FC Luzern was officially founded on 12 August 1901 in Lucerne. After two years, FCL joined the Swiss Football League and started its first championship season in the third division. In the following years, FC Luzern was playing in various leagues. After the introduction of a new league system in 1944 (consisting of Nationalliga A and Nationalliga B as the two top tiers) FCL was alloted into Nationalliga B. The club remained in the second division until it was promoted in 1953. In the following years, FCL mainly played in the Nationalliga A. In 2003, after several seasons with financial and sporting troubles, the club got relegated to the renamed Challenge League, the former Nationalliga B. In 2006, after three seasons in the second division, FC Luzern celebrated its return into the top division (Super League) of Swiss football. In 2012 the club finished second in the Super League, securing its best league finish in 23 years.
FC Luzern's greatest success was winning the Swiss Championship in 1989. FCL have also won the Swiss Cup twice (1960 and 1992) and finished runners-up four times (1997, 2005, 2007, 2012).
Although the club has only won three important national trophies, FC Luzern is one of the traditional football clubs in the country with a strong local supporter base. In the 2011/12 season, FCL had the third highest average attendance in the Swiss Super League.
There are a number of rivalries between FCL and other teams, especially between their Ultras groups. The local derby is played with SC Kriens, whose stadium is located less than one kilometer from FCL's facilities at Allmend. Due to the reduction of the Swiss football league in the past years, the two clubs are now separated by two leagues. Because of this fact, the rivalry is not as big anymore as during the periods in the 1990s or after the year 2003, when both clubs were playing in the same league.
Between 1934 and 2009, FCL played their home games at the Stadion Allmend, which had a theoretical capacity of 25,000. For security reasons however, the Swiss Football Association did not allow more than 13,000 to attend. Until a new stadium was completed, FC Luzern temporarily played their home games in the Gersag Stadion located in Emmenbrücke.
In August 2011, the club moved into the newly built Swissporarena which is located at the place of the old ground. The opening game ended with a 0-0 draw against FC Thun.
Luzern theoretically would have been relegated. Due to financial problems, three teams in the top league were not given the playing licence by the Swiss FA. Thus, Luzern miraculously was not relegated.