Where to Stay in Milan: 7 Best Areas [Picked by a Milan Local]

If you’re planning to spend a day, weekend, or more in Milan, one of the first things you’ll need to know is the best place to stay in Milan, close to the main landmarks of the city.

Luckily, nowhere is too far out of reach; the city has a modern tram and metro system, which is quite affordable and allows you to get anywhere in town with just a few euros and a short ride. 

Being aware of the best places to stay in Milan is helpful to make the most of the visit without spending a lot of time commuting.

the backside of the milan duomo building with marble facade, spires, stained glass window, and people walking around behind it
The back of the Duomo is just as beautiful as the front!
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase something after clicking. Thank you for supporting the free content on this independent site! For more information on affiliate links and cookies, see my disclosure page for more details.

And lucky for you, I spent nearly a decade living in Milan, so I’m well-qualified to help you pick the best neighborhood in Milan to stay in!

To help you out, I’ve put together this guide to the best areas to stay in Milan so you can be informed of the pros and cons of each part of the city, before booking your Milan hotel.

Prices of Accommodation in Milan

View of the arcade in Milan with lanterns and a glass roof

Let’s start with the bad news: Milan isn’t  the cheapest destination in Italy.

You’ll find that a well-situated hotel or apartment rental starts at about €150-180 per night. 

If you can spend a bit more, you’ll find better hotels in more central locations, such as the Duomo area. 

Prices for mid-range accommodation in the center of the city can go from €200 to €300 per night.

And more premium hotels, including boutique hotels, villas, and fully-equipped apartments start at €300 or more per night in the center!

That said, if you’re willing to stay a little further afield and make use of Milan’s excellent public transit network, this is a good way to save!

Best Places to Stay in Milan

#1. Duomo Square: Perfect for First-Time Visitors

beautiful view of the milan duomo from the side a key european landmark

The area near Milan’s Cathedral can be a bit noisy and crowded any time of the day, but it’s a great place to stay for first-timers.

Many of the attractions you’ll want to visit are either immediately in the area or within a really short walking distance.

The area is packed with restaurants, bars and pizza places, but it’s also close to the following attractions:

  • The Duomo, Milan’s famous Gothic cathedral
  • Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, one of the best-known covered passages in the country
  • Corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of the most exclusive shopping districts in town 
  • Teatro alla Scala, a worldwide famous opera house in the center of Mila
  • Piazza del Mercanti, a fantastic medieval square
the interior of the la scala theater in milan with gilded boxes and red seats and beautiful lighting

Within walking distance from Duomo, you can also find the more affordable shops on Dante Street as well as the beautiful Sforza Castle, another must-see place in Milan! 

Along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, you can also visit Milan’s oldest department store, La Rinascente, as well as incredible book stores and music shops.

And for those with a sweet tooth, you can’t miss the traditional coffee shops serving Milanese pastries and treats starting in the early morning hours.

Also close to the Duomo, you can explore the famous Quadrilatero della Moda, home to the most expensive clothing shops in the country.

Here, you’ll see the most important Italian fashion flagship stores featuring exclusive haute couture pieces by designers such as Armani, Versace, Prada, Valentino, and many others.

The area is safe at any hour of the day (though watch for pickpockets in busy areas!) and most metro lines are connected to Line 3, which has a stop right in Duomo.

#2. Navigli: Ideal for Young Travelers

the navigli canals of milan at night with lights

If nightlife, good food, and trendy bars situated in an atmospheric district are your key desires, then when it comes to where to stay in Milan, Navigli is the perfect choice for you.

This ancient system of canals, similar to the ones that you’d find in Venice with its famous gondolas, is home to gorgeous rental apartments with views over the water.

The Navigli area is very much alive at all hours, and it’s just a short metro ride from other tourist areas in Milan, including the Duomo.

To get to Navigli, the best metro Line is Line 2, and the closest stop to the heart of the Navigli canals is Porta Genova.

Staying in the Navigli district will allow you to enjoy:

  • Vicolo dei Lavandai, where you can walk along the street where local women used to wash their clothes in the past
  • San Lorenzo Columns, where you can discover a group of ancient ruins from the Roman times opposite the famous San Lorenzo Basilica
  • Creative street art scattered along the Navigli district
  • Dozens of food tours and great eateries, modern restaurants, trendy cocktail bars and alternative places for aperitivo with stunning views of the district
the red brick building of the church which holds the last supper inside iet

The area is also great for those interested in visiting the Last Supper, in the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church.

