For those of you who are only in town for a short visit we have made a mini route where you get all the best Milan has to offer in terms of both shopping, food, architecture and culture. For our first express shopping route we have chosen the area from Piazza Gae Aulenti to Piazza della Scala, from the new and modern to the old and traditional.
Start on Piazza Gae Aulenti; Milan’s newest area, where you should see the internationally acclaimed buildings “Bosco verticale” (the vertical forest))
On the piazza you find the famous Muji,
Grom ice cream,
Replay store with Italian denim and a nice bar where you can have your morning coffee,
and Illy café – the world’s best espresso.
Located under the square is the supermarket Esselunga if you want to shop for specialties.
From there continue down Corso Como and check out the famous design store and art gallery at no. 10 – good place for lunch.
at the end of Corso Como turn left and check out High Tech with all you can desire for your home and on the square (Piazza XXV Aprile) is food temple Eataly
Continue into the Brera area (Via Solferino, Via San Marco and Corso Garibaldi) which is the old artistic neighbourhood of Milan with lots of quirky and chic stores and galleries.
If you’re here on either a Monday or a Thursday it is worth your while to visit the open air market in Via San Marco.
Continue down to Piazza della Scala with Milan’s famous Scala theater.
If you still have energy and time to spare you are now directly behind Piazza Duomo just walk thorugh the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which links Piazza della Scala and Piazza Duomo and you have Milan’s cathedral right in front of you.
Now you are probably starving and you are close to several good restaurants e.g. Langosteria Cafè,4, Galleria del Corso (find on map) excellent seafood €€€, Piz, 34, Via Torino (find n map) genuine Neapolitan pizza €, I 12 Gatti,11/12, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II on the corner of Piazza della Scala (find on map) with a fantasic terrace on the top of Milan €€ and Mama Burger,18, Via Agnello (find on map) good quality burgers €.
If you’re with your children in Milan then buy 3 day’s access to the civic museums for just €12 an adult (under-18s don’t pay). You can get it online or, easier, at the ticket sale at the first museum you visit. There are lunch ideas mentioned after every museum.
Rent a different bike for the kids at the park. In the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (find on map) and Parco Sempione (find on map)you can rent the beautiful originale 3-wheel take bike Alternative Byki from 1959,it costs €5 for 20 minutes.
Museo nazionale scienza e tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci. The Leonardo Da Vinci museum is a must for children from age 6 and up. There is enoughentertainment to last you several hours on a rainy day.
The most diversely talented person ever to have lived is painter, inventor etc. Leonardo da Vinci, and Italy’s national technical museum, located in Milan, is also his official museum. It combines the chance to actually try out some of his inventions with the more traditional exhibitions.
Ideas for lunch. Eat some pizza or foccacia on the square in front of the musum, Buy it here: Panificio Sant’Ambrogio, 3, Via San Vittore (find on map) Ristoro Monterosso, 11, Via San Vittore (find on map)
Museo di Storia naturale – Dinosaurs and other monsters
Museo di Storia Naturale is yet a perfect place for children from age 6 if they like dinosaur skeletons and everything to do with wild beasts. Unfortunately the homepage for the museum is only in Italian and rather dry but the museum itself is excellent.
It’s located in a great park with a wooden jungle gym and a really cozy outdoor café, BAR BIANCO where you can get coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft drinks and lunch. The park also houses a genuine old-fashioned merry-go-round, a little train and bumper cars for very young kids.
Milan Cathedral (Duomo)
The city cathedral is very impressive on the outside and rather gloomy on the inside. You should spend your time visiting the roof which has an extraordinary view of the whole city and when the weather is clear you can see the Alps in the background. Either take the elevator up or get a fun experience walking all the way up the crooked old stone staircase
You can go get lunch at either Luini (find on map) or Mama Burger (find on map) – both good cheap lunch places.
The city’s impressive medieval castle Castello Sforzesco where you can choose to just walk right through the beautiful courtyards to the Sempione park, which contains playgrounds and ample lawns where you can have your sandwiches, you can eat at Bar Bianco (find on map) or try the incredibly vast choice of sandwiches at the kiosk on Piazza Castello left of the fountain when coming from Piazza Cairoli.
But you could also visit the inside of the castle, where there are various art museums, displaying historical weapons, paintings, musical instruments and furniture. Especially the weapons tend to appeal to kids.
Take a trip on the tram.
