Amazing Things to Do in Milan: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Jen
Amazing Things to Do in Milan
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Are you thinking about visiting Milan this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Milan. These historic sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Ah, Milan! The mere mention of this Italian gem conjures images of high fashion, delectable cuisine, and awe-inspiring art. But let me tell you, Milan is so much more than its glamorous parts. It’s a city where history and modernity coalesce, creating an atmosphere that’s both electric and deeply rooted in tradition. When you visit, you’ll find a multitude of things to do in Milan.

Imagine strolling down the cobblestone streets, your eyes meeting the grandeur of the Duomo di Milano, one of the most iconic cathedrals in the world. Just a stone’s throw away, you’ll find the bustling Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a paradise for shopaholics and architecture enthusiasts alike. And let’s not forget the city’s rich culinary scene—think creamy risottos, mouthwatering osso buco, and, of course, the world-famous Milanese aperitivo.

So, buckle up! We’re about to embark on an unforgettable journey through Milan’s must-see spots, hidden gems, and everything in between. Ready to explore the best things to do in Milan? Let’s go! Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do In Milan.

The amazing places to visit in Milan right now
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Best Places to Visit in Milan

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Milan? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this vibrant vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Milan places to visit.

Are you looking forward to exploring world-class museums, indulging in gourmet Italian cuisine, shopping at trendy boutiques and experiencing a lively nightlife scene? Or would you prefer enjoying cultural events such as concerts and exhibitions? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Milan can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Milan that you should know about.

1. Duomo di Milano

Ah, the Duomo di Milano—it’s not just a cathedral; it’s an architectural marvel that defines the city’s skyline. If you’re wondering about the best things to do in Milan, this iconic landmark should top your list. With its intricate facades, towering spires, and awe-inspiring interiors, the Duomo is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a labyrinth of chapels and altars, each more magnificent than the last. Don’t miss the chance to climb to the terrace, where panoramic views of Milan unfold before you. It’s a sight that’ll leave you speechless, and trust me, it’s one of the Milan things to do that you’ll remember forever.

But the Duomo isn’t just about grandeur; it’s a place steeped in history and spirituality. Whether you’re attending a soul-stirring mass or simply soaking in the atmosphere, you’ll feel a sense of awe that only places like this can evoke.

So, if you’re in Milan, a visit to the Duomo is non-negotiable. It’s not just one of the cool destinations in Milan; it’s a journey through art, history, and spirituality that you’ll cherish forever.

The Duomo di Milano is one of the amazing things to do in Milan.
The Duomo di Milano tops the list of best things to do in Milan, an iconic architectural marvel defining the city’s skyline.

2. Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie

Curious about where to go in Milan to see famous paintings? When you find yourself wandering the streets of Milan’s Magenta neighborhood, make sure to stop by the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not just an architectural marvel; it’s also the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting, The Last Supper.

Located at Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, the convent is easily accessible by the Milan Metro, specifically the Conciliazione or Cadorna stations. Once you’re inside, you’ll be led to the refectory where the masterpiece awaits. It’s one of those must-see in Milan experiences that transcends mere sightseeing.

The painting itself is displayed in a climate-controlled room to preserve its fragile state. You’ll have a limited time to soak in the details, so make every second count. The emotion captured on the canvas, the intricate details, and the play of light and shadow are nothing short of mesmerizing.

Remember, due to its immense popularity, it’s crucial to book your tickets well in advance. Some even recommend booking as early as three months ahead. Securing your spot to see The Last Supper should be a top priority because this is something you’ll cherish forever especially if you’re an art lover.

Visit Milan's Magenta neighborhood to see Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper at the UNESCO-listed Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Visit Milan’s Magenta neighborhood to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper at the UNESCO-listed Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

3. Brera District

The Brera District—a place where Milan’s artistic soul thrives. Nestled in the heart of the city, this charming neighborhood is a delightful blend of old-world romance and modern sophistication. If you’re thinking about the coolest things to do in Milan for a taste of local culture, look no further.

As you meander through its cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter a myriad of art galleries, boutiques, and cafes. The district is also home to the famous Pinacoteca di Brera, an art gallery boasting works from masters like Caravaggio and Raphael.

