Where to stay in Milan! The ultimate guide to the best neighborhoods, top attractions, and hotels for every budget.
Milan is the kind of place you go to be seen. In the world of fashion, Milan reigns supreme as one of the most important fashion destinations in the world.
When visiting Milan, there are plenty of distinct neighborhoods to explore. Deciding where to stay in Milan is one of the best parts of booking a trip to this Northern Italian city, mainly because there are so many exciting hotels to choose from.
Whether you are searching for the ultimate vacation full of shopping high end and boutique stores, or want to experience Milan's cultural and artistic side, this city has it all.
So, make sure you're ready for the fast paced lifestyle of the Milanese as you make your way through the many different and exciting Milan neighborhoods.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Where to Stay in Milan, Italy: The Best Neighborhoods
Milan is known as the business center of Italy, but it's a lot more than just business suits and briefcases. Milan is full of energy. It's also full of fashion and art. The city is a fashion lover's dream destination, while also remaining a historic wonderland.
Stepping into Milan means stepping onto a world stage of fashion. Milan is where you'll find some of the best designer boutiques in the whole country. It is where cutting edge design and artistic fashion senses meet.
Walking through the neighborhoods of Milan means walking through a modern, buzzing atmosphere that contrasts with the ancient history of this Italian city.
There is a neighborhood for everyone in Milan. No matter if you are searching for the ultimate fashion and shopping destination, or you want a bit of Italian history in your vacation, Milan has a perfect neighborhood for you. Let's dive in!
If you're looking for an artistic neighborhood in Milan, look no further than Brera. This is quite possibly the epicenter of the art world in this northern Italian city and a great location when deciding where to stay in Milan.
The neighborhood is full of art galleries, charming shops, and a bunch of art museums. Oh yeah, and then there's the ancient architecture of Brera's streets that make a for a stunning, life size piece of artwork all on its own.
For those who are into exploring museums, visit the Pinacoteca di Brera. This is Brera's Picture Gallery and by far one of the most popular attractions in all of Milan.
Historical Italian paintings are a main sight to see at this museum. Stroll through the Orto Botanico di Brera, the neighborhood's beautiful botanic garden.
A Milanese neighborhood wouldn't really be complete without shopping, and Brera has plenty of designer boutiques to browse through after a day of appreciating fine art.
For a classic Milanese meal and some people watching, get an outdoor table at Osteria di Brera. Head over to Il Cestino during happy hour for food and drinks, or stop by late night as well. If you're looking for casual brunch spot, try out Crocetta Panini d'Autore 1982
Where to Stay in Brera
Brera Prestige B&B - A budget-friendly accommodation in a relatively expensive part of Milan. This bed and breakfast is a charming choice for those who want to be in the center of all the action, without spending an arm and leg to do so.
The Brera Prestige B&B has guest rooms that are designed with a contemporary aesthetic and private bathrooms. The bed and breakfast has bicycles available for rent and shuttles to the airport, both for an additional cost.
The Unique - If you are looking for a hotel with a sense of elegance and a mid-tier price tag, check out The Unique. This Brera hotel's guest rooms are styled to mirror the trendsetting ways of Milan.
The hotel has room service available in all guest rooms and each room comes with a safe deposit box for personal belongings. There is also an airport shuttle available for an extra charge. The Unique is centrally located in the Brera neighborhood and close to some of the best art galleries and shops in the area.
Bulgari Hotel Milan - The ultimate luxury accommodation. A stay at this hotel includes impeccable service and high end amenities. Each guest room is modernly furnished and has a state-of-the-art entertainment system.
The property has a spa and wellness center, including a gym and a hammam. There is a beautiful garden to enjoy and fine dining restaurant. There is also a bar in the hotel for cocktails.
The Bulgari Hotel is centrally located, just steps to famous international high end designer shops. It is a perfect fit for those who have no budget and want to spend a good deal of money on a stylish, one-of-a-kind accommodation.
If it is your first time in Milan or your hundredth time in the city, you should head to Centro Storico.
This is the heart of Milan, where many of the city's most important attractions are located. For first timers, Centro Storico is a top choice when deciding where to stay in Milan. Sure, this part of Milan is known for tourists, but there are plenty of reasons for this.
