Bahnhofstrasse is Zurich's main downtown street and one of the world's most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues. In 2011, a study named the Bahnhofstrasse the most expensive street for retail property in Europe, and the third most expensive worldwide. In 2016 ranked ninth.
It came into existence when the city fortifications were demolished in 1864 and the ditch in front of the walls was filled in. Until that time, the name of the location had been Fröschengraben ("Ditch Of The Frogs"), which then was changed to Bahnhofstrasse ("Station Street").
Bahnhofstrasse starts at Bahnhofplatz ("Station Square") in front of the Zürich Hauptbahnhof (47°22′40″N 8°32′25″E), passing Rennweg, Augustinergasse and Paradeplatz before it ends after 1.4 km at Bürkliplatz (47.3671°N 8.5409°E / 47.3671; 8.5409 (Bürkliplatz)) on Lake Zurich (National Bank), (Hotel Baur au Lac).
The street is largely pedestrianised, but is also an important link in the Zürich tram network. North of Paradeplatz the street carries routes 6, 7, 11 and 13, whilst to the south it carries 2, 8, 9 and 11. Stops are served at Hauptbahnhof, Rennweg, Paradeplatz, Börsenstrasse and Bürkliplatz.
Some of the many shops include:
Franz Carl Weber
Tiffany and Co.
Paradeplatz, one of the most famous squares in Switzerland, is situated towards the end of the Bahnhofstrasse closest to Lake Zurich. The two biggest Swiss banks, UBS and the Credit Suisse Group, have their headquarters there. Paradeplatz is also known for its chocolate shop and cafe, Confiserie Sprüngli.