Do you want to go to Milan? Impeccable choice. It has been regarded as the “boring capital of Italy” for its business activities, but now tourists are realizing that Lombardy’s capital city is one of the most interesting and happening in Italy. This city is unique in its ability to offer incredible art such as the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Last Supper by Da Vinci. It also offers a vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine, and some of the most stylish people in Italy. You need to know where to stay in Milan if you plan to visit. Each neighborhood is divided into nine zones around the Milan Duomo. There are many neighborhoods in each zone that offer different prices and atmospheres. No matter your travel style, you will find the ideal area.
The historic center of the city and the heart of the metropolis is the centro storico. It includes the block around the huge Duomo di Milano. You’ll find the majority of Milan’s top tourist attractions, such as the La Scala Theater, Museo 900 and Quadrilatero, a luxury shopping district, the Palazzo Reale, and the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery. You won’t have to travel far to see the best things in Milan. It’s convenient and undoubtedly beautiful, but it’s also the most expensive area to stay in Milan, both in terms of hotels and restaurants.
The wealthy and artsy district of Brera is located just north of the Duomo. Located in Zone 1, along with the Duomo district, Brera is distinct in its style and atmosphere from the Duomo neighborhood. If you wish to visit the Parco Sempione and Castello Sforzesco nearby, this is where you should stay. It also contains the Brera Academy for Fine Arts and Brera Art Gallery. There is also the Pinacoteca di Brera Museum. It was once known as the city’s bohemian, low-rent district. It’s Milan’s SOHO. Brera, although it is still filled with art galleries and design galleries has evolved to become a trendy, high-end neighborhood. It’s a good place to stay in Milan if you can afford an apartment there. It’s also an ideal place to have a meal out or aperitivo amongst luxury apartments, boutiques of a similar size, and bustling galleries.
Stay here, if: Milan is your destination for art and culture. You want to shop in boutiques and ateliers instead of huge designer showrooms. You want great nightlife.
Porta Nuova Isola
Porta Nuova, the “new” business district, is another place to stay in Milan. Porta Nuova, once an industrial area with seedy fairgrounds just outside Garibaldi’s train station was once a popular choice for business travelers. Combining the Garibaldi, Varesine, and Isola neighborhoods, the highrises in Porta Nuova include the mirrored Unicredit tower and the iconic Bosco Verticale or Vertical Forest, a skyscraper-cum-hanging garden that won the 2014 International Highrise Award. Take a walk along Corso Como, a beautiful and expensive – but not too touristy – street. The pedestrian district is full of bars, restaurants and clubs. You’ll find Milanese shoppers in the designer shops during the day, and they flood the bars and streets with happy hour and dancing at night. You can find late-night entertainment at nearby clubs such as Hollywood Milano and Loolapaloosa.
If: You want to be near Garibaldi station, you want “new” Milan to visit; you intend to frequent trendy bars and restaurants; and you need a centrally-located hotel that isn’t in the centero storico.
Chinatown is found near Garibaldi station, behind Parco Sempione. The area was home to a large Chinese community that lived in it between WWI and WWII. They sold scarves and ties made from silk from Como. The area has become a popular shopping destination, with a strong focus on leather goods and silk. Although not the most elegant area for shopping, it offers bargain hunters great finds at very affordable prices. This is a great place to shop for clothes in Milan. Via Paola Sarpi, the main street in the neighborhood, is where you can shop. It even has its own website!
Stay in Milan’s Chinatown If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind walking (there aren’t any metro stops in Chinatown directly, but they are all about five minutes away from the center). You also want to be near Garibaldi station for a unique view of the city.
Corso Magenta is home to the stunning Chiesa di Sant’Ambrogio, an Italian Romanesque church dedicated Milan’s patron saint. It’s also close by the Catholic University with its beautiful campus. Corso Magenta has actually been around since the 3rd Century AD when Milan was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire. There are many beautiful shops and cafes along the streets. But the main draw is Santa Maria delle Grazie Renaissance Church, which is home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. Book your tickets early to ensure you can see this masterpiece.
