In the Milanese neighborhoods, you can explore:
- Medieval castles and historic parks.
- Massive Gothic cathedrals and intricate Romanesque churches.
- Opulent mansions, housing trendy cafés, intriguing museums, and posh fashion boutiques.
If you’ve been wondering where to stay in Milan, you’ve come to the right place. On this list, we’ve featured the 11 best areas to stay in Milan, including descriptions of the attractions and the vibe of each of the districts.
We’ve also shared our recommendations for the best accommodations in the Italian city.
Apart from the historic neighborhoods, several emerging hip areas with lush parks and contemporary architecture are also great options to stay in Milan.
Let’s find out which Milanese district suits you best!
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1. Central Station Area: The Best Base Camp for Day Trips from Milan
Whether you fly into Milano or arrive by train, your first stop in the city most certainly will be Milano Centrale. The main train station of the Italian city is a massive edifice, built in 1931 and combining a fusion of architectural styles.
The area surrounding Milano Centrale is a great place to stay. You’ll be close to the largest transportation hub in the city. From there, you can explore any attraction at your own pace. It’s also the best base camp if you plan to do day trips from Milan.
The neighborhood offers a wide range of accommodations. You can choose between low-budget hostels, spacious apartments, and high-end lodging. The streets around the Central Station also host countless cool bars, cozy cafés, international eateries, and popular restaurants.
If you’re searching for shopping opportunities, the nearby Corso Buenos Aires awaits. There, you’ll find anything from international brands’ boutiques through mid-range department stores to discount outlets.
The highlight in the district is the impressive Milano Centrale building. It is the largest railway station in Europe by volume.
The building blends several architectural styles, such as Art Deco and Liberty. The façade features massive columns, gigantic statues, and intricate friezes.
In front of the terminus, you can relax at the monumental Piazza Duca d’Aosta, while on the northwest side of the edifice, you can explore the vibrant farmers’ market Mercato Centrale Milano.
Our recommendations: The 4* gem iQ Hotel Milano seduces with exciting views, modern amenities, slick decors, and a free minibar. The location overlooking the transportation hub Milano Centrale is unbeatable, especially if you’re planning on exploring every corner of Milan or traveling to other Italian cities. Alternatively, the spacious, bright Central Lepetit apartment De Luxe can accommodate up to five guests. If you’re visiting the city with friends or family, you can benefit from a well-equipped kitchen and a large living space, which turns into a second bedroom at night.
2. Ticinese: The Best Area to Explore Milan’s Free Activities
The bohemian Ticinese is part of the historic center – Centro Storico.
You’ll meet a young, hip crowd in the budget-friendly trattorias and funky cafés. Vintage shops, unusual pop-up stores, and alternative art dot the streets.
In the neighborhood, you can also explore several major attractions, which are some of the best free things to do in Milan. Here’s what we suggest you shouldn’t miss:
- Porta Ticinese Medievale. The medieval city gate was originally erected in the 12th century. It underwent reconstructions in the 16th and in the 19th centuries. Imagine the layers of history this single building reveals!
- Colonne di San Lorenzo. The Columns of St. Lawrence are incredibly well preserved and incorporated in Milan’s modern infrastructure. The site features 16 tall marble columns from the time when the city was the capital of the Western Roman Empire.
- Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore. Romans laid the basilica’s foundations in the 4th century. The impressive early-Christian church has an octagonal chapel. Inside, the ornate mosaics, large windows, and massive columns will steal your breath.
- Basilica di Sant’Eustorgio. The 4th century Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio used to be an important stop on the pilgrimage journeys to Rome and the Holy Land. Don’t miss exploring the historic paintings and the tomb of St. Peter of Verona, adorned with incredible life-sized sculptures.
- The Wall of Dolls. If you like finding unusual street murals, you should visit this shocking art installation. Dolls, puppets, and stuffed animals of varying sizes adorn a wall near Porta Ticinese. The mural is a protest against violence towards women.
