Without its lake Zurich would not be Zurich.
In winter, it provides the misty atmosphere peculiar to the city. But with the return of warm weather you can really enjoy the life that develops around its shores. Water activities like canoeing, windsurfing, and pedal boating abound. If you don't want to strain yourself too much, discover the lake via the boat that departs from Bürkliplatz, at the end of Bahnhofstrasse. Swimming is free all around the lake.
Some spots, like Enge Wiese, are especially popular with locals. For lunch, you are spoiled for choice: you can picnic, eat in one of the many beach bars or terraces, or use the barbecue grills available near the Chinese Garden. And this Chinese Garden, with its pagodas and small bridges from the Chinese city of Kunming, is worth the trip alone.