My Zürich: The Hipster Side

Zürich is often wrongly perceived as a boring city where nothing happens. It may not be as exciting as NYC, London or Paris. But Zürich still has a lot to offer: cosy cafés, interesting museums with new exhibitions almost every month, plenty of concerts, a vibrant nightlife, amazing outdoors, and quite an international population. I’d like to show unexpected sides of Zürich, far from the clichés foreigners tend to have in mind (grey buildings, luxury shops and banks). So I decided to start a series about Zürich. It will be mostly photos of interesting parts of the city and a few tips about nice places to hang out, drink coffee, eat something or just to get outside and explore.

I will start today with what I call the hipster side of Zürich. There are hipsters all over the city but most of them can be found in Züri-West. According to a self-made mixed definition from Urban Dictionnary, a hipster is:

An unwashed and ungroomed person who hates corporations and everything mainstream, yet still buys Apple products. They can usually be identified by their skinny jeans, weird messy hair-cuts, thick rimmed glasses, and their smug sense of superiority. A conversation with a “hipster” will usually entail of obscure bands, designers, and politicians. They can usually be spotted on bicycles.

A hipster thinks something unknown is cool, and stops liking it as soon as it becomes popular. Often claims to know about literature and film. The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. They don’t dance nor sing at concerts.

Züri-West is hip because it has:

I like Züri-West because it is not as crowded as the center and offers comfy places to hang out. The ‘Viadukt’ area is really well-made and modern. The shops are too expensive for me but I like to have a look at what they have. The only shop where I am likely to buy something is the Company Outlet (in the Viadukt)- they sell last season’s Company clothes 50% off.  The two café/bars in the Viadukt offer decent-priced food for lunch, nice cakes and an extensive drinks and cocktails selection. My favorite is Ambrosi but Viadukt Restaurant is also great for lunch. For a good view on the city, go to clouds bar/restaurant on top of the Prime Tower.

Züri-West is only a 5 minute train ride from Zürich main station to Hardbrücke station.

The Prime Tower is one of the very few skyscrapers of Switzerland; it’s actually the tallest building in the country (126 meters). It’s brand new and look really flash. It fits well in the middle of industrial buildings, banks and start-ups. There is a fancy bar/restaurant on top of the tower where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city.

The main attraction of this otherwise industrial neighboorhood is an old viaduct underneath the train rails that was turned recently into a trendy collection of boutiques and cafés.

Behind the ‘Viadukt’ is a big park where hipster children like to hang out.

I bought an over-priced mini Freitag wallet (45 CHF), just to know how it feels to be a hipster. And because I like its bright colour.

Ambrosi, my favorite café-bar of the area is inside the Viadukt. Perfect to warm-up on a cold winter day.

My hipster pose (hipsters don’t smile on photos) at Ambrosi. It has comfy couches, a fireplace and a great drinks and food selection. The prices are surprisingly reasonable (according to Swiss standards)- 5 chf for a latte, 5.50 for a cheesecake, 12 to 15 chf cocktails and less than 20 chf pizzas and lasagna.

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Züri-West is a great place to spend a winter afternoon between over-priced but interesting shops and comfy cafés. A stroll in the park is also an option when it is not minus 12 degrees outside. The park is really lively and refreshing in the summer.

Next: My Zürich: A Colourful City

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12 thoughts on “My Zürich: The Hipster Side

  1. The restaurant is Ankor: http://www.restaurant-angkor.ch/
    Fabulous place. I do admit I love koi, which may make me biased.

    I am struggling not to comment about Starbucks because I would be happy to have a caramel macchiato fed to me by intravenous drip all day. I LOVE their white chocolate, cranberry mocha. Why are they only available at Christmas time? It’s just not fair!

    • Thanks Ochiba, the place looks flash! Now I realise you’re the one who made a loan on Andrew’s team on Kiva after reading his blog. He’s calling you his fan now :-). I love Starbucks Chai tea latte, I haven’t found a better one yet.

  2. Thanks!
    Lightbox, yeah Starbucks is not that special but it’s still a decent place to hang out.
    Christian you’re right about Pizzeria Rosso, great restaurant, amazing pizza… I forgot to add it to my list of good spots! It is an old factory that was turned into a restaurant I believe which makes the decor quite interesting. Ochiba, I don’t know this restaurant you mentioned, how is it called?

  3. The Viadukt is a brilliant new addition to Zurich West. There is the restaruant with the koi ponds under your tables just down the road from the Viadukt. There are also some great night spots in the area. I am a huge fan of Freitag bags and that store is brilliant. Can’t wait to see your next installment.

  4. I lived 3 years in Zürich-West and it was a great time, I miss the time there. Here my insider tip: Pizzeria Rosso, Geroldstrasse 31, Zürich and something for the ladies: Komplementair Accessoires, Im Viadukt 22, Zürich (http://www.komplementair.ch). I agree, Starbucks sucks or even better like a famous man use to say “it’s rubbish” BUT in HK it’s realy difficult to find a better coffee.

  5. Live in Zurich and LOVE Zuri-West. Saw two shows there recently, one at the Aqueduct and one at Maag hall. Love that French place you mentioned. Was there two nights ago with my wife and daughter to play a little pinball and eat some Moules. Cant wait for your future installments. p.s. Starbucks sucks!

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