One of the questions we get most is “When is it good to visit Milan?” so here is the list of the very best things going on. Remember to check out our calendar for the exact dates, as they can vary a bit from year to year.
Milano Design Week/Fuorisalone – one week during the first half of April. A week with very lively cosmopolitan atmosphere and cocktail parties combined with the up-and-coming designers’ bid on what the future will look like.
Piano City – 3 days during the penultimate weekend of May. There is piano music everywhere with lots of fantastic free concerts in the city’s parks, squares and several of Milan’s beautiful courtyards. The concerts go on 24 hours a day and the city teems with life and people.
Scala Filarmonici plays a free concerts on Piazza Duomo – the second Sunday of June with a speciel guest perfomance – this is a speciel and magical evening where thousands og Milanese of all ages fill up Piazza Duomo for a very speciel night.
Estate Sforzesca – from the beginning of June to the end of August there is entertainment almost every night in the central courtyard of Castello Sforzesco of theater, dance or music, a wonderful way to spend the summer evenings with the locals. Bear in mind that July and August the hottest months in Milan and when we say hot we means sweltering; temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius and they don’t go down much at night
TRI.P. at Triennale di Milano – an experrimental music festival in June/July with some of contemporary music’s most exciting names.
MITO September Music – a festival which every year focuses on a theme and offers performances in both Milan and Turin for 20 days in the beginning of September.
JazzMi – Milano jazz festival the first two weeks of November november. Some of the world’s finest jazz musicians come to Milan to play..
Artigiani in Fiera – Enormous Christmas market at Milan’s fair during the first week of December, actually the atmosphere in Milan during the month of December is wonderful with lots of ice skating rinks and Christmas markets. Read more about them hereand here.
Opening Night at La Scala theater– the new season at Teatro della Scala starts with an opera on December 7th remember that if you want to experience this very speciel night, you have to book your tickets a long time in advance. You canfind the links in our events calendar.
Milan Fashion Week – February and September, the city is hectic during this week with cocktail parties and many other things.
Sales in Milan – July/August and January/February for the exact dates check our shopping guide.
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.
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. If you cannot get tickets online, don’t despair; you can call this number +390292800360 and press 2 for English. You have to pay by credit card. –> 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)
MUBA – Museo dei bambini
The children’s musum in Milan. where children can play, paint and create on their own terms. For children aged 2-11. –> 12, Via Enrico Besana (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.