nuts, buttercream, sponge cake, and cherry liqueur. Cherry liqueur, Kirsch, is quite famous in Switzerland. The locals tend to drink it to digest heavy cheesy dishes like fondue or raclette but in this case, it serves to add a sweet and delicious taste for this nation-wide loved dessert. This cake has been in Swiss culture for as long as the locals can remember, and it always seems to be the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing.
If you were looking to try a dish local to Zurich in particular, look no further than Zurcher Geschnetzeltes. It’s sliced veal bathed in glorious white cream accompanied by potatoes (rosti) and greens. The best place to eat it is in the most local tavern you can find. It’s quite an old dish, so the older the restaurant you can find, the better it’s going to be!
We hope you’ve enjoyed the ultimate family travel guide for Zurich! Although it’s a small city, it’s incredibly beautiful and will always succeed in taking your breath away – whether it’s with it’s amazing views of the mountains and lakes, or with endless supply of delicious chocolate cheese and wine.