The Nine Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Milan
Where to stay in Milan? That’s one of the questions that travellers often have in mind when visiting Italy’s most sophisticated city.
As one of the world’s fashion capitals, Milan is home to some of the best shopping destinations in Europe. It also has some of the world’s best museums, historical attractions, and so much more!
The city spreads outward in concentric circles, with the Piazza Duomo and its imposing cathedral and historic shopping galleria in the middle. Most of the touristic activities, along with some museums and art galleries, are also found nearby. Getting around Milan on foot is easy, as the city is mostly flat and of manageable size.
When deciding on the best places to stay in Milan, location is everything. Getting yourself familiar with the different neighborhoods can help you in planning your trip. If you need help on this, here’s a list of some of the best neighborhoods to stay in Milan.
Today, this neighborhood is inhabited by wealthy Italians, which has unfortunately meant that it has lost some of its old artistic charm.
The ateliers have now been transformed into fancy art galleries, and what used to be a hang-out place for intellectuals has now been turned into sleek bars serving pricey drinks. During the day, the area is filled with tourists checking out the art galleries and trendy boutiques. At night, young people would be hanging out at fashionable bars, enjoying an aperitif and other cocktail drinks.
While Brera may be seen as historic, it now has a bit of a modern vibe without the chaos of the nearby city centre. Since the neighborhood is home to some upscale residential complexes, the accommodation cost here is a bit on the higher side. Most of the students and young people that live here often share space in some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings.
If you want to be close to the city centre but without the hustle and bustle, Brera is a great area to stay in Milan. It’s also home to several family-friendly hotels, making it a good place for families travelling with kids.
The bustling Navigli district is the best area of Milan to stay in if you are here for the nightlife. Located close to two canals and a dock, Navigli is usually quiet during the day but can get very busy at night when young people start converging to party after the sun goes down.
Historically, canals around Navigli were used for trade. But nowadays, they are lined with restaurants and bars that spill out onto the pavements. There’s also a weekend market every Saturday known as the Fiera di Senigallia flea market, which is a great place to experience the local way of living while also checking out the various stalls selling everything from antiques to bikes and second-hand items.
Navigli has a casual and relaxed vibe. Here, you will find cosy cafes tucked in hidden corners, artsy boutiques, and some lovely bookshops. It’s also close to IULM and the Catholic University, which explains why this district is often filled with students.
Aside from the affordable rental prices, the area has various public transportation options and vintage clothing stores selling cheap clothes. If you want to experience the authentic Milanese way of life while also enjoying the nightlife of the Milan suburbs, Navigli is a great place to base yourself.
3. PORTA VENEZIA
Porta Venezia is a famous hangout spot for the artistic community and one of Milan’s best places to stay. You will find several art galleries and museums here, including the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and Padiglione D’Arte Contemporanea.
Surrounded by a beautiful park, the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, Porta Venezia has a pretty romantic vibe. Porta Venezia is also a meeting place for Milan’s LGBTQ community, which is why it’s also home to several gay bars.
Despite its proximity to the Duomo, Porta Venezia is not too crowded, since most tourists often bypass this neighborhood. Therefore, if you choose to stay in this area, you can expect peace and quiet, despite being close to the city centre.
The area is also home to beautiful churches and parks and some of Milan’s best gelato shops. If you are looking for affordable places to stay while being close to the top attractions in the city, Porta Venezia is a great neighborhood to consider. And since it has several parks and open spaces, this neighborhood is also an excellent choice for families.
4. PORTA ROMANA
Porta Romana is a beautiful residential area that’s only a few public transport stops away from the city centre. It’s also right beside Navigli, giving you easy access to Milan’s best nightlife spots.
This neighborhood stands out because of its immaculately kept avenues lined with fashion showrooms, fancy restaurants, and prominent residential buildings. The other side of the neighborhood is home to crafty markets and bars and a favourite hangout spot of the yuppie crowd.
Compared to other Milan districts, Porta Romana is cheaper to live in and is perfect for those travelling on a budget. There’s a thriving community of young professionals here, as it is close to several co-working spaces. Since it’s in proximity to Bocconi University and Catholic University, the place is also often filled with university students.
