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:
- A weird bike shop
- A Brockenhaus (thrift store)
- A French-looking restaurant where you can eat moules-frites
- A decent sized food-market where you can find expensive cheeses and exotic stuff
- Pretentious overpriced shops where you can buy French tea
- A concert venue where The Black Keys played last week and Justice next week
- An old viaduct turned into a trendy comercial center called ‘Viadukt’
- Places to take yoga classes or tango lessons
- A Freitag shop
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.
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.
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