A fashion powerhouse and the financial heart of Italy, Milan is a stylish and sophisticated city. With a world-famous football club, hundreds of elegant shops and malls, a thriving food scene, and a pulsating nightlife, Milan offers many exciting experiences.
But with so many options, it can be difficult for a first-time visitor to know what to do! So to help you we’ve put together this comprehensive list of the best things to do in Milan.
Discover a fascinating city where old and new sit side by side and find out the many charms and hidden gems that Milan has if you only dig a little deeper. There really is much more to Milan that shopping and fashion!
Some of the best things to do in Milan are sure to amaze you…
Milan is all about the lifestyle, the glamour, and being bang on trend. Locals know how to enjoy themselves and enjoy the finer things in life. Jump right in and have a fabulously fun time in Milan!
Scratch beneath the surface of Milan and take a walk through the city’s beautiful medieval area, complete with architectural masterpieces and an abundance of eye-catching art.
Snap plenty of pictures of the impressive Duomo di Milano, the biggest church in Italy and often said to be one of the world’s most stunning churches. Construction began in the 1300s, and the church was finally completed in the 1800s. The pinnacles, spires, nave, altars, statues, sculptures, artwork, columns, and windows blend building styles from different eras, coming together to create a visual dream.
Sforza Castle, La Scala Theatre, and Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery are other highlights, and you can enjoy an oasis of tranquillity at the hidden Piazza dei Mercanti, which is surrounded by Renaissance jewels.
No trip to Milan is complete without gazing upon the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting of the Last Supper—it’s sure to dazzle you way more than you could possibly have expected!
Calling all thrill seekers! If you’ve ever wanted to feel the power, thrust, and opulence of one of the world’s most awesome motor vehicles, here’s your chance!
Feel wealthy beyond words and get your best posing face on as you roar along the highway from Milan to the Swiss Alps in a Ferrari.
Admire scenic views of the Swiss Alps as you cruise along some of the late great Ayrton Senna’s former stomping grounds. You can even take on a long tunnel that the Brazilian F1 legend particularly loved.
You’ll have a full safety briefing before hitting the open road and an instructor will sit beside you in the passenger seat during your exhilarating drive.
A top Milan activity for football fans, enter the grounds where dreams are realised, hopes are crushed, and sporting prowess plays out on a regular basis. You can almost breathe in the testosterone as you wander around the world-famous San Siro Stadium.
Officially known as Giuseppe Meazza, the huge stadium is Italy’s largest and also one of the biggest in Europe. Home to both A.C. Milan and Inter Milan, you can enjoy access to areas that are normally off-limits to the public, including the changing rooms, gaze on the pitch from the stands, stand on the turf, and strut through the Tunnel of Champions.
The museum offers fantastic insights into both mighty Milano football clubs and true fans of the game are sure to feel pangs of nostalgia as they take a journey back through the clubs’ histories.
Strap on your helmet and add something different to your Milan explorations as you navigate the streets on a Segway. You’ll get a full safety demonstration and chance to practice beforehand, and a guide will accompany your small group around the city offering insider insights.
You’ll pass many of Milan’s most glorious sights, so don’t forget your camera! Ride to Sforzesco Castle via the lush Sempione Park, dodge pedestrians in Cathedral Square and along Via Dante, ride back to the Middle Ages at Piazza dei Mercanti, see the upscale shopping centre of Vittorio Emanuel II Gallery, and more. Why walk when you can roll?!
Romantic Things to Do in Milan
Beyond the major sights and shops, Milan offers many opportunities for romance. Hold hands as you get lost down narrow cobbled streets in the medieval centre, pose for pictures together in front of awesome landmarks, treat each other to some designer garb, and dine by candlelight in beautiful restaurants. Here are some more ideas to add a spark to your stay.
