If you want to avoid crowds in cities like Rome, Milan may be the perfect city for your Italian vacation. So, let’s look at the best things to do in Milan, Italy, to make your trip perfect.

After you’ve narrowed your destination to Milan, the more difficult part of deciding how to spend your days begins. When traveling to such a big city, there is seemingly always something else you could do, so it can be stressful to plan the perfect itinerary.

But don’t worry—we’ve done the research and come up with a list of all the best things to do while you’re in Milan.

San Siro Stadium

San Siro Stadium Building
Arcansél – stock.adobe.com

For anyone who goes to Milan—especially if you’re a sports fan—visiting the San Siro Stadium is an absolute must. The San Siro is one of the most famous soccer stadiums in Europe and even the world. It’s the stadium where Milan’s two premier teams, Inter Milan and AC Milan, play their home games.

This makes it an extremely busy stadium, as both teams will typically have at least one home game per week that it needs to be ready for. The stadium itself is something to marvel at with its incredible design and mesmerizing architecture, but attending a match at these famous grounds is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t want to miss.

If you want to get into the thick of Italian soccer, attend the rival game between Inter Milan and AC Milan. Watching the city’s two teams clash live in person will be the highlight of any trip to Italy!

Milan Cathedral

Duomo, Milan, Italy
Source: Adobe Stock

Like many other big cities in Italy, Milan has a major cathedral as one of its centerpiece landmarks. The Milan Cathedral—or the Milan Duomo—is the most famous church in the city and is situated right in the heart of Milan’s social center. Construction took hundreds of years, and the cathedral showcases some of the amazing Gothic design that you’ll see all over the country.

Seeing the cathedral from the outside is reason enough to add it to your itinerary, but going inside is an even better experience. On a hop-on hop-off bus tour, you can visit Milan’s cathedral and other sights. Once inside, you’ll see some incredible architecture and design that makes it so stunning. But you can also take it to the next level (literally) and go up to the top of the structure to get some of the most amazing views of Milan that you’ll find anywhere in the city.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

For any art, history, or religious buff out there, going to see The Last Supper is something you don’t want to miss out on while you’re in Milan. Not only one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous works, but The Last Supper is also arguably one of the most famous pieces of art in the world, depicting the final meal Jesus had with his followers before being put to death.

Although the painting has been produced thousands of times, and most people have seen it online or in a history book somewhere, seeing the original painting from da Vinci himself is something you’ll never forget. So while you’re visiting Milan, take some time to travel to the Santa Maria delle Grazie to see the famous masterpiece.

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy
Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco) with a beautiful fountain at night, Milan, Italy. This old castle was built by Sforza, Duke of Milan. It is one of the city’s top landmarks and a nice tourist place at dusk.

After you finish taking in the beauty of the Milan Cathedral, you will want to check out the Castello Sforzesco nearby. Once one of Europe’s largest castles, the Castello Sforzesco was built in the 1400s by Duke Francesco Sforza. You can explore the castle on a guided tour.

The massive castle is full of museums that house amazing works of art of historical relics from European history, so it’s perfect for anyone who loves art or history. After you’re finished looking at the beautiful artwork around you, spend some time exploring the courtyard and just taking in the premises as a whole. It’s truly a wondrous location that you won’t soon forget after your Milan adventures are over.

See Related: Best Castles in Tuscany, Italy

Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology

Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology, Milan, Italy
MILAN, ITALY – JUNE 9, 2016: flying machine models of Leonardo da Vinci’s scientific studies displayed at the Science and Technology Museum Leonardo da Vinci

One of the most famous scientists, engineers, and inventors of all time is Leonardo da Vinci. Although also one of the most well-known artists in history, da Vinci’s work in science and technology are some of the most intriguing aspects of history. And much of this work is open to the public to explore at the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology.

