Top things to do in Milan

There's much more to Milan than fashion and shopping. Read our top things to do in Milan, and discover some of the city's best hidden gems...
Milan's skyline
The skyline of Milan

Milan's skyline. Photo: Shutterstock


Insight Guides can help with the planning, organising and booking of your trip to Milan. Simply contact our local expert with details of the length of your trip, budget and places you would like to visit and they will plan your personalised itinerary. For inspiration, browse Insight Guides ready-made Italy trips, which are all fully customisable. 


Designer coffee 

The best way to start any day is with a coffee, especially in Italy, and Café Trussardi, set in the Trussardi designer store overlooking La Scala, offers one of the best coffee-and-brioche fixes in town.


Chic shopping 

Although there is more to Milan than shopping, it is certainly one of the main pulls of the city. Stroll along Via Manzoni to the Quadrilatero, the ‘Golden Quadrangle’ designer district to see why. Call in (or window shop) at the Armani superstore (Via Manzoni 31) before exploring the boutiques on Via della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone. If flagging, stop for coffee and cakes at the old-fashioned Caffè Cova (Via Montenapoleone 8). Shop till you drop with Insight Guides' Enchanting Italian Lakes trip, which features a few days in Milan. 


Culture fix

Seek out the designer district’s intriguing ‘historic homes’ museums, beginning with the Museo Poldi Pezzoli. This art-encrusted palace is a testament to the passion of a 19th-century aristocrat. The neighbouring Museo Bagatti Valsecchi is a tribute to the Renaissance.


Lunch

Indulge in a leisurely lunch of creamy risotto Milanese in Bice (Via Borgospesso 12; booking advisable) or choose lunch on the run from the contemporary Van Bol & Feste (Largo Cairoli). 


Park life

Largo Cairoli leads to the Castello Sforzesco, surrounded by Milan’s most culture-studded park. See Michelangelo’s unfinished masterpiece, the Rondanini Pietà, in the castle before strolling through Parco Sempione to the Triennale (Design Museum) for a sense of contemporary Milan. Enjoy a guided tour of the Castello Sforzesco, with Insight Guides' Enchanting Italian Lakes trip.

Milan's Castello Sforzesco at dusk. Photo: Shutterstock 


Duomo sunset

Leave the park via the Cadorna exit and take the metro to the Duomo, Milan’s great cathedral. Take the lift up to the top to admire the view, bathed in the light of the setting sun. Facing the Duomo is the Museo del Novecento (free entry every Tue from 2pm, Sun–Wed and Fri from 5.30pm, Thu and Sat from 8.30pm), a wonderful combination of 20th-century art and architectural games. Visit the Duomo at sunset as part of Insight guides' From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy itinerary

The Duomo at sunset is a sight to behold. Photo: Shutterstock


Cocktail hour

Admire the cathedral spires over cocktails on the rooftop bars of La Rinascente store. Move on to the elegant Camparino, in the porticoes of the Galleria, a cocktail haunt since 1867.


Stylish dining

Acanto (Piazza della Repubblica; booking advisable) is one of Milan’s most glamorous dining spots but, with its superb northern Italian cuisine, is far from being style over substance. 


On the town

Tear yourself away from the sleek Principe Bar attached to Acanto, then head west to Corso Como, a vibrant nightlife area. Corso Como 10 is a perennially stylish spot for after-dinner drinks. 


Planning your trip to Italy

Insight Guides can help with the planning, organising and booking of your trip to Italy. Simply contact our local expert with details of the length of your trip, budget and places you would like to visit and they will plan your personalised itinerary. For inspiration, browse Insight Guides ready-made Italy trips, which are all fully customisable. 


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