Last week, Zurich made headlines for two reasons: On Saturday, one of the biggest parties in Switzerland took center stage at the Streetparade. Around 950’000 people danced their way around Lake Zurich, enjoying the beautiful weather. The other big reason Zurich was the unfortunate incident regarding the treatment of US superstar Oprah Winfrey in a high-end store. The billionaire said one of the salespersons didn’t want to show her an exquisite leather bag, claiming it was too expensive for her. Yesterday, the shop employee called the episode a misunderstanding in the Swiss press and stated she doesn’t understand why Ms Winfrey had been offended on US television. As it stands now, we just have the word of the two ladies, which have caused quite the stir around media around the world (one can tell its summer).
After the incident, shops at the high-end Bahnhofsstrasse came under increased media scrutiny (especially the expensive ones), so I thought I’d use the opportunity to take a look at the most interesting shopping districts in Zurich.
The Bahnhofsstrasse is the road leading from the main station to the lake and one of the main attractions in the city. At the moment, the street is undergoing major construction work, but it is still fully accessible by foot and tram. Along the Bahnhofsstrasse shoppers can find many luxurious international and Swiss high-end brands, the Swiss department stores Jelmoli and Globus, and also reasonably priced stores run by the major chains such as Mango or H&M. It is a good location for most of your shopping needs and is packed on Saturdays and during holiday season. Should you grow tired of walking around or run out of money, the famous Paradeplatz can be found along the road, giving you the opportunity to drink a coffee at the renowned Confiserie Sprüngli and to get some extra cash at the many banks at the Paradeplatz.
I wrote an in-depth look at the Niederdörfli here, but no list would be complete without the Old Town. It is home to many smaller and trendy boutiques and shops, with many restaurants & cafés ready to provide some solace on the way. Among the most interesting stores in the Niederdörfli are Townhouse, which is home to an interesting Zurich-based clothing label; Rien ne va plus, which sells board games for young and old alike as well as Schwarzenbach, which sells fresh food and wine. You can find these stores rather on the inside of the Old Town. The storefront by the river features more stores by well-known brands such as the appliance designer Bodum.
The newest of the shopping districts is found by the old viaduct, which is home to shops are the arcs of the old railway bridge. You can find it about five minutes on foot from the station Hardbrücke. This district stands out through its modern, hip stores featuring up-and-coming interesting brands. You’ll be able to find some restaurants and clothing stores as well as unique design & furniture shops in the district. The shops among the Viadukt are very young and trendy, so if you’re interesting to an alternative to the establishment, you should definitely stop by.
On a more general note, I’d like to quickly talk about the retail experience in Switzerland. Unlike Ms Winfrey I haven’t had any terrible experiences with salespersons, however the general vibe in Switzerland is a bit different than in countries as the US or the Philippines. They take a more reserved approach and often only start communication when you ask for them or you answer their question of “Can I help you” with yes. Many however are well-trained in the products they sell and can offer great expertise when prompted to.
How have your experiences been so far and where do you like to shop in Zurich? You can always get in touch in the comments or on Twitter. Please also like, share and subscribe!