It’s just a few minutes from the heart of the Navigli.

There are also many shops, street art performances, concerts, and things to do until late in the evening hours.

#3. Brera District: Unique Destination for Art Lovers

the beautiful residential area of milan's brera district with elegant balconies and greenery

Locals consider Brera the most aristocratic, elegant, and exclusive area to live in Milan.

This neighborhood has a special refined, residential flair that enchants anyone who visits — you can immediately imagine yourself living there while walking through it.

Given its more residential character, there aren’t many hotels in this district.

However, there are several homes to rent, including lofts, flats, and villas that make it a great base for a longer stay in Milan.

This area is perfect for those who want to integrate and live like a local, taking some day trips from Milan and exploring the surroundings, at least for a short while.

Brera is also a vibrantly cultural part of town, hosting not just interesting bookstores, but also delicious restaurants and bars.

the area of brera in milan with beautiful architecture

However, the main reason to book accommodation in Brera is to visit some of the following landmarks:

  • Brera Art Gallery (or Pinacoteca di Brera in Italian), for its  remarkable art exhibition with world-famous masterpieces by local and foreign artists
  • Brera Astronomical Observatory and Museum, perfect for lovers of space and the sciences
  • Brera Botanical Garden and Aquarium, for a little slice of quiet in Milan

This is one of the safest areas to stay in Milan, and home to plenty of green spaces, including parks and small squares. 

However, staying in such a picturesque and tranquil neighborhood comes with a bit of a price, and accommodation is often a bit more expensive than in other neighborhoods. 

To reach this neighborhood, you can use metro Line 2.

#4. Quartiere Cinese, Milan’s Chinatown: Perfect for a Different Milan

chinese style red lanterns hanging against the backdrop of milanese architecture in the city center, one of the best places to stay in milan

While this area of Milan is one that nobody would have recommended ten years ago, Milan’s Chinatown has gone through a deep process of change in recent years.

It’s now become a picturesque district, safe and lively at any time of the day.

If you’re interested in shopping for affordable fashion staples, enjoying some pedestrian roads, and sampling international food from different countries throughout Asia, then this is the right area.

Milan’s Chinatown has a long history, as it was home to the first Chinese immigrants to arrive in the country since the beginning of the past century, most of them originally from the Chinese region of Zhejiang.

Most restaurants serve delicious and incredibly affordable food (including takeout!), often specializing in Zhejiang cuisine, though it’s also been heavily influenced by Italian gastronomy. 

Over the years, the neighborhood also started receiving Chinese immigrants from other areas as well as residents from Vietnam and Thailand.

details of milan chinatown architeecture with red and pastel brown brick and stone

Today, the place is full of shops, eateries, and accommodations, all on the affordable side, making it a great destination for the budget-conscious traveler.

The area is close to the following local landmarks:

  • Via Paolo Sarpi Street, the heart of Milan’s Chinatown and a green, pedestrian boulevard that is home to stores, street food joints, and cheap eateries
  • Fabbrica del Vapore (Steam Factory), a space dedicated to kids and teens offering interesting exhibitions and workshops
  • ADI Design Museum, a museum devoted to graphic design and industrial creations where the works of modern Milan’s designers shine
  • The Oriental Mall, one of the best places to purchase affordable souvenirs and clothes in town

Chinatown is easy to reach from Milano Centrale train station by metro (Line 2).

If you are interested in visiting the Brera district but prices are too high for your budget, the Chinatown district is a good, nearby alternative.

#5. Sempione Park: Ideal for a Quiet Stay

the triumphal arch in milan's sempione park

Another unique area, safe and well connected to the rest of the city, is the area around Parco Sempione, the biggest green space in the city. 

It’s a fairly residential district where you can enjoy pleasant walks that take you to the Sforza Castle, or to Via Dante, an interesting commercial road that ends just steps from the Duomo.

Another advantage of staying in Sempione is that just a few feet from the park, you’ll find Cadorna train station.

From this station, you can take the Malpensa Express train to get to Milan’s most widely-used international airport.