Our recommendations: Situated in a charming historic building, the apartments at SAHI – Residenza Bianca di Savoia will surprise you with their vivid color palette and modern equipment, as well as the cozy kitchenettes and dining areas. Another awesome option in the area is Heart Milan Apartments Duomo Colonne. While you’ll have to walk for a few minutes to reach the Duomo, the Columns of St. Lawrence will be at your doorstep. The bright, comfy rooms feature exposed brick walls and beam ceilings, as well as cheerful pop art and high-end appliances.
3. Castello: The Best Neighborhood for Castle and Park Fans
As the name suggests, the medieval Sforzesco Castle dominates this part of Milan.
Castello hosts not only Sforza’s Castle but also the city’s largest and most stunning green space, Sempione Park. It’s worth visiting Milan for these two attractions alone!
The gigantic fortress sits on the southeast end of the massive historic garden. The fortification is a medieval structure from the 15th century. Nowadays, it’s one of Milan’s top attractions.
You can explore its exterior and courtyard for free or visit the numerous museums housed in the colossal structure. Masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo await inside.
Apart from the fortress, Sempione Park also houses the spellbinding Arco della Pace, as well as a man-made pond, a tower, an aquarium, a theater, and a library. Countless lawns and historic monuments will also draw your attention.
In the Castello area, you’ll also stumble upon numerous shops and restaurants. Nearby is the famous shopping street, Via Dante. The beautiful pedestrian avenue connects the district with the majestic Piazza Duomo. Apart from its trendy shops, the street is also known for its numerous theaters, posh restaurants, cozy cafés, exquisite bars, and staggering townhouses.
Our recommendations: The three-star B&B Hotel Milano City Center Duomo is a great bang for your buck. The chic rooms with city views offer everything a traveler needs. The highlight of the hotel is the rooftop terrace with breathtaking panoramas of Milan’s historic center. For unforgettable vistas of the Sforzesco Castle, stay at Castello Guest House Milano. Located inside one of the historic townhouses, the accommodation has large rooms with comfortable amenities and modern designs.
4. Navigli: The Best District to Dive into Milan’s Nightlife
If you want to party the night away, Navigli is the best place to stay in Milan.
The name of the area translates to “canals” and refers to the waterways, which dissect the city. Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese shape the borders of the neighborhood. The 13th-century canals served for defense, transportation, and tax collection through the centuries.
You’ll never run out of dining options and nightlife entertainment in the district. You’ll find budget-friendly pizzerias and fine-dining trattorias, as well as rustic pubs and popular clubs.
During the day, the quarter attracts with its picturesque canals and cobblestoned streets, packed with funky art galleries and antique stores.
If you want to browse through even more shiny objects, the Viale Papiniano Flea Market and the monthly Mercatone dell’Antiquariato will seduce you with a wide selection of leather goods, hand-made jewelry, and curiosity-peaking antiquities.
Our recommendations: If you wish to be as close to the action as possible, book Laura’s Home right on the Naviglio Grande. The large, sunny apartments come with a patio, a fully equipped kitchen, and a cozy seating area. If you prefer a budget-friendlier, quieter option, Combo Milano on the Naviglio Pavese is the right choice for you. Don’t worry about losing your comfort. The hostel offers rooms for two, four, and six people, all with private bathrooms. There’s a bar and a restaurant on the premises, as well as a gorgeous garden, a community kitchen, and a shared lounge.
5. Brera: The Best Place to Stay in Milan for Art Aficionados
The artistic Brera District is part of the historic center of Milan.
The graceful townhouses in the area house numerous art centers and museums. The most famous is the Pinacoteca di Brera. The largest gallery in Milan occupies an elegant palazzo. Napoleon stayed in its chambers during his visits to Milan.
