Often overlooked by visitors to Italy, Milan is a great destination for a weekend getaway to Italy or longer. The fashion capital of Italy, in addition to browsing the city’s stylish shops, there are a number of excellent sites, museums, parks and other top things to do in Milan, least we forget the city’s famous aperitivo! I was lucky to do a student exchange to Milan in high school and have returned a few times a year ever since. I’ll always find new places, here are my top tips for a safe & happy visit to Milan!
Recommendations for safe travel in Milan
Milan is a very safe Italian city. I’ve never felt in danger. However, like any big city, pickpocketing can be an issue. So you’ll want to be mindful of your bag, especially when getting off and on the subway or on a crowded tramway. The Milanese are also quite respectful to women in a general way, so you should feel at home and at ease!
3 best things to do
The Milan historic centre is mostly pedestrian, so it’s perfect for strolling. You can start with the Piazza del Duomo, to see Milan’s impressive Gothic cathedral. From here, pop into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a stunning covered arcade with chic shops and historic cafés. Your wanderings will likely take you past la Scala, one of the most famous Opera Houses in the world and the Castello Sforzesco, a sprawling castle complex which is free to stroll through its exterior courtyards and has a museum housing the last sculpture by Michelangelo! Here are some other unique things to do:
Duomo Rooftop – No visit to Milan would be complete without seeing the Duomo, but visiting its roof is even more spectacular! An up close view of the statues and soaring vistas of the city.
Fondazione Prada – The art foundation of the famous fashion house is located in former industrial buildings. It has rotating displays of contemporary art, exhibitions and a bar designed by Wes Anderson!
Villa Necchi Campiglio – For something different, visit this beautiful house-museum in a villa dating to the 1930s by a family of bourgeois industrialists. The interiors include art and decorative objects from the time and it also has a lovely café within its serene gardens.
3 best restaurants and bars
Trattoria Milanese – If you’re looking for the traditional Milanese cuisine, like veal cutlets and risotto, you can’t go wrong with this old-school restaurant dating back to 1933.
Dry Milano – You can combine cocktails with great pizza at this stylish venue in the hip Brera neighborhood.
Fonderie Milanesi – Milan is famous for its aperitivo, a before dinner drink and nibbles and some places put out quite a large buffet which can be dinner. This usually takes from from 7-9pm. This industrial style place also has a pretty garden which creates a unique atmosphere or your aperitivo!
Best jogging path
The Parco Sempione – Found behind the Castello, this park is a wonderful place to jog with a gorgeous backdrop of the medieval castle. There are plenty of pathways, some ponds, bridges and ruins to spot on your jog.
Fashion fans visiting Milan will definitely have to visit the Quadrilatero della Moda, a district where all the top Italian and international fashion houses are based in and around via Monte Napoleone. Here are a few other favorites of mine!
Vintage Delirium – If you can’t afford a new Gucci bag, then seek out this vintage store. It stocks a varied array of secondhand clothing from high-end labels as well as bags and accessories.
Nonostante Marras – This is a great concept shop with an industrial yet cozy look by hip Italian designer Antonio Marras.
Raw – A funky design shop a little Paris-meets-Milan in the heart of the Brera design neighborhood.
Best Spa or Beauty Address
The spa located in one of the most original venues that I’ve seen has to be the QC Termemilano. It’s found in a repurposed tramway depot in the city centre. A beautiful restoration has kept historic features, including a backdrop of the former Spanish walls of the city and a tramway converted into a sauna. True to Milanese style, they also do an excellent aperitivo!