Luzern is a beloved tourist destination in Switzerland, with millions visiting the town in central Switzerland every single year. The must-see’s for every visit include the famous Chapel Bridge, the lion monument and a visit to either mount Pilatus or Rigi. But Luzern has so much more to offer than that, especially for those that are willing to venture a bit off the beaten path. Next time when you are visiting this city – go and explore the Neustadt neighborhood!
Home sweet home
When we moved to Luzern from Stockholm, Sweden in March 2022, I had never visited the city before. It just happened that of the job opportunities offered in Switzerland, the combination of the role and geographical location of the city, the opportunity in Luzern seemed like the best choice. Once we had landed and all of our furniture and belongings had been shipped to Switzerland, the next challenge could be tackled: permanent housing. We had booked a long-term furnished rental on the outskirts of the city, but could not wait to be able to live in an apartment with our own stuff again.
We did a couple of apartment viewings in the week of our arrival and ultimately ended up renting a 3.5 room apartment of about 85 square metres just south of the central train station. Little did we know that this area, dubbed Neustadt, turned out to become our favorite neighborhood in Luzern.
Centrally located, away from the coaches and selfie sticks
While the Neustadt area is just a few minutes walk from the old town (the dividing line being Pilatusstrasse), is is a lot calmer than the ‘Altstadt’. Here no bussloads of tourists and avoiding getting hit with selfie sticks. The area has plenty of hotels, but the vibe is much more residential than it is on the other side of the Reuss river.
When heading for the Neustadt area when exiting the Luzern train station, the Vögeligärtli park is one of the first spots you will pass. This small park has a great grass area for a picnic, a outdoor bar in the summer and a playground for kids. For the adults, there is a real life chess playing set and table tennis tables.
The thing is like most about Vögeligärtli, is that it always is lively on sunny days. The vibe is very relaxed, and it’s an oasis away from the busy streets in old town. For a nice coffee you can visit the café in the library in the park. For food, La Bestia and Blossom Alley are right next to the park.
On Saturdays during the summer, there is a fun small flea market organized in Vögeligärtli. Some of the stands have really nice antique furniture and accessories for your home!
Behind the Vögeligärtli you find Hirschmattstrasse, where you find maybe the best burgers of town at Jeff’s burger and various other restaurants such as Ampersand and Korea town.
Berlin vibes at Helvetiaplatz
When you continue walking to the southwest, it’s not long before you hit Helvetiaplatz. This is maybe my favorite square in Luzern, and only partially because it is directly next to our home.
At Helvetiaplatz, you find lively cafés and restaurants, all of which are having outdoor seating during the summer months. The square is well frequented by groups playing petanque, or having outdoor dancing classes.
On Saturday morning, Helvetiaplatz is hosting a great farmers market, where you can buy fresh vegetables, fish, flowers and cheese. If you want your bread-itch scratched, Bakery Odermatt is our favorite in town for Sunday morning Zopf!
Go to Barbés for great middle-eastern food or sit down at Glou Glou Luzern for drinks and small unique dishes. Just a two streets further south, Parterre is a great cosy bar that is worth visiting both in the summer and the winter. Café Nord serves Swedish inspired lunch and pastries.
At a stone’s throw from Helvetiaplatz, the building complex Himmelrich can be found. These are primarily residential buildings, but the ground floors are reserved for great cafés, restaurants and boutiques.
At the time of writing, August 2023, Himmelrich is about to be expanded with another building along Claridenstrasse. Also here, nice boutiques are popping up. There is a second hand store and a kids library already announced to be opened by mid-August.
Tip for visiting with kids: the inner yard of the complex houses guinea pigs in the summer! Go and say hello when you are around!
My favorite boutique for furniture shopping in Luzern is located in the Himmelrich quartier: Einzigart. Here, you find beautiful design furniture and stylish, quirky accessories for your home. Restaurant Petrus has an amazing outdoor terrace that is perfect for afternoon drinks. They also service nice pizzas!
Old pool turned social hub, we have written about Neubad before. However, as the venue is located on the southern border of the Neustadt area, it can not be missed in this overview!
The outside terrace of Neubad, with its colorful flags waving in the wind, is the perfect place for drinks on hot summer days and nights. They serve pizza, but there are better places for to eat pizza in Neustadt (see a bit higher up in this article). The vibe at this place is amazing. Even during the cold winter months, Neubad is well worth a visit. Come by for the autumn ski equipment fair in October for example. The regular Sunday flea markets that are organized around and in the old pool are also a recommendation.
All in all, Neubad is simply a very cool place to hang out, be it for breakfast, lunch, late-night drinks or to pop by for events!
An ever-expanding list of favorites in Neustadt
This first iteration of my Neustadt-tips is sure to keep you busy an afternoon while visiting Luzern. However, I realize it is far from complete! Not a week goes by without us finding a new cute bar, boutique or restaurant in the area that we did not try before. and positively surprises us. Such as 2nd hand shopping at the Caritas shop on Bleicherstrasse and the Tapas at Bar Volver on the opposite side of the street. Simply too many places to discover!
What is your favorite place in Neustadt in Luzern, and which of the suggestions above did you try out already?