Nowadays, the collection in the Pinacoteca consists of Italian art. Masters primarily from the northern regions of the country are represented in the halls of the gallery. You can marvel at the works of Caravaggio, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and Leonardo da Vinci, among others.
If you prefer admiring art in its original home, head to Santa Maria del Carmine. The 15th-century Romanesque church prides itself on several striking paintings, frescos, and statues.
The chapels and niches of the church hold the tombs of many noble citizens, while the naves and transepts hide several magnificent artworks. The most prominent painting is Camillo Procaccini’s St. Charles Borromeo Praying. Notice the floor tiles with clever geometrical patterns and the richly engraved altar as well.
When you grow tired of art, head to Orto Botanico di Brera. The Brera Botanical Garden will provide you with a true oasis of tranquility. It has welcomed visitors since 1774. Inside, you can have a moment of peace while enjoying the vibrant flowerbeds, the playful ponds, and the centuries-old trees.
For your culinary escapades, choose one of the numerous sidewalk cafés or upscale restaurants. And when the night falls, join the local crowds roaming the cobbled alleys in search of the next trendy bar or rustic pub.
Our recommendations: Brera Prestige B&B will surprise you with smart technologies, stylish interiors, and affordable rates. Every major Milanese attraction is easily reachable from the guesthouse. On the high-end of the spectrum, you can splurge at the five-star, ultra-luxurious Bulgari Hotel Milano. Right next to the Brera Botanical Garden, the exclusive establishment invites in its private magical garden. A sumptuous spa center with a splendid indoor swimming pool will pamper you during your stay. When you grow tired of sightseeing or shopping, retrieve to your gigantic room, which features even a walk-in closet.
6. Scala: The Best Artistic Neighborhood of Milan
Another culture-packed part of the Centro Storico is the Scala District.
It is home to the famous 18th-century opera and ballet house, Teatro alla Scala. The opera and ballet theater is one of the best on the planet. Every famous Italian opera singer, as well as many of the greatest artists from around the world, have performed at La Scala.
The neoclassical venue features a gilded auditorium. Above the boxes is the gallery, called “loggione”. That’s where the most critical opera aficionados, known as the loggionisti, prefer to watch. They might cheer ecstatically or boo harshly the performers, thus skyrocketing or destroying their careers.
If you won’t be attending the opera at night, you can still tour La Scala during the day. And if you wish to discover more about the world-renowned theater, visit the adjoining museum. The Museo Teatrale alla Scala showcases stage costumes and portraits of great singers, as well as musical scores and instruments.
Another attraction worth checking in the district is the Poldi Pezzoli Museum. The elegant gallery hosts decorative art and paintings. The extensive collection contains the works of Italian and Flemish masters.
The architectural highlight of the area is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The famous historic shopping arcade is one of the major attractions of Milan. It was built between 1865 and 1877. The glass-covered mall is home to luxury brands, upscale restaurants, and high-class hotels. Take your time to marvel at the intricate façades and the vibrant mosaic floors.
In the evening, satiate your gastronomical cravings at the chic restaurants or posh trattorias in the neighborhood.
Our recommendations: Right in the heart of Milan, the huge 969 sq. ft. (90 sq. m) apartment at Broletto 26 combines aristocratic chic with modern comforts. Two bedrooms, a living space, and a kitchen will be at your disposal. Two bathrooms and a hot tub will make sure you relax properly after hours of sightseeing. If you need smaller accommodation, check out Fifty Eight Suite Milan. The one-bedroom apartments are stylish and bright, with fully-equipped kitchens and cozy sitting areas. They also feature balconies with relaxing city views.
7. Porta Venezia: The Best Area in Milan for Nature Lovers
Another great area to stay in Milan’s historic center is Porta Venezia.
In the neighborhood, you can hunt for bargain deals at chain stores and outlets. The shops occupy staggering Neoclassical structures, which line the main shopping street, Corso Buenos Aires.
