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Entertainment & Nightlife in Switzerland


Zurich's nightlife is becoming less conservative, but don't expect it to be too wild. Most of the nightspots in Zurich close down early, so you should begin early. Concerts, theatre, opera and ballet all flourish here. Pick up a copy of Zurich News for events and happenings around the city, available free at the tourist office and distributed at the front desks of most hotels.

The Niederdorf district, located in the heart of the Old Town between the Fraumünster and the Hauptbahnhof (Main Railway Station) can be reached very easily by tram. You can also walk to the Niederdorf from the Main Train Station in about 10 minutes. Thanks to its central location, Niederdorf is always a popular place to visit after dinner or after a walk along nearby Lake Zurich on a warm summer evening. When it comes to nightlife, this area's main attractions are its many pubs, restaurants and bars where live music is often on the menu.

Another suitable destination for the nocturnal is Langstraße. You will find most of the nightclubs in Zurich on the Langstraße, and the emphasis here is not so much on eating out as on dancing the night away. To get to the Langstraße, catch a tram and get off at the Limmatplatz.

As for performing arts, the Zurich Opera is the most outstanding local company, performing at the Opernhaus. The Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, performing at Tonhalle, also enjoys an international reputation.


For a city of its size, Geneva enjoys an unusually rich arts scene. Indeed, its mix of cultures guarantees a steady influx of international artists and performers year-round. Tickets to most concerts remain on sale up to the day of performance and can be purchased direct at theatres. For events and happenings in Geneva, consult Geneva Agenda, a bilingual (English and French) weekly publication that lists concerts, exhibitions, performances, and other events. It is available free from tourist information booths and most hotels. There's also the bilingual monthly Genève Le Guide (

Geneva has more nightlife than any other city in Switzerland. Most activity centres around place du Bourg-de-Four, a stage-coach stop during the 19th century. In the Old Town there are lots of outdoor cafes in the summer.

Ernst Ansermet founded Geneva's great Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, whose frequent concerts entertain music lovers at Victoria Hall. For opera there's the 1,500-seat Grand Théâtre, which welcomes Béjart, the Bolshoi, and other ballet companies, in addition to having a company of its own.

Pub-wise, Geneva has several English/ Irish-themed watering holes. Some televise sporting events and tend to be incredibly packed if there is a major football game scheduled. Flanagans is a friendly Irish pub in the Old Town with live music downstairs. Les Brasseurs is the city's only microbrewery and a great choice for beer enthusiasts. A quiet revolution seems to be occurring on the bar scene, with more choices than ever before. Le Deuxième Bureau is large, hip and serves a good selection of cocktails.

Also mixing strong spirits, Le Cactus Club, near Cornavin, is pricey but lively. Café Marius is a small, groovy wine bar within staggering distance of Plainpalais. Also a leading alternative music venue, Le Chat-Noir is an agreeably down market bar/club. Although attracting its share of overexcited teenagers, L'Usine is a vast, multi-levelled space by the Rhône. Several bars and performance areas are situated here.





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