First of all, Centro Storico is home to two of the must see places in Milan: La Scala Opera House and the Duomo di Milano. If you are visiting Milan for the first time, you'll definitely want to check out these two major attractions.
After a visit to the Duomo di Milano, head over for people watching as you walk around the Piazza del Duomo. It is one of the best areas to stay in Milan because of the various major attractions and it is one of the most popular Milan neighborhoods.
Restaurants and cafes are everywhere in this part of Milan. 12Oz Coffee Joint is the perfect espresso bar for those taking a walk through Duomo di Milano. For a casual Milanese pizza restaurant, try out Un'Altra Pasta. For an elegant evening out, get a table at Bice Restaurant and enjoy Tuscan cuisine.
Where to Stay in Centro Storico
Babila Hostel - One of the best wallet-friendly accommodations in Centro Storico. Guest rooms are dormitory style and bathrooms are shared. A free buffet breakfast is included in each stay. There are many shared common spaces to enjoy, including an outdoor terrace and fireplace, as well as a shared kitchen.
The Babila Hostel hosts plenty of social events, including live musical performances and a happy hour. Karaoke, board games, and puzzles are also available to enjoy. Located in the heart of the city, this hostel is great for those who are looking for a social atmosphere with tons of Italian charm.
Clerici Boutique Hotel - A mid-range accommodation in Centro Storico, this boutique hotel has a great deal of character. The interior design of the hotel favors a darker color scheme and framed paintings of animals and quirky Renaissance-esque portraits poke fun at Italy's history of art.
The Clerici Boutique Hotel is an ideal location for sightseeing. Pets are allowed to stay in the guest rooms, which makes it a perfect choice for those who are traveling with their furry companions.
The Square Milano Duomo - A luxury hotel perfect for those who want to be near one of the most famous attractions in Milan, the Duomo. Neutral tones and a sleek design are incorporated into all the guest rooms. This boutique hotel offers an elegant restaurant where a breakfast buffet is available.
Stay in this hotel if you are looking for a centrally located accommodation that also has tons of modern elegance.
Ticinese is the meeting place for old and new in Milan. This ancient neighborhood of Milan is one of the oldest in the whole city. The streets are lined with historical attractions and stunning Italian architecture.
Walking through this neighborhood evokes an era of the past in Italian history. Even though much of this neighborhood has old bones, it is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Milan that draws in a younger, hipster crowd.
If you are taking in the sights of Ticinese, make sure to stop by the Basilica of San Lorenzo. An ancient Roman circus is also located in Ticinese, as well as a traditional Roman amphitheater.
Ticinese is one of the best neighborhoods in Milan for cafes and restaurants. Tons of hipsters and a younger crowd flock to this part of town for its abundant options of restaurants.
Italian restaurants are everywhere, but the neighborhood also has a plenty of diversity for those who want a taste of international cuisine.
If for some reason you need a little break from authentic Italian food, head over to Ristorante Indiano Shiva for North Indian cuisine. Don Juan is another popular option for Argentine cuisine. And if you still can’t get enough of traditional Italian food (I don’t blame you), have dinner at Trattoria de la Trebia Milano.
Where to Stay in Ticinese
Hotel La Vignetta - a budget hotel with simple guest rooms. The decor of Hotel La Vignetta and its rooms are standard and come with the basic amenities of any hotel stay.
Pets are allowed to stay with you and it's centrally located to many of the area's main attractions, including the public tram for transportation. Stay at this hotel because you want to save money on your room so you can spend more exploring Milan.
Hotel D'Este - a mid-range hotel option in Milan. Some of the guest rooms are a bit on the smaller side, but they are neatly decorated and furnished. The hotel itself has a classic Italian feel.
A breakfast buffet is available in the mornings and a bar is open for cocktails in the lobby. An outdoor garden is located on the property as well. The Hotel D'Este is ideal for travelers who want a comfortable hotel with access to some of Milan's top sights, including the Ticinese and Navigli areas.
Petit Palais Hotel de Charme - a luxury hotel choice with tons of historical character. The Petit Palais Hotel de Charme is located in what was once a 17th century convent and the decor of the hotel definitely reflects its historical past.