It’s really kind of awesome and cheap entertainment at €1,50 for adults (it’s a regular ticket for public transport and children under 11 don’t pay when accompanied by an adult, every adult with a valid ticket can bring 2 children under 11). Milan has old, very elegant trams that were built between 1928 and 1932. Remember to purchase the ticket before you get on the tram. You can get them at newsstands (edicole) and some bars.
If you are up to it, you can now get bikesharing bikes for kids at the weekend. Read about the new BikeMi Junior here.
If you are here between the months of June and September there are public swimmingpools in Milan. Read more here.
Check also our post on classic sightseeing here. Milan offers canal tours and double-deckers.
If you want a fun experience and a view of Milan that takes your breath away (don’t worry you won’t have to walk all the way up there is an elevator) then you have to go up in the Torre Branca.
Right next to the museum Triennale di Milano is the 108 m tall Torre Branca which was designed by architect Gio Ponti in 1933. From its top you have a 360° panorama over the whole city. If there are strong winds or the weather is bad they are closed. It costs € 5,00 per person.
Milan has several museums worth visiting. But if you can – visit them during the week and leave the queues at the weekend to the others.
If you’re in Milan for 72 hours or less, you should consder getting a MilanoCard. Read more here.
You can visit many of Milan’s museums for free on every first Sunday of every month.
Most museums change their exhibitions frequently so it’s a good idea to check out the calendar for each of them. Read more about the best apps, our event calendar and our weekly recommendations for information.
Below we mention what we consider the city’s most beautiful museums with a short description of each one. Please note that opening hours and days are very varied.
Admission is valid for both Largo Isarco and Milano Osservatorio within 7 days.
Museum for contemporary art and culture co-headed by famous designer Miuccia Prada. The foundation has operated since 1993 and organizes, amongst other things, film festivals. On May 9th 2015 they inaugurated their new venue in Milan – very impressive architecture. FONDAZIONE PRADA’s Bar Luce is designed by film director Wes Anderson. Bar luce recreates the atmosphere of a typical Milanese café –> 2, Largo Isarco (find on map)
Admission is valid for both Largo Isarco and Milano Osservatorio within 7 days.
Fondazione Prada’s new location in the center of Milan dedicated to photography and visual arts. It is situated at the top of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with a view of the glass Octagonal at its center.
–> Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (find on map)
This museum, which was inaugurated on April 30th 2015, celebrates Giorgio Armani’s 40-year anniversary as a designer. The museum has been created by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. 4 floors with historical creations. The museum is located in the Tortona design neighbourhood. –> 40, Via Bergognone (find on map)
Palazzo Morando – Costume Moda Immagine
This beautiful historical building located within the Quadrilatero della Moda Milan’s exclusive fashion dsitrict houses collections of decorative and fine arts and exhibits about fahsion. The museum is closed on Mondays.
–> 6, Via Sant’Andrea (find on map)
The Diocesan Museum is housed in the antique cloisters of Sant’Eustorgio and contains over 700 art works spanning from the 4th century up till today including some very fine sculptures by artist Lucio Fontana.
–> 95, Corso di Porta Ticinese (find on map)
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper” is located next to the church Santa Maria delle Grazie in the Cenacolo Vinciano and is a definite must-see, to get in you must book tickets well in advance here. –> 2, Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie (find on map)
Opposite Santa Maria delle Grazie and “The Last Supper” is a small gem, that has been opened to the public on occasion of EXPO2015; the vineyard, which was given to Leonardo da Vinci by the Duke of Milan Ludovica Sforza in 1498, is located in the garden of the Casa degli Atellanti (Sforza courtiers). The grape variety is the original one from Leonardo’s time . Many days are already fully booked so it’s a good idea to go online (link above in the title) and book a tour. –> 62, Corso Magenta (find on map).
Toti – the first submarine built in Italy after WW2
The Leonardo Da Vinci museum is a must for children from age 6 and up. There is enoughentertainment to last you several hours on a rainy day. The most diversely talented person ever to have lived is painter, inventor etc. Leonardo da Vinci, and Italy’s national technical museum, located in Milan, is also his official museum. It combines the chance to actually try out some of his inventions with the more traditional exhibitions.
–> 21, Via San Vittore (find on map)
Fabbrica del Vapore
The steam factory (literally) is a cultural centre in Milan that organizes art exhibitions, music festivals, theatre, conferences and more. The building complex is huge and definitely worth a visit. –> 4, Via Giulio Cesare Proccaccini (find on map).