Brera is not just about art; it’s a lifestyle. The area is teeming with vibrant street performances and local artisans selling their wares. And let’s not forget the culinary scene. From traditional Italian eateries to trendy fusion restaurants, Brera offers a gastronomic journey that’s second to none.

Brera is a district that captures the essence of Milanese culture, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city beyond the usual tourist traps.

Explore the Brera District in the heart of Milan, where artistic soul thrives, offering a blend of old-world romance and modern sophistication.
Explore the Brera District in the heart of Milan, where artistic soul thrives, offering a blend of old-world romance and modern sophistication.

4. Porta Nuova

If you’re keen on seeing how Milan is embracing the future, then Porta Nuova is your go-to spot. This district is a testament to Milan’s commitment to innovation and modernity. The area is a fascinating blend of towering skyscrapers and lush green spaces, creating a unique urban oasis.

Thinking about what to do in Milan, you ask? Well, Porta Nuova offers a variety of activities that go beyond the traditional Italian experience. From the Vertical Forest, an eco-friendly residential building, to the ultra-modern Unicredit Tower, the tallest building in Italy, there’s no shortage of architectural marvels to admire.

But it’s not all steel and glass here. The district also features the Library of Trees, a public park that’s a breath of fresh air in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a quick jog.

Milan attractions often focus on the past, but Porta Nuova is a glimpse into the city’s future. It’s a go-to destination in Milan for anyone interested in architecture, sustainability, or just a different side of this multifaceted city. So, if you’re looking to add a contemporary twist to your Milanese adventure, make sure Porta Nuova is on your list. Is this among the top things to do in Milan? 100%

Explore Milan's future in Porta Nuova, a district blending skyscrapers and green spaces to create a unique urban oasis.
Explore Milan’s future in Porta Nuova, a district blending skyscrapers and green spaces to create a unique urban oasis.

5. Pasticceria Marchesi

Ah, the aroma of freshly brewed espresso wafts through the air as you step into Pasticceria Marchesi, one of Milan’s oldest and most esteemed coffee shops. Established in 1824, this is where Milanese traditions meet modern-day elegance. It’s one of the unique things to do in Milan that’s not just about coffee; it’s about experiencing a slice of Milanese culture.

From the moment you walk in, you’ll notice the attention to detail, from the ornate interior to the impeccably dressed baristas. But let’s talk about the coffee. It’s nothing short of heavenly. Paired with a delicate pastry, it’s the epitome of Italian indulgence.

For those who appreciate the finer things in life, Pasticceria Marchesi also offers a selection of fine teas and chocolates. And if you’re a fan of people-watching, there’s no better place to do it. The café is a popular spot for Milan’s fashionable elite, so you’ll get a real sense of the city’s style and flair.

So, when you’re listing the best places to go in Milan, make sure Pasticceria Marchesi is on there. It’s not just a café; it’s an institution, a part of Milan’s soul that you simply can’t miss.

Savor Milanese culture at Pasticceria Marchesi, an esteemed coffee shop since 1824, blending tradition with modern elegance.
Savor Milanese culture at Pasticceria Marchesi, an esteemed coffee shop since 1824, blending tradition with modern elegance. | Source:

6. Navigli District

The Navigli District—Milan’s answer to Venice’s famous canals. Imagine this: you’re on a boat, the sun is setting, and the Milanese skyline is painted in hues of orange and pink. It’s a must-see in Milan that offers a different perspective of the city, away from the hustle and bustle.

The district is a labyrinth of canals, quaint bridges, and cobblestone streets, all lined with charming boutiques, art galleries, and cafes. It’s a place where time seems to slow down, allowing you to soak in the atmosphere. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or a romantic at heart, the Navigli District has something for everyone.

One of the coolest activities in Milan is to take a canal tour. As you glide through the water, you’ll pass by historic buildings and get a glimpse of Milanese life that most tourists miss. And don’t forget to try the local aperitivo at one of the many bars along the canal. It’s an Italian tradition that combines a pre-dinner drink with a buffet of delicious snacks.

Discover Milan's Navigli District, reminiscent of Venice's canals, with sunset boat rides offering a unique city perspective.
Discover Milan’s Navigli District, reminiscent of Venice’s canals, with sunset boat rides offering a unique city perspective.

