The city of Zurich officially has 12 urban districts, called Stadtkreise.They are simply numbered from 1 to 12. However these urban districts are mostly for administrative purposes - we introduce the areas visitors to Zurich should know by the names they are usually known by. The number in brackets show roughly which official districts they include.
Niederdorf (Kreis 1)
Niederdorf (the lower village) is the part of the old town lying on the eastern side of the Limmat river between the squares Central and Bellevue. It’s teeming with restaurants, bars and, spiteful tongues say, undiscerning visitors from neighbouring canton Argovia (Argovians have to take a bit of flak in Zurich). There is also a sprinkling of adult entertainment, especially in and around Härringstrasse sex workers of both sexes look for suitors. Most of Niederdorf is a pedestrian area. It’s criss-crossed with mediaeval alleys and small squares and a walk through Niederdorf should be part of every visit to Zurich. Especially if you leave very busy Niederdorfstrasse up hill towards Oberdorf you will discover some lovely spots you wouldn’t have expected. Along the river on the Limmatquai cafés with outdoor seating are a good excuse to have a drink and watch Zurich go by.
City/Lindenhof (Kreis 1)
On the western side of the Limmat river lies the Lindenhof quarter, the other part of the old town. Right in it’s centre, on a small hill, Lindenhofplatz gives you excellent views over Niederdorf. Zurich’s citizens held their meetings here in mediaeval times. The alleys and streets near here abound with shops of all kinds and some restaurants and bars. Towards the west, Bahnhofstrasse - one of the world’s most famous shopping streets - marks the border of the Lindenhof district, and on the other side, the so-called City includes Paradeplatz and the financial and business district, spreading out towards the lake. The City is delimited by the Schanzengraben, an artificial moat from the lake to the river Sihl, built in the 17th and 18th century to protect the citizens from all kind of attacks. These days things are more relaxed and you can stroll along the Schanzengraben, mostly on wooden footbridges or stone ledges just by the waterside.