We are going to be leaving early in the morning from Gimmelwald to catch a flight out of Zurich at 9:05 pm. We had planned on spending the day in Zurich, but I am now looking at Lucerne, since we will be going through there anyway. We would arrive at Lucerne at either 9:00 or 10:00 am, and would arrive at Zurich at either 10:00 or 11:00. Which would be better given the amount of time we have, and what should we do there?
We were in both cities last fall. I would definitely vote for Luzern. While Zurich is nice , I much preferred Luzern. The Chapel Bridge, the river front with the steamers, the riverside restaurants, charming buildings with painted fronts. It is all really amazing.
You can also get a good feel for the city in the time you will have.
That said - you would enjoy either place. They both give you a feel for the city side of Switzerland after being in the mountains.
Luzern. It's more scenic/relaxed, and has more Picasso paintings than any other city in the world. The Swiss Transportation Museum is also excellent.
Luzern - an easy choice. The airport is north of the city if I remember correctly. No need to go into Zurich at all.
You will find more points of interest in Lucerne than in Zurich. You might visit the Chapel bridge (the covered wooden bridge), Glacier Garden, the Stadtkeller. the Swiss Transport Museum, Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi.
Lucerne is a beautiful town in a beautiful setting. Without knowing exactly how much time you would have available, I'd say you could see the town; walk along the the top of the old walled area of the city; take a boat ride on Lake Lucerne; take the ride up to the top of Mt. Pilatus if the weather is good; visit the Lion Monument; etc.