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The top 2023 Christmas Activities with a Fun Factor in Zürich


As Christmas approaches, Zürich becomes a magical destination with its festive lights, Christmas huts, and delightful shop displays. Beyond the enchanting Christmas Markets that we highly recommend for a dose of holiday spirit, there are plenty of other enjoyable activities for families.


Here are our top 10 recommendations, ranging from the more traditional to the more unusual ones, each guaranteed to bring a Fun Factor to your celebrations.


 


When: Nov 23 – Dec 23, 2023 Where: Sechseläutenplatz - next to the Opera House

Highlights: Kids events, Elf Village, Carousels

Prices: Free

During Christmas, much of downtown Zürich transforms into festive Christmas Markets, illuminated with beautiful lights. They offer charming huts selling a variety of items, including the traditional Raclette, spicy hot wine (Glühwein), street foods, sweets, jewelry, winter accessories, and more. No good Christmas to-do list could exist without at least one visit to these enchanting Christmas markets, a must for families looking to immerse themselves in the festive spirit.



Our top pick is the "Wienachtsdorf" (Christmas Village) at Sechseläutenplatz, right next to the Opera House. Kids can enjoy a small carousel, an Elf village with miniature huts resembling Santa's post office, a cozy reading room, a general store, and a vibrant program of events. This includes face painting, theater shows, circus performances, yodeling courses, fairy tales, concerts, and even visits from the Samichlaus (Swiss Santa). For parents, adding to the fun, we definitely suggest indulging in fondue at one of the chalets; just be sure to reserve a table as it can get quite crowded.



In case of a bad weather, we have a backup plan for you: an indoor Christkindli Markt - Christmas market at Zürich Main Station (HB) (open until December 24th). It is sheltered from the rain or snow and offers a cozy atmosphere, complete with a charming small carousel and a program for kids, which includes cookie decorating, face painting and baloon modeling.



 


When: November 23rd - December 23rd Where: Werdmühleplatz

Highlights: Choir Performances, Carousel, Food

Prices: Free

Picture a colossal Christmas tree, but instead of traditional decorations, imagine it filled with kids and adults singing Christmas carols (in German). If you're intrigued to witness this festive spectacle in person, make your way to the renowned Singing Christmas Tree at Werdmühleplatz, near Bahnhofstrasse. And when the little ones lose interest in the singing (which our toddler did rather quickly), there's a small carousel and food huts to explore.


Choir Performances

Monday to Friday, 5.30pm, 6.30pm

Saturday & Sunday, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm & 6.30pm (sometimes also at 8.00pm)



 



When: December 16th Where: Zürich Enge (Academicus)

Highlights: Christmas Cards Decoration, Dancing, Singing

Prices: 40 CHF per Family

Academicus is one of our favorite places to visit. Our toddler regularly participates in their kindergarten activities, playground fun, and parties, so we can wholeheartedly recommend it.


This Christmas, we're looking forward to joining Elsa (the main character from "Frozen") for a wonderfully festive crafting party (booking required)! She has a variety of beautiful Christmas crafts to choose from, ranging from Xmas cards to royal crowns and magical key-rings. We're excited to sing some Frozen songs, dance along, and indulge in the tea and biscuit treats. It promises to be an experience with a Fun Factor!




Note: Photos are from other Academicus events.

 


When: November 24th - December 23rd Where: Bellevue

Highlights: Santa Driver, Storytelling, Singing

Ticket Prices: 10 CHF (buy here)

Children aged 4 to 9 have the exciting opportunity to hop on a tram driven by Santa himself. This 20-minute journey takes them around Zurich's downtown, where they can immerse themselves in Christmas stories, sing carols alongside angels, and enjoy the beautifully decorated streets of Zürich. What makes this experience special is that only kids are allowed on the tram (no parents), creating a uniquely magical experience for the little ones. You can buy tickets here and get on in Bellvue.



 

When: November 9th - December 30th Where: Courtyard of the Swiss National Museum

Highlights: Lights show, Yuki Mascotte, Kids Disco

Prices: Foodcourt access and disco are free. Show is paid extra: 13.80 CHF - adults, 8.80 CHF - kids 10-15 years okd, 5.80 CHF - kids 6 - 9 years old, kids below 6 years old - free


During November and December, The Swiss National Museum courtyard transforms into a charming mini Christmas market with delicious food stalls. But there is also an additional Fun Factor, which makes it a great destination for kids:

  1. Kids Yuki Show (Paid Extra - tickets required): It is a mesmerizing 20-minute gigantic cartoon projection on the museum walls about a little monster Yuki and his friends. Different shows are featured each year, and in 2023 Yuki takes us to the Christmas Opera (La Traviata reloaded). The Yuki shows run Monday to Friday at 5:00 pm, 5:45 pm, 6:30 pm, and 7:15 pm.