Don’t miss a photo op with Porta Venezia, the striking monumental gate of Milan and name-giver of the area. The Neoclassical building from the 19th century replaced older gates that were part of the Medieval and Roman city walls. The current porta consists of two twin buildings, which served as customs offices.
However, the main reason to recommend this quarter is the drop-dead gorgeous park Giardini Indro Montanelli. The 18th-century public garden is home to the splendid Natural History Museum, the majestic Palazzo Dugnani, and the intriguing Planetarium Ulrico Hoepli.
The Natural History Museum hosts an incredible collection of rare fossils, minerals, and animals in a stunning building. The 18th-century Palazzo Dugnani houses Galleria d’Arte Moderna, where you can admire European art. Planetarium Ulrico Hoepli dates back to the 1930s and invites to enlightening astronomical shows in its impressive auditorium with 300 seats.
In the park, you can also ride a mini train, take a stroll through a magnolia forest, and pay respect to the monument of the journalist Indro Montanelli. In the winter months, you’ll have a chance to visit a fun Christmas Market, complete with an ice-skating rink, amusement rides, and food stalls.
Our recommendations: You’ll find the cozy 3* Ai Suma Hotel right across from Giardini Indro Montanelli. Comfortable rooms with elegant decors and city views offer great relaxation after a long day of exploring. Another great accommodation near the park is the 10 Via Giuseppe Sirtoriapartment. The exceptional loft has an upper-floor bedroom, a sitting and a dining area, and a kitchenette. The hosts have even left a few board games if you prefer to spend a quiet evening in, rather than going out.
8. Isola: The Hip Hidden Gem of Milan
Isola is part of Zone 9 of Milan. It’s a hip district of tiny streets with graffiti-covered walls. A quirky mix of fashion boutiques, thrift stores, and organic produce groceries dot the neighborhood. Cozy family-run trattorias, trendy outdoor cafés, and industrial-style bars attract a diverse crowd.
You won’t find many attractions in the area. However, its location between the Milano Centrale and Porta Garibaldi railway stations makes it a perfect base camp for exploring the city and its neighbors.
One of the coolest sights you can experience in Isola is the Weekend Flea Market. The stalls and tables surround the Renaissance Santa Maria alla Fontana Church. Step inside the temple as well to marvel at its frescoed arcades.
Another spot worth visiting in the district is the modern Parco Biblioteca degli Alberi. The urban green space features an incredible, geometrical botanical garden with a modern landscape design. Skyscrapers, restaurants, and event centers surround the park.
Our recommendations: Isola Flat is a spacious, bright apartment with a loft bedroom, a kitchenette, a dining area, and a living space. It’s in a quiet location, so a good-night sleep is guaranteed. If you prefer to have more room during your stay in Milan, you should check the BePlace Apartments in Isola. The modern, airy accommodation offers a living space with a sofa bed, a well-equipped kitchen with a dining area, and a second-story bedroom.
9. Chinatown: The Best Area to Experience Milan’s Ethnic Diversity
The Milanese Chinatown is a multi-ethnic district. The main artery of the area is the pedestrianized Via Paolo Sarpi. Тhe oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy occupies this neighborhood, hence the name.
In the streets, you’ll see Chinese lanterns, exotic food markets, hairdressing salons, and fashion boutiques selling leather and silk clothes. The dining options include dim sum restaurants, traditional teashops, and typical Asian street-food. If you’re looking for modern art in the area, visit Fabbrica del Vapore. The cultural center hosts exhibitions regularly.
Chinatown also borders the extraordinary Cimitero Monumentale. We know not everyone is brave enough to add a cemetery to their itinerary. But we recommend that you check it out. It’s one of the most unusual free attractions in Milan, famous for its magnificent funerary sculptures. They represent different architectural styles and decorate the tombs of popular artists, architects, and wealthy citizens.