The neighborhood is divided into two, with the upscale apartments concentrated on one side and affordable residential housing on the other side. There are also several boutique hotels in this neighborhood, which offer the best accommodation options for tourists of all kinds. Here, you will be close to the Duomo and other famous attractions in Milan.
Since it’s considered a university neighborhood, you can expect a young hipster element in this district. When staying in Porta Romana, check out the art displays at Fondazione Prada and grab a few drinks at the Plastic Nightclub.
5. PORTA NUOVA
In the northern part of the city, you will find Porta Nuova, a slightly secluded neighborhood that used to be an industrial area. Home to fancy fine dining spots, chic boutiques, and trendy bars, it is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Milan.
Around the year 2000, when the rents at the city centre started shooting up, many people moved here, thanks to its affordable housing and laidback village vibe. Nowadays, Porta Nouva is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city.
During the 2015 World Expo, Porta Nuova was fully transformed into an entirely new area, with avant-garde skyscrapers dominating its skyline. Behind these modern and sophisticated buildings lies a bustling train station, often busy with young professionals who work in one of the numerous business headquarters in the area.
If you enjoy the nightlife and want to indulge in a bit of shopping, Porta Nuova is an excellent area to consider. Despite the growing number of modern buildings in the area, it remains one of the lesser-known Milan districts, but with so much to offer.
Isola is a trendy, up-and-coming neighborhood that stretches to Viale Zara from Garibaldi Station, just west of Milan’s Central Station. It’s located north of the city centre and is only a few minutes away from the top attractions of the city.
This neighborhood is slowly developing from being a world-class district to a vibrant area home to street artists and hipsters. Several art-deco apartments have sprung up in the area in the past few years, yet, it remains fairly unknown to tourists, making it an ideal place to stay if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet.
While Isola is now slowly becoming a creative hub of Milan, it’s still home to much of the working class in the city, enjoying a more creative vibe compared to what it was in the past. There is not much to see in this neighborhood, but the fact that it’s close to the city centre makes it a great place to stay if you want to have easy access to the city’s main attractions.
7. CENTRO STORICO
If you want to be in the middle of the action, Centro Storico is the best place to stay. Although the neighborhood is often crowded with tourists, it is the best area of Milan to stay in if you want to be near the city’s top attractions.
Aside from the Duomo, Palazzo Reale and the Museo del Novecento are both also located nearby. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, another popular attraction in the city, is right next to this neighborhood.
If you have limited time in Milan and want to stay in a place where you will have easy access to the best attractions in the city, then Centro Storico is the best place to stay. In fact, if you are coming to Milan for fashion week, this is the perfect place to base yourself. The area hosts several fashion shows and catwalks during fashion week, and the streets are often packed with models and celebrities. But, as expected, prices here are a bit steep.
8. SAN LORENZO
Located south of Duomo Cathedral, San Lorenzo is a small, quiet neighborhood within the city centre. When you stay here, you will not only have easy access to the Duomo but to other famous attractions as well, such as the ancient columns of Piazza San Lorenzo.
Dubbed the most romantic neighborhood of Milan, San Lorenzo is a popular gathering place for lovers on a date and those out to meet with some friends. You will find a small number of hostels and boutique hotels in this area, especially along Corso di Porta Ticinese. This lovely street is lined with several local shops, impressive street arts, and some of the city’s best restaurants serving top-notch Milanese cuisines.
If you want to be close to the historic centre of Milan and are willing to pay a premium price, this neighborhood would be ideal for you. If you’re heading to the historical centre coming from this neighborhood, you can simply take one of those iconic trams running all over the city. Trams in Milan are not the quickest way to get around, but they are cheap, fun, and scenic. It’s also possible to take the Metro, which is faster and highly efficient.
When looking for the best places to stay in Milan, there are many factors to consider. While the location is an important factor, it’s worth noting that Milan has an excellent public transportation system. So, even if you choose to stay in a quieter neighborhood outside the city centre, you can still enjoy all the best things that the city has to offer and travel conveniently from one place to another.
If you’re still trying to decide on the best neighborhood to stay in Milan on your next vacation, get in touch and speak to one of our expert travel advisors to plan a unique trip to Italy’s capital of fashion