Zurich

From the northern tip of the Zürichsee, the Limmat River starts its brief journey to the Aare and, ultimately, to the Rhine—and it neatly bisects Zürich at the starting gate. The city is crisscrossed by lovely, low bridges. On the left bank are the Altstadt, the grander, genteel pedestrian zone of the old medieval center; the Zürich Hauptbahnhof, the main train station; and Bahnhofplatz, a major urban crossroads and the beginning of the world-famous luxury shopping street Bahnhofstrasse. The right bank constitutes the livelier old section, divided into the Oberdorf (Upper Village) toward Bellevue, and the Niederdorf (Lower Village), from Marktgasse to Central and along Niederdorfstrasse, which buzzes on weekends. Most streets between Central and Bellevue are pedestrian-only zones, as is the Limmatquai from the Rudolf-Brun-Brücke to the Münsterbrücke.

Similar to the arrondissement system in Paris, Zürich is officially divided into a dozen numbered Kreises (districts), which spiral out clockwise from the center of the city. Kreis 1, covering the historic core, includes the Altstadt, Oberdorf, and Niederdorf. Zürich West is part of Kreis 5. Most areas in the city are commonly known by their Kreis, and a Kreis number is generally the most helpful in giving directions.

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  • 1. Kunsthalle

    Kreis 5 | Museum/Gallery

    Set in West Zürich, this is one of two major modern art venues on the top floors of a former brewery. The gallery hosts exhibitions presenting...Read More

  • 2. Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

    Kreis 5 | Museum/Gallery

    One floor below the Kunsthalle, this airy, white loft has the same focus—up-and-coming contemporary artists—but is privately funded by Switzerland...Read More

  • 3. Museum für Gestaltung

    Kreis 5 | Museum/Gallery

    The main repository for Switzerland's important legacy in graphic design, posters, and applied arts, this vast collection has been rehoused...Read More

  • 4. Schweizerisches Landesmuseum

    Kreis 5 | Museum/Gallery

    An expansion in 2016 blends the original neo-Gothic building dating from 1889 with a new sculptural wing, and the expansion brings more flexibility...Read More

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