You will easily feel transported to another European era when you step into the hotel's lobby. High ceilings and antiques are just some of the Italian decorations found throughout the hotel, and a beautiful outdoor garden and terrace is located on the property. Pets are also allowed.
The Petit Palais Hotel de Charme is one of the best hotels in Milan. Travelers who want a unique experience in Italian history will appreciate this accommodation.
Porta Nuova is the part of Milan for business, but it is also the part of Milan for food. Any serious foodie can’t miss this neighborhood because it is home to some of the highest rated restaurants throughout all of Milan.
With Milan being the business headquarters of Italy, Porta Nuova is the epicenter of it all. This business district is where many of the city’s modern buildings and architecture are located. The look of Porta Nuova is distinctly different from nearby historical neighborhoods.
Porta Nuova, which means new, proves its modernity with the futuristic look in this part of the city. Check out the larger than life needle sculpture (an ode to Milan’s love of fashion) in the Piazzale Cardona. In between all your gazing at the modern buildings and skyscrapers, relax at the Sempione Park.
Try out Carlsberg Øl when you are in the area for casual pizza and beer. Biancolatte is perfect for those who want a taste of comforting soup and pasta. For a switch from Italian food, have a meal at Thai Gallery and be transported to the other side of the world.
Where to Stay in Porta Nuova
Windsor Hotel Milano - A wallet-friendly hotel near Porta Nuova. This hotel is a contemporary accommodation with guest rooms that are beautifully decorated. Staying here will make you feel like you're staying in a much more expensive accommodation, rather than a budget hotel.
A restaurant and bar are available in the Windsor Hotel Milano and pets are welcome to stay as well. The hotel has a great location and public transportation that stops right in front of the building. It is a great option for those who want to save money while still staying in a stylish hotel.
Hotel Manin - The type of accommodation that has all the aesthetics of a luxury hotel without a steep price. The interior design of this hotel has a mixture of dark wood finishes paired with bright colored wallpaper and decor and each guest room has an elegant marble bathroom.
The hotel has a relaxing outdoor garden and terrace to enjoy when not exploring the city. There is also a bar in the hotel for evening cocktails. Pets are allowed to stay with you in your guest room, and if you need a lift to the airport the Hotel Manin has a shuttle to take you there.
NH Milano Touring - A prime luxurious hotel to choose when deciding where to stay in Milan. A mix of light and airy decor, along with rich wood textures, makeup the design of this hotel. The style of the hotel and guest rooms are contemporary and stylish.
The NH Milano Touring has a restaurant and bar for Italian cuisine and cocktails. There is also a fitness center on the property. Guests are allowed to bring their pets as well. For those who want to explore Porto Nuova by bicycle, rentals are available in the hotel for an extra cost.
The Milanese neighborhood of Navigli is all about nightlife. This part of the city is known for its nightclubs and the best place to stay in Milan if you are ready for late nights of dancing and drinks. There are also tons of restaurants here, so make sure you come hungry and ready to party.
This neighborhood got its name from the Navigli Grand canal. This part of Milan is actually full of canals, so just in case you can’t get to Venice, there are still some beautiful Italian canals to experience right in the center of Milan.
Take a stroll up and down the picturesque waterways during the day, before building up an appetite for the evening.
For a savory sandwich while walking through the neighborhood, try out La Striatelle di Nonna Mafalda. Seafood is a popular choice for dinner, not only in Milan but all throughout Italy.
Where to Stay in Navigli
B&B Fiori di Grano - A budget-friendly bed and breakfast in Navigli. Although it is on the cheaper side, this B&B does not hold back with unique amenities. The bed and breakfast is styled with countryside decor and makes you feel like you are staying in a local's home.
This accommodation is great for those who want more of a personal touch in their stay, along with a delicious breakfast in the morning. Pets are also allowed to stay at this Milan bed and breakfast. It is located within walking distance to all of the action in the Navigli neighborhood.
Maison Borella - A mid-range accommodation just steps away from the Naviglio Grande canal. This quaint hotel is located within a canalside building with traditional Italian architecture.
Each guest room is furnished with contemporary yet cozy decor and the Maison Borella has a restaurant and bar on the property.
Guests can enjoy a homemade buffet breakfast in the mornings and the hotel has a beautiful outdoor garden to relax in. There is also an airport shuttle available for an extra cost. This accommodation is perfect for those who want to stay near the canals of Milan.