While the museum’s mainstays are undoubtedly the inventions of da Vinci himself, there are many other displays within the museum that you’ll want to check out. Using his drawings and blueprints, many of the devices he envisioned and created in his lifetime have been recreated over the years and displayed, giving you a true sense of just how much of an innovator da Vinci truly was.

Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo and sunset view in Milan, Italy
Gentian Polovina / Adobe Stock

Like some of the other major cities in Italy, Milan’s hub of social life and public space is the main cathedral square. In the case of Milan, this is Piazza del Duomo. Situated at the base of the Milan Cathedral, Piazza del Duomo is the city center, and you will likely choose to start your exploration of Milan from there.

In the Piazza del Duomo, you’ll find all sorts of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, and more to spend a day (or night) having a great time and taking in the culture of Milan. Outside of that, you’ll find many other locations and attractions on this list that all lead back to this central square. While in Milan, if you’re ever in doubt, just head to the Piazza del Duomo. From there, the city is your oyster to do as you please.

Parco Sempione

Parco Sempione Scenery
Claudio Colombo / Adobe Stock

When you’re done at the Castello Sforzesco above, you can simply walk out the back gate and enter one of the best parks in Milan, Parco Sempione. The nearly 100-acre park was originally opened in the late 19th century and is one of the most popular public spaces in the city. Residents and tourists alike can spend their time relaxing and taking in the area’s beauty. It is an ideal spot to enjoy a guided bike tour in Milan.

The Parco Sempione is full of well-manicured landscapes and plenty of walking trails to spend as much time as you want in this peaceful setting. As you explore the area, you’ll also find many sculptures and fountains. One of the Parco Sempione centerpieces is the amazing Torre Branca tower, which you’ll hear more about later!

Milan Archaeology Museum

Milan Archaeology Museum, Milan, Italy
Milan, Italy – May 22, 2017: Church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore in Milan. The entrance to the Archaeological Museum of Milan is next to it. Old historical architecture of Milan in summer.

For the true history buffs out there and anyone else who wants to know more about the city’s history while visiting Milan, one of the best places to do so is the Milan Archaeology Museum. Within this incredible museum, you’ll find displays and information about different times throughout Milan’s history, including even the Middle Ages and the Ancient Romans and Greeks.

The Milan Archaeology Museum comprises two main parts: one that details the area’s history and another that encompasses many sculptures and famous artwork. Anyone who loves history or art would be in their happy place by visiting this museum. It’s also another way to avoid some of the big crowds in Milan, so it’s a win-win!

Golden Triangle

Via Montenapoleone, Via Sant’Andrea, and Via della Spiga, Golden Triangle, Milan, Italy

The Golden Triangle of Milan is named so because of the three areas that make up the region — Via Montenapoleone, Via Sant’Andrea, and Via della Spiga. In these regions, visitors who enjoy looking at, or even buying, some of the world’s top clothing brands will be in heaven. If clothes, shoes, wallets, or handbags are your thing, there is no better place to visit in Milan than the Golden Triangle.

With top-tier brands such as Versace, Gucci, Armani, Prada, and more in this high-end area, you can find all the clothes, handbags, and shoes that your heart desires. If you’re planning on buying anything from any of these brands, be prepared for your wallet to take a hit! Nothing in the Golden Triangle is cheap, but even without buying anything, the area is worth checking out just to get a look at these famous brands.

Navigli District Grande, Milan, Italy
Milan, Italy – June 12, 2017: View of the crowded Naviglio Grande district in Milan

Although Venice is the most famous Italian city for its canals and romantic gondola rides, Milan has its fair share of waterways from the olden days as well. You’ll see some old canals from back in the day in the Navigli district. Da Vinci inspired this system of canals through Milan during their construction, so anyone interested in the famous inventor’s work might want to check them out.

While in the Navigli District, named after the canals above, you’ll have several restaurants, shops, and bars to keep you entertained through the day and night. The district is also filled with budget-friendly hotels to book. You can also take a page out of the Venice handbook and take a boat ride through the area to get a once-in-a-lifetime experience and to see the city from a whole new vantage point.

Monumental Cemetery

Monumental Cemetery, Milan, Italy
MILAN, ITALY – MAY 17, 2018: This is one of the alleys on the Monumental Cemetery, which is considered one of the richest tombstones and monuments in Europe.

Referred to as Cimitero Monumentale di Milano within the city, the Monumental Cemetery is one of the most architecturally appealing cemeteries you’ll ever see. Although spending time on your Milan vacation visiting a cemetery might not be what you expected to be doing, seeing the incredible structures is well worth taking some time to visit.

The cemetery is full of lifelike sculptures, with Greek temples and massive stone obelisks everywhere. It is situated to the north of the center of the city, easily accessible by metro or a short bike ride. Don’t worry that you’ll be seen as strange for visiting a cemetery; it’s an extremely popular attraction that draws visitors every day of the week.

Piazza Dei Mercanti

Piazza dei Mercanti, Milan, Italy
Italy. Milan. Merchants square. In italian called piazza dei mercanti.

Situated near the Piazza del Duomo is another popular, open-to-the-public square, the Piazza dei Mercanti. Although Piazza del Duomo is the center of Milan nowadays, Piazza dei Mercanti held that title back in the olden days. This square got its name from all the traders and merchants who used to operate here when it was the city center.

Other than learning about the history of the merchants who used to utilize the area, the Piazza dei Mercanti has all sorts of buildings and shops around it that you can spend some time exploring. There are also many historical statues, monuments, and sculptures of historical figures to add to the experience.

Teatro Alla Scala

Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy
MILAN, ITALY – MARCH 15, 2017: Main concert hall of Teatro alla Scala, an opera house in Milan, Italy. Opened in 1778, Scala regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world.

For the opera and theatrical fans out there, checking out the Teatro Alla Scala is an ideal way to spend some of your time for an incredible night out while you’re visiting Milan. Going to an authentic Italian opera in one of the country’s most famous opera houses is an unforgettable experience that you’ll be talking about for years to come.

Even if you don’t want to truly experience the opera — though you should — checking out the Teatro Alla Scala just as an architectural feat is well worth your time. The gorgeous exterior design is complemented with a regal interior that just makes you feel like you’re at a famous opera house.

Biblioteca Ambrosiana

Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy
Milan, Italy – July 7, 2019: Ambrosian Library, Ambrosiana (Italian: Biblioteca Ambrosiana) – a library in Milan, established by Cardinal and Archbishop Federico Borromeo

Biblioteca Ambrosiana, or the Ambrosiana Library (and Picture Gallery), is a collection of incredible artwork donated to the library roughly 300 years ago. What’s interesting about this collection of artwork is that it was nearly all given to the library by a single person — its founder, Federico Borromeo, who donated all of the amazing artwork for all the right reasons.

Borromeo is said to have donated his entire personal collection to his library so that the public could visit and learn more about and gain a deeper appreciation for some of the most iconic artwork in history. The library contains pieces of work from famous artists such as Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and more. So, anyone who is a fan of art or Italian history should check out Biblioteca Ambrosiana while in Milan.

Basilica di San Lorenzo

Basilica di San Lorenzo, Milan, Italy
Milano, Italy – February 05, 2020 : Columns of St. Lawrence and San Lorenzo Basilica view in Milano City.

Constructed in the early 5th century — early as in 402 AD — the catholic church that is known as the Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the oldest buildings in all of Milan (you’ll read about an even older one shortly). Typical of ancient Italian architecture, you’ll find large stone columns and archways outside, as well as life-like sculptures among the peaceful open area of the courtyard.

Once you go inside the amazing building, you’ll find a much less lavish interior than many of the relatively newer cathedrals and churches in Milan. There are fewer colors and a lack of extravagant gold-leaf in-lays everywhere, but the present architecture and decorations are still incredible to look at. Visiting the Basilica of San Lorenzo is a must for anyone who loves the religious history of ancient architecture.

Cascina Cuccagna

The Cascina Cuccagna restaurant, Milan, Italy

If you get tired of seeing some of the more lavish and extravagant buildings and structures throughout Milan on your visit, consider venturing outside the crowded city streets and heading to the countryside. The Cascina Cuccagna is an 18th-century farmhouse that’s open to the public for a relaxing break from the city.

This little farmhouse on the outskirts of Milan has been converted to house a quaint restaurant that gets its food and menu items from the local farms in the area. This restaurant is also combined with a gorgeous garden, a farmers’ market to provide you with fresh fruits and veggies, and even a bar. So if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Milan, check out the Cascina Cuccagna!

Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall, Milan, Italy
Milan, Italy – APRIL 09, 2019: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, One of the World’s Oldest Shopping Malls

The Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the most lavish galleries that you will ever see in your life. As the fancy name and extravagant appearance of the structure will likely tell you, nothing inside this gallery would ever be described as cheap or even affordable. This gallery is a trove of high-end designers such as Gucci, Prada, Armani, and more. 

If that’s what you’re into and you have no problem spending the money for these top-tier designers, then the Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is definitely your place to be. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything inside the lavish gallery, it’s well worth the visit just to see the high-end place. It’s constructed with amazing architecture, incredible artwork within, and of course, lined with some of the most high-end clothes in the world, so it’s worth seeing no matter if you’re planning to spend big bucks or not.

Sant Ambrogio

Sant Ambrogio, Milan, Italy
Sant Ambrogio church, milan, italy, in hdr Romanesque

One of Milan’s oldest buildings, Sant Ambrogio, was built over 1,600 years ago in 379 AD, by its namesake St. Ambrose. As the building’s age will tell you, Sant Ambrogio is rich with history. He allows you to check out ancient Italian design and architecture that you just won’t find on newer structures in today’s world.

Some of the church’s many design features include massive stone archways and huge columns that accentuate the importance of the grandiose style prevalent in Italy during these days. Sant Ambrogio is one of Milan’s most historic buildings that you won’t want to skip seeing while visiting the Italian city. If your book an open bus tour in Milan, you can visit Sant Ambrogio and other attractions in Milan.

Torre Branca

Torre Branca park, milan, italy
Aerial view from the Branca Tower (Torre Branca) of the Sempione square (Piazza Sempione), with the Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace), Milan Italy

As alluded to earlier, the Torre Branca is the centerpiece of the beautiful Parco Sempione and is worth visiting just to see. Reaching an astounding height of 350 feet, the Torre Branca offers incomparable views of the entire city of Milan and all the surrounding areas. All you need to do is take the elevator to the top and peer out into the stunning beauty all around you.

Nearing its 90th birthday in the next couple of years, the Torre Branca has been open to the public for almost a century for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. It was designed by the famous Italian architect Gio Ponti, and its timeless beauty has attracted visitors from all over the world. The Torre Branca is something you definitely won’t want to skip as you explore the Parco Sempione!

Tunnel Club

Tunnel Club, night club, milan, italy
Light Show And Silhouette Hands of Audience Crowd People use smartphones to enjoy the club party with the concert. Blurry night club DJ party people enjoy music dancing sound.Abstract Background.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys drinking and dancing after a long day of sightseeing and exploring, then visiting the Tunnel Club while you’re in Milan is a must. Taking over a building that once acted as a railway shed for the city’s Central Station, the Tunnel Club is unique in design and architecture and an incredible experience for the young — or old! — a person who wants to let go, get drinks, and dance to the music.

This club is especially ideal for anyone interested in electronic dance music. That is the club’s staple, along with the typical music and dancing at this location. The Tunnel Club isn’t somewhere you’ll expect to see celebrities or anything like that, but it’s perfect for anyone who wants to let their hair down and have a great time.

Related Resources