Our recommendations: If you decide to stay in Chinatown during your visit to Milan, Luxury Apartments Fioravanti await with their funky designs. No two flats are alike, but they all feature an eccentric mix of styles. Exposed brick walls and ceiling beams clash with oriental carpets and Baroque furniture. If that’s too extravagant for your taste, perhaps the Mini loft Moscova will be your place. The bright, cozy apartment has everything for a comfortable stay. From an airy bedroom with city views to an espresso machine for your morning energy boost, you’ll have everything at your disposal.
10. Porta Garibaldi: The Best Area for Contemporary Art
Sandwiched between Isola, Chinatown, and Brera, Porta Garibaldi is a trendy, fun area. Its streets are packed with high-end fashion boutiques, chic sidewalk cafés, and contemporary art galleries.
At the center of the neighborhood stands proud the Neoclassical Porta Garibaldi. The remarkable stone gateway occupies a spot on Corso Como, the shopping and entertainment artery of the area. The central arch of the gate commemorates the visit of Francis I of Austria back in 1825. As the name suggests, the structure is dedicated to General Garibaldi, who played a vital role in the unification of Italy.
Modern buildings surround the funky Piazza Gae Aulenti. The highlight is a playful fountain, where light shows happen at night. Surrounding the square are the most striking Milanese skyscrapers, which host upscale restaurants, luxury shops, and huge supermarkets.
Adjacent to the piazza is the lush Parco Biblioteca degli Alberi, while at the opposite edge of the district, you’ll find the gigantic Parco Sempione.
Our recommendations: The chic four-star Milano Verticale will seduce you with a state-of-the-art fitness and wellness center, a rooftop terrace with staggering views, and a gigantic private garden. The spacious rooms with elegant, modern designs, the restaurant with international cuisine, and the bar serving delicious cocktails will make your stay in Milan memorable. Alternatively, check the Porta Garibaldi B&B. The airy studio has a quirky design, a well-equipped kitchen, and a comfy dining area. The hosts also offer bicycles free of charge during your stay.
11. Quadrilatero della Moda: The Poshest District of Milan
The Fashion District, or Quad d’Oro, is the poshest shopping area of Milan. It’s part of the historic center. Stay in the neighborhood if you’re looking for unparalleled luxury while still being close to all the popular attractions of Milan.
The most famous stores are concentrated around Via Monte Napoleone. Top designer boutiques, polished antique shops, and fashionable cafés occupy Neoclassical mansions. They’ll attract you with vibrant colors, unique shapes, and shiny interiors.
Apart from the countless designer stores, the Fashion District also hosts several museums. The Palazzo Morando Museum occupies a gorgeous 18th-century townhouse. Inside, you can marvel at the original furniture and paintings from this period, as well as an extensive collection of historic Milanese fashion clothing.
Close-by is another gem in the area, the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi. The palazzo from the 16th-century features a lavish interior, and houses a lovely exhibit of decorative art and paintings from the Renaissance era.
Our recommendations: The luxurious 5* Grand Hotel et de Milan will pamper you with extraordinary rooms, individually decorated with stylish 18th-century furniture. A high-tech fitness center, an upscale Italian restaurant, a casual diner, and a classy bar will seduce your muscles and your palate. A more affordable but very chic alternative in the district is the four-star Hotel Manzoni. Refined wood floors decorate the rooms, while marble covers the lobbies. The wellness area awaits with a modern fitness center, a Turkish bath, and a hot tub, while the wine bar & bistro serves Italian and international delicacies.
Now You Know Where to Stay in Milan on Your Next Italian Adventure
And that’s a wrap – in this guide, we’ve listed all the best areas to stay in Milan.
Whether you want to explore basilicas from the time of the Roman Empire, lush parks with centuries-old trees, lavish museums with Renaissance art, or go on a (window) shopping spree, we know you’ll find the best Milanese accommodation for your needs.
Now, we’re eager to learn:
Where would you stay in Milan on your next Italian adventure?
Share with the tribe in the comments below!