Updated for 2021
What To Do on a Rainy Day in Zurich
When its raining hard in Zurich you may be desperate for good ideas on what to do and where to go. If you’ve got visitors it can be even worse. Here are some great ideas for adults children to (hopefully!) keep you occupied. Some of the suggestions are for Zurich and some are for trips outside the city.
Here are 19 ideas for children:
There are hundreds of animals to see and of course there is the elephant park and now the gorgeous koalas too. There’s also a rainforest hall and various other covered areas – so even on a rainy day it’s a great day out. TIP: Check out the daily Family Pass to save a few pennies! Read all about Zurich Zoo here.
2. Trampolino or Kindercity
Indoor play areas which are fun places for the kids to burn off some energy – for example Trampolino in Dietikon, Kindercity in Volketsvil for children aged 3 to 12. Click on the hyperlinks for information.
Just a train ride or car journey away located in Pfäffikon. Unlike many Swiss attractions it’s open 365 days a year. There are great slides and lots of water fun to be had. See here for more information on Alpamare. There’s also a great swimming pool in Zollikon, the Forbach and you can see some photos and information about the Forbach pool here.
Again this attraction is open 365 days a year, in fact 24 hours a day (!). Put your waterproofs on and go an explore the forest and see the animals. Admittance to the park itself is FREE and the Visitor Centre has a small entrance charge. For more information see here.
Zurich’s Tram Museum is located in Open Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 6pm. Featuring original trams and machinery dating from 1897 to 1960 with lots of vehicles which you can see and touch, it tells the story of Zurich’s trams and transport facilities over the years. There is also a special events program. See here for details.
A former mill, Mühlerama is a museum and baking school and is fun for long children to explore and learn about the history of bread making and the mill itself. For more information see here.
Located on the road between Uster and Wetzikon, around 30 to 40 minutes from Zurich, this privately owned Dinosaur Museum is Open Tuesday to Sunday. Sauriermuseum Aathal
Zürichstrasse 69, 8607 Aathal. For more information visit their website here.
There’s always plenty to see at the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne and as well as trains, cars, airplanes and a 3D movie theatre, they have just recently opened a new attraction called “Swiss Chocolate Adventure” – so there is even more of a reason to visit now- see here. Lucerne is not far from Zurich by car or train and whilst you’re there why not visit the famous wooden bridge – after all it’s covered, so you should’t get too wet! For more information see here.
For more ideas on things to do in Lucerne read our article here.
This is more than a science museum, with so many interactive activities to touch, feel and have a go at – it’s a fun place for both children and adults – but plan lots of time for your visit as there is so much to see and do. For more information see here.
As well as tasting and seeing lots of biscuits Kambly also do some special “Make A Biscuit” programs for children (which need to be booked in advance). It’s an excursion out of town again – but one that your children will not forget in a hurry! For more information see here.
The Zoological Museum is located between the University of Zurich and the ETH and has FREE admission. It has information on over 1500 animals with a permanent exhibition as well as a special exhibition area. Open Tuesday to Sunday it is fascinating as well as educational. Find out more by visiting the website here.
You don’t have to be football mad to enjoy this interesting museum which has already established itself as one of the most popular museums in the city. Read all about it here.
This is a full day’s excursion as it takes approximately 3 hours by train and 2 and a quarter hours by car. It’s a very well organised tour, very informative and a generous testing section and you could also combine it with a visit to the Gruyere Cheese factory too. Read about our visit to the Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory in Broc here.
About 45 mins away from Zurich by car you get a short tour explaining the origins of chocolate and how chocolate is produced as well as tastings of melted white, milk and dark chocolate. It costs CHF 10 and the entrance ticket can then be used to as a CHF 5 voucher towards any chocolate purchases in the factory shop! See our post about our trip to Läderach Chocolate Factory in Bilten here.
The Skills Park Winterthur offers an exciting array of activities for children young and old – trampolining, indoor skate park, tracks and lots more. You can rent skateboards, BMX, moutain bikes and scooters etc. Open 7 days a week. Located at Lagerplatz 17, 8400 Winterthur. Please see the website here (in German).
With plenty of interesting things to see and do, optical illusions and Instagram inspiration the appeal of the WOW Museum extends to adults as well as children! Find out more here.
It doesn’t really matter what the weather is like (as long as it’s not totally pouring) when you’re visiting the Tierpark Goldau. It’s a nice journey from Zurich and there are lots of animals to see. Read all about it here.
Explore the flora and fauna of faraway countries and feel like you’re inside a Jungle or in a desert at inside the warm interior or the Tropical domes at the Botanical Gardens in Zurich. Located in the Botanical Gardens park at Zollikerstrasse 107, 8008 Zürich they are as intriguing for adults as they are for children. Find out more about the Botanical Gardens here.
Inside one of the Tropical Domes at the Botanical Gardens
SURF AT URBAN SURF IN ZURICH: Located right next to Frau Gerolds Garten, Urban Surf is a great place to surf (or to learn to surf). Since you’re going to get wet anyway, a few splashes of rain shouldn’t stop you enjoying this fun activity. Find out more about Urban Surf here.
