Where to Go in 2022: Celebrating Zurich's LGBTQ+ Legacy

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday January 4, 2022
Originally published on December 23, 2021

Zurich at night.
Zurich at night.  (Source:Getty Images)

Switzerland made headlines earlier this year as the latest European country to legalize same-sex marriage. "This is a historic day for us and for Switzerland, this is a great step forward, something we have been waiting for for years," said Laura Russo, co-president of the Geneva Federation of LGBT Associations. "This initiative was begun in 2013; we had to wait eight years for the vote to happen — and here, this is a big 'Yes.' "

Though same-sex marriage is only now finally coming to fruition, Switzerland's progressive LGBTQ+ history has deep roots. The Swiss Civil Code decriminalized homosexual acts between adults in 1942, and a year later, Der Kreis (The Circle) was established as one of Europe's first queer-led human rights groups. (Check out the award-winning documentary "The Circle")

To celebrate Switzerland's latest LGBTQ+ advancement, pack your bags (and an engagement ring?) and head to the country's cosmopolitan hub, Zurich.

Festivals All Year Long

Zurich Pride
Zurich Pride  (Source: zeurich.com)

Zurich Pride promises to be a spectacular affair June 17-18, 2022, leading up to the same-sex marriage legislation going into effect on July 1, but that's only a small taste of Zurich's array of festivals throughout the year. The Pink Apple Film Festival returns to Zurich April 26 - May 5, 2022, celebrating its 25th anniversary as Switzerland's largest LGBTQ+ film festival.

Other uniquely Swiss events include ZüriCarneval (March 4-6, 2022), a Mardi Gras-style event in the Niederdorf Quarter where brass bands and revelry take over the streets; Man's World (May 5-8, 2022), where guys gather to taste whiskey, pilot flight simulators, and check out the latest trends in technology, fashion and gastronomy; and Zürich Openair (August 23-28, 2022), six days of EDM and rock on a massive outdoor stage, with Arctic Monkeys already confirmed as opening night headliners.

Raise a Glass of Kirsch (or Something Else)

(Source: zeurich.com)

Perhaps Switzerland's most famous spirit, the black cherry-derived kirsch appears not only in the glass but in plenty of regional dishes. You're also bound to discover Swiss beers like Appenzeller, Calanda Lager and plenty of local craft brews.

Connect with locals at one of the many LGBTQ-owned restaurants, cafés and bars, including Cafe Rathuas with its alfresco dining, and sister establishment Cranberry Bar, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2022.

A good time can also be had at Petra's Tip Top Bar and Gleis, a queer-friendly space for coffee, cocktails, and an ever-changing roster of events from readings and performance salons to on-site "cut and cava" haircut happenings.

Upcycled Souvenirs

Freitag, one of Switzerland's most famous brands, has been upcycling discarded truck tarps since the early 90s and has since become an international sensation. Each item is produced through a one-of-a-kind production process, from messenger bags and totes to dopp kits, wallets, and phone cases.

Thirteen Freitag stores are located throughout the city, including its flagship location in Zurich West. Dubbed "Freitag Tower," the building is constructed from 17 stacked shipping containers. Come summer, grab a bite at neighboring Frau Gerolds Garten, an outdoor beer garden with casual bites.

Accommodations for Every Style and Budget

The city can run on the expensive side, but you can still find design-centric digs at the centrally located citizenM Zurich in Old Town. If you've got money to burn, book the historic Dolder Grand on the city's outskirts, featuring Alps views, a two-Michelin star restaurant and a spectacular art collection. Be sure to allow an afternoon at the Dolder Grand Spa, featuring an aqua zone with a whirlpool terrace, samarium, sauna areas and beautifully appointed treatment rooms.

The Takeaway
A pristine city center packed with culture, cuisine and queer finds, along with easily accessible day trips to Lucerne or the charming town of Fribourg make Zurich a must-visit European destination for LGBTQ+ travelers.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.