Winterthur is located 20km northwest of Zurich. It is a pleasant suburb with a population around 100,000. Founded during Roman times, it came under control of the Hapsburgs in 1264 and was sold to Zurich in 1467. Winterthur remains part of the canton of Zurich. During the industrial revolution, the city thrived as factories were built. The textile industry was especially strong, and remains so today.
The big draw of Winterthur is the art museums. The city's industrialists were also lovers of art and amassed several excellent collections. The Villa Flora Sammlung Hahnloser is housed in a lovely Sezession style villa. It contains the collection of the Hahnloser's, a wealthy textile manufacturing clan. Most of the paintings are post-impressionist, including Van Gogh, Matisse, and Redon.
The most magnificent collection belonged to Oskar Reinhart, one of the world's greatest art collectors. Several lesser known and forgotten artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth century are housed in the Museum Oskar Reinhart Am Stadtharten. You may never have heard of Caspar Wolf, Danil Ihly and François Ferrière, but their paintings are still beautiful. The collection is focused on Swiss artists.
The Technorama is Switzerland's premier science center. This is a great place to take the kids, though there's something for people of all ages. Interactive displays school visitors on different topics in science. In all, there are more than 500 exhibits. One highlight is the floor dedicated towards the human brain and perception. You can easily spend an entire afternoon here.
The city of Winterthur itself is quite nice. There are lots of art galleries, cafes, and restaurants. It's also a university town, so plenty of young people are around. Trains leave hourly from Zurich. A museum pass is available for CHF20 that gives you entry into each of Winterthur's museums, sans the Technorama.
Villa Flora-Sammlung Hahnloser
Location: Tösstalstrasse 44, Winterthur
Telephone: +41 052 212 9966
Open 14:00-17:00 Tuesday through Saturday; 11:00-15:00 Sunday.
Museum Oskar Reinhart Am Stadtharten
Location: Stadthausstrasse 6, Winterthur
Telephone: +41 052 267 5172
Open 10:00-17:00 Wednesday to Sunday; 10:00-20:00 Tuesday.
Admission: CHF 12
Location: Technoramastrasse 1, Winterthur
Telephone: +41 052 244 0844
Open 10:00-17:00 Tuesday through Sunday.
CHF14.00 Children (6-15)
CHF11.00 Children (<6)