In Zürich, there is somewhat of a "before" and "after" as your territory broadens and you decide to step outside the touristic city center. To me, it meant going from "that’s cute" to "oh my, this is awesome!"
Because there is mainstream fashion, and the luxury, and the ordinary things, and the "oh-look!-I-can-afford-it" kind of thing … But what you cannot find unless you expand your self-built comfort zone is the original, special, unique, vintage, indie, hippie and weird. The "I-have-no-clue -what-this-is-but-I-sure-want-it-in-my-living-room"!
Despite a pretty complicated past, Zürich’s 5th quarter ("Kreis 5") is full of authenticity, diversity and multiculturalism these days. You should definitely visit the quarter which borders Zurich’s main station, and above all, Josefstrasse.
Open your eyes, get ready to step back (and ahead) in time and explore this exciting part of Zürich: A new colorful playground built on the hidden ruins of an old building, secondhand and handmade gifts, antiques and book dealers, Japanese gadgets, new-age showrooms, international delicatessen grocery shops, etc.!
Among all of these options, let me highlight at least three places you cannot miss if you visit Zürich’s Kreis 5!
This little 60’s style glasses store will catch your attention as soon as you see it. Dozens of frames will be waiting for you to be discovered - from the classic aviator Ray Ban’s to new designers'.
All of their glasses are as original as can be and are different from anything you can find on a regular optician’s shelves. Once you have picked the shape you like the most, you will be able to select the color(s) and material of the frame. Customization is guaranteed.
My advice: Bring your camera, because you will want to take a few shots of yourself wearing these cool frames! Also, don’t miss the museum about the evolution of this fashionable accessory…
If you keep on walking towards the main station along Josefstrasse, you will find a gravel alley leading to the entrance of einzigart.
This is the place you will want to buy everything from! einzigart is much bigger inside than you would expect when you first see it, and every object you will find there has been especially designed to be practical and beautiful at the same time.
Furniture, accessories, old-fashioned postcards with controversial messages, objects you have never seen before, the most original books in the world...
Without a doubt, the perfect place to buy an unexpected present like an old-fashioned postcard made of wood you can write on and then build a plane with, a rainbow maker, a do-it-yourself lomo-camera, a banana case, a baby foot-print box… and so on!
Also located in a backstreet, Lilly Tulipan is a full-of-funny-gadgets shop. Basically, they can build any flowery creation from your wildest imagination, using different layers of petals! Then, stick it onto beach sandals, curtains, lights, hair clips, bracelets… anything! It is the maximum expression of color. Apart from this, thousands of unique and creative, new and old and cool inventions and creations will be waiting for you at Lilly’s!
If you wish to have an overview of Kreis 5, check out its official guide.
Furthermore, the City of Zürich organizes guided tours, so there is no excuse anymore…
If you already know this area or just got to know it, we will be all ears! Any store you would like us to write about? All ideas are more than welcome!