Beginning somewhat surprisingly near the district courts in central Zurich, the Langstrasse (or “long street”) is a red light district that stretches lengthwise to the Hauptbahnhof and widthwise in an uneven perimeter radiating out into the surrounding streets.
Relatively speaking, the Langstrasse is far and away the biggest hotspot for drug use, dealing, prostitution, and criminality. It may seem safe by comparison to some of the dens of iniquity that seethe with danger and vice elsewhere in the world, but it’s plenty rough and ready.
Recently, officials affiliated with the city have even instituted “sex boxes”, or high-walled shelters specifically designed to provide private facilities for drive-in sex traffic after years of unsightly sex acts performed in full view of area residents and hotel guests (take note, the affordable, clean, and safe hotel rooms available in the district do have their downsides).
Police efforts to reduce petty crime in the district have borne fruit, though part of the decline in troubling statistics is the result of intermittently liberalizing legal efforts that have further decriminalized several varieties of questionable behavior.
Whether or not you’re possessed of prurient interests, the Langstrasse is nonetheless worth a visit during your trip to Zurich. Apart from its debauched character, the district is home to the most culturally and ethnically diverse population in the city, a fact that is reflected in the availability of authentic international cuisine and affordable lodging.