Tour Zurich’s Museums for FREE

posted on | updated on | by Zuri Girl

With over 50 museums and 100 galleries, Zurich is a fantastic place to discover art and culture. For all you Franc Savvy girlfriends out there, we’re happy to share that 20 of these museums are totally FREE! In fact, the most accessible ones make for a great day tour through the city center with plenty more to discover along the way.

Enjoy our Tips, Printable / Electronic Museum Map, Museum List and BONUS Ideas!

zurich free museum tour

Tour Tips

 – Bring a 2- coin with you as deposit for a museum locker. Some museums don’t allow bags into the exhibits and you will have to stash your bag.

– Know the names of the museums you wish to visit by their German name. Often (but not always!) there are brown directional signs pointing the way, but you’ll have to be able to recognize the name.

– Research what else you’d like to see along the way and let yourself discover new streets, alleys and shops.

– BONUS: The Zurich Art Space Guide is a great resource!

Museums in order starting at Pelikanstrasse 40

Museum 1: Ethnographic Museum

Museum 2: Stadthaus – Exhibitions in the House of the People of Zurich…Although this is a city building where lots of administrative work takes place (including weddings, so watch for blushing brides), all floors are open to the public with small exhibits on the the second floor. The murals of Zurich on the top level are lovely to look at.


Museum 3: Helmhaus Zurich…In the same building as the Wasserkirche (Water Church) with rotating Swiss contemporary art exhibits. Time your visit right to also get a tour of the church’s crypt.

Helmhaus entrance

Museum 4: Haus zum Rech – Construction History and City Archive…Situated in a courtyard on Neugasse, this museum doesn’t look like much, but on the other side of the modest door are some of the oldest maps and models of Zurich city. Be sure to look up as you walk in to see some very authentic architecture on the “building inside a building”.

BONUS: On your way up the hill to the university museums, stop at the Rechberggarten.

Haus zum Rech Zurich city model

Museum 5: Thomas Mann Archives

Museum 6: Archaeological Collection

BONUS: Tour the main campus and buildings of University of Zurich with their audio guide (in German) to learn more about this historic building and architecture.

Archaeological exhbiti
Museum 7 & 8: Zoological Museum and Paleontological Museum…One of our favorites! Lots of animals and fossils, big (like mammoth bones) and small (like butterflies) on display. Great opportunity to see animals up close like you wouldn’t be able to see in a zoo.

Museum 9: Graphics Collection

Museum 10: focusTerra – Museum of Earth Sciences

BONUS: Take the Polybahn down the hill and experience another bit of history.

For a complete list of museums (free or otherwise) and opening times, visit


Article & Photos by Zuri Girl Ashley Ringger…Ashley regularly contributes fun and insightful articles about life in Switzerland. She might even know more about the country than her Swiss husband! Ashley splits her working life between an international school and Set Sails Media. In her spare time this California native likes to stay active by going to the gym, sewing, traveling, and cooking with/for friends. She also can’t say no to a good book.