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CityTips Guide to Zurich

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Zurich is a commercial and cultural center that boasts an enviable quality of life. A global city, domestic and international banking are Zurich mainstays. The city is home to UBS, Swiss Re, Credit Suisse and the Swiss Stock Exchange.

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Local Overview

Located in the heart of the Zurich Canton, modern Zurich blends old-world charm and avant-garde infrastructure. Every year, Switzerland's largest city draws thousands of visitors to its scenic splendors and beatific landscape. Breathe in the crisp Alpine air and the rich cultural heritage - though that is only the beginning! Historic museums and churches, friendly Zurchers (Zurich citizens, that is), and world-class architecture make this city one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Europe. The city is broadly planned into 12 Kreise (districts) arranged clockwise around the city center, making it quite simple for wandering tourists to read maps and follow directions.

Kreis 1: Altstadt

The Altstadt, Oberdorf and Niederdorf regions cover the historic core of the city. Stroll through medieval streets alongside the Limmat River and admire Marc Chagall's stained-glass windows at the Grossmünster and Fraumünster Churches. Kreis 1 holds a treasure trove of Asian art at the Museum Rietberg, cultural artifacts at the Swiss National Museum, and contemporary paintings and sculptures at the Kunsthaus Zürich. The bustling neighborhood is also home to more than 40 affordable hotels and a number of cozy Italian restaurants.

Kreis 2: Enge, Wollishofen & Leimbach

Located on the western shore of Lake Zurich, the second district is comprised of the Wollishofen, Enge and Leimbach quarters. The area is a tourist draw due to its lakefront location, historic castles and wild nightlife scene. As the main ferry terminal of Zurich, Enge bustles with tourist traffic at all times, while the famous Street Parade at Mythenquai draws countless party-goers to this splendid city each year. Proximity to the city center and the availability of cheap accommodation at the many youth hostels make Kreis 2 a nightlife hot spot for tourists and locals alike.

Kreis 4: Aussersihl

Aussersihl is Zurich's cosmopolitan district. Inhabited mostly by foreign citizens, this neighborhood lies in South Zurich and is a conglomeration of the city's diverse cultures and lifestyles. Zurich's increasingly liberal attitudes are on display at events such as the Gay Pride Christopher Street Day that takes place at the Helvetiaplatz annually. Hit the streets of Aussersihl if you are in search of an unconventional touring experience.

Kreis 6: Oberstrass & Unterstrass

Kreis 6 is located north of Altstadt and is made up of the Oberstrass and Unterstrass neighborhoods. The Zoologisches Museum on Karl Schmidt Strasse, with its unusual (and furry!) games, video projections, and microscope tables, is the area's main attraction, and a major source of entertainment for the kids. The Galerie Walcheturm on Walchestrasse claims to be one of the oldest art spaces in Zurich and displays contemporary creations of new talented artists.

Kreis 7: Fluntern, Hottingen, Hirslanden & Witikon

The quarters of Fluntern, Hottingen, Hirslanden and Witikon are positioned in Zurich's eastern periphery and constitute the city's Kreis 7. Residents of Kreis 7 enjoy a high standard of living, and the neighborhood is hence promoted as the traditional upper-class district of Zurich. One popular tourist destination is the Friedhof Fluntern, where world famous Irish writer James Joyce and Swiss author and nobel prize winner Elias Canetti are buried. For those travelers on a budget, the Foyer Hottingen is one of the few inexpensive hotels in the area.

Kreis 11: Affoltern, Oerlikon & Seebach

The northernmost district of Zurich originally enveloped the Affoltern, Oerlikon and Seebach quarters. Kreis 11 was later reorganized in 1971, at which point Schwamendingen developed into an independent district. Today, prestigious events like the Zurich Open take place in this region. Every year in December, this district also hosts the city's biggest Christmas market during the Christmas Collectors Fair.

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