Zurich Old Town Walk for Families

There are many great Zurich walking tours, but kids need more than pretty buildings and history to keep them happy. So my route below points out features for families, like playgrounds, chocolate shops, open spaces for running, toy shops, etc. I use same route as the official city tours, so you can get the detail historical info from those tours and add on my family tips. This walk is great for both locals and visitors any time of year. 

Location:   Zurich City
Address: Start & End: Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Main Station)
By car: parking available at Mythenquai 88, 8002 Zürich
By transit: start at Zurich HB
Trail: 5 km loop, can be easily shortened
Condition: paved, some stairs (with alternative for strollers)
Skill: easy
Open: year round, best April through October

Overview of Route

I am not going to reinvent the wheel. This route is basically the same as the official city tour posted on signboards around town and covers the same areas as the Free Walk Zurich tour, which I highly recommend. But I’ve marked all the family friendly stuff on this map.

The route starts and ends at the Zurich main train station but you could start anywhere along the route and abandon it when the kids get tired. Click on the map to see an interactive version and print it.

If you want more historical and cultural info for your tour, there are lots of Zurich walking tours online, many available as phone apps.

On the trail…

When you leave the Zurich main station, you’ll be on the busy Bahnhofstrasse, where there are lots of shops and trams going by. Don’t worry, this is the busiest part of the walk. Most of it is in pedestrian-only zones.

Follow the map to turn east on Uraniastrasse and walk to the bridge over the river.

Detour: If you have a stroller and need to avoid stairs, turn on the street just before the Schweizer Heimatwerk, head up the hill on the cobblestone street, veering left and following signs up to the Lindenhof. It should look like this.

Otherwise, when you reach the bridge, turn south on Henri-Steg right after Schweizer Heimatwerk, as shown below.

Follow this path along the river for a bit. Along the “Schipfe” there is a nice area with benches and some room to run.

Right after these benches, take a hard right and head up the hill on these stairs.

On your right behind a gate, is this playground.

Turn left and walk up to the Lindenhof, a big park with a lovely view of the east side of Zurich. It has lots of room for kids to safely run around.

There is a swing set and big chess board at the back of the Lindenhof.

Cross the park and head down into the old town.

Follow the map through the old town, taking a short detour to the Rathaus bridge, which has a nice view up and down the river.

Go back into the old town and head west to St. Peter’s church (right below) with the biggest clockface in Europe and another plaza for running around. There is also a drinking fountain. Next stop, Augustinergasse, one of the most photographed streets in Zurich with the fun multi-colored buildings lining the street.

You are back on the Bahnhofstrasse briefly. Head south to Paradeplatz and stop at Sprüngli to browse chocolate and pick up a few Luxembourgli cookies. Kids usually get a free one after you order.

Head east to the Fraumunster and peek in to see the famous Chagall stained glass windows. With kids, I like to walk through the courtyard next to the Fraumunster that is filled with murals that tell the story of this place.

As you exit the Fraumünster, enjoy the view across the river of the Grossmünster. We’ll go there in a bit, but for now, turn right and head south along the river. If you need a shortcut for the kids, simply cross the bridge and head straight to the Grossmünster and rejoin the map there.

Walking down river.

Just before reaching the lake, the Bürkliplatz plaza is on your right. On Tuesday and Friday mornings, you’ll find a farmer’s market here.

Turn east and cross the bridge. Take some pics from the bridge.

After the bridge, follow the map to Oberdorfstrasse and window shop as you head north. We love Pinocchio toy store, a fun books and toys shop, with all sorts of retro stuff.

The street ends at the Grossmünster, which has a beautiful plaza, aka Zwingliplatz. We love this small model of the church out front provided so sightless people can feel the architecture of the building.

Head north through the Niederdorf neighborhood. Stop at Cafe Schober, a Zurich institution, for a delicious hot chocolate.

Turn east and walk up to Spielgasse passing this lovely fountain.

Then passing this quiet square.

This playground is next to the square.

Take a detour to Rechberg gardens (see on map), gorgeous formal gardens maintained by the university.

Head back into the Niederdorf, turning north on the narrow Predigergasse.

This street ends at the Prediger nice church with a beautiful sundial.

Walk west into the neighborhood to the Niederdorfplaza.

One of the walls has this interesting painting of old Zurich.

Head north several blocks to the Polybahn funicular. If you already have a city tram ticket, it works for the Polybahn too. Ride up to get a view.

At the top of the Polybahn, turn right and walk to the ETH Polyterrace for another great view of Zurich, this time looking west. Plenty of room for the kids to run around safely.

Take a little detour to the free Natural History Museum.

 

Ride back down the Polybahn and walk back to the Zurich main station. Hope you enjoyed the walk!

More Zurich city walks here…

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