Stay here, if: Your preference is for accommodations in the center of Milan that feel like they are in the suburbs; you’re looking for accommodation close to the city’s heart; you’re looking for excellent coffee and a few sweets from a top pastry shop in Milan; you’re looking at the Navigli’s nightlife without all the noise.
Fiera, San Siro
The Milan area is divided into two distinct neighborhoods. There’s San Siro with its crowds, the Fiera MilanoCity and Ippodromo, as well as the Fiera MilanoCity and Fiera MilanoCity. There are also the residential areas of De Angeli, Wagner, and there’s the Ippodromo.
The Fiera neighborhood is a popular place to go for events. However, it has become a residential area that is becoming a hub for schools, parks, and the metro system. Zaha Hadid’s residences are located on the area’s old fairgrounds. It is not uncommon to see Inter and Milan soccer players walking along the streets of their homes in the San Siro, Fiera, or de Angeli neighborhoods.
Stay here, if: If you’re looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city; if you love Italian soccer and are traveling with kids; if you’re willing to take a longer subway ride to the center of the city; a “up-and coming” area of the city.
The Navigli at Porta Genova
The Navigli were a network made up of canals that ran across the city to transport goods. They were the main transporters of the marble that was used to construct the Duomo. They are the heart of the city’s nightlife, though only two of them remain today. You can stroll the streets of vintage shops and artisan shops every day. On the last Sunday of each month, the Navilgio Pavese hosts an open-air antique marketplace with some of Milan’s most exclusive antique shopping. The area becomes a bustling, lively terrace of apertivo bars and restaurants that is alive with visitors and locals when the sun sets. Check out our blog about the canals in Milan for more information.
Stay here, if: If you come for the nightlife and want to stay in Milan’s historic center, you aren’t afraid to take public transport to see the sights. You love to visit the churches.
You’ll find the State University just outside the city center. Just before you get to Porta Romana, there is the Giardini dilla Guastalla. This park is the oldest in Milan. It’s often overlooked by travelers looking for a place to stay in Milan. However, it is close to the city center and has one of Milan’s most exclusive thermal baths. Even though you are not directly in the center of Milan, you can still see the Madonnina statue in gold in some corners. It is located just a short walk away.
You want to be close to the center, but on a tight budget.
Citta Studi and Porta Venezia
Porta Venezia, sandwiched between Stazione Centrale’s comings and goings and the Citta Studi/Lambrate campuses, is a vibrant neighborhood. The fashion is first and foremost. Porta Venezia has Corso Buenos Aires, the longest shopping street in Milan. Most visitors will visit the Quadrilatero to see the latest fashions, but the majority of locals will be shopping on Corso Buenos Aires. This street is home to over 350 shops. Most of them offer clothing that is less expensive than the Montenapoleone counterpart. You can shop all day and then relax in the Giardini Pubblici, which is located at the Porta Venezia Metro stop. It was originally opened to the public in 1891 by the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. You will also find the Planetarium and Museum of Natural History in the gardens. The Gallery of Modern Art is nearby.
You want to stay here if you: need to catch a train earlier than usual but don’t want to walk around the down-at-heel area; you want lower accommodation costs; you are comfortable walking and want to see the daily life of the average Milanese; the Public Gardens is a great place to entertain the children; you love modern art.
Ticinese may be the most trendy neighborhood in Milano, after Brera. If you’re looking to meet people from all walks of society, Ticinese is the place to be in Milan. This neighborhood is located just outside the city centre and at the beginning of the Navigli. It’s home to an eclectic mix of young intellectuals, ladder-climbing professionals and artists, as well as the wealthy Milanese offspring, the Milano Bene. Two 4th-century buildings can be found here: Sant’Eustorgio Church and Basilica di San Lorenzo. Take a stroll through the streets to see the artisan shops and the creative scene in Milan. Then, head down to the Navigli to find the new Darsena area at night.