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Baby friendly Hotel in Zurich and things to do in March

Baby friendly Hotel in Zurich and things to do in March

Feb 11th, 2008, 05:39 PM
  #1  
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Baby friendly Hotel in Zurich and things to do in March

Hello. Help us out- 2 yr old and a 5 month old headed to Zurich. Where should we stay and what should we do? Will a side by side stroller be ok? Thanks.
signmeup is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 08:19 PM
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I'll be there in April with a 4-year-old so I am curious if anyone has any responses for fun kid stuff....
LosAngeles90004 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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If you don't know where to stay or what to do, why are you going??????

Curious
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Feb 20th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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I think you will find plenty to do, indoors and out with kids.

Signmeup, if you can tell me what month you will be there, I might be able to suggest more things as well.

LosAngeles2004 if you will be in Zurich there is a great festival held only in Zurich in April called Sechseläuten, which is sort of a spring holiday festival. This year it will be held on Wednesday April 16. There are lots of activities associated with this, my favourite is in the evening when they turn off the street lights in parts of the old town at about 9 pm, and members of the traditional guildhalls dressed in costumes visit each other accompanied by bands. They also have a huge bonfire in the afternoon where they burn a snowman (the Bogg) to see how much longer winter will last. There is a children's parade on Sunday April 13 which you may be able to see if you are there that day, and a ball held on April 12, and if you are in the old town areas, you can often see people from the guildhalls also dressed in costumes going around the old town, and there are sometimes bands marching around that night too.

The first thing you should do is check to see if the Conelli Circus will be in town during your visit. The Swiss are circus crazy, never mind that it is in German you don't need to understand the language to enjoy it (and your kids more so). See http://www.circus-conelli.ch/conelli/index.htm . This is German only but maybe try Babel Fish to translate it. They perform most of the winter months at a spot right at the lake.

I would defiantly put the zoo on your list, itís very good and of course kids like it. I would also put the little town of Rapperswil on the list, if the ferry is running (donít think they start a regular schedule until April 1 or a bit later but check), then take the ferry down for a pleasant ride (albeit indoors in March), or take the train the trip takes about 20 minutes. There is a medieval portion of the town which is very charming and if you climb the hill you will get some nice views. There is a castle at the top (now a museum on Polish history of not too great interest unless you are Polish.) However, the real reason to go with kids is to go to the children's zoo (Knie Kinderzoo) and the Circus Museum. Both great for kids, esp the former, as they can feed pets and ride ponies, etc. Take a look at www.rapperswil.ch, click on the UK flag for the English version.

If there is snow on the hillsides of Zurich (there may be in March), you can usually sled up around the Dolder Grand hotel, and I believe they have ice skating there also. This is quite near the zoo and could be combined with a day out up at the zoo. The hotel has been vastly redone and has just reopened and I have not seen it so donít know what all is offered these days, but they used to have several good restaurants and I assume they still do. See http://www.doldergrand.ch/. While a bit out of the way, with kids this might be a nice option for a hotel.

For sure go to a chocolate shop!! Especially as you will be there leading up to Easter and there will be tons of stuff in the shops. My favourite for the best chocolate and great windows is the Teuscher at Storchengasse 9 in a lovely part of the old town. Also for sure stop at Cafe Schober/Cafe Felix at Napfgasse 4 in the Neiderdorf area, which serves probably the worldís best hot chocolate (bring money). This is good for breakfast, lunch, tea as well. (Sadly, the ďtoursĒ of the chocolate factory outside Zurich is really not much, they wonít let you really see much of the operation, IMO itís not worth it, but see the Zurich tourism website if you are interested, I think they have info.)

If you are in town on a Tuesday or Friday, there is a great farmers and flower market in Burkliplatz on the lake. Runs from 7 am Ė 11 am. A bit more reduced in the winter months, but in March and April it will be starting back to its more full form. Just walk straight down the Banhofstrasse from the main train station basically until you hit the lake, you will see the stalls on your left as you approach Burkliplatz. There are several bakers selling here as well, you can have a breakfast of fresh bread or chocolate croissants. Lots of cheeses, vegetables, etc on sale too.

