Top 17 Festivals In Zürich, Switzerland

festivals in zurich

As an avid traveler, you will never get enough of the central Europe’s hippest travel destinations-Zurich. This beautiful city is always on the go and there’s always something exciting happening around. From its medieval traditions to its vibrant towns and exciting street parades, Zurich is the ultimate festive destination packed with an interesting culture. Discover the electrifying night music shows, fireworks at the shore of Lake Zurich or tease your taste buds with local Swiss delicacies while celebrating old traditions. If you’re not sure when to come to enjoy the festive ambiance in Zurich, then below consider our top list of festivals happening in Switzerland:

1. Zuri Carneval

If you wish to be blown away by the vibrant culture of the Zuri Carneval where you’ll get to see amazing street parades then head to the downtown area of Zurich in January. It doesn’t get any better than mingling with the locals and seeing the do-it-yourself eccentric costumes inspired by goblins, ghosts, and freaky animals. Thanks to the century-old tradition of Zurich that avid travelers and tourists will have the chance to experience live entertainment, bustling funfair and of course get to taste the city’s pre-medieval history. This is a great opportunity to get into the festive season and explore more of the cultural side of the city!

Zuri Carneval

Takes place: March

2. Zurich Pride Festival

Kery Fay beim Zurich Pride Festival 2016, Schweiz
Source: Photo by user Keryfay used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Celebrate diversity, LGBT love and a sense of community in Zurich right at the largest town square Sechseläutenplatz and next to Bürkliplatz in the month of June. The Zurich Pride Festival is inspired by the Christopher Street Day (CSD) which is a yearly LGBT celebration across many European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and France. Meet some huge supporters of the LGBT community, national and international artists, and the locals to experience this vibrant occasion which happens once a year.

Zurich Pride Festival

Address: Sechseläutenplatz, Zurich

Website: Zurich Pride Festival

Takes place: June

3. Caliente

Are you yearning for an exotic vibe right in the city of Zurich? Caliente is your answer! This vibrant, fun and rhythmic festival has always been a favorite among the locals and foreigners alike for 23 years. And this year expect more from the renowned Latin artists like Maluma, Joao Bosco, Roberto Fonseca, you name it! Swing on the Caribbean, and Latin music and enjoy the lively ambiance. Sample the most delicious South American dishes from empanadas to yummy ceviche at the market stalls.


Website: Caliente

Takes place: July

4. Urban Bike Festival

There is always some kind of innovative expos that take place in the hubbub city of Zurich and the Urban Velo Expo is no doubt one of them. Gather up together with bicycle and outdoor enthusiasts to celebrate the Urban Bike Festival where bike culture and modern mobility are highlighted. From its virtual urban cycle spaces to its Urban Cyclocross race ground and street food stands there are plenty of interesting things to tease your curious mind. Get into the exciting spirits of gamers by attending the numerous bike-related competitions. And if you wish to chill-out, eat some local delicacies then head to the lifestyle event which you won’t ever regret.

Urban Bike Festival

Address: Schiffbau Zürich, Switzerland

Website: Urban Bike Festival

Takes place: May

5. Zurich Spring Festival

Sechseläuten, spring festival Zurich
Source: Photo by user martin_vmorris used under CC BY-SA 2.0

When it comes to experiencing the traditional festival in Zurich, the Spring Festival or Sechseläuten (as the locals call it) has to be definitely on your top list. And the reasons are many. But the basis of this festival is to say farewell to harsh winter in the region and welcome the warm temperature, and flower blooms. Since the 16th century, the gigantic Grossmünster bell rang precisely at six in the afternoon to announce the coming of Spring and this tradition is still followed till today. Of course with this announcement locals and visitors as well can expect numerous parades on the street such as the Children’s Parade where about 2000 children are dressed in historical attire to parade on the street. There’s also the Sechseläuten Parade where you’ll get to see about 3500 guild members and horses and music ensembles. But what the center of attraction is none other than the burning of the “Böögg” which resembles a snowman. This symbolizes the beginning of spring.

