Ten Affordable* Dates in Zurich

By: Lindsey McLean

Zurich is the most expensive city in the world. As such, going out for a date can mean laying down some serious cash. A normal dinner with one glass of wine for two adults will almost never ring in under 100 Swiss Francs ($111 US) and your average cocktail runs about $20 US. Want to do something fancy? Menu prices run anywhere from 95-120 Swiss Francs ($106-$133) per person in most fancy restaurants in the city. Plus drinks. Then, If you have children, the 25 Swiss Francs ($27.75 US) minimum you'll pay per hour for a babysitter makes it even more difficult to get out! So what's a couple to do? First of all, you have to follow these three prerequisites: 1). Start a babysitting swap, 2). Skip dinner and 3). Embrace the outdoors. Then you can get out and enjoy a date without breaking the bank! 

*Keep in mind that some of these dates may seem like a splurge, but they are very affordable by Swiss standards.

10). Christmas Markets 20-30 CHF for two. During December, Zurich is full of Christmas Markets. Go drink a couple glasses of Glühwein (mulled wine) while browsing the stalls. Save room at dinner for a few bites of delicious Raclette and enjoy the wintry atmosphere and cheerful lights. 

9). Drinks at Kronenhalle 30-40 CHF for two. We love to go to the Kronenhalle Bar and drink martinis surrounded by original Picasso, Chagall and Braque works of art. Cocktails are much more expensive, so we only have one, but for a longer stay - drink prosecco, or to stay all night - drink beer. 

8). Glühwein and Christmas Lights 20 CHF for two. If you take the tram to Helmhaus and head up into the Niederdorf, you can get a Glühwein at a little pop-up stand across from Henrici. Then walk around Neumarkt and Niederdorf and enjoy the pretty lights. Loop back around for a second Glühwein and head down to the Limmat and walk along the river and enjoy the lights there. Or, cross over, past the Fraumunster and into Paradeplatz to see the Bahnhofstrasse lights. It's magical! But even when the lights aren’t out, these walks take you through the most beautiful parts of the city center, so do it anyway! 

7). Orange Cinema 65 CHF for two. Movie tickets run 20 Swiss Francs in Zurich anyway, so in summer, why not pay the same price and see the movie in a luxurious outdoor theater? Get there early to claim good seats (we like the reclined beach loungers at the front) and then enjoy a bright orange Aperol Spritz, Zurich's iconic summer drink, before the show begins. 

6). Zurich Thermalbad and Spa 64 CHF for two. The rooftop infinity pool at the Zurich Thermalbad is absolutely incredible offering 360 degree views of the city and the mountains beyond. Bring your own towel and bottle of water, then pay the normal entry price (32 CHF) and make your way through the indoor pools, steam room and cool dip. Admire the architecture of the converted brewery as you make your way to the top. Allow lots of time on the top. Lie on the bubbly massage recliners and take in the view. Tip: don't get your hair wet in the winter!

5). Swimming at Seebad Enge 50 CHF for two. We love to ride our bikes to Seebad Enge in the summer. It’s a chic little swimming area on a floating dock with changing rooms and showers. There is a lounge area with low tables, pillows to sit on and chill-out music playing. Grab a plate of nibbles and drinks at the bar. Then take a dip, or just lounge and enjoy the atmosphere.

4). Ice Skating at Dolder, 40 CHF for two, including skate rental. It may feel a little bit like a high school dance with the flashing colored lights and the bad music (think C&C Music Factory) blasting on the speakers. But, once you’re out on the ice flying around, holding hands, it’s totally awesome. Take the Dolderbahn from Römerhof to feel like you’re going into the mountains.

3). Uetliberg Planetenweg Hike, FREE or 20-30 with drinks. This is a date that has to take place during the day. The solar system has been recreated to scale along the hiking trail at the top of the Uetliberg, Zurich’s own little mountain. Climb to the top of the observation tower for panoramic views and have a drink at the restaurant. Then walk along and find the planets as you go. At the end, take the cable car down to Adliswil and catch the train back to Zurich. 

2). Boat ride on Lake Zurich, 25 CHF for two, plus drinks. Riding a boat on the lake is great fun. Drink wine and enjoy the view from the upper decks or stand on the back and watch the water churn and bubble. This is one that isn’t very exciting before you have children. But once you do, being able to sail along without chasing a toddler is heavenly. 

1). Frau Gerolds Garten, 20-30 CHF for two. This restaurant is made entirely of old shipping containers and most of the food is grown on site. Only open in summer, it’s a really fun, ultra-urban hotspot. Go during the day for affordable sausage and salad for lunch. Or hit the garden at night when all the garden string-lights are on and enjoy the chill atmosphere for drinks.

I hope this will help locals and visitors alike on their next date! And sorry to say, but except for the boat ride, transportation is extra! ;) What are your favorite affordable date ideas? Do you live in an expensive place or just like to keep tabs on your spending? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below. Thanks for reading! xo

About the author

Expat Blog ListingLindsey McLean is an American expat living in Switzerland. Blog description: Pregnancy, birth and motherhood as an American in Switzerland.
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Contest Comments » There is 1 comment

CMT wrote 10 years ago:

Thanks for some very useful info on Zurich. We spend a few days there every year, and it's definitely not cheap. We're definitely going to try the Thermalbad in January. Good luck!

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