Palazzo della Ragione
This beautiful building dates back to 1251 and is a permanent space for changing photographic exhibitions. This museum is worth a visit not only for photo enthusiasts but also because of the building’s historical value. It is closed on Mondays.
–> Piazza Mercanti (findon map)
A foundation for photography, they also organize courses, but they always have one interesting photo exhibition on.. –> 5, Via Meravigli (find on map)
The ultimate art collection in Milan featuring masterpieces by the classical Italian masters; Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci just to mention a couple, the building itself is incredibly beautiful. –>28, Via Brera (find on map)
One of Milan’s most overlooked museums. This museum and library has an astounding collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s cartoons (charcoal drawings) and notebooks. Definitely worth a visit. –> 2, Piazza Pio XI Between Via Torino and Cordusio. (find on map).
The museum of the twentieth century, at Piazza Duomo, opened in 2010 after the collection’s original home in Palazzo Reale had been closed in 1988. It’s Milan’s municipal collection of paintings and sculpture from the twentieth century. The collection opens with Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo’s fantastic Fourth Estate. –> Via Guglielmo Marconi (South side of Piazza Duomo) (find on map)
The museum of Milan’s cathedral was originally opened in 1953 but re-opened in 2013 after a long period of renovation. It is a record of the history of the cathedral and covers a period spanning from the 15th to the 20th century. –> 12, Piazza Duomo (find on map)
This home belonged to the two brothers the barons Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi who collected 15th and 16th century art to decorate their home so that it reminded themselves and their guests of princely Lombard homes of the 16th century.It was inhabited by their descendants until 1974 when one of Giuseppe’s sons decided to create the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation and donated the entire patrimony to it, at the same time the home was purchased by the region of Lombardy that opened the museum home to the public in 1994.
–> 5, Via Gesù (find on map)
One of Milan’s most interesting private museums founded by art collector Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli (1768-1833) it contains works by some of the greatest Italian painters e, g. Botticelli, Belini and Hauez. –> 12, Via Alessandro Manzoni (find on map)
This gem which was the private home of married art collectors was opened to the public in 2003 and contains their private collection by some of the finest painters from the twentieth century. A unique look into a private home. –> 15, Via G. Jan (find on map)
Fondazione Achille Castiglioni
Achille Castiglioni who died in 2002 was an Italian designer of furniture, lighting, radiograms a.o. his studio has been turned into a museum and is run privately by the Achille Castiglioni foundation. You must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to book your viat from Tuesday to Friday at ether 11 am – 12 – 1 pm. –> 27, Piazza Castello (find on map)
Situated in a gorgeous villa in Via Palestro. This villa is one of Milan’s finest examples of neoclassical architecture and hosts both contemporary photo exhibitions and paintings from the 19th century..
-> Via Palestro (find on map)
Milan’s permanent exhibition of more than 300 paintings, drawings, sculpture and engravings by Italian artists starting from 1886 all the way up to today. The museum itself was designed by renowned architect Luca Beltrami and was opened in 1886..
–> 34, Via Turati (find on map).
PAC houses a beautiful collection of contemporary art. It was re-opened in 1979 after a thorough restructuring of the building, (the mafia had a bomb explode here in 1993). The exhibitions are changed frequently..
-> 14, Via Palestro (find on map)
This amazing building was the seat for the local government of the city of Milan and is an important cultural center today and houses important exhibitions and events. -> 12, Piazza Duomo (find on map)
Design museum La Triennale di Milano is the main Italian venue for architecture, visual and decorative arts, design, fashion and audio/video. The terrace of Triennale is very cool and has a breathtaking view, good place for brunch and aperitivo, -> 6, Viale Alemagna (find on map)
One of Italy’s largest banks Intesa San Paolo have opened their private collections to the public on Piazza della Scala, right in the center of the city. It is an impressive exhibiton and there is no admission fee. .–> Piazza della Scala 6 (find on map)
Milan’s most experimental contemporary museum. It’s located in an old factory and houses very interesting exhibits and installations. Take the metro out there (purple line, get off at Ponale)
–> 2, Via Chiese (find on map)
Regrettably the English language version of the museum sites aren’t always neither thorough nor updated. But there is nothing wrong with the art so don’t miss out on some great experiences.
A classic sightseeing tour on your first day here can actually be a really good way to get a feeling of the city and of which things are in the same area. Here we have a list of the best tours Milan has to offer.
