Running from Zurich’s main train station (Hauptbahnhof) right down to the lake, the Bahnhofstrasse is arguably the best place to shop anywhere in Switzerland. To be fair, much of central Zurich is a consumer’s paradise, but the Bahnhofstrasse is the beating heart of it all.
Department stores, luxury boutiques and jewelry stores abound, as well as other interesting sites, such as a statue honoring Alfred Escher (the financial strategist who helped Zurich into the modern age in the mid-19th century), the Fraumunster (one of the most beautiful churches in the city) and the Museum of Constructivist Art (Haus Konstruktiv). Though the action takes place behind the scenes (or rather, in the upper floors), the Bahnhofstrasse is also a major banking and financial center. Noteworthy shops on the Bahnhofstrasse include Bvlgari, Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany and Co., Tommy Hilfiger and many, many others.
One thing to keep in mind before venturing into this most material of worlds is that it is notoriously expensive. If you’re a traveler on a shoestring, be prepared to limit yourself to window shopping (it is literally the most valuable street of retail properties in Europe). That said, there are some bargains to be had, particularly just to the west along the Lowenstrasse where many shops offer more modest prices. Located just across the river from the Hauptbahnhof, the Niederdorf is also worth visiting if you’re interested in a more youthful environment and some trendier clothing stores.