Best things to do in Zürich 2019: gin, festivals and epic Instagram shots

Any time is a good time to visit hip Zürich, but with new tours taking in Instagrammable architecture, the reopening of Pavillon Le Corbusier museum, and one giant open-air party planned for Züri Fäscht festival, 2019 is packed with unmissable experiences for this vibrant city.

From gin bars to folklore festivals, there’s plenty happening around town in 2019 © MarinaDa / Lonely Planet

Pastors and pasture: check out some public art

The Gasträume (‘Guest Rooms’) project puts a selection of art into public spaces to show how an artistic intervention can let you see your surroundings in a different light. In summer 2019 they will set up wild grasslands used for pasture in Münsterhof, the abbey courtyard and the largest square in the Old Town. Full details are yet to be made public, but it is certainly going to be one of Zürich’s must-sees in 2019, where the wild meets the city.

Discover the best spots for your Insta-feed

A new online guide from freelance photographer Philipp Heer shows keen snappers Zürich’s most Insta-worthy spots. Having put in the hours to find the city’s most photographic buildings, Heer explains the details of their history so you can caption your photos with a bit of well-educated architectural wisdom.

Try gin delights at a new secret location

The Gin Fabrik pop-up bar – an intoxicating mix of gin experts, divine cocktails and late-night live music near Bahnhofstrasse – was the big fizz of 2018 in Zürich, so gin-enthusiasts should be excited to see what the creators come back with in 2019. Details have not been made public yet, but the team has promised that they will be back by spring 2019, providing a tonic to the long Swiss winter. Check their website for updates.

The popular Opera for Everyone brings a new sister show, Ballet for All, to Sechseläutenplatz © Claudia Peter / Lonely Planet

Catch a ballet performance for all

A sister show to the popular Opera for Everyone, the first-ever Ballett für alle (Ballet for all) kicks off at the Sechseläutenplatz on 22 June with a spectacular retelling of Romeo and Juliet. More than 10,000 visitors are expected to head to the square to see the performance streamed live from the opera house onto a big screen. Take camping chairs or a picnic blanket and let yourself be mesmerised by the world’s most epic love story.

See Swiss folklore in Winterthur

For something more traditional, head to Winterthur (20 minutes from Zürich by train) for Nordostschweizerisches Jodlerfest. Taking place from 21-23 June, this massive folklore event is the second largest of its kind in Switzerland and is only held once every three years. Winterthur will play host to it in 2019 and the festival promises traditional music, singing and dance. There will be flag throwing and alpine costumes too, as well as a chance to hear the signature sounds of the Swiss mountains: the alphorn and yodelling.

Get involved in the festivities at Züri Fäscht in July © Claudia Peter / Lonely Planet

Get festive at Zürich’s house party

Zürich residents celebrate their own city once every three years with the huge festival Züri Fäscht. Two million visitors are expected to attend the event in 2019, which runs from 5-7 July, as the whole inner city and lake basin turn into an open-air festival. Expect food from all over the world, live music and DJs letting you party all night. The highlight will be the musical fireworks display on both Friday and Saturday night.

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Celebrate the moon landing through art

Space fans get ready: 50 years after the first man stepped onto the moon, Kunsthaus Zürich will celebrate the momentous event from 5 April until 30 June with an exhibition displaying interpretations of the moon through artistic eyes. Fly Me to the Moon will include artwork from the Romantic era until today. A cultural moonwalk through the ages, the collection of 200-plus pieces will include work from masters such as René Magritte and Andy Warhol.

Get spinning at the Urban Bike Festival

Indulge in hipsterism at the latest addition to the Zürich event scene, the Urban Bike Festival. Taking place from 29-31 March in the city’s hippest area, Zürich West, it’s all about racing bikes, brown leather saddles and messenger bags strapped to the backs of cyclists. There will be street food and unplugged music, and be sure to also check out the cyclocross: a bike race across volleyball fields, water ditches and Zürich’s iconic viaduct.

Spring sees the awaited reopening of Pavillon Le Corbusier after its two-year renovation © Claudia Peter / Lonely Planet

Don’t miss the reopening of an architectural jewel

Closed for two years due to reconstruction work, Pavillon Le Corbusier (Höschgasse 8) will finally reopen in May 2019. The bright building, a framed work of straight lines and primary colours next to Lake Zürich, was the final construction of architect Le Corbusier, inaugurated in 1967. Designed as an art space for his drawings and paintings, it has long been used as a museum, and the owners are now keen to make it accessible to the public.

Escape the city to Wipkingen

With a weekly farmers’ market on the village square, trees lining the backyards and a buzzing community garden, Wipkingen often feels more like a village than a city suburb. Just a 10-minute bus ride from Zürich, it is also home to some of the city’s hippest restaurants and brunch spots. Join the local creatives at Kafischnaps for good coffee, settle down for a decent brunch at Nordbrücke, or head to The Artisan for a delicious organic meal.

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