Hop-on Hop-off tours.
With thedouble-deckers you can buy tickets for either 24 or 48 holurs (repspectively €22 and €25) with departure from Piazza Castello (find on map)
In Milan you can also do your sightseeing from a tram, TraMilano, a charming and different way to vist the tourist attractions. This costs €15 and departs from Milan’s central station (find on map) near the Zara shop, check the link above for more precise details.
If you have the MilanoCard you get a 15% discount on tickets. There is also an app for the Hop-on Hop-Off service, find the link to download it here.
See Milan from a segway in small groups with 8 participants, choose between the day tripof 3 hours. or the night tripof 2.5 hours. Both trips are €75 and start on the ´corner of Via dei Chiostri and Via Ancona (find on map) there is a 30 minute orientation before the trip begins.
The evening tour of the canals costs €10 and is 40 minutes long with departures at 9 pm – 9.50 pm -10.40 pm. You must purchase the tickets at the point of departure but you can book here:,Call Center +39029094242 every day bewtween 10 am and 6 pm or with an email to email@example.com
If you’d like an aperitivo while sailing through the navigli the the Happy Boat tour is what you’re looking for,it’s on every Friday and Saturday at 7.30 p.m. and costs €22 cocktail and buffet included in the price. You can book tickets here: Autostradale Viaggi – Milano 2, Passaggio Duomo (find on map) 1, P.zza Castello (find on map). Tel. +390230089900 email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rickshaw tours with VELOLEO
An untraditional and green way to visit the city is by rickshaw or bike taxi, they organize both shopping- and city trips and prices €25-45 for 1/2 and 1 hour respectively. The trips start from both Piazza Castello, Piazza Duomo and Piazza San Babila. You can also book online and personalize your trip here.
The view from the roof of Duomo is breathtaking especially on clear days, were you can see the Alps from up there.It’s a really good idea to reserve tickets in advance so you can skip the line. Book here‘
If you’re in Milan for 72 hours or less, you should consider getting a MilanoCard. Read more here.
You can’t say Milan without mentioning La Scala; opera, Giuseppe Verdi, ballet and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. Are you into opera there is a real insider trick to getting tickets at only €12.
Below you’ll find the instructions of how to get your hands on the €12 tickets and perhaps you won’t get the best seats for watching the performanceat at this price, the acoustics up under the roof in the highest gallery are amazing and it’s an incredible experience.You are going to need patience to get the tickets and there are only 140 seats available for each performance:
Opera and Ballet Evening Performances. You have to be at the Evening Box Office in 2, Via Filodrammatico (find on map) at 1.00 p.m. (be there at least a couple of hours before then, if the performance is one of the popular ones or on either Friday or Saturday night!) and join the queue, the lucky first 140 (who must bring some kind of official picture ID) will be noted down on a list, every single person who wants a ticket must show up, you cannot book for other people. Then you’ll have to be back at 5.00 p.m. at the Evening Box Office and get your tickets
Symphonic and Singing Concerts. The list will be filled out and tickets handed out at the Evening Box Office (find on map) office at 5.00 p.m. – remember that every person interested in a ticket must be physically present at this hour.
Matinee Performances The list will be filled out and tickets handed out at the Evening Box Office (find on map) office at 12.00 p.m. – remember that every person interested in a ticket must be physically present at this hour.
Normal admissions range from €18-2,000 depending on the performance you are interested in and where you want to sit, you can get more information about this here. It is a good idea to buy your tickets online in advance in case you already know you want to go, reservations and online purchase can be made here.
Another possibility, for the more impulsive opera lover, who likes to live life dangerously, is to go to the central box office in Galleria del Sagrato, Piazza Del Duomo, Metro Station Duomo (open all days from 12 p.m.to 6 p.m.) and ask whether there are any tickets that have not been picked up for that evening’s performance. (find on map) but you should know that the most popular performances are sold out months ahead.
Casa Verdi. Giuseppe Verdi built Casa Verdi as a home for retired musicians and he and his wife are themselvs buried in the crypt. The crypt can be visited every day at.8.30 a.m.-6 p.m., and it also possible for groups to visit Casa Verdi itself and its wonderful art collectionbut you need to book the tour in advance. The visit itself is free but it is custom to leave €3-5 as a a thank you. Casa Verdi is located on 29, Piazza Buonarotti (find on map).