All The Best Things To Do In Milan Italy
Although this was my second time to Italy’s fashion mecca, I still spent hours researching all the best things to do in Milan Italy before our trip. Milan is one of my favorite metropolitan cities in Europe because it is a futuristic metropolis that combines ancient buildings and architecture with futuristic modern skyscrapers. You get the best of both worlds in Milan.
Milan is urban, hip, young, and full of life while also a place of history, authentic culture, & business. The architecture, art, apertivos, style, and vibe are what I love most about this city. I’ve always had such memorable & warm experiences with the locals who make you feel welcome.
I never feel like I get enough time to explore Milan, but I will definitely be back! Technically, yes you can see Milan’s main attractions in one day, however I recommend staying 2-3 nights here because there are so many restaurants, cafes, and shops to check out. This trip we stopped in Milan before heading to Lake Como for a week.
Check out my detailed Lake Como travel guide & itinerary here.
Keep reading & scrolling if you want to know what the best things to do in Milan Italy are and why you should add it to your travel list:)
Did you know that the spectacular Duomo of Milan is the largest church in Italy? It took over 600 years to build this majestic gothic cathedral. This Italian Gothic-style cathedral houses up to 40,000 people making it the fourth largest church in the world. The vastness and architectural detail of the Duomo is worth seeing for yourself.
Tips for the Duomo
- Go early! Before 10 A.M. so you can beat the crowds. The best time to go is 9 A.M. right when they open.
- Make sure to go to the Duomo’s rooftop terrace for a bird’s eye view of Milan.
- Buy your tickets ahead of time if you want to go to the rooftop. Purchase the “Skip the Line” ticket if you hate lines like I do.
- Mind the dress code if you plan ongoing inside the cathedral. So no crop tops or jean shorts, etc. Take a scarf with you to cover up your shoulders just in case.
GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – an icon of Milan – is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Named after the first king of Italy, this prestigious galleria is filled with designer stores, jewelry stores, art galleries, and a handful of cafes & restaurants.
This grand mall was built in a classic neo-renaissance style with Italian marble, mosaic floors, and high glass ceilings. It officially opened in 1877, making it Italy’s first & oldest mall.
The floor mosaic pays homage to Rome, Turin, Florence, & Milan and I only bring this up because there’s a tradition that people do here for good luck… The tradition is to spin counterclockwise on your right foot, three times, on the bulls balls. I didn’t do it this time, but maybe next;)
Tip: Check out the eclectic the vintage bookstore on the side facing the Duomo.
PIAZZA DELLA SCALA
Home to the world-famous opera house, Teatro alla Scala and located right next to the Galleria & Duomo. You’ll find a Leonardo da Vinci statue here at one of the most iconic squares of Milan.
PIAZZA GAE AULENTI
One of Milan’s new complexes that is known as the Milan’s futuristic square. There’s some cool restaurants, cafes and shops here. Here you’ll see the Bosco Verticale, which are two towers covered in plants to help produce oxygen and reduce the city smog.
THE LAST SUPPER
If you are into art, check out The Last Supper painting by the famous Leonardo da Vinci.
Navigli is the one of best areas in Milan to enjoy an apertivo in the evening. This area surrounding the old canals in Milano is full of bars, restaurants, cafes, and clubs. It’s a hip, young, and lively vibe.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN MILAN
Bar Luce – A unique cafe designed by film director Wes Anderson in 2015 for Prada. The atmosphere is unique and looks like it’s from the 60’s with it’s candy pastel tones, pinball machines, vintage coffee machines, etc. The aesthetic reminds me of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Go during breakfast or lunch for some coffee and treats:)
Camaprino – The first Campari bar opened in 1867 by Gaspare Campari as a wine shop, and then later became a famous Milan bar. It’s located right by the entrace to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
If you love bougie places check out La Veranda at the Four Seasons and the Bulgari Hotel restaurant. I can’t speak on the food, but they both have a nice ambiance.
For a more casual dinner restaurant / bar, go to Fonderie Milanesi.
For a chic bar go to LùBar.
I highly recommend experiencing a proper apertivo in the Navigli District too. Apertivos are a big part of the Milano culture and you’ll see all the locals with their colleagues and friends. Definitely of of the best things to do in Milan Italy.
Milan is known for risotto all’s Milanese, polenta, minestrone, salami, Panettone, and negroni sbagliato. The negroni originated in Milan at Basso Bar so if you love negronis like I do, definitely try to make it to Basso Bar.
WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN
There are so many beautiful hotels in Milan but I recommend staying close to where you want to spend the most time. We stayed at Hotel Sanpi Milano and loved it. It was 1 mile from the Milano Centrale Station and 1 mile from the Duomo, located right in the middle. It only took about 15-20 minutes to walk to the Duomo and the walk was beautiful. I prefer to walk when traveling because you get to see more and experience the culture.
For luxury hotels, check out the Bulgari Hotel, Armani Hotel, or Four Seasons.
GETTING AROUND MILAN
Milan is a very walkable city, but they also have taxis, Uber, and the train, or you can rent a bike. I wanted to do a segway tour but Joe wasn’t into the idea haha.
That’s it for now! That’s my list of all the best things to do in Milan Italy. Comment anything I left out and you think is worth experiencing or seeing in Milan:)
More things to do in Milan Italy: Museo del Novecento, the Brera neighborhood, the Fashion District, and Castello Sforzesco.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN MILAN ITALY
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