48 hours in Milan
Weekend ideas in Milan
It's the capital of fashion and design that boasts an impressive list of heavy-hitting architecture, state of the art museums, and swanky locales. Whether you're stopping through for 48 hours or settling in for a week of exploration, here are a few suggestions to kick start your trip to Milan.
Big enough to make you feel in a metropolis, Milan is also small enough to get a real feel for all of the unique neighborhoods and local culture. Grab a map and your bearings on the metro system- it'll come in handy to better distinguish the different areas.
Starting in the center, Milan's Cathedral (better known as the Duomo) is an astonishing testimony to faith, architecture, culture, and history. This large plaza is a typical meeting place and a kind of fulcrum around which the city revolves. Be sure to grab breakfast on the sky high Terrace at the Rinascente - we can't think of a better way to start the day off than with stunning views of the Duomo.
Back down on Earth, you'll find the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, one of the first shopping malls in the world featuring brands like Prada, Gucci, Versace, Armani, Borsalino, and more. Take a peek inside and get a taste of Milanese elegance even if you're not quite ready for the price tags. At the other end of the Gallery, take a moment to admire La Scala, one of the most prestigious theaters where you can catch a spectacle during your stay (highly recommended).
Next on the agenda, head to the QC Terme Spa located in the Porta Romana neighborhood for a bit of R&R. Indulge in a relaxing massage and a moment to slow things down in this one of a kind space that has even been known to host fashion shows from time to time…
Nearby you can also check out the newly unveiled Fondazione Prada, a contemporary structure designed by OMA and Rem Koolhaas that caters to some impressive contemporary and classical art. Just don't forget to stop by Bar Luce, the cafe designed by Wes Anderson, for a bite to eat or a coffee. It's a bit like living in a film.
If the spa and a visit to the Fondazione Prada aren't really your style, fear not. Swing over to the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, which was consecrated in 379… the roads there are full of local stores, cafes, and stunning architecture (on your way, check out the Torre Velasca near Missori- another iconic building built by Milanese architects BBPR).
Take your time to roam the charming streets where you can drop in to the Science and Technology Museum and maybe even a local market or two.
Wandering south towards the Navigli, the waterways will have you feeling like you're in Venice. The canals in the city were once major lines of transportation and even carried the marble used to construct the Duomo right to the site.
While many have since become obsolete or covered, this neighborhood is known for streets hosting large crowds around happy hour and late into the night. Attracting all kinds of groups, it's the perfect place to grab a drink and bite to eat in company. Watch the sun set as you sip on a Negroni or better yet, a Negroni Sbagliato- the cocktail that was invented here in Milan, before dinner.
If you're looking to hit the town after the sun goes down, there are bars and clubs all throughout the city. Just pick your crowd and mingle late into the night. A more alternative group can be found in the Navigli neighborhood, eclectic and energetic in Porta Venezia, classy and cool in Brera, and easy and laid back in Isola.