Let me start by saying - I am not one to advocate a rush trip; I don’t think a rush trip gives a great sense of a city; but every now and again an opportunity presents itself that cannot be passed up. I was in Basel recently (more on that later) and realized I was only an hour from Zurich. I just had to go visit even if it was for a day. A few tips for you - be careful when planning a trip to Zurich on a Sunday as a lot of the stores (and restaurants) were closed. I gather this is something that is common in European cities. Another tip, if you are traveling from another part of Switzerland (Basel, Bern , Lucerne etc) - get your train ticket in advance online or via app. I paid about 25 swiss francs more than the prices online by buying my ticket at the train station and the day of my trip. That is the other thing to note, while Switzerland is part of the EU, it retains its own currency (Swiss Franc) so plan accordingly if you are heading to Zurich.
The central train station is Zurich HB and will likely be your stop if you are traveling from another part of Switzerland. Zurich HB is located at the end of the famous Bahnhofstrasse. The easiest way I can describe Bahnofstrasse is the Zurich version of Av. des Champs-Eysees but significantly more expensive. It was once ranked the most expensive street for retail in Europe. It is lined with high end and high street retail shops; hotels and restaurants including the Hiltl Dachterrasse - a great vegetarian and vegan restaurant with an incredible selection of cocktails; coffees and teas. It is one of the oldest vegan restaurants in the world. You can find this rooftop terrace above PKZ women store. Other great food options for Zurich - Bubbles and Rolli Steakhouse - the later was highly recommended and one of the motivations for going to Zurich, but they are closed on Sundays (insert heartbreak emoji). Bubbles is a great brunch spot run by an incredibly sweet lady who makes out of this world desserts.
Before you start down Bahnofstrasse, just around the corner from the train station is the Swiss National museum. It cost ten francs to get in and the museum is housed in an architecture space that is incredibly modern on one end and looks like a castle on another end. Somehow it works.
Don’t miss old town, you can get to Old town by taking one of the side roads from Bahnofstrasse. There is quite a bit to see this way. On the day I visited, there was a motor cycle event happening. There must have been over 500 motorcycles lining the street. It was pretty cool. While in Old town, keep an eye for some of the historic church buildings some of which have existed since the 1700; each one with its unique architectural style. The four main ones to keep an eye out for - GrossMunster ; St. Peter’s ; Fraumunster and Predigerkirche. GrossMunster is impressive - the 12th century cathedral is in the Romansque style. You can climb up to the steeple for amazing views. Again, if you are visiting on Sunday - you may not be able to visit the interiors of these churches.
Make sure to hike through old town to get to Lindenhof hill and the public square offers a stunning view of the city. It also used to be the site of the imperial palace. Explore the areas around the hill and the churches - a lovely wander around Altstadt (Old town) never hurt anyone.
Football fans - do not miss the FIFA world football museum. The stairs light up with some historic football moments so keep an eye out for that beaut. Finally Lake Zurich - if possible, pack yourself a little picnic and relax and feast to your heart’s content. There were two things I really wanted to do but did not have the time - Felsenegg and Uetliberg. Uetliberg is a moutain just half hour by train from Zurich HB and supposedly offers a panoramic view of the city and Lake Zurich. Felsenegg is another mountain summit with access to hiking trails; a restaurant with views of Sihl valley and Lake Zurich. It is also less than a 100 feet from Pluto’s mound.
Getting around - I bought a day pass for the tram which came in quite handy as the best brunch spots seemed to be away from city center and when you have just a few hours, it helps not to log miles on foot. If you considering a trip, I think a weekend is perfect to have a Zurich getaway that is not rushed and you get to see all the main attractions. If you have any Zurich recommendations, please share in the comments.