Where to Live in Zurich—the Best Neighborhoods in Zurich
Want to know where to live in Zurich? Or where to find the best Zurich neighborhoods? Your good old friend Homelike is here to help—we’ve covered it all in this handy guide.
Zurich isn’t all boring bankers and money launderers.
Instead, it’s genuinely one of the world’s most livable cities, with allure and appeal for endless types of people.
Clean, efficient and attractive, the quality of life in Switzerland’s biggest city is famously good. But on top of that, Zurich has much more to offer—it’s a fantastic place to find a lucrative job, the scenery is beautiful, and there’s a surprisingly vibrant cultural scene, with good nightlife and endless great places to eat and drink.
Because of all that and more, Zurich is home to a hefty number of diverse foreigners and expats—more than 30% of the city’s residents are non-Swiss, and many more people come here to work remotely and live short-term.
In short, Zurich is a popular choice for a relocation. So if you decide to make the move yourself, you’ll be surrounded by lots of other friendly foreigners, along with a warm and welcoming local population.
But when you move, it’s important to choose the right neighborhood. Zurich is broken down into several smaller districts, all with different atmospheres, prices and people. So you’ll get a different experience depending on which neighborhood you move to.
If you want to know where to live in Zurich, Homelike is here to help you out—we’ve brought you the 10 best neighborhoods to live in Zurich.
We’ve brought you the best places in Zurich for families, the best places in Zurich for expats, the most affordable places in Zurich, and the best places in Zurich for students. No matter which of those groups you fit into, there are some beautiful and brilliant Zurich neighborhoods for you.
In our prestigious top 10, we’ve included:
- District 1
- Zurich West
- University Quarter
- Zurich Noord
There’s some crossover between those 10 districts, but we’ll unpack all that and more coming up. No matter who you are, why you’re moving, or what you’re looking for, we’ve covered the best Zurich neighborhoods—and you’ll absolutely find one you love.
Anyway, enough of all the introductions, here are the 10 best neighborhoods to live in Zurich…
Best for: Nice sights, short-term stays, and living in the center of the city
Let’s kick this list off with Zurich’s most famous neighborhood, and the area you’ve probably all already heard of.
Broadly speaking, Neiderdorf is the small eastern stretch of Zurich’s lovely old town, and it’s the most charming part of the city. If you like cobbled streets, medieval squares, labyrinthine lanes, and being right in the heart of a city, you’ll love living in Niederdorf.
Some of Zurich’s most iconic sights are in and around the area, including Grossmünster and Predigerkirche (two big churches), Kunsthaus (an excellent art museum and gallery), and the eastern banks of the river Limmat.
The tiny area of Niederdorf has a large concentration of hotels, restaurants, bars and boutiques. The vast majority of tourists stay in and around this area, so if you want to feel like a tourist, or if you’re only staying in Zurich for a short while, it’s a great place to base yourself—but it’s not one of the best neighborhoods in Zurich for long stays.
It’s also mega expensive (even for Swiss standards!), so living in Niederdorf isn’t a good option if you’re on a budget.
Best for: Panoramas, historical sites, and living like a long-term tourist
While Niederdorf is the eastern part of Zurich’s old town, Lindenhof is the western (and slightly larger) part of the same area. All that separates the two is the southern section of the Limmat, the river that runs through the city.
Because of that, the two districts are pretty similar to one another, with old-town sights, charming alleys, tucked-away corners, and lots of places to eat and drink.
That said, Lindenhof is a little bigger, vaguely quieter, and not so full of tourists. Because of that, it’s one of the best places in Zurich for expats who are hanging around for a short few months.
Some of the most famous sights here include Fraumünster church, Zurich Observatory, and the iconic Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most expensive shopping streets on the planet.
And last of all, the neighborhood is home to a hugely popular city park (which also goes by the name of Lindenhof!). A lovely chillout space right in the center of the city, this hilltop area offers beautiful panoramas of Zurich and its surroundings.
Again, if you’re looking for affordable places in Zurich, don’t move to Lindenhof. Like neighboring Niederdorf, it can be very expensive. But if you can afford it, it’s a great place to live—and a great place to get a serviced apartment in Zurich.