Zurich Spring Festival

Website: Zurich Spring Festival

Takes place: April

6. Zurich Festival

Opera House Zurich, Switzerland
Source: Photo by user kuhnmi used under CC BY 2.0

Happening every two years, Zurich Festival welcomes locals and visitors around the world to commemorate art during the whole month of June in Zurich. This is a festival where you can enjoy music, art, and theater all at once! With the close collaboration of various cultural and art institutions such as Rietberg and Kunsthaus Museum, Zurich Opera House and Schauspielhaus (municipal theater), visitors will surely feel amazed by the range of cultural programs. Head to your preferred venues where you’ll get to assist spectacular performances including art exhibitions.

Zurich Festival

Takes place: July [held every three years]

7. Zurich Film Festival

Source: Photo by Flickr user Walter Schärer used under CC BY 2.0

Get your ticket for the most-anticipated Zurich Film Festival this year where talented filmmakers from around the globe will be awarded at this special event. Film enthusiasts will be able to see great film actors and emerging filmmakers. Awards will be presented into different categories namely: International Feature Film, International Documentary Film and Focus on Switzerland, Germany, and Australia. This festival has been celebrated in Zurich since 2005 and it still upholds the tradition of art and glamor.

Zurich Film Festival

Address: Bederstrasse 51, CH-8002 Zürich

Website: Zurich Film Festival

Takes place: September to October

8. Jazznojazz

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Jazznojazz- the Zurich Jazz Festival celebrates Jazz and Soul music at Gessnerallee theater and ZKB club. For years Jazznojazz has been a real delight for both young and old generations who wait for this event with much anticipation. Legend artists like Charles Lloyd know perfectly how to capture their audience. But there’s also Tony Allen who over 50 years has won many hearts by his Afrobeat drumming. Audiences can buy their day and festival passes in advance just to avoid disappointment.


Website: Jazznojazz

Takes place: November

9. Kunst Zurich

October in Zurich, more precisely at the former ABB halls located near Oerlikon Train Station, becomes an inspiring haven for artists. Meet experienced collectors and contemporary artists who know perfectly how to express through their paintings. Stroll around 50 art exhibition galleries and connect with your preferred artist. From sumptuous painting canvas to sublime sculptures and captivating multimedia art experience the unique Kunst Zurich (art fair) in Swiss-style.

Kunst Zurich

Address: ABB-Halle 550, Ricarda-Huch-Strasse, 8050 Zürich Oerlikon

Website: Kunst Zurich

Takes place: February

10. New Year's Magic

Zürifäscht 2013: Fireworks over Lake Zurich
Source: Photo by user zeitblohm used under CC BY 2.0

Looking to celebrate your New Year Eve in a unique way? Then head to Switzerland. Celebrate the Silvesterzauber (New Year’s Magic) right in the city of Zurich with much excitement and pomp with the locals. Meet fun-loving people, try local food from different food stands, or chill out with a delicious cocktail and party with your favorite people around in Bellevue and Bürkliplatz. And before it gets too crowded head to Zurich’s lakeshore to witness the best fireworks display!

New Year's Magic

Website: New Year’s Magic

Takes place: December or January

11. Street Parade

Zurich Street Parade 2009 001
Source: Photo by user Ricardo Hurtubia used under CC BY 2.0

Get fully into the ambiance of love, peace, and tolerance at one of the largest annual events in Zurich this August. The Street Parade is all about coming together to celebrate techno parade, and contemplate amazing display of colorful houses. The parade starts from Utoquai at Seefeld and heads to Hafendamm via Bellevue. Those who wish to get into the food, culture and new meet-ups then don’t forget to attend the after-parties event that happen at Mythenquai, Bellevue, Bürkliplatz, Rentenanstalt, and Limmatquai until midnight.

