Where to stay in Milan

Quartiers où dormir à Milan

Where to stay in Milan, Italy’s business capital? Neighborhood by neighborhood, discover our guide to finding the best place to stay in Milan!

Wondering where to stay in Milan? Milan is certainly Italy’s most sophisticated city, embodying both rich history and modernity.

Long considered one of the world’s fashion capitals, Milan boasts some of Europe’s best shopping addresses, as well as numerous museums, historic sites and restaurants to enhance your stay in Milan.

Milan is often misunderstood by travelers looking for a more « traditional » Italian vibe, but once you’ve discovered the city and know what makes the locals tick, you’ll undoubtedly fall under its spell.

Choosing the right area to stay in Milan can have a huge impact on your trip. To help you, we’ve selected the best areas to stay in Milan.

Best areas to stay in Milan
Neighborhood Ideal for
🏛️ Brera Main sights & Gastronomy See hotels
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🍸 Navigli Nightlife See hotels
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🛍️ Centro Storico Monuments & Luxury See hotels
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🍕 Porta Nuova & Isola Gastronomy See hotels
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🤫 Porta Romana Off the beaten track See hotels
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👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Sempione Families & Parks See hotels
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🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️ Porta Venezia Young people See hotels
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💰 San Siro Small budgets See hotels
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Brera: for unmissable sights & art

Quartier de Brera où loger à Milan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Frank Fell Media

The Brera district, just northwest of the historic center, is a tangle of narrow streets. It’s a trendy district where locals and tourists mingle. Traffic is fairly light here, and you’ll find stores, restaurants and bars, as well as the Pinacoteca di Brera – arguably the city’s most important art museum.

The Brera district is also close to some of Milan’s most important sights. The Sforza Castle, Sempione Park (Milan’s most important park) and the Duomo district are all within easy walking distance. A little further on from the Sforza Castle is Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Last Supper fresco.

For a weekend, Brera is probably the best place to stay in Milan for your visits. But it’s also an artistic district, with numerous boutiques (visit Rigadritto, for example), restaurants and art galleries. If you’re looking for a drink, head for the Jamaica, the district’s most famous bar. Open since 1911, it has played host to some of Italy’s most influential figures, including Lucio Fontana, Benito Mussolini and Giuseppe Ungaretti.

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Quartier Navigli où loger à Milan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Arcansel

Often compared to the canals of Amsterdam, Navigli is fast becoming one of Milan’s trendiest districts. It’s home to Milan’s liveliest nightlife. Nicknamed the « canal district » by locals, the majority of Navigli’s stores, restaurants and points of interest are located along the Navigli Grand Canal.

Ataperitivo time (around 5 p.m.), the area teems with locals who gather for a drink or a bite to eat. It’s the ideal place to immerse yourself in authentic Milanese culture. If you’re lucky, you might even get into Backdoor 43, the world’s smallest bar!

On the sightseeing front, Navigli boasts two remarkable churches: the Basilica di San Lorenzo and the Basilica Sant Eustorgio. The former features a multitude of architectural styles and nuances. The latter is famous for its chapel, home to 14th- and 15th-century frescoes by Giovanni di Balduccio and Vincenzo Foppa, among others.

With its growing popularity and appeal to Milanese, lodging in Navigli is more likely to be with Airbnb-type accommodations, which offer a more intimate glimpse of Milanese life.

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Centro Storico: for your first time in Milan

Quartier Centro Storico où loger à Milan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Moustache Girl

Milan boasts many remarkable sights, but nothing surpasses the Piazza del Duomo, with its immense Gothic cathedral (nicknamed the Duomo). Adjacent to it is the imposing baroque Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, home to the flagship boutiques of Prada, Gucci and Bulgari, as well as dozens of stores, restaurants and bars (the Camparini has been serving Campari cocktails here for over 100 years). Even if you’re not here to treat yourself to luxury clothes, a stroll through the gallery is a must in itself.

Then walk north to Via Della Spiga, Milan’s only pedestrian-only avenue, where you’ll see sumptuous hotels and world-class boutiques. On the way, you’ll pass 18th-century facades and the historic Teatro alla Scala opera house.

The Centro Storico boasts an impressive number of museums. Milan Cathedral has its own museum, but you’ll also find the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, the Museo del Novecento and the Palazzo Reale.

As far as accommodation is concerned, the Centro Storico remains one of the most expensive areas to stay in Milan, due to its high tourist numbers. But if you’re here for a romantic weekend away and have a good budget, it’s a great place to stay.Hotels are plentiful.

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Porta Nuova & Isola: modern, hipster Milan

Quartier Porta Garibaldi où loger à Milan

The « Bosco Verticale » tower, meaning Vertical Forest. Photo credit: Shutterstock – Pierluigi.Palazzi

Sometimes considered to embody the spirit of modern Milan, the Porta Nuova district owes its name to the gate built during the Napoleonic era. Located just a few steps from the nearest metro station, Garibaldi, you’ll be invited to explore one of Europe’s largest and most avant-garde urban renewal projects.

For food lovers, head for the Porta Garibaldi district, just east of the Cimitero Monumentale (itself a great place for a stroll). Here you’ll find Eataly Smeraldo, an enormous emporium dedicated to Italian gastronomy, with cheese, meat and fish stalls and dozens of places to eat on the go. To the southwest of the district, you’ll find Chinatown.

For nightlife, try the pedestrian Corso Como, which leads to modern skyscrapers, or the Porta Nuova district. Take time to admire the Bosco Verticale, the residential tower hailed for its architectural innovation.

This vertical forest opens the door to another alternative district worth exploring, that ofIsola. Once a working-class district, Isola is now a hipster neighborhood, where building facades have been transformed into artists’ playgrounds and former warehouses into restaurants.