Board an elegant boat for a laid-back sightseeing trip along the Naviglio Canal. Watch as wondrous sights unfold and you sail past gorgeous riverside architecture, pass under picture-perfect bridges, and see Milan from a different perspective.
You’ll pass historic buildings such as the two churches of St. Christopher and will also see the old port of Darsena, once a hive of activity for local trade and transportation. One of the more unusual things to look out for as you sail through Milan is the traditional clothes-washing area of Vicolo dei Lavandai; you may even spot locals washing items in the waters as you pass by.
To inject even more romance into your Milan vacation, why not take a trip to one of Italy’s nearby picturesque lakes? A favourite hangout for the rich and famous, Lake Como promises to be a fantastic day out. And, it’s always great to enjoy scenic splendour with your loved one, right?
Explore Como City, with its cute streets, attractive buildings, and pretty views, and admire the vistas from right next to the water’s edge.
Take a boat ride on the majestic lake to fully appreciate the sublime surroundings, with elegant villas and colourful gardens next to the lake’s shores and dramatic mountain scenery in the background. On a bright sunny day, you can see stunning reflections dancing on the shimmering blue water.
People say that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, so what better way for you and your love to enjoy time together than with a fabulous food tour of Milan?
Not only will you get to sink your teeth into tasty Italian food, but you can also discover how some of Italy’s most well-known foods are made and learn how to spot a bonafide product from a cheap imitation. Plus, you can discover a funky part of the city—Brera, a historic district with a modern, forward-thinking, and youthful edge.
From pasta, Parma ham, meatballs, and pastries, to gelato, craft beers, Grappa, and wine, your taste buds are sure to be pleased!
Things to do in Milan with Kids
Italians are known for their love of children, and Milan is no exception. There are plenty of ways to keep younger visitors amused and entertained and the whole family can make many happy memories in Milan.
Young legs can tire easily, yet it would be a shame for kids to miss out on Milan’s marvels. The colours, patterns, and energy of Milan cannot fail to excite and entrance young curious minds. Throw in a cool rickshaw ride and little ones are sure to have a great time. Plus, parents can take a breather and sit back and relax.
The small peddle-power vehicle can squeeze into areas that are difficult (or sometimes impossible) to reach by other means of transportation, letting you see sides of Milan that you may otherwise miss. You’ll also cover much more ground than you could by walking, especially when you have kids with you. Even though the vehicles only seat two, it can be great fun to wave to other family members as they are peddled alongside you.
Don’t worry about missing any of the best bits—you can ask your driver to stop anytime that you want to snap off a few pictures for the family album or look at a site in closer detail. You’ll ride past iconic sights like Sforza Castle, La Scala Theatre, and the Duomo, and the route also includes the fancy fashion district.
Interactive, hands-on activities are always a great idea for keeping kids occupied and engaged. A well-reviewed and fun cooking class could be just what your family is looking for. Everyone can get stuck in to create some tasty Italian dishes.
With expert guidance, create pizza, pasta, or risotto to go with a hearty four-course meal. Held in a local home, you’ll really feel like an Italian in the kitchen. Ingredients come from the nearby markets for even more of an authentic touch.
Once your meals are ready, sit down and enjoy the homey vibes before tucking in with gusto. Somehow, we’re sure your meal will taste that little bit more delicious knowing that you prepared it with your own fair hands. The grown-ups can enjoy fine wine with their meal—everyone will be happy!
Milan’s Natural History Museum is enormous! It’s home to more than 3-million exhibits and it’s the biggest natural history museum in all of Italy.
The diverse exhibits are sure to intrigue kids and adults alike, with fossils, stuffed creatures, skeletons, rocks, and more. Children are often drawn to the awesome pre-historic collection, notably the displays about fearsome dinosaurs.
You can also learn more about evolution and the environment, and large dioramas bring the world’s varied terrains closer to Milan.
Combine a visit with the nearby Indro Montanelli Public Gardens, Milan’s oldest city park. There are fun play areas, wide open spaces where little ones can run and burn off excess energy, monuments, and more.