Zebra Naviglio - A unique luxury hotel in the heart of the Navigli neighborhood. This inn has large guest rooms, many with a sofa and a dining table. The decor of the inn and the guest rooms are modern and eclectic, with tons of vibrant colors. Don't be surprised if you find some zebra wallpaper throughout the hotel.
Zebra Naviglio is a fun and exciting hotel to spend a few nights in, while experiencing the nightlife of Navigli. The hotel has access to unique tours for an extra cost, including a cooking class and walking tour of the neighborhood.
If you are deciding where to stay in Milan and want a hotel with unique quirks, Zebra Naviglio would be it.
How to Get Around Milan
Simply put, there's a lot to see in Milan. It is a widespread city, with attractions and points of interest spread out in all neighborhoods. It's important to know and understand how to get around Milan when planning your trip to this Northern Italian city.
The main transportation system of Milan is the ATM, which stands for Azienda Transporti Milanesi. It includes public buses, trains, and trams. At one point or another, you're more than likely to use one of these modes of transportation to get around Milan.
Buses are a main form of transportation to use when getting from one area to another in Milan. The bus system has extensive routes around the city. Many of the routes overlap, which make it easy to transfer from one to another.
Although the buses don't run 24 hours a day, they do run the majority of it. You can hop on a bus starting at 5:30 AM until 1:45 AM. Night buses also run on Fridays and Saturdays from 2:00 AM until 5:10 AM. A fare on the bus is €1.50.
Trains and trams are also part of the MTA and a reliable way to explore Milan. The fare for the train and tram is also €1.50, but neither one runs as long as the bus. They operate from 6:00 AM to 12:30 AM daily.
There are three lines on the train to choose from. Passes for the train can be bought per ride, or for unlimited use for 24 or 48 hours.
My favorite way of getting around any city I visit, including when I was in Milan, is to walk. It's the best (and obviously the cheapest) way to explore.
Many of Milan's most popular attractions are walking distance from one another, so it could easily be more exciting to walk from place to place (plus, you'll get to burn off some calories from all that pasta and pizza you're probably eating).
Top 10 Sights to See in Milan
The fashion capital of Italy is full of attractions and high speed energy. Spending some time in Milan means wandering through a combination of ancient streets and modern skyscrapers.
Milan's top attractions mirror the history and vibrancy of the city. Make sure to visit these top 10 places in Milan during your visit.
Duomo di Milano
The Duomo di Milano is the most famous cathedral in all of Milan. It is also one of the most visited places in the city (not to mention, one of the most Instagrammable too). It is located in the Piazza del Duomo and an architectural wonder to see.
This Italian cathedral is one of the biggest cathedrals in the world. The Duomo di Milano was built over the span of more than 600 years and is beautiful inside and out.
Visiting is free and people are able to walk through the interior of the cathedral. There is also an option to climb to the top for views of Milan at an extra fee.
Recommended: Skip-the-line Duomo Tour with Rooftop Access
Galleria d'Arte Moderna
Galleria d'Arte Moderna is a modern art museum in the heart of Milan. Italy has a long and deep history with art. While many of the museums throughout the country embrace centuries' old art, Milan specifically loves modern art. Visit this museum for a look into the city's love for modernity.
Permanent and temporary exhibits showcase Italian and international modern artists. It is one of the most important attractions in Milan and one that can't be missed for art lovers.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is the home to one of the most well known paintings throughout the world, The Last Supper. Painted by Leondaro da Vinci, The Last Supper is one of the many unique attractions throughout all of Milan.
The Santa Maria delle Grazie has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws in crowds from all over the world each year.
Recommended Experience: 'The Last Supper' and Sforza Castla Tour
Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II
Fashion and shopping are part of what makes Milan the city that it is. For those who want the ultimate experience in retail therapy, head over to the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II. It is the oldest shopping mall in all of Italy.
It is also a top attraction in Milan for its stunning open aired arcade and anchors the Milan shopping district.
Even if you aren't so interested in shopping, the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II is a sight that can't be missed. It is quintessentially Milan. The architecture and history are important enough on their own for a visit.
Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio
The Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio is one of the many famous churches in Milan. It is said to have once housed the tomb of the Three Kings and has been a prominent feature of Milan since the 4th century.
