Old City (Altstadt)
The old city is truly old, having been inhabited for 1,500 years. Shady Lindenhof Park, on the hill overlooking the river with views of Grossmunster cathedral, was once a Roman fort. St. Peter's Church (St. Peterskirche) has the biggest church clock in Europe, and is the oldest church in Zurich. In the Middle Ages, guilds, artisans and merchants built houses on both sides of the river, many of which have been preserved today.
Old City walk - Here's our favorite old city walk. Start at the carousel on the Rathaus Bridge (Rathausbrucke). On the west side of the river, bear to the right where a sign says "zum bahnhof" and walk north on the walkway right next the river.
Walk up along the river through the Schipfe neighborhood, wandering through the narrow streets and passageways, past shops with artisans at work in their galleries, until you reach the Schweizer Heimatwerk crafts store (if you stop in, there're plenty of colorful wooden children's toys).
Turn left at the corner, and walk up the hill, going left at Lindenhofstrasse. Here above the river, is a grassy area, benches and nice children's playground (kinderspielplatz) with swings, slides, and bouncy things. If you brought a picnic lunch, this is a great spot.
Continue south on Lindenhofstrasse to a shaded park area, Lindenhof, with outdoor chess sets. On your left, check out the statue - it's a woman wearing armor. In times of war, the women of Zurich dressed in men's uniforms, and stood on the Lindenhof to trick the enemy - it worked.
Walk south out of the park down the hill to Strehlgasse, stop off at St. Peterskirche to look at the giant clock face on the tower, then head east over to Weinplatz, and you're back where you started at the Rathaus Bridge.
Fraumunster cathedral - The Fraumunster cathedral is quite ancient, a 13th century building on a 9th century site, but inside there's something much more modern to see - five large stained glass windows created by Marc Chagall. Chagall's style has real appeal for kids - a lovely Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by the tree of life, frisky horses pulling Elijah's chariot, King David strumming his lyre, and angels blowing their horns.
Ride the carousel - Kids will enjoy a turn on this beautifully restored vintage carousel (Rosslirytschuel), situated on the pedestrian Rathaus Bridge (Rathausbrucke). Originally a hand-turned carousel from the 1880's, today kids can ride on horses with colorful plumes or sit back in red or blue carriages.
Grossmunster cathedral - Before you go into the Grossmunster on the east side of the Limmat River, walk all the way around it. In the plaza on the north side is a bronze model of the cathedral. On the south tower, look up to see a (replica) statue of Charlemagne - the church was founded by Charlemagne in the 9th century.
Inside the church, climb up the south tower, for the best 360 degree views of the city below, and the curvy red steeple of the bell tower of the church. Tip: To climb up, it's 187 narrow steps that go round and round, with no landings to stop and rest.
Go down to the crypt, where you can see up close the original stone statue of Charlemagne, topped with a shiny crown.