7. Mercatone dell’Antiquariato

The Mercatone dell’Antiquariato is a paradise for those who love all things vintage and antique. A visit to this sprawling market, held on the last Sunday of every month along the Naviglio Grande, is among the Milan things to do that you won’t want to miss.

Picture yourself meandering through rows of stalls, each one a treasure trove of rare finds. From vintage jewelry to rare books, the market offers a fascinating glimpse into Italy’s rich history and culture. It’s one of those unique places in Milan where you can find something special, whether it’s a 19th-century painting or a retro Italian coffee maker.

If you’re a collector or simply someone who appreciates the finer things in life, well, this market is your dream come true. The vendors are usually more than happy to share the stories behind their wares, adding an extra layer of richness to your shopping experience.

Let’s not forget the food. Scattered among the antique stalls are vendors selling mouth-watering Italian street food. So, as you hunt for that perfect vintage lamp or antique mirror, you can also indulge in some delicious local treats.

In short, the Mercatone dell’Antiquariato is not just a market; it’s a journey through time and a feast for the senses.

Don't miss the Mercatone dell'Antiquariato, a paradise for vintage and antique lovers held along the Naviglio Grande on the last Sunday of every month.
Don’t miss the Mercatone dell’Antiquariato, a paradise for vintage and antique lovers held along the Naviglio Grande on the last Sunday of every month. | Source:

8. Quadrilatero della Moda

For fashion aficionados, the Quadrilatero della Moda is the epitome of Milanese glamour. This high-end shopping district is where you’ll find flagship stores of the world’s most renowned fashion houses. Think Gucci, Prada, and Versace, all within a stone’s throw of each other.

Now, you might be asking, where to visit in Milan for a taste of luxury? Search no more. The Quadrilatero della Moda is not just a shopping destination; it’s a cultural experience. As you walk down the elegant streets, you’ll be surrounded by stunning architecture that houses these fashion empires. The area is also teeming with chic cafes where you can take a breather and people-watch—Milanese style.

It’s not all about shopping. The district is an essential destination for art galleries and historic sites, too. For instance, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum offers a fascinating look into Renaissance art and history.

And let’s talk about the dining scene. From Michelin-starred restaurants to cozy Italian trattorias, the options are endless. So, after a day of indulging in the beautiful destinations in Milan, why not cap it off with a sumptuous meal?

In essence, the Quadrilatero della Moda offers a blend of fashion, history, and gastronomy that you shouldn’t miss.

Explore Milanese glamour at the Quadrilatero della Moda, with flagship stores from fashion icons like Gucci, Prada, and Versace.
Explore Milanese glamour at the Quadrilatero della Moda, with flagship stores from fashion icons like Gucci, Prada, and Versace. | Source: Source:

9. Museo del Novecento

If you’re a fan of 20th-century art, then Museo del Novecento is your sanctuary in Milan. Situated in the heart of the city, this museum is a treasure trove of modern and contemporary art. From Futurism to Spatialism, the museum covers a wide range of artistic movements that have shaped the last century.

So, what makes exploring this one of the best things to do in Milan for art lovers? For starters, the museum is home to over 400 works, including masterpieces by Modigliani, Kandinsky, and Picasso. It’s not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a journey through the evolution of modern art.

But wait, there’s more! The museum itself is a work of art. Housed in the Palazzo dell’Arengario, the building is an architectural marvel that adds another layer to your experience. And let’s not forget the panoramic views of the Piazza del Duomo from the museum’s upper floors. Talk about Milan attractions with a view!

For those who want to delve deeper, the museum offers guided tours and educational programs. Whether you’re an art connoisseur or a casual observer, Museo del Novecento is a must-visit.

Immerse in 20th-century art at Milan's Museo del Novecento—a treasure trove of modern and contemporary movements.
Immerse in 20th-century art at Milan’s Museo del Novecento—a treasure trove of modern and contemporary movements.

10. Parco Sempione

The great outdoors! If you’re yearning for a slice of nature amid Milan’s bustling cityscape, look no further than Parco Sempione. Situated behind the iconic Sforza Castle, this sprawling park is a haven for both locals and tourists. It’s one of those Milan places to visit where you can escape the urban hustle and bask in the serenity of greenery.