You can take the little red train to Utliberg, walk a gentle incline for about 15 minutes and be rewarded with the best view of the lake and Alps. On a clear day, you can see to Germany. The website for the train to Utliberg is szu.ch (there does not seem to be an English version, so I don't know how helpful this will be.) The train leaves from the main train station and also makes a stop at the Selnau station kind of near the lower end of the Banhofstrasse in Zurich. The ride takes about a half hour. There is a nice hotel at the top with a good restaurant and a more informal sort of bratwurst place, both nice for lunch. (Go to http://www.utokulm.ch/english/restaurant) There are some nice walks in this area, you might ask your hotel if they have suggestions, or go to the tourist office in the main train station and see if they have brochures. There is a very good easy walk along the ridge line here that will take you to Felsenegg, where you can have a meal and then take the cable car down to Adliswil and take a local train back. The walk is less than 2 hours, offers has great views and is very easy. This is an excellent day out to see the countryside on a clear winter's day. (Dress warmly, good boots or walking shoes are needed. This would be suitable for older children only.)

You can take a train ride both for the scenery and the experience of Swiss trains whch are fast, new, effiecient and the intercity ones are double-deckers. A good one would be to Chur or towards Lake Constance, as the train ride is very pretty. Chur is about an hour and a half, it has a nice medieval old town, you can have lunch there and then go back. Look for an intercity train, as they often have a "kinderbahn" car which is a train car designed for younger kids and has a small play area, a slide, etc. and kids can be as loud as they want. (I swear to God I never heard a loud child or a dog bark in 4 years of living in Switzerland, and people take their dogs on the trainsÖ.) Take a look at Swissrail.ch for times and schedules, and stop by the ticket office in the main train station and they can help determine if the train you want has a kinderbahn. Also from Chur if you have more time, you can take the little train up the hill to Arosa, a lovely Alpine village. The train ride is fun and the little village is nice. Engle berg is also a nice little town in the mountains (but most likely no kinderbahn car to get there, they mostly run on the main lines like Chur). You can train to the waterfalls at Schaffhausen which would impress any childe or adult, less than 30 minutes by train, and also see the very charming town of Stein am Rhein.

The nearest ski area to Zurich is Flumserberg, which is about an hour by car; you can also get there by a combination of train and bus via the town of Flums, which would probably take you 1.5 - 2 hours. Go to http://www.flumserberg.com for info on Flumserberg. (You may have to click for English.) In March you should still find a good bit of snow, and there are cross-country tracks there and you can simply take the cable cars up if you wanted to see the lovely views. There is a nice restaurant at the base cable car.

You can tkake a train/bus combo to the ski town of Amden in the Alps, which is above the gorgeous blue-green glacial lake Walensee just past the end of Lake Zurich and is surrounded by jagged mountain peaks. (This is across the valley from Flums mentioned above.) This will take about 1.5 hours each way. The train after Thalwill is a pretty journey and the bus ride up and down the mountain to Amden will be very fun, plus you will get some great views up in the mountains themselves. There is a nice little restaurant with a sun terrace serving fondue and other speicalites at Café Leistkamm, this is a short walk from the bus stop in Amden. (Tel. +41 (0)55 611 12 65, I would call to make a reservation if you can). Cost is CH60.80 (US$50) round trip in second class. If you want a slightly shorter trip and lower elevataions, you can take just a train to Weesen which is on the Walensee below Amden, you can have lunch at the Parkhotel Schwert (http://www.parkhotelschwert.ch). Weesen is about an hour by train from Zurich airport

I think your kids are too young to take the full day ďscenicĒ train rides like the Bernina Express which involve 6-8 hours of sitting on a train. But see rhb.ch if you think they could do these. While the Jungfrau area is lovely itís 3.5 horus eacy way on a train, far too long for a day trip with kids, IMO. That is why I am suggesting shorter trips of an hour or so with a stop off in between.