  2. Meet Yuki: Yuki and his friends often walk around the Christmas market, happily greeting excited kids and posing for photos. Our toddler, when she spotted Yuki, stopped right in the middle of eating her sausage and ran over to say hello (with me following with the camera, like many other parents around).

  3. Kids Disco: Daily discos start at 5 pm, primarily aimed at adults, but accidently we crashed it with two toddlers. In fact, before 7 pm, the dance floor is often filled with kids. Ours had a blast and did not want to leave. Keep it in mind that the atmosphere is similar to a grown-up club with dim lights, loud music, and smoke. For a kid-focused experience, there's a dedicated disco for kids every Sunday from 3 to 5 pm. We haven't checked it out but it sounds fun!




 


When: November 11th - December 20th

Highlights: Candle making

Prices: 5.40 CHF per 100 g


Candle dipping is indeed a thing! It involves repeatedly dipping a long thread or wick into hot wax to create a candle. This tradition is particularly popular in Switzerland around Christmas, with candle-making tents set up in various locations. One of the most renowned spots is at Bürkliplatz in Zürich, where you can also find a small restaurant to turn it into a delightful outing.


It's a fantastic experience for families, especially for kids who enjoy arts and crafts, offering a chance to engage in a local tradition. However, since it requires patience and repetition, it might be a bit too tedious for younger kids.



 


Shows: November 23rd - December 10th Locations: Zürich Kloten

Highlights: Lights installations, Live Concerts, Food couts


Every year, the park around Kloten transforms into a magical wonderland with different light installations, live concerts (including ones for kids starting at 6 pm), and food courts. It's a definite must-visit if you want to transport your family into a fairy-tale land.



 
The first Christmas circus in Switzerland.

Shows: October 26th - December 31stLocations: Kloten (Circus Salto), Bauschänzl (Circus Conelli)

Highlights: Dancing, Acrobats, Christmas Feel

Prices: 20.00 CHF - 149.00 CHF, depending on the seats and performance


Back in the 90-s, when some of us were kids, I remember the circus being mostly about cheap clowns, animals and acrobats - a bit of a cheesy entertainment. Nowadays it is a completely different ballgame! Elaborate choreographies, beautiful costumes, sophisticated clowns, out of this world acrobatics, modern technology and special effects bring the contemporary circus shows to the next level. 


Especially during Christmas, two circuses around Zürich transform into special and magical places adorned with Christmas decorations. Circus Salto, with a focus on kids, presents a magical fairy tale about Neverland this year. Circus Conelli offers a more generic but still delightful story that's also suitable for kids.


Read our 2023 Family Circus Guide for more info.




 

When: November 15th - 28th January 2024

Highlights: Lights show, Immersive Art

Prices: 28.00 / 31.00 CHF - adults weekday / weekend, 16.00 / 18.00 CHF - kids 6-16 years okl weekday / weekend, 4.00 CHF - kids below 6 years old


We had a fantastic visit to Lichthalle MAAG last year for a Klimt exhibition, and it was a hit with us, the grandparents and our toddler. The experience involves stepping into a spacious warehouse where the artist's creations are projected, accompanied by a narration of their life story through a headset, available in English, German, and French. With everything projected, there's no worry about kids breaking anything, creating a stress-free environment for parents. It's truly an enchanting experience to immerse yourself in a space filled with lights and the rich narrative of an artist's life and work, appealing to all three generations. Our 3-year-old loved exploring the moving lights and photos, and we're looking forward to the Picasso exhibition this Christmas, especially with the grandparents in town.



 


Shows: September 27th - February 25thLocations: Kirche auf der Egg, Wollishofen

Highlights: Projected Sea Creatures, Digitize your own Fish

Ticket Prices: 19.90 CHF - adults, 15.90 CHF - kids 13-20 years okd, 13.90 CHF - kids 5 - 12 years old, kids below 5 years old - free, family tickets (min 2 kids) - 14.90 CHF per person 


Imagine stepping into a vast church, lying on comfortable pillows, and watching sea life projected all around you. That is what the Pixel Zoo is all about. It was a fantastic experience for us and might be a unique alternative Christmas adventure. There's also a section for kids to color their own sea creatures, which are then scanned by a machine and projected in large format, swimming in the sea. Our 4-year-old was so excited about this part that we had to create four different fishes!


While our 4-year-old loved it, keep in mind that it can get dark, and there are slightly scary moments (like being swallowed whole by a shark), so it's recommended for kids aged 5 and older. This experience is available on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.




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