If you think that urban art in Zurich is limited to a couple of places like Rote Fabrik and Oberer Letten, you are missing out on a huge part of the city culture. Just have a look at this map:
And here is also the photo album for easier scrolling (photos are geotagged and you can join the album to stay updated):
We started looking for street art as a way to enliven our walks. Turns out it is much more exciting than I thought it would be. It is fun and (I would even dare to say) educational, but it is also a great way to explore the city. Bonus: it can be done with a stroller :)
To the best of my knowledge this is the only (or at least the most comprehensive) map of Zurich street art pieces. You can add the map to your phone and enjoy the exploration (or join at the album first to find something you like). If you want some pointers to get you started — please read further for my personal highlights:
- legal walls of Zurich,
- massive murals by One Truth,
- volumetric art by Redl,
- world-famous stencils by C215,
- playground by various local artists and kids,
- squat building at Kernstrasse 14.
Legal walls of Zurich
Ok, this one is obvious, but it needs to be said. There are multiple areas in Zurich open for artists to try their skills.
If you walk around Rote Fabrik and further along the lake, you can see tons of works by both beginners and experienced artists, sometimes sprayed one over another. This often looks like a mess, but it also makes the scene very dynamic and alive.
Other large area for legal street art is along the Limmat, close to Oberer Letten. There are also various temporary walls, usually along some construction sites.
Massive murals by One Truth
One Truth is one of the most prominent studios in Zurich, you can find their works all over the city, here is just a sneak peak.
Probably the most famous work by One Truth is spread over more than 10 walls. You can find it at Rötelstrasse 98, not far from Bucheggplatz.
The highest mural in Switzerland (over 20 meters, 8-story building) is at Wehntalerstrasse 312 in Affoltern.
My personal highlight is a very-very long millipede (70 meters) in the end of Sihlpromenade (close to Bederstrasse).
Volumetric art by Redl
Patrick Redl Wehrli is one of my favorite artists based in Zurich. He is a master of fine details, bright colors and realistic shadows. Many of his works play with perspectives and look differently depending on where you stand.
Check out large and beautiful mural called “Melody” at Limmatstrasse 291. Or a very colorful girl with a lizard at Schaffhauserplatz. Or futuristic animals at Neugasse 81. Or a work that is all about your point of view at Badenerstrasse 141.
World-famous stencils by C215
C215 (Christian Guémy) is a very famous french artist. I mean like almost Banksy-level famous. His paintings are all over the world, including Zurich.
We have managed to find two large pieces by him. The first one is the cat at Brauerstrasse 126. The second one is a beautiful stencil of a mother holding a child at Köchlistrasse 19.
There are also lots of small pieces on various post boxes. You can find at least four in the neighborhood of park Bäckeranlage.
By the way, Brauerstrasse 126 is also a home to Starkart Urban Art Gallery. They hold various street art exhibitions, and some of the works are publicly displayed on the house itself. Definitely worth checking out.
Playground by various local artists and kids
This playground is well hidden in one of the courtyards in the city center. The entrance is right next to Josefstrasse 42.
It was sprayed by various local artists: ELF, Taina Thoma, Eulen Heulen and probably others I missed. According to Street Art Archive instagram, it was done with help from kids, which makes it even more fun to explore.
Squat at Kernstrasse 14
Kernstrasse 14 is a very interesting building. One could call it a squat, but the website describes this place as a “self-organized social meeting point”.
People organize various activities in this building: theater, reading, open presentations, dancing, martial arts lessons and even cooking.
But more interesting part is purely ideological. This place is all against repression and isolation, against exploitation and borders, against sexism, racism and authoritarianism.
This ideology is perfectly represented by the art pieces on the walls of this building. The works there are not signed, and probably only few people know the authors, but it does not make the works themselves less appealing.
Another squat with some notable street art is Kochareal on Rautistrasse 22.
Bonus: probably the oldest piece in Zurich
This street art was sprayed in 1978 on the walls of University of Zurich. This piece is called “Undine”, or a “Mermaid” — a work by a controversial artist Harald Naegeli.
The story of the artist also known as a “Sprayer of Zurich” is fascinating. He was sentenced to nine months in jail and a fine of CHF 206,000 for his work. He fled to Germany, was evicted, served his jail sentence, but later was recognized by Swiss authorities and was rehabilitated.
You can find his works all over the city, some pieces are from eighties, and some are bright new.
Street art is cool, because it is very dynamic, vivid and often surprising. I am pretty sure I missed lots of great spots. If you want to share your favorite pieces, contribute to the map, or just have questions — please write in the comments or reach out directly to me via firstname.lastname@example.org.