Sounds of the City - Zurich

31st May 2019

Switzerland - Switzerland

« Our guide to unearthing musical adventures in Switzerland's largest city. »

Where the old meets the new

Among the walls of its picturesque 17th century buildings and modern glass towers, Switzerland’s largest city boasts a buzzing music culture. From the sophisticated sounds of the city’s many jazz venues to the pounding techno of the annual Street Parade, Zurich has music for every taste.


If you’re keen to attend a large music spectacle and maybe catch a superstar, check what’s happening at Hallenstadion in the north of the city. It’s a beautiful building and the large venue is a regular host for some of the world’s biggest pop stars. Previous acts to have graced its stage include Shawn Mendes, Florence & The Machine and Maluma, and it’s got plenty more lined-up for the rest of 2019, including Muse, Nicky Jam, and Ariana Grande.

The rebirth of cool

If you’re looking for a more intimate and chilled out affair, then consider checking one of Zurich’s numerous jazz clubs. Moods is one of the city’s most famous venues & cocktail bars; set in a former factory, it hosts local and international acts (such as London jazz stars Kokoroko) in a warm, contemporary setting. Down the road, you’ll find the casual but buzzing JazzBaragge offering regular shows by local musicians and serving a great range of drinks.


If the irregular wanderings of jazz saxophones don’t get your toes tapping, then look to Zurich’s vibrant club scene to get you moving. Set over two floors, Hive leads the way in electronic music culture in the city, and expect to hear underground dance music from trend-setting local and international DJ talent that‘s ahead of the curve. Recent artists to have performed include Len Faki, Digitalism and Lexer.

Summertime magic

If you want to discover your new favourite summer music festival, Zurich Openair takes place in late August, and throws together a mix of styles, from indie and hip-hop to electronic and pop from the most popular artists in the world. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, and The Chemical Brothers have all performed at recent editions and 2019’s headliners include exciting new US pop sensation Billie Eilish and US rapper Macklemore.


If you fancy experiencing a hedonistic city party with an inclusive atmosphere, aim to visit the city in August when you can join the cacophonous two kilometre long Street Parade trail around Zurich Lake. Old and young come out to drink, listen to pounding dance music and party, and this year is the 28th annual event. The unique, feelgood, community vibe is adorned in a dazzling array of colour, with attendees pulling out all the stops with their wardrobe. If you don’t like to dance, then just join for the spectacle!

Sounds of the city

Beyond the fantastic range of live music and events, Zurich is also home to very cool record stores. If time’s not an issue and digging for an old gem is your happy place, then look no further than the small but perfectly formed Blutt Records right in the heart of the Limmaplatz tram circle, which offers an array of used vinyl, CDs and music paraphernalia. The hip REC REC stocks a brilliant array of rare and new records to please music fans across all genres, while record shop meets record label Sihl Records has a boutique selection of the best in new house and techno.


So, next time you plan a visit to Zurich, don’t forget the music. Whether watching jazz with a cocktail in hand, dancing in the streets or under the lights of a late night club, there are sounds in this city for everyone.