There is the Zurich Toy Museum at Fortunagasse 15 that I have not been to, but which may be interesting. Also, if you want to go to Basel there is the Doll House Museum (Puppenhaus Museum). Again, I have not been but have heard good things. Basel is great for adults, actually as there is the excellent Beyler Foundation museum (beyeler.com/foundation) and a nice little old town. So perhaps the adults could go and one could take the kids to the Doll Museum and the other could go to the Beyler, or do a switch or somethingÖBasel is about an hour by train from Zurich.

There are at least 5 indoor public swimming pools in town, ask your hotel which would be closest or best for your kids. I believe anyone can use these, tourist or not, there is usually a small fee.
The above and other advice can be found in threads called "One Day in Zurich", "Two Days in Zurich" at and ďRestaurants in Zurich" which I have posed in previously.
Itís really hard to give hotel advice unless you give a price range, as hotels are expensive and I donít like to recco unless I know it will be useful. If you have Marriott, Hyatt, points etc this is a good town to use them in. The Marriott has an indoor pool which may be good for kids, itís also well located for touring. The Park Hyatt may have an indoor pool as well, check their website. If you need cribs, etc ask via e-mail. Some Swiss hotels have ďfamily roomsĒ which have several beds in them, but IMO you will be hard pressed to find these in Zurich, itís more of a business hotel town and also its too expensive.

Yes, a side by side stroller will be OK, you will have some fun on the cobblestone parts of the old town, and there are some stairs and some inclines to get to some of the interesting parts of the old town (like the Lindenhof), but then there are wide boulevards and many car-free areas as well where the wide stroller will be fine. You will get a nice workout in some parts.

Cicerone is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 07:22 PM
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Cicerone,
Thanks a million for super list of family things to do. We will not be bored!!
LosAngeles90004 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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I just recalled some other things (sorry, I swear one day I will put these reccos into a more coherent form). These are some things that my nieces and nephews liked to do, they were older when they visited (about 10 at the time), but I think younger kids would like these too:

1. Take the little red polybahn funicular train up the hill to the university area. This starts a few feet from the Central tram stop, about 5oo metres from the main train station, across the river. The entrance is to the left of a Starbucks. The ride is short, just a few minutes, but its fun and when you get up to the University (the polytechnic, hence the name), you get some good views of Zurich. This could be a way to get to the zoo, as you could catch the #6 tram from here and continue further up the hill on to the zoo or the Dolder Grand hotel. I think the fare is about 1CHF, it is also incuded in a 24 hour tram card and may also be included in any Zurich Card you may buy as a tourist for transport (which may also include discounts to the zoo, I know it includes museum discounts, for info on the Zurich Card see : http://www.zuerich.com/zurich_az/en/zuerichcard.php. It includes round trip transfer to the airport and tram, and some ferry transport for the periods in which you buy it. It also includes a discount on the city walking tour, which is supposed to be good, but IMO with kids as young as yours a 3-hour walking tour may not really work. See http://www.zuerich.com/sightseeing for info)

2. A great kitschy souvenir place on the river in the old town to buy stuff is:

Teddy's Souvenir shop
34 Limmatquai

This is on Limmatquai along the river just below the Grossmunster cathedral and across the river from the Fraumunster church. They open at something like 7 am and close around 6 pm. They have postcards, Swiss knives, cuckoo clocks, T-shirts, baseballs caps and my favorite thing which is a CD of Swiss music which when you play you can NEVER be depressed; it just makes you laugh it is so cheerful and bouncy. For such a serious people their music is just plain silly. I play it whenever I get a little homesick for Switzerland.

3. A wonderful hole in the wall (literally) and one of the oldest bakeries in Zurich is the Bäckerei Vohdin, which is in the Oberdof, quite close to the Grossmunster church. This opened in about 1620 (the building was built in the 14th century), and it always amused me that they started operation about the same time as the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts aboard the Mayflower (and this really impressed by nieces and nephews). They have a good selection of croissants and pretzels. Strictly take-away (the shop is literally a hole in the side of a building). They are only open like 4 mornings a week, Tuesday through Friday and I belive they close at like 2 pm.