Visitors can take a look through the interior of the Basilica and get a better understanding of its rich history in Milan. It is a very important religious sight and many devoted Catholics visit this church every year.
Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci is hands down one of the most famous Italians of all time. This museum in Milan is dedicated to his work as a painter and a scientist. The interactive museum is a unique way to learn and experience art and science in a modern setting.
While Italy is full of art museums, this one stands out for its approach to educating people about science. There are permanent and temporary exhibits in the museum, as well as guided tours available.
La Scala, also known by its official name, Teatro all Scala, is Milan's opera house. It was founded in 1778 and has been a main attraction in Milan ever since.
It is still a functioning opera house today and visitors can buy tickets to upcoming shows to see world class opera singers and performers take the stage. La Scala is a beautiful theater to take in a show and experience an opera house with centuries of history.
Whether you want to see a live of performance or just admire the building from the outside, it is definitely worth visiting this Milan attraction.
Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio
The Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio is one of Milan's famed historical churches. It was founded in 1129 and holds some of Milan's best works of art. The architecture of this basilica is breathtaking, with rows of columns and a wide open atrium setting.
Religious devotees and tourists alike come to the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio to marvel at its medieval architecture and experience the beauty of this religious sight.
Pinacoteca di Brera
Art lovers can rejoice when visiting the Pinacoteca di Brera. It has one of the largest collections of Italian art, with artwork from previous centuries on display.
Some of the most renowned Italian artists have work at the Pinacoteca di Brera, including Raphael. It has an impressive collection and many consider it to be one of the most comprehensive and important in Italy.
Recommended Experience: Pinacoteca and da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus admission
This castle in the middle of Milan is one to write home about. It was built in the 15th century and has been a main component of the city ever since.
Visit the Castello Sforzesco for a guided tour around the rather large property, or spend some time exploring it on your own. Walking around the castle is free. There are also museums on the grounds of the castle, which can be visited with an extra fee.
3 Best Day Trips from Milan
It's easy to spend countless days visiting Milan and its Northern Italian culture. There are tons of places to visit in Milan with a mix of history and modernity. You can get lost in the ancient sights and fall in love with the taste of simple Italian cuisine.
However, if you have some time to spare on your Italian journey and want to get out of the city for a little while, there are beautiful destinations to visit in close proximity to Milan.
Only an hour and a half away from Milan is the famous, and stunningly beautiful, Lake Como. This is one of the top destinations for a day trip from Milan, and rightfully so.
Lake Como is known for its luxurious lifestyle and amazing resorts. Take in the views and the traditional Italian houses that line the lake's hillsides. Take a trip up to Faro Voltiano for breathtaking views of Lake Como.
Don't miss a walk around the town of Bellagio, which is located in the center of the area.
Recommended: Lake Como and Bellagio day trip from Milan
Just about two hours away from Milan is Verona, a must see area, especially for Shakespeare buffs. Why's that? Because Verona is home to one of his most famous stories, Romeo and Juliet. Walk through the city's medieval buildings and get lost in its ancient roots.
For those who want to truly experience the history of Romeo and Juliet in Verona, make sure to stop by the Romeo and Juliet balcony at Casi di Guilietta.
Recommended: Verona and Lake Garda day trip from Milan
Understandably, Venice deserves its own trip. It is one of the most famous and best places to stay in Italy. But if you only have one day to explore, it is still a doable destination from Milan.
Once you get to Venice, the best way to explore the famed Italian city is to simply walk around its quaint streets and see its beautiful canals.
A visit to Venice wouldn't be complete with checking out the grand St. Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge. Even though Venice is a tourist heavy destination, it is still naturally a beautiful place to visit.
If you have time, make sure to take a traditional gondola ride up and down one of Venice's canals. Some may consider Venice the best place to go in Italy for its one of a kind experiences.
Recommended: Venice Day Trip from Milan
What to Pack for Milan
Latest posts by Sarah Mueller (see all)
- The Complete Guide for Where to Stay in Santorini for Every Budget - September 22, 2019
- The Ultimate Guide for Where to Stay in Singapore for Every Budget - September 7, 2019
- The Complete Guide for Where to Stay in Austin for Every Budget - September 6, 2019