Street Parade

Website: Street Parade

Takes place: August

12. Knabenschiessen

Knabenschiessen, Zurich, Albisguetli - panoramio - gertrudis2010
Source: Photo by user gertrudis2010 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s always some surprising event going on when you visit Zurich, and one of the many is the Knabenschiessen which dates back to the 17th century. Knabenschiessen is a rifle shooting event where teenagers aged between 13 and 17, both boys and girls, take part to show their shooting skills. Each September many locals and foreign visitors come to attend this fun competition at the shooting range of Albisgüetli which lies at the slope of Uetliberg. The event serves as a good opportunity to enjoy the region’s culinary delights and get to know about its local products at the many market stands.


Website: Knabenschiessen

Takes place: September

13. Niederdorf Old Town Festival

Source: Pixnio

Explore the quaint-looking Niederdorf, Zurich’s most-visited Old Town in the month of August to learn about the traditional culture. Popularly known as “Dörfli”, this old town exhibits old-school cobblestone streets, old stores, clubs and pubs for entertaining nights. This pedestrian zone runs across Niederdorf and Oberdorf extending to Bellevue. Come and have fun during the Old Town festival this year where you’ll get to experience the lively ambiance of Niederdorf packed with food stalls, markets, music stages, shows, and attractions!

Niederdorf Old Town Festival

Website: Niederdorf Old Town Festival

Takes place: August

14. Fasnacht

Züri Fasnacht
Source: Photo by user Toni Birrer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Fasnacht is Zurich’s most-awaited festive moment where everyone gets all excited! And if you’re visiting this Swiss city in March then you should surely plan to attend this festival. Fasnacht harks back to pre-Christian winter celebration where events such as this one were organized to scare away the Winter’s evil spirits. Today, it’s all about coming together and putting the most intriguing and spooky costumes inspired by ghosts. At the same time, visitors get to listen to traditional ‘Guggenmusik’- whereby the music is intentionally produced out of tune!


Takes place: March

15. Food Zürich

Brezel Raclette
Source: Photo by user Eugene Kim used under CC BY 2.0

This unique food event happens in the middle of the buzzing city where local amateur and professional Swiss cooks work together to bring the best out of their cooking talent! For 11 days visitors around the world can discover over 100 cooking events in Zurich and learn more about the amazing culinary history and culture. The events include cookery courses, kitchen battles, food tastings, urban gardening and guided-tour of the Zurich gastro scene. Take this wonderful chance to sample some of the amazing Swiss delicacies including a range of local wine.

Food Zürich

Website: Food Zürich

Takes place: September

16. Live at Sunset Festival [Event has passed]

What started back in 1996 in the courtyard of Landesmuseum today the ‘Live at Sunset Festival’ is regarded with much pride and joy. The frequent audiences of this festival can’t wait to attend the upcoming edition. Yet, the Live at Sunset Festival should still be on the list of festivals to attend in Zurich. We recommend to combine a lovely dinner at Sunset Restaurant or book a stay at The Dolder Grand’s to experience the 17-day music festival. With an amazing crowd of music fans, enjoy several concerts of your choice with great artists such as Lionel Richie, Stephan Eicher, and Sting.

Live at Sunset Festival

Website: Live at Sunset Festival

Takes place: July

17. Langstrasse Festival [Event has passed]

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

You know when you’re in Langstrasse things can get pretty wild. Once a former red-light district today a hubbub of party animals, Langstrasse offers nights packed with music events. And the Langstrasse Festival has always exceeded expectations! Just jaunt around Langstrass in the month of August and you will find many food spots serving improvised cuisines, cocktails along with live music. Listen to a bit of blues, country, pop or even Latin music that will take you on a musical journey.

Langstrasse Festival

Takes place: August

Zurich: Europe’s top festival destination

This year Zurich should be on the top of your list of travel destinations! With our list of top festivals choose your preferred time to visit the city of Zurich to celebrate their traditions this year.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Heyleena is a passionate travel writer who enjoys writing travel articles for people who seek to explore new places in a more conscious way. From travel guides to recommended vacation rentals, get...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Zurich
Good things are meant to be shared!