Over the years many friends and colleagues have asked me what to do and where to go while visiting Milan. Here is a quick snapshot of what I would recommend doing in my hometown.
Hotels and flats in Milan:
I suggest to stay close to the Duomo - the Cathedral area (via Dante, Duomo, Cairoli, S.Babila, Sempione), it's the main central pedestrian area and every other central area you want to get to is close either with trams or metro or with a short cab ride. For hotels and short flat rentals, www.airbnb.com and booking.com are the best bets.
If you are up for a treat, I can recommend the Magna pars suites, Hotel Château Monfort or Armani hotel.
Shopping in Milan
For a good shopping centre I suggest "La Rinascente" (think Selfridges in London) it’s by Duomo, at the end of via Dante. This is also a shopping area, there are many high street chains and high-end boutiques around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and San Babila. Don`t forget to go for a quick walk in Via Montenapoleone (THE shopping street :), think New Bond street in London, so the likes of Gucci, Armani, Ralph Lauren, and so on will be all there.
Other shopping areas are Corso Vercelli, where you will find shoe makers that have hand-made tailored leather shoes for over 100 years - many politicians and show business crowds can be seen shopping nearby, and Corso Magenta, a less historical but interesting area where to go for an afternoon shopping stroll.
As for outlets, there is a big one an hour drive from Milan, it’s called Serravalle outlet, if you like high end outlets, you will totally enjoy this Italian brands-packed one! :)
The Area of Sant’ Ambrogio is quite nice for a stroll and so is Navigli (the Canal area designed by Leonardo da Vinci , packed with little cute bars) and Brera, quite posh artistic area with many good restaurants, bars and tons of interesting artsy shops.
Pinacoteca di Brera is also a very nice art gallery. The other must-visit in Milan belongs to Leonardo da Vinci, the Last Supper (L'ultima cena), to visit this you will need to book online months before ...the queue can be painfully long.
Also don`t miss a quick hike up the Duomo (or cheat and get the elevator!) for breathtaking views and the Torre Branca, the high tower in the middle of Parco Sempione.
Drinks and Food in Milan
Milano is quite famous for its “aperitivo”, a Milanese version of the happy hour, that means that it’s plenty of fashion bars and lounge bars that offer mouth watering buffets, very good quality food mostly, free if you have drinks. Here are my favourite ones:
In the area of Corso Sempione, Arco della Pace area- 'my area' ;-)
- Living (best for aperitivo, especially if you can sit outside facing the park and the arch, and don`t miss the Sauvignon Blanc Specogna from Friuli, our favourite!)
- Deseo (great for Sunday morning brunch)
- Milano (via Procaccini, 37, nice aperitivo big bar if the weather lets you down this is a good place)
- Bar Bianco (in the middle of the park Sempione, open only in summer)
- 10 Corso Como (very nice bar for a quick drink while you are around the shops, Corso Como 10 is also a famous shop itself)
Don`t forget to go for an evening stroll to the Navigli area and choose a nice bar that inspires you.
Public transport can be pretty efficient and famous are the historic trans of Milan, don’t miss a chance to ride them. Taxis are the other obvious choice to move around, remember to memorise the cab number or code you are given on the phone. The companies I use are 0039 026969, 0039 02 8585 or 0039 024040.
As for food, a few restaurants I can highly recommend:
- Salsamenteria Verdiana
- La Torre di Pisa
- Pane e Acqua
- La Taverna dei Golosi
- Osteria Cavallini
- Officina 12
- Da Giacomo Arengario (breathtaking views of the Duomo)
Don’t forget to check out the Brera area too, there are so many cute restaurants there. If you are around the Duomo area at lunchtime be adventurous and try a “panzerotto di Luini”. Luini started off as a bakery and now makes the best panzerotto (small calzone) in town, people queue there every day of the week.
For sushi in Milan try Nu, Trussardi or Finger.
If you are looking for a family friendly restaurant I suggest Pollicino but generally, except the very posh places, most restaurants will be happy to have children and offer children menus and highchairs, especially for lunch or early dinners. Just let them know before you reserve.
In general, for any tips on family friendly places in Milan, and activities, have a look on mumadvisor.
Are you into theater, operas, ballet? Then don`t miss a night at Teatro alla Scala, a world-renowned opera house right behind the Duomo.