Zurich may just be one of Europe's best-kept secrets.
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The Swiss city's long association with financial order and good timekeeping disguises an increasingly progressive cultural hub, where historic landmarks sit alongside arty pop-ups and night spots. With its windy streets, stunning lakeside backdrop and scope for Alpine adventure, Zurich is a medieval gem reborn for the 21st century.
Recent years have seen Zurich shrug off its somewhat stiff and stuffy persona, and become a surprising hotspot for counterculture. There's still an upmarket scene to cater to the many resident and visiting bankers and high-end retailers, but it now co-exists with a progressive youth movement centred around boldness and creativity. Naturally, this feeds into the city's nightlife, which increasingly attracts a crowd from all over Switzerland.
Venture into the revitalised Zurich West and you'll find chic bars, hipster cafes, independent art venues and a broad range of clubs and live music venues. If Zurich's centre is the heart of the city, the West End is its 21st-century soul. In summer you can enjoy a drink at one of the outdoor bars until midnight before taking the party inside until the early hours.
More centrally, the streets around the upgraded Langstrasse – formerly Zurich's red-light district – are teaming with bars, restaurants and 24-hour shops. Niederdorf in the Old Town is also a long-established after-hours destination, with plenty of upmarket bars and eateries to choose from. Parts of the town remain quiet, but the action is never far away.