3. District 1
Best for: Making friends, seeing the sites, and being a long-term tourist
Lindenhof and Niederdorf are actually part of District 1, a larger neighborhood encompassing the entire central part of the city.
Most of District 1 is made up of Lindenhof and Niederdorf, but its confines actually spread a little wider than those two small neighborhoods. Hopefully that makes sense!
If you want to live in the heart of Zurich without getting a place in the most expensive parts, consider moving to the areas of District 1 that lie outside of Lindenhof and Niederdorf. Broadly speaking, that’s west of Bahnhofstrasse (that big shopping street we mentioned earlier), and east and south of Niederdorf, in a busy area known as Hochschulen.
Yes, these areas are still busy and expensive, but they’re not quite as busy and expensive as Lindenhof and Niederdorf. That makes them a good pick for single people, long-term tourists, young couples, and anyone who wants a busy life without feeling like a city-break weekender.
Throughout all of District 1, you get great places to hang out, with lots of eateries, bars, cafes, shopping and more. But if you’re looking for trendy, hip and happening, it’s best to head just outside the area, which brings us to…
Best for: Drinking, partying, hip hangouts, and spending time with Zurich’s younger crowd
Okay, we’re now moving away from the very center of the city. We’re heading west of District 1, to a surprisingly big (and still very central) neighborhood.
Zurich isn’t known for being edgy or alternative (and nor is any part of Switzerland). But if that’s the type of neighborhood you like, Aussersihl is pretty much the closest you’ll get.
Brimming with alternative clubs, second-hand stores, diverse eateries, independent venues, arty cinemas, self-declared Instagram influencers and some great city-center green spaces, Aussersihl offers lots of fun places to hang out. Because of that, the area is very popular with students, hipsters, and Zurich’s younger population.
Also inside Aussersihl is the iconic Langstrasse, once a red light district, now a very cosmopolitan shopping area. The name of the place literally translates into ‘long street,’ and there’s plenty to eat, drink and enjoy along its length. It’s one of the most fun, famous and hip streets in the city.
If you want to live in Zurich without being surrounded by businesses, commuters and people in suits, you should definitely consider living in Aussersihl. It’s one of the best places in Zurich for students, and one of the best places in Zurich for expats who like to party and play.
5. Zurich West
Best for: Bohemian vibes, living relatively affordably, and hanging with hipsters
Directly north of Aussersihl, on the other side Zurich’s main train station, is Zurich West. Its official name is ‘District 5’, while others know it as the Industriequartier.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s another great pick for people who like living in and around hip hangouts.
If you want to party, have fun, and make friends with top-knotted avocado munchers, it’s one of the best neighborhoods to live in Zurich. In some ways, it’s even more bohemian than Aussersihl, because it’s lesser-known, it’s still pretty up and coming, and it’s not quite as cool or cosmopolitan. Because of that, it’s one of the most affordable places in Zurich’s city center.
And because the area is home to (and close to) lots of universities and young people, it’s also one of the best places in Zurich for students.
Once the industrial heart of the city, Zurich West’s factories and warehouses have now been torn down and transformed to be made into (or make way for) bars, galleries, thrift stores, wacky venues, shipping containers and other hipster clichés.
If you’re young, moving solo, like making friends and enjoy eating absurd amounts of brunch food, you’ll probably love living in Zurich West. And as an extra added bonus, the neighborhood is located in a very central part of the city.
All in all, for the right person, Zurich West is a great place to get a flat in Zurich.
Best for: Great green spaces, strolling and cycling along Lake Zurich, and finding good schools and jobs
With this neighborhood, we’re getting away from all the business and busy-ness, and into the greener parts of the city. If you’re looking for parks, trees, and a relaxing little life in Zurich, Enge is our first recommendation.
South of Aussersihl and District 1 (and bordering them both), it’s one of central Zurich’s most beautiful neighborhoods by far.
As you probably know, Zurich sits on the northern shores of massive Lake Zurich, one of the nation’s most famous and accessible beauty spots. For that reason, Enge is hugely popular with swimmers, cyclists, hikers, sunbathers, and everyone in between. Enge somehow feels Mediterranean, even though there are no beaches, and you’re nowhere near the region.
Because it’s so scenic and serene, Enge is one of the best places in Zurich for families. For people with kids, it’s perfect—you get great green spaces, little pollution, and even good schools. One of the best is SIS Swiss International School, one of the most reputable in the city.