Free Things to Do in Milan
Milan is known for being rather an expensive destination, especially if you plan on indulging in some retail therapy. Add some of the city’s fantastic free attractions to your plans to make budgeting that little bit easier.
It would be difficult to set foot in Milan and not notice the abundance of retail establishments and fashion houses across the city. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, seeing the beautiful displays (and maybe even letting yourself daydream a little!) is still a great way to spend at least a few hours.
Marvel at the splendid four-story Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the oldest remaining shopping centre in Italy and a place for fashionistas to give their credit cards a workout. Big name brands include Prada, Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, and Armani. You’ll feel luxurious just walking around here!
If you think you may be tempted to splash out and treat yourself, head to the Serravalle Outlets to bag a bargain. The Oriental Mall, CityLife Shopping District, Milan Golden Quad, and Piazza Portello are other great spots for window shopping.
In addition to the stunning Milan Cathedral and Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to the famous Last Supper painting, Milan is home to many other splendid churches. Most of Milan’s smaller churches are free to visit and many are filled with striking religious art.
San Bernardino alle Ossa is one of Milan’s creepiest and quirkiest churches, featuring bone-covered walls. There are skulls in cases above the door, the remains of convicts who were executed.
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of Milan, is filled with Renaissance splendour. Colourful and detailed paintings cover the ceiling and walls for a mind-blowing effect. San Simpliciano is also a visual treat with its lovely mosaic and Santa Maria presso San Satiro has an interesting 3D piece of art that makes the church look bigger than it actually is.
Others include the symbol-laden and mysterious San Marco, the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, Santa Maria alla Fontana, and Sant’Eustorgio.
Open since the 1860s, Cimitero Monumentale is like a beautiful open-air museum to honour the dead. It might sound weird to recommend visiting a cemetery on your vacation, but the monuments and tombs are truly breathtaking.
Walk through the gigantic marble entrance of the Famedio to be dazzled by the beauty across the large grounds. There are classic and modern Italian sculptures by the bucket load, along with grand pillars and striking obelisks, Greek-style temples, and reproductions of famous pieces of art. You’ll see even more variation in the Jewish area and a section for people who did not belong to the Catholic faith.
Best Things to Do in Milan at Night
Milanos know how to work hard and play hard, and you’ll find a diverse and lively night scene in Milan. You’ll need to dress up smartly for most places so be sure to pack wisely for your trip!
The sophisticated, opulent, and jaw-dropping La Scala Theatre dates back to the late 1770s. Beautiful inside and out, it is among the world’s premier venues for opera and ballet. A performance here is indescribable—you’re sure to be suitably impressed! Be sure to check out the program of events and book your show tickets in plenty of time.
If you can’t catch a show, it’s still more than worth a visit. You can step inside outside of show times to feast your eyes on the decadent details. The onsite museum is home to many items related to the building’s history, including costumes, props, statues, artwork, and more.
Milan boasts a wonderfully varied selection of bars, pubs, and nightclubs, all attracting well-heeled people who look impeccable. Indeed, nightlife in Milan is as much about how you good you look as well as having fun. Fun may, in fact, be secondary to keeping up appearances!
There are two major pockets of nightlife in the city: the Navigli area and the streets around the Brera Gallery. You’ll find wine bars, jazz clubs, discos, and much, much more. Start your evening with dinner and happy-hour drinks at around 6pm, before hopping through a few classy bars to finally finish in a nightclub at around 11pm—go any early and you’ll likely find the clubs deserted.
Shop till you drop, buy the latest in stylish Italian fashions, and experience the elegant life of a Milano. Enjoy delectable food, relax, find hidden cultural jewels, and party the night away.
Discover the many faces of Milan. Now you know the ultimate best things to do in Milan, when are you planning to visit?!
Have we missed any of your favorite things to do in Milan? Let us know in the comments below!