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Zurich see + do

Standing on River Limmat, a Rhine tributary, and on its own eponymous lake, Zurich seems simultaneously small and huge. It's the biggest city in Switzerland with the feel of a very swollen village—a village that happens to host some of the most dynamic cultural and artistic happenings and jazzy contemporary architecture, all of which blends effortlessly with the gorgeous, tangled medieval Niederdorf district and its charmingly bourgeois-cosmopolitan Bahnhofstrasse, the store-heavy boulevard following the old city wall.

The past five years or so have seen momentous changes in the city's pace of life, which is especially obvious in Zurich West, the neighborhood of converted factories and associated edifices centered around Langstrasse—an uninterrupted mile of hot bars and restaurants, hip clubs, independent movie houses, and boutiques.

Outside the city limits in every direction is bucolic splendor: snowcapped Alps and thick pine forests, perfect for hiking. Back in town, Lake Zurich itself is so clean it's been certified by the local government as safe to drink. Grossmünster cathedral with its twin spires and nearby 13th-century Fraumünster with its pair of 1967 stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall are just two highlights from the trad tourist trail, but there are discoveries waiting all over.

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Arts + Architecture, Zurich

The birthplace of Dada, the most significant art movement to have come out of Zurich, has just been reopened after 90 years: The site of the original Cabaret...more

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