Enge isn’t the cheapest place to raise kids in Zurich, but if you have the money to live here, it’s genuinely one of the best quality-of-life neighborhoods on the planet.
It’s also a good place to get a job—lots of big businesses, employers and recruitment companies are based in and around the area. Some of the biggest include Qatar Reinsurance Company, Google and Regus, but there are plenty more.
Best for: Pricey living, beautiful sights, and getting an apartment right on the shores of Lake Zurich
Across from Enge, on the northeastern shores of Lake Zurich, is the sought-after neighborhood of Seefeld.
A tiny, narrow strip of a district, it’s an expensive place to live (even more so than Enge). But if you can afford it, the quality of life is absolutely incredible. Again, it’s one of the best places in Zurich for families.
Just like Enge, you get to live on the shores of Lake Zurich, and enjoy swimming, boating, paddleboarding, sunbathing, cycling, strolling, and living in an outrageously beautiful part of the city.
One of the top hangout spots in Seefeld is the Chinagarten, a zen and zany haven with Chinese pavilions, bridges and architecture. Right next door is Zürichhorn, another popular green space with a play park, outdoor cinema, and loads of lovely places to chill out.
Overall, Seefeld is a little more residential, quiet and laid-back than Enge. Because of that, it’s not the best place in Zurich to hunt for a job, but it’s a great neighborhood to raise kids if you can afford the lofty prices. One of the biggest perks for families here is the handy proximity to Hull’s School, which many reckon is the best international school in the city.
Best for: Making friends with locals, enjoying the ‘real’ Zurich, and living close to Lake Zurich without splashing the cash
Seefeld is actually part of Riesbach (or District 8, whatever you prefer to call it). But while Seefeld is a narrow strip of land running along the shores of Lake Zurich, Riesbach is a much larger, much more diverse area. It stretches away from the shores of the lake, and into lots of quieter residential places.
So if you want to live fairly centrally, and close to both nature and the city, Riesbach is a good choice. It’s a brilliant pick for longer stays, because you get to enjoy living in a relatively central area without being surrounded by lots of tourists.
The atmosphere in Riesbach is great—it’s popular with locals, it’s friendly, and it’s a leafy part of the city. There are great international schools in and around the district, and a lovely shopping scene. And on top of all that, it’s a popular commuter district.
So if you’re moving with your family or your partner, and you don’t need parties every day, it’s a massively underrated part of Zurich.
9. University Quarter
Best for: University students, relatively affordable living, and raising a family
Most commonly known as District 6, the University Quarter is just north of Zurich’s central area.
Large, diverse and attractive, it’s one of the city’s most popular residential districts.
In many ways, the University Quarter offers lots of appealing contrasts—it’s close to the city center, but not so close that it’s perpetually busy. It’s relatively affordable (well, for Swiss standards) without lingering too far from the city’s central sprawl. It’s pretty fun and interesting without being a pure party place.
For sheer diversity, and its varied appeal to several types of people, it’s absolutely one of the best neighborhoods in Zurich for expats. Whoever you are, and no matter why you’re moving to the city, you’ll probably enjoy a good life here. It’s especially good if you’re moving to Zurich with kids.
If you’re a student, listen up: because the neighborhood and its surroundings are home to lots of university campuses (and this won’t be a surprise given the district’s name!), it’s one of the best places in Zurich for students.
10. Zurich Nord
Best for: Getting a job, finding an affordable home, and living the family life
Of all the Zurich districts we’ve featured, this is the most residential. Just north of the University Quarter, Zurich Nord (or District 6) isn’t very central, but it’s a great place to live if your priorities are working, raising a family, and living a quieter life.
It’s not the most fun district in the city, but it’s absolutely one of the best places in Zurich for families. And because it’s on the outskirts of the city, it’s also one of the most affordable places in Zurich.
The district has some nice green spaces, lots of accessible places to eat, drink and shop, and plenty of family-friendly attractions and events. And because it’s close to Zurich’s airport, it’s a good choice if you regularly fly to other countries and cities for work.
All in all, Zurich Nord isn’t massively well-known—but it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Zurich for people who plan on living in the city for a while.