What to do in Milan when you need a breather? Jog along the winding paths, have a picnic by the pond, or simply lie on the grass and cloud-watch. The park is also home to some intriguing sculptures and monuments, adding a touch of culture to your leisurely stroll.

But that’s not all! Parco Sempione is a hotspot for events and activities. From open-air concerts to art installations, there’s always something happening here.

And if you’re into photography, the park provides some of the most picturesque backdrops in the city. Capture the golden hour as the sun sets behind the castle, or snap a selfie with the Arch of Peace in the background. It’s a spot that’s as photogenic as it is relaxing.

Parco Sempione is one of the amazing things to do in Milan.
Escape Milan’s urban hustle at Parco Sempione, a sprawling park behind the iconic Sforza Castle.

11. Milan Archaeological Museum

For those who are captivated by the past, a visit to the Milan Archaeological Museum is among the coolest things to do in Milan. Situated in the heart of the city, this museum is a treasure trove of ancient artifacts and historical wonders. From Egyptian mummies to Roman sculptures, the collection here is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Looking for the best places in Milan for history lovers? This museum tops the list. The well-curated exhibits take you on a journey through time, offering a glimpse into the lives of civilizations long gone. The museum is divided into different sections, each dedicated to a specific era or culture, making it easier for visitors to navigate and explore.

But the Milan Archaeological Museum is not just about looking at objects behind glass. They offer interactive experiences that make history come alive. For the intellectually curious, try the museum’s workshops and guided tours. You’ll get to handle replicas of ancient tools, learn about archaeological methods, and even participate in mock digs.

And if you’re a fan of architecture, the museum building itself is a marvel. The structure combines modern design elements with historical features, creating a space that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It’s one of those getaways that offers a rich, multi-layered experience.

Explore the Milan Archaeological Museum, a treasure trove of ancient artifacts and historical wonders in the heart of the city.
Explore the Milan Archaeological Museum, a treasure trove of ancient artifacts and historical wonders in the heart of the city.

12. Teatro alla Scala

Do you enjoy the performing arts? Teatro alla Scala, also known as La Scala to the locals, is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It’s where you’ll find the crème de la crème of opera, ballet, and classical music performances.

Curious about Milan things to do for culture enthusiasts? Well, a night at La Scala is an experience that transcends mere entertainment. The moment you step inside, you’re enveloped in an atmosphere of grandeur and sophistication. The plush red seats, the golden balconies, and the awe-inspiring chandelier that hangs from the ceiling—every detail screams elegance.

The acoustics here are world-class, making every note hit your soul. Try booking a behind-the-scenes tour. You’ll get to see the intricate workings of the theater, from the costume rooms to the rehearsal spaces, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the artists in action.

Let’s not forget the museum attached to the theater. It houses an impressive collection of costumes, set designs, and musical instruments, offering a deep dive into the history of performing arts. So, if you’re looking to add a touch of class to your Milanese adventure, La Scala is the place to be.

Experience world-class opera, ballet, and classical music performances at Teatro alla Scala, also known as La Scala.
Experience world-class opera, ballet, and classical music performances at Teatro alla Scala, also known as La Scala.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Amazing Things to Do in Milan

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Milan? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Milan:

What’s the best time to visit Milan?

Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons to explore Milan. The weather is mild, and you’ll avoid the summer tourist crowds. Plus, these seasons offer a plethora of festivals and events, making them the best times for Milan attractions.

Is Milan a walkable city?

Yes, Milan is a relatively walkable city, especially in its central areas where many of the main attractions are located. Here are some points to consider about walking in Milan:

  1. Central Location of Attractions: Many of Milan’s key attractions, such as the Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, La Scala Theatre, and the Brera district, are centrally located and within walking distance of each other.
  2. Pedestrian Zones: Milan has several pedestrian-only zones, especially around the Duomo and the shopping districts, making it pleasant and safe for walking.
  3. Flat Terrain: Unlike some other Italian cities built on hills, Milan is relatively flat, which makes walking easier.
  4. Public Transport: If you need to cover longer distances or want to visit attractions outside the central area, Milan has an efficient public transportation system, including trams, buses, and a metro system. This means you can easily combine walking with public transport.
  5. Navigli District: The canal district of Navigli is another walkable area, perfect for evening strolls, dining, and enjoying the aperitivo culture.
  6. Safety: As with any major city, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas, to avoid pickpockets. However, in general, Milan is considered safe for pedestrians.
  7. Weather: Milan’s climate is relatively mild, but it can get hot in the summer and chilly in the winter. It’s advisable to wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather.