Bäckerei Vohdin
Oberdorfstrasse 12
Tel. 252 49 19

4. Climb the tower of the Grossmunster cathedral (small fee) for a very good view of Zurich. The catherdral is located on the right bank of the old town, and there are lots of little pedeatrian-only cobblestone streets here (a little bit hilly in parts so with the double stroller may be a workout). My two conerns with very young children is that this is a longish climb is narrown, winding stairs, the parapets are rather high, so you may have to pick the kids up to see over them.

5. Ferries start running April 1, so Los Angeles90004, if you get a sunny day you should add a trip down the lake to Rapperswil if you wanted or elsewhere. You can do a circle tour, or just go down to one of the towns along the lake, get off, walk around a bit, maybe have lunch and then wait for the next ferry. Most ferries also have food on board. Some reccos for shorter tips than Rapperswil would be as follows, you should be able to use your Zurich Card for these, but check (I donít believe you can use the Zurich Card for Raperswil as it is out of the area):

Kusnacht Ė this is about 1/2 down the lake on the south side, the famed "Gold Coast" that gets the most sun and has vineyards all along the hillsides. There is a lovely hotel here right at the pier with a great restaurant (Restaurant Sonne
Seehotel Sonne, see www.sonne.ch/restaurant.htm) and also a much more casual bratwurst/ice cream type place, the Sonnegarten, both of which would be fine for lunch. (Canít guarantee the bratwurst place will be open in April.) There is not a lot to the town of Kusnacht, although what there is is right along the road in back of the hotel and the piers so you can stroll along here and see the few shops. Tina Turner has a home somewhere along the water here, if you see her find out where she lives.....if you wanted to make this a shorter trip, you could take a train back from here rather than the ferry, the train would only take about 8 minutes. The train station is about a 5 minute walk from the hotel and ferry pier.

Thalwil - this is about 1/3 of the way down on the north shore of the lake and so is not too long a ride, it would be about a 40 minute ride. The main town is up quite a steep hill, so I don't know that I would recco going up there (although they do have a pretty old town), but there are two nice restaurants on the water where you could take break for lunch before the return ferry. There are two good restaurants right on the water, one more casual Italian to the right of the piers about 100 meters down the main road along the lake at 25 Seestrasse (Restaurant Seetracht, go to http://www.seerestaurant-tracht.ch), one more expensive but very good European restaurant in the Alexander Zum See hotel about 200 meters down the road at 182 Seestrasse, to the left of the piers (go to http://www.alexander-am-see.ch/). Both have outdoor terraces with terrific views.

-Horgen is a town a bit further down the lake from Thalwil also on the north shore, it has a very tiny old town, but does have a pretty spot on the lake. A restaurant to try there is: L'o, which is right on the water (Website: www.lo-horgen.ch). There is a bratwurst place also on the water but I donít think they open until full summer which is June 1 or so.


Cicerone is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 04:38 PM
  #7  
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Wow- Cicerone!! You are amazing. It looks like we are going March 8 or 9 for a week. It is a business trip. Yes, we have a side by side stroller- it is light and not good on uneven streets. Should I get a stronger,better stroller for this? Also, I had the name of the street where the business is located and we wanted to be close. I love the indoor pool idea too- and many other things. Do tell me what you think.
Thanks.
Have fun LA.
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Feb 28th, 2008, 07:51 PM
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Iím not stoller expert so really canít speak to that, my guess is that the lighter the better for pushing over cobblestones and up the inclines in parts of the old toewn and also carrying up stairs if you have to (accessing placres like the Lindenhof, getting on an off trams). Even those really light ones seem pretty tough to me.

If you want a hotel with a pool, the only hotel I am aware of which has an indorr pool is the Marriott. The Park Hyatt may although I think it is small, I belive that the Dolder may as well (that is probably not going to be convenient for you for working, itís consideriably uphill above town although on a tram line). Otherwise, the city public pools should be fine (there is also a Hamman in the old town, not sure how old the kids have to be to use it, but you may want to use it, your hotel should be able to give you info.
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