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Porta Romana: a trendy district in full transformation

Quartier Porta Romana où loger à Milan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – NadiaMikushova

All too often, this Roman-inspired district is overlooked in classic travel guides. Located on Piazzale Medaglie d’Oro, at the foot of Corso Porta Romana, it’s one of the city’s trendiest daytime districts. Packed with restaurants, bars and cafés, Porta Romana bridges the gap between Milan’s historic center and more modern districts, including the Fondazione Prada and Wes Anderson’s Bar Luce.

Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood by biting into one of Autore’s mouth-watering Crocetta Panini sandwiches, then admire what remains of the 16th-century Spanish walls on the main piazzale. Then continue walking along the bar-filled Via Muratori, to finally discover one of Milan’s best-kept secrets: the Cascina Cuccagna restaurant.

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Sempione: for families

Quartier de Sempione où loger à Milan

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Home to Milan’s largest urban park, the Sempione district offers a unique experience off the beaten track. Located just northeast of the city center, « Parco Sempione » lets you explore both the natural and historic sides of Milan. Here you can walk, run and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Built in 1888, Parco Sempione is home to the Napoleonic Arco della Pace, a sports complex and the magnificent Acquario Civico di Milano, Milan’s official aquarium.

In recent years, the Sempione district has expanded to include accommodation for tourists. Accommodation is reasonably priced.

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Porta Venezia: for young people

Quartier Porta Venezia où loger à Milan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alexandre Rotenberg

The Porta Venezia district is certainly one of the most fascinating in Milan: you’ll breathe in the true Milanese atmosphere, with Corso Venezia and Via Senato on one side, avenues dotted with boutiques and nightclubs, and history, culture (Civic Museum of Natural History and Gallery of Modern Art) and a huge park (Indro Montanelli Public Gardens) on the other.

It’s a great place to stay in Milan, both for families (on the Giardini Pubblici side) and for young people, just a stone’s throw from the center. The Milano Centrale train station is nearby. So it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re planning train excursions to other parts of Italy.

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San Siro: for small budgets

Quartier San Siro où loger à Milan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aleksandr Medvedkov

Soccer fans will find their second home in San Siro, where the Inter and AC Milan clubs play. There’s no shortage of sports bars here, and soccer fans can even visit the San Siro stadium. Despite all its hustle and bustle, San Siro is a relatively discreet district, with a wealth of cosy trattorias, youth hostels and budget hotels.

The district is home to FieraMilano, an unmissable events venue that has become one of the world’s leading exhibition centers, hosting some of Italy’s most important year-round events since 1920.

San Siro is a district located 5 km northwest of Milan city center. It’s not the safest neighborhood in Milan, but generally speaking, Milan is a « safe » city.

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FAQ – The best areas to stay in Milan

To cut to the chase, here’s a short summary of the best areas to book accommodation in Milan over a 2-4 day weekend:

🏛️ Brera: The best neighborhood for seeing must-see monuments and Milanese gastronomy.

🍸 Navigli: The best neighborhood for nightlife.

🛍️ Centro Storico: The best neighborhood for sightseeing and luxury shopping.

🍕 Porta Nuova & Isola: The best neighborhood for gastronomy, culture and local life.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Sempione: The best neighborhood for families and parks.

🤫 Porta Romana: The best neighborhood for those looking to get off the beaten track.

🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️ Porta Venezia: The best neighborhood for young people.

💰 San Siro: The best neighborhood for small budgets.

What are the best areas to visit in Milan?

Milan’s downtown districts, such as the Duomo and its dome, Brera with its museums and art galleries, Navigli with its canals and nightlife, and Porta Romana with its bohemian ambience, are the four most interesting districts from a tourist point of view.

What are the safest neighborhoods in which to stay in Milan?

The neighborhoods of Brera, Sempione, Porta Nuova and Porta Romana are considered safe. Note that Milan is a safe city, and even San Siro, which is not considered a safe neighborhood, is not dangerous. As in any large city, you should avoid walking alone in the streets late at night.

Where’s the best place to stay in Milan for less?

The San Siro district is certainly the least expensive in Milan, but Navigli also offers affordable accommodation. Thanks to Milan’s excellent metro network and easy access on foot between the various neighborhoods, inexpensive hotels and more affordable hostels are within easy reach outside the city center. Don’t hesitate to use price filters on Booking or Airbnb.

Where to stay in Milan for the first time?

The Centro Storico district is ideal if you want to see Milan’s must-see sights, such as the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Castello Sforzesco. Brera is also very central. For a 3-day weekend, these two districts are perfect.

Where to stay in Milan for just one night?

The Brera district is a great option for a night out in Milan, with its lively cafés, restaurants and wine bars.

Where to stay in Milan with your family

Sempione, Porta Vittoria and Porta Venezia are family-friendly neighborhoods. Quiet and less crowded, they offer children’s activities and parks.

Where to stay in Milan for the nightlife?

The Navigli district is the place to be for Milan’s nightlife. Isola and Porta Garibaldi also offer good addresses for bars and nightclubs.

Where to stay in Milan for a week or more?

The Porta Romana district is a good option for an extended stay in Milan, with its spacious apartments and bohemian atmosphere.

When is the best time to visit Milan?

May, June, September and October offer pleasant temperatures and a pleasant atmosphere for visiting Milan. However, even if winter is cold and wet, the city is less crowded and accommodation prices can be more affordable. Depending on the purpose of your visit, avoid weeks with major events in Milan, such as Fashion Week at the end of February.

How do I get around Milan?

Milan’s metro is the most convenient way to get around the city. There are also buses and streetcars, as well as cab and bike rental services for shorter trips. Car-sharing apps like Uber are also available.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Milan,it