Is visiting Milan expensive?

Visiting Milan can be expensive, with costs varying based on accommodation, dining, and activities. Luxury shopping and upscale dining can significantly increase expenses. However, budget-conscious travelers can find affordable options, especially with careful planning and by exploring the city’s diverse offerings.

How many days do I need in Milan?

A long weekend will give you a good taste of Milan, but if you want to dive deep into all the coolest activities in Milan, plan for at least a week. This will give you ample time to explore museums, dine at local gems, and even take day trips to nearby cities.

Golden Hour in Duomo di Milano Italy, Milano, Italy
Golden Hour in Duomo di Milano Italy, Milano, Italy

Is Milan worth visiting for art lovers?

Absolutely, Milan is a treasure trove for art lovers. It boasts iconic masterpieces like Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” and houses world-class galleries like Pinacoteca di Brera. The city’s rich cultural heritage, architectural marvels, and contemporary art scene make it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts.

What is Milan Italy best known for?

Milan, Italy is best known as a global fashion and design capital and home to high-end boutiques and showrooms. It’s also renowned for its rich art and history, including iconic landmarks like the Duomo Cathedral and Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Additionally, Milan is a financial hub with a vibrant cultural scene.

How to spend four days in Milan?

Milan, the fashion and design capital of Italy, offers a blend of modern sophistication and historical charm. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a four-day visit:

Day 1: Historic Milan

  1. Duomo di Milano: Start your day at Milan’s iconic cathedral. Climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city.
  2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: Adjacent to the Duomo, this historic shopping arcade is perfect for a coffee or some luxury shopping.
  3. Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco): Explore this historic fortress and its museums.
  4. Santa Maria delle Grazie: Book in advance to see Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”
  5. Evening in Brera: Wander the artistic neighborhood of Brera, filled with boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

Modern Milan & Shopping (Day 2)

  1. Quadrilatero della Moda: Dive into Milan’s fashion district, with luxury boutiques from global designers.
  2. Corso Como 10: A trendy spot combining fashion, design, art, and cuisine.
  3. Eataly: Experience Italian gastronomy at this vast marketplace.
  4. Porta Nuova District: Walk around this modern district to see skyscrapers and the contemporary side of Milan.
  5. Corso Como and Isola: Spend your evening in these areas known for nightlife and trendy bars.

Day 3: Art & Culture

  1. Pinacoteca di Brera: Visit this art gallery showcasing a significant collection of Italian Renaissance art.
  2. Modern Art Gallery (GAM): Explore artworks from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  3. Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology: Dive into the world of this genius inventor.
  4. La Scala Theatre: If you’re an opera fan, try to catch a performance or take a tour of this world-renowned opera house.

Day 4: Day Trip or Further Exploration

  1. Day Trip Options:
    • Lake Como: Just an hour away, this stunning lake offers picturesque views and charming towns like Como and Bellagio.
    • Bergamo: A historic city with a beautiful old town (Città Alta) and panoramic views.
  2. Or Stay in Milan:
    • Navigli District: Explore the canal district, known for its bohemian vibe, art studios, and evening aperitivo spots.
    • San Siro Stadium: Football fans might want to visit this iconic stadium, home to AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Is Milan family-friendly?

Milan is family-friendly, offering various attractions suitable for all ages. Families can explore parks like Parco Sempione, visit interactive museums like the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, and enjoy kid-friendly activities at the city’s numerous gardens and historical sites, making it a welcoming destination for families.

Closing Thoughts on Exploring Milan

And there you have it—a whirlwind tour of Milan that promises to leave you enchanted and yearning for more. From the high-fashion streets of the Quadrilatero della Moda to the tranquil canals of the Navigli District, Milan is a city that effortlessly blends the old with the new. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a foodie, or someone simply looking to soak in the culture, Milan places to visit have something for everyone. So pack your bags, put on your most stylish outfit, and get ready to explore the best places in Milan. Trust me, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss!

The amazing things to do in Milan for all types of travelers
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