The Lucerne Tourist Office is at Zentralstrasse 5 (tel. 041/227-17-17; www.Lucerne.org). It's open May to October, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 6:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 6:30pm. During November to April, hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 9am to 1pm.
Most arrivals are at the railroad station, on Bahnhofplatz, where trains pull in from Zurich and other parts of Switzerland. This train depot is on the left (south) bank of the Reuss River.
If you cross a bridge from the station square, you'll be on the right (north) bank of the river at Schwanenplatz (Swan Square), which is the center of Lucerne. Also on the north bank of the Reuss is Altstadt (Old Town), containing many burghers' houses with oriel windows and old squares with fountains. The only way to explore this neighborhood is on foot.
Kapellgasse is a major shopping street that leads to the Kornmarkt (Corn Market), where you'll find the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), dating from 1602. To the west of the Kornmarkt is the Weinmarkt (Wine Market), a lovely old square with a much-photographed fountain.
The Grand Casino Lucerne, a casino-and-restaurant complex, stands at Kurplatz on Nationalquai, the major quay of Lucerne facing the lake.
From Kurplatz, Löwenstrasse leads to Löwenplatz, site of the Panorama, a famed canvas depicting the retreat of the French army during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Nearby stands the even more famous Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument). Carved directly into the rocky face of a low cliff in the heart of town, it's Lucerne's second-most famous attraction, surpassed in visibility only by the Kapellbrücke, the geranium-fringed covered wooden footbridge.
The Lucerne Festival of Music is held from the second week of August to the second week of September. For more information, contact the Festival of Music, which also sponsors the Festival Easter Lucerne, another popular event (tel. 041/226-44-00; www.lucernefestival.ch). There's also the Lucerne Piano Festival, which focuses more on classical piano music, conducted every year during a weeklong period in November.