After 4 years in Italy, with two of them in Milan, in addition to going there basically every weekend I wanted to share my favourite places in the city. I would say getting the perspective from a foreigner can be helpful too😉
On the bottom of the page you will find the Google map of all the places mentioned here below.
A couple of things to know:
- A lot of restaurants close between 3pm and 7pm (after lunch and before dinner)
- Most people eat dinner after 8
- Kids are outside until late, and it is totally normal to see them sleep in the stroller (or wide awake) at 11pm – which is great, kids are a part of life, not the sun in which everything revolves around- I like it!
- From around 6pm until dinner you get ‘Aperitivo’ almost all over Milan. This includes that you buy a drink for 5-14€ (depending on the place) and you get food, either a little plate served or you can choose from a buffet. If there is aperitivo in a place there is no ‘opting out’, you pay the same for a bottle of water as you do a drink basically. This is not something you can change, so just roll with it and adjust to the hours of aperitivo.
- Everything is open on Sundays
- Clubs normally has cover charge, around 20€ and you get a drink included
- The best way to get from Malpensa is with the airport express train (around 30 minutes to get to the centre of Milan), from Linate and Bergamo- by bus, respectively taking 20 minutes and one hour.
- Public transportation works- download the app ‘Citymapper’, it is absolutely genius in Milan (and Rome too, btw).
Areas to shop:
Corso Vittorio Emanuele: All the high street shops: Zara, H&M, Mango, Bershka etc. It can be quite crowded, but I like this area.
Brera and Corso Como: Smaller more niche stores
Via Montenapoleone/Via Spiga: Beautiful to walk around, all the big luxury brands are present here.
Via Tortona: Smaller more niche/artisan shops, you will also find DMagazine here (as well as other places in the city)- much recommended around Porta Genova
Arese shopping mall outside of Milan, basically only an option if you have a car. The mall has everything, also the first Primark (and rumours has it, soon also Starbucks) in Italy.
Do not go to Corso Buenos Aires even though it is a famous street in Milan for shopping, it has the same shops as in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, but the street is packed and it is a driving street- so not very nice to walk around.
Parco Sempione: Nice park to just chill, have lunch or take a walk in. On the one side there is Arco della Pace (here you find some nice aperitivo places) and the other side (towards Duomo)- Castello Sforsezco.
Giardini Publici: Very nice park close to Porta Venezia, not at all big, but some greenery in the city life, and a great people- watching place.
Where to eat:
Italians mostly only eat croissants for breakfast, not a big sit- down meal, but these are my favourites:
California Bakery: Great food; eggs, yoghurt, Granola, pancakes- much recommended (not very Italian though). You find them throughout the city.
God save the food: Hamburgers, salads, sandwiches- great food, nice place, nice area.
Spritz (Navigli): One of the best ones, always packed, always good food there
Manhattan (Navigli): Another great one, always packed, always good food
Chinese Box (Corso Como): Good food, great place, nice drinks, and the area is one of my favourites in Milan.
Ciu’s (Corso Buenos Aires): The best Aperitivo in Milan when it comes to the food. Always packed and high in tempo, but the food and the scene is great.
Nerino Dieco: Close to Duomo, needs a reservation (most likely), but has great food
Trattoria Toscana (between Navigli and Duomo): You see a sign on the outside, enter through a red empty room, pass the kitchen and enter into a fantastic little oasis backyard with a fountain and a really nice ambiance and food- much recommended
Officina 12 (Navigli): Their truffle pizza is fantastic, so is their risotto
Signorvino: A wineshop with great food at good prices. They have two, both around Duomo, which is strange that something that good exists that close to the tourist spots, so DO NOT just go to the restaurant next to it, if you find Signorvino, those close by are not as good! (I have also written about it HERE)
Roof top of the Brian & Barry Building behind Duomo-: Great view and good food.
Go have wine at La Vineria (multiple places, but the bests in Navigli), their wines are great and directly from the tap!
Sports bar: Rookies in Navigli is the best- and they have decent nachos there!
Navigli: Younger crowd, but a lot of different bars and restaurants.
Arco della Pace: Nice area, buzzing and has nice outside areas for summer.
Corso Como: More ‘high end’, again a lot of options.
Colonne San Lorenzo: Young, students etc- you buy drinks and drink them in the piazza hanging out with people.
Too hard to tell depending on what one likes. But the range goes from Just Cavalli, Old Fashion, Byblos, Gattopardo (you pay to get in, more ‘suits and models’ as the names would suggest) to Rocket, Roll over Beethoven, Plastic and Alcatraz (more grunge, rock, alternative). I have been to all, I liked all- but I am very versatile in my taste, and were in all of them with good people, which honestly makes or breaks the experience.
Stay away from:
Spuntini: Pizza place with huge lines, the pizzas aren’t that good (if you need a pure pizza place, you should stumble over good ones as you walk, but if not, find Rossopomodoro- better option).
Ceserio 7: Overpriced, not good food. If you want to go to a rooftop terrace, go to La Rinascente or the Brian & Berry building instead.
Stay in Navigli, close to Duomo, Colonne San Lorenzo, Corso Como, Brera or Porta Genova.
Stay away from the areas around the Central Station (Milano Centrale) and Corso Buenos Aires. And as always- anything close to the airports are outside of the city so don’t choose those.
There are many, but here are the ones I like:
Navigli and Darsegna- Just take a walk it is lovely
Brera and Corso Como- Again, have a walk and see the old Milan
Corso Como 10– Most of us cannot afford anything there, but a coffee in the lovely bar one probably can manage.
Duomo– Try to get on top of it too.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele– The worlds oldest shopping mall.
Armani Silos– A curated exhibition of the Armani designs through the years- I loved it.
Prada museum– This is not a Prada exhibit, but curated by Prada- much recommended, and the café there is very Instagram friendly.
Go to Eataly, either in Corso Como or behind Duomo- good food, authentic Italian and the best ingredients.
Happy Milan- trippin’! Anything I should have added?
Here are all the places mentioned above in one map: