Anyone who tries to tell you Milan’s not worth visiting on your trip to Italy is just wrong. Flat out wrong. In our opinion, Milan is one of Europe’s coolest metropolises, from its walkable districts flush with buildings that seamlessly fuse centuries-old baroque architecture and new-age industrialist design to its molto chic fashion scene and unending list of boutiques that rival Paris, alongside its long list of cultural attractions stuffed in museums, parks, and art institutes. So, without further ado, we invite you to read our love letter to Milan — here’s where to stay, eat, drink, and visit during your next trip.
Where to Stay:
This 89-key boutique hotel occupies a fraction of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan’s historic atrium-sheltered shopping gallery in the city’s center. Part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the stay is kitted out in an eclectic aesthetic: enlivening paintings, hand-drafted murals, Italian frescos, animated statues, plus midcentury & contemporary furnishings pack the premises. Each guestroom employs a different art scheme; no two are the same. Views of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II have you waking up to one of the city’s most impressive landmarks.
Conveniently positioned between Milan’s historic center and the canal-present Navigli District, this seven-suite boutique hotel functioned as a bike factory and then a showroom in its erstwhile life. Design aficionados will be privy to the exceptional interiors this stay offers: Moroccan tiles, dispersed mirror walls, and a minimalistic mezzanine level are just a morsel of it.
Where to Eat:
This restaurant in Milan’s stylish Brera district (more on this area below) connects to the city via its open-air bar, summited atop an angle-varied marble staircase that pulls guests in from the street. Its seafood-heavy menu brings fresh and delicious ocean delights to an inland city.
Situated above Prada in the colossal centerpiece foyer of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, this pastry palace wears a ubiquitous pistachio green. From its croissant assemblage to plum cake, and sought-after Panettone, this place doubles up as chic and delicious.
Where to Drink:
A few walkable minutes away from Navigli, this watering hole’s rustic yet upscale interior features motorcycles and vintage cars from the 1950s, as well as pressed ceilings and comfy leather chairs. The prohibition-era bar counter is a nice touch, too.
Where to Visit:
Fondazione Prada is Prada’s contemporary art museum. Make sure to visit the tower, which hosts nine floors of exhibitions, each one different than the last. When you aren’t interpreting avant-garde art here, check out their on-site casual eatery Bar Luce as it looks straight out of a Wes Anderson film.
Milan’s equivalent to Central Park, this place is perfect for a spring, summer, and fall picnic. Promenading and people-watching pair well here.
And no, this is not just another superlative: Milan’s shopping scene is one of the world’s best. Yes, sure, you get big-name brands such as Gucci and Prada, but the city’s plethora of lesser-known boutiques piques our interest more. Walk down Via Brera and Via Solferino, as you’ll find many lesser-popular brands that deserve your attention just as much as the big ones. Make sure to pop into Maurizio Baldassari Brera, Sealup, Valstar, Massimo Alba, and The Store.
If you go to Milan and don’t visit these two places, you’re missing out, especially if you geek out about hyper-historic architecture. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II suffuses stone, wrought iron, and frescos, all under a soaring open-ended glass atrium housing high-end shops such as Dior and Prada. Right next door is the Duomo di Milano, one of Europe’s grandest cathedrals.
These two skyscrapers are vertical forests that have caught the attention of design lovers worldwide. The residential towers aim to provide a dwelling where humans and trees coexist; one that features over 15,000 plants and 90 different types of trees. While you can only see this urban eco-system’s exterior as an outside observer, it’s still worth visiting if you are obsessed (like us) with forward-thinking design.
Where to Shop:
This Milan department store is a must-shop for womenswear, menswear, and home décor. It’s a city staple.
This concept shop collates menswear and womenswear from a plethora of hip brands. It’s cool & casual yet still stylish.
This Milan showroom in Brera is chock full of debonair, well-bred menswear.
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