Art & Museums
Zürich is a city of culture and has a wealth of Art in many forms. Zürich and other Swiss cities attract top international touring exhibitions, so do make regular checks via the links to see what is on throughout the year. Furthermore, don’t forget that some of ZIWA’s own interest groups, in particular the Museum’s and Galleries group, organise special tours, sometimes with the artist or the curator of a touring exhibition. Check out:
Many of these private galleries host exhibitions, either for a solo artist, a group of artists or something on a theme. Often an exhibition will open with a reception for invited guests/customers of the gallery – a ‘private view’ (Vernissage) before the exhibition is open for public viewing. You can find out about these previews and the dates for any given exhibition by following the links to the individual galleries from the above website.
In addition to private galleries there are various art fairs in and around Zürich. Basel is home to one of the biggest annual European Contemporary Art Fairs but there are smaller ones throughout Switzerland, including two in autumn in Zürich. See link above for more information.
Zürich has approximately 50 museums, large and small, devoted to art, history, photography, toys and more, so there is something for all ages. Many have permanent and touring collections, so check out the websites to keep up to date. There is usually an extra fee for the special, time-limited touring exhibitions. Note that some of the small specialist museums, for example, the Money Museum, have limited opening hours.
The following website is a good places for more information, and there are links to check what is on, coming soon, opening times and entrance fees:
Many of the websites have information in English, German and French. If you are a regular visitor, it could be worthwhile to buy an annual membership (Mitglied). For example the main art museum in Zürich, the Kunsthaus, has several levels of membership. There are also discounts for children, students, seniors and others. Make sure to check websites in advance for details. With a Zürich Travel Card, in addition to transport around the city, the card offers discounts on entry to many museums and other experiences while they are in Zürich.
Free Entry to Museums! Yes, free entry. Some of the museums, including the Kunsthaus, offer free entry to the permanent collection one day a week. Do check the website of the museum you plan to visit to check out the days and any terms and conditions.
In addition to Museums devoted to art or photography or design, Zürich has historic museums devoted to specialized topics. For example, there is a Toy Museum in an old building in the middle of the city. The museum has an extensive collection of toys from the 18th to the 20th Century and a special play area for children.
Another museum that appeals to children of all ages is the Swiss Science Centre in nearby Winterthur, Technorama. This is a very interactive museum with a lot of information in English and many special events/exhibitions.
Another science focused museum in Zürich is the ETH Focus Terra. Focus Terra, as the name implies, is devoted to earth sciences in many forms and has an earthquake simulator as well as a diverse range of earth science and geological collections.
For those with an interest in things historical, there is a Swiss Heritage Museum, another on the history of the guilds, or you can explore ancient windows around the city. For something more out and about, there are many castles in the surrounding cantons that are open to the public. These overview lists provide details on all of these and more.
Something fairly unique to Zürich is the Tram Museum, which even has its very own tram for getting there. This is a hit for children young and old with opportunities for hands on experiences as well as a ride in a historic Tram to get there!
The ‘Long Night of the Museums’ (Der lange Nacht der Zürcher Museen) is a special annual event for museum lovers. Normally held in September, for a relatively modest fee, that includes a tram/bus ticket to all the participating venues, and starting from 19.00 until late into the night, you can visit a wide variety of museums for a modest flat fee. What a great way to get a peek into so many museums and buildings. Some of the venues that are usually closed to the public open their doors especially for this event. The Rathaus (Zürich town hall) is one such building that allows a peek into the chambers where local politicians meet to debate and construct local laws and regulations. A great event so don’t miss it!
Information on what’s going on in the town of Winterthur, check out
The information contained was up to date when published. Elaine Vautier 21-05-2020