Geneva is world-famous for its collection of international organizations and institutions, the nearby ski slopes and the sleek lifestyle of expats and diplomats. But what about for the younger, student population? When I first moved there to do my Master’s degree, I was faced with this dilemma. With some research, I have scouted some great hangouts for the expats and young Genevois looking for some enjoyable, fun and youth-oriented hangouts in the capital of Switzerland.
Café Art’s is a real gem of the Paquis district of Geneva. A trendy and popular café, it serves traditional food and drinks at reasonable prices. The caféis tastefully decorated and produces a Parisian feel. It houses a little corner dubbed the “reading room,” where you might catch students pouring over books or an offered newspaper and a cup of coffee, facilitated by Wi-Fi available throughout. It is a worthwhile alternative to the nearby busy and bustling Les Brasseurs across from Cornavin station, and is a short walk away from the lakeside for a post-drink promenade.
Café Art’s is located at 17, Rue des Paquis. Tel : 0227380797
If you’re cruising the Plainpalais flea market on a Saturday morning, why not stop by the Calamar for lunch? It has a welcoming and funky atmosphere, and a nice food selection that won’t rob you of your shopping money; try the burgers for lunch, they’re affordable and tasty, or the plat du jour. Popular among the University of Geneva students (one of their libraries is located across the street) the restaurant is alive both day and night. The atmosphere is relaxed, the music is good and you never feel rushed. Perfect for a Plainpalais Saturday!
Le Calamar is located at 92, Boulevard Carl Vogt. Tel: 0223216277
Chez ma Cousine
If on the other hand you’re heading for an evening out, head to Chez ma Cousine, located right in the main square of the Old Town, Place du Bourg-de-Four. The bustling restaurant is a chicken specialist, and despite its limited menu it is wildly popular and offers an enjoyable eating experience. It is affordable, Spartan-looking and offers a healthy slice of life to an often seemingly-still city. It’s appropriately-priced, and is a great venue for a meal with friends, especially on a chilly winter night. Highly recommended for the young Geneva-goers!
Chez ma Cousine is located at 6, Place de Bourg-de-Four. It also has a branch at 5, Rue Lissignol and 2, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex . Tel: 0227337985 for the Petit-Saconnex branch; the others do not allow reservations.
After a meal at Chez ma Cousine, head across the square to Café Demi-Lune. It is trendy and popular among young (and somewhat yuppie) Genevois, with an enjoyable ambiance and bustling clientele both weekday and weekend, with dimmed lights and good music for a relaxed and seductive feel. You may, however, be stuck outside in chilly weather, as it does get quite busy; go early and grab a seat and undoubtedly it will be a great evening out with friends!
Café Demi-Lune is located at 2, Rue Etienne Dumont. Tel : 0223121290
Top 3 Hotels in Geneva, Switzerland
- Hotel Nash Ville double room from €88/£77/$120
- Hotel Lido double room from €126/£111/$172
- Hotel Ramada Encore Geneva from €120/£105/$162
Photo of the Old City, Geneva, by heardsy