SUMMER OFFERS for Children:
GREAT VALUE FOR SUMMER: During the Summer holidays children under 16 may want to check out the Sommerferienpass which has lots of ideas and excursions.
WINTER IDEAS FOR CHILDREN: Ice skating, Christmas Markets.
Here are 12 Ideas for Adults:
There really is so much art to see at the Kunsthaus in Zurich, but to make it even better they always run the best “special exhibitions’. Plan your day carefully so that you have enough time to visit and don’t have to rush. If you happen to be visiting on a Wednesday entrance to the general exhibition area is free of charge! See here for more information.
2. Hot chocolate or “Kaffee und Kuchen”
Meet friends or go with your family to some of these lovely locations in Zurich for a cosy afternoon: Café Schober – if it’s raining hard Café Schober is a welcoming refuge and what better than to stop by and try out some of their amzazing cakes and patisserie with a hot chocolate topped with whipped cream? Each of the rooms of the café has it’s own personality but our favourite is the “Salon rouge”, the red velvet and gilt room – so warm and welcoming! See here for more information. Other cafés you may want to visit include Les Gourmandises de Miyuko , Honold Tea Rooms for their amazing hot chocolate and wonderful chocolates, Babus Bakery and Coffeehouse, for a great selection of savoury and sweet fare or Cupcake Affair for their wonderful cupcakes. Take a look at our Guide to Cafés in Zurich here.
3. Zurich Museums
There are so many museums in Zurich it’s hard to choose one to recommend. The Museum Bellerive usually has a great selection of arty and fashion inspired themes, the Museum Rietberg has lots of cool things to see, the Beyer Watch Museum is amazing and the Museum für Gestaltung always catches our eye. There is also so much to see at the Swiss National Museum too – but take a look at this “museum finder link” to find out about other museums in Zurich. If you and your children enjoy visiting museums a lot it may be worth investing in a “Museum Pass” for the whole of Switzerland. For more information see here.
There are a number of locations in Zurich to go for a swim and a spa or a hammam. From the Hürlimann Thermalbad to the Hammam in the Niederdorf and lots besides. See our list of spas, saunas and hammams here.
5. Indoor Bars with a View ( Not Open Yet – but hopefully soon!)
Jules Verne Bar or Prime Tower– If you’re right in the centre of town but want a drink with a view then why not go for a beer or a cocktail at the Jules Verne Bar just off Urania. Or take a trip to the Prime Tower, the tallest building in Switzerland and go for lunch in the bistro or for afternoon tea. The views are great whatever the weather (but do call first to check they are open as they sometimes take a month off in Summer (!) – even though this is not mentioned on their website). Also check out the nearby Maag Halle for any events that may be taking place.
As of late April 2021 most of the cinemas in Zurich have just re-opened – with certain seating restrictions. You can see all the cinemas listed here. In Summer there is the Zurich Openair Cinema (with free waterproofs to protect you!).
Take a covered boat trip up the Limmat (Summer season). In Winter take a boat cruise on the lake) and get off and go and visit the Frauenmunster church and see the Chagall windows and then cross the bridge to go to the Grossmünster church and climb the 187 steps to the top of the tower for just a few francs to enjoy the panoramic views. Zurich even looks good in the rain 🙂
8. Hit the Shops!
You could go shopping in Bahnhofstrasse, or if you fancy being in a covered environment how about Glattzentrum, where you even get free parking. Sihlicity is another suggestion. Alternatively why not head out to the fairly new The Mall of Switzerland (with 86 shops and 17 restaurants) which is located Ebikon, just beyond Lucerne. On Sundays you can head to Zurich Airport and there are a range of shops (including supermarkets) where you can shop for everything from a carton of milk to a designer suit to sports equipment. You can also visit the shops and amenities at the Circle Shopping Mall at Zurich Airport.
9. Explore The City by Tram
If you’re new in Zurich and don’t know the city too well, why not go for a random selection of tram rides all over the city to get to know it better. Make it into a game and get the kids to join in too. Use the ZVV App to get around and buy a day tickets if you don’t have a pass already.
10. Go To A Sports Bars in Zurich To Watch the Football
One for once the Covid restrictions have been lifted! Bars you might like to consider include the Lion Pub, Paddy O’Reilly’s, The Oliver Twist to mention just a few. If you fancy a quiet pint in a sports-free environment with a great choice of beer why not head to the International Beer Bar.
NB: Please check if these are open before visiting. The Tropical Green houses at the Botanical gardens aren’t just for children – there is so much to learn about for everyone. It’s also beautifully warm inside the Tropical domes – a great antidote to a rainy day. Located at Zollikerstrasse 107, 8008 Zürich. Find out the opening hours and more information here.
SURF AT URBAN SURF IN ZURICH: Urban Surf is just as much fun for adults as it is for children and is a great place to surf (or to learn to surf). Since you’re going to get wet anyway, a few splashes of rain shouldn’t stop you enjoying this fun activity. It’s Located right next to Frau Gerolds Garten. Find out more about Urban Surf here.
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