Parco Sempione is perfect to visit:

the front of the sforza castle in milan with a fountain
  • Sempione Park and the Arch of Peace, the most important triumphal arch in the country, where you can spend time exploring the city aquarium
  • Sforza Castle, an important Medieval castle, once the heart of the city, housing some of the most important museums in Milan, the Civic Museums
  • Arena Civica, a gorgeous neoclassical stadium dating back to 1807. The historic track is open daily to the public, and it’s a favorite place, just like Parco Sempione for jogging and exercising.
  • Torre Branca, a simple steel tower that is among the city’s tallest buildings with unique views of Milan’s skyline. The top of the tower can be accessed by elevator and it stays open until midnight, making it perfect for nighttime snapshots of Milan’s city lights.

The best metro lines that connect the area to the center and the Duomo Square are Line 1 (red metro line) and Line 3 (yellow metro line).

#6. Isola: Perfect for an Alternative Stay in Milan

the green vertical towers of milan's isola neighborhood

Another place in the city that, just like Chinatown, has gone through a deep transformation, Isola has become one of the most exclusive places to find accommodation in Milan. 

Isola is now an area where you’ll find plenty of new houses, modern skyscrapers, design schools, several lofts, and aparthotels.

In general, this neighborhood of Milan appeals strongly to the local hipster and artistic community, giving it a lively communal vibe.

This alternative neighborhood is close to the second most important train station in the city, Porta Garibaldi, where you can catch trains to Bergamo, Como, and other important Northern cities in the Lombardy region.

the porta garibaldi area of milan at night

Also near Isola, the places you can visit include:

  • Viale Zara, an important avenue where the locals love to shop, walk, and spend time people-watching
  • Bosco Verticale, the original green towers that have been recently built in Milan, known for the unique quantity of gardens and trees that decorate their facades
  • Cimitero Monumentale, the famous city cemetery home to the most impressive collection of funerary art you could ever imagine
  • Original exhibition spaces such as the Typewriter Museum and the House of Memory (Casa della Memoria),
  • Art galleries and important theaters, including Verdi Theater and Fontana Theater
  • The Church of the Holy Face, a stunning offbeat church.

The Isola area is home to dozens of new restaurants and typical trattorias, bars, pubs, and other meeting spots where locals love to gather for an aperitivo or dinner.

#7. Porta Venezia: A Great Place to Stay for Families

one of the buildings in milans porto venizia area a popular place to stay in milan for families

The area around Porta Venezia metro station and the lively Buenos Aires Avenue (Corso Buenos Aires) is perfect for families traveling with kids. 

This district is home to another magnificent park, Parco Indro Montanelli, where families love to spend time in a peaceful green space.

You can spend some time with your kids walking along the different paths, admiring the swan ponds, having a snack at a bar, or simply sitting on one of the many benches under the shadow of huge plane trees.

The park is also home to the biggest planetarium in the country which organizes weekly exhibitions and shows that attract the whole family.

a milan local park that families like to visit in the autumn or winter

Moms of the families staying near Porta Venezia will enjoy walking along Corso Buenos Aires, one of the best shopping spots in Milan. 

This area is home to exclusive boutiques that have much better price tags than the ones you’ll find in central neighborhoods like the Duomo or the exclusive Via Montenapoleone.

Among the places to visit in Porta Venezia, don’t miss:

  • Indro Montanelli Park and the Ulrico Hoepli Planetarium
  • Milan’s Civic Museum of Natural History, also located in the Indro Montanelli Park features five different sections that fascinate adults and kids alike; Mineralogy, Paleontology, Invertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology, and Natural History of Man.
  • The Milanese Pink Flamingos (locally known as the fenicotteri rosa di Milano), a curious park situated inside Villa Invernizzi, an ancient home in the heart of the Quadrilatero del Silenzio, an elegant neighborhood with quite a curious name.
  • The original Cà dell’Oreggia (House of the Ear), an old aristocratic building that is not just a great example of Liberty art, but which also houses an odd detail. There’s a huge bronze ear that used to be the doorbell of the building, but unfortunately, this unique device has been out of order for several years

In addition to these interesting corners in this neighborhood, don’t forget that the whole area is perfect for shopping, hosting the highest number of clothing stores in all of Europe!

However, Porta Venezia is more than just fashion stores. It’s also safe, great for kids, and close to the center, only a few metro stops away (Line 3).

The neighborhoods included in this article are the best-located, safest, and more convenient Milan neighborhoods, making them perfect choices for your Milan accommodations.

They’re quite near Milan’s main attractions and most important train stations to allow not only an entertaining visit but also an easy way to reach other cities in the country!

Leave a Comment