A search like “what to do in Milan in one day” will return dozens of things you can do. While it’s impossible to visit all the museums, places of interest and famous landmarks in a day, with careful planning and the help of my recommendations, you can make the most of your time in Milan. Yes, you can have a day well planned and utilized.
My recommendations are places I have spent quality time at and enjoyed greatly living in Milan. I have listed these places in order of proximity to make it easy for you to navigate.
Milan City Centre, Duomo
The Duomo Square (Piazza Duomo), Duomo Cathedral and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping complex are undoubtedly the most visited areas in Milan by tourists and locals alike. These places are flocked all year round by people engaging in recurring activities like: posing to take pictures with the pigeons in front of the cathedral, watching the street acts near the square and window shopping by the panes of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping complex.
As you may find out, choosing to explore the Duomo Cathedral will steal more of your time. The queue is often so long at the ticket office and entrance, hence you will need to set aside 2 or more hours for this activity. To fast-track the process, you can purchase the Duomo tickets online to see the church and access the terraces.
And just before you leave this area to my next suggested place, head to Panzerotti Luini at via Santa Radegonda (open in google maps), near the Space Cinema for a taste of its famous Panzerotto. At a cost of €2.70, you can get Luini’s classic Panzerotto made from flour, cheese, and tomatoes. Heads up, Luini doesn’t accept debit or credit cards, you can only pay with cash.
Castello Sforzesco, Cairoli
Castello Sforzesco is an old castle built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. The Castello (castle) is difficult to miss, it’s a straight 5 minutes walk from the Generali building at Via Cordusio 2 (open in google maps). Along the walk, you will find some famous Italian restaurants like SignorVino and clothing shops like Desigual. If you had like, you can stop by at SignorVino for a quick glass of wine, made in Italy, and some finger foods.
Attached behind the Castello is the Parco (park) Sempione, which can be accessed by the gate linking the park and castle. Taking viale malta (inside Parco Sempione), you will arrive at my next recommended place – Piazza Sempione (open in google maps).
Arco della Pace, translated the “Arc of Peace” is a famous landmark in Milan. Near the arc, you will find the grand park called Parco Sempione. Also close by is the Corso Sempione street that hosts cool Aperitivo spots. ~ Follow my page @girl.in.milan to learn more about my life in Milan, Italy📍 #girlinmilan
Piazza Sempione is also a good go-to spot. At the square is the famous landmark “The Arco della Pace”. The Corso Sempione street is also a well known aperitivo area of Milan. It hosts my favourite Brangrabar restaurant, even though Corso Sempione is not my favourite Aperitivo spot in Milan. Read on to find out my favourite aperitivo spot.
Brera District, Lanza
Next stop is Brera, near the Lanza Metropolitan Station. Spot the Piccolo Teatro, which is just outside the Lanza metropolitan station. Even if you visit the Brera District at a time when the Milan Design Week is not on, you can have a look at the glorious Brera – the heart of the Milan Design Week. Some famous places to look out for in Brera: Biblioteca di Brera (Library) and Pinacoteca di Brera (art gallery), both located at via Brera 28.
After exploring the Brera District, walk back to the Lanza station to take the metro to Moscova. Get off at Moscova and take the Corso Garibaldi street. I like to reach the Corso Como street through Corso Garibaldi because I enjoy reveling in the beauty of skyscrapers and the feeling of modernization I experience here.
You will find Eataly at the upper left of the Porta Garibaldi Arc, a historical landmark in Milan. You should endeavour to visit the Porta Nuova area (near Porta Garibaldi Metro Station). At Porta Nuova you can sight the renowned Bosco Verticale building covered in green. Also have a look at the Porta Nuova square, a very lux business area with a lot of glass skyscrapers.
I recommend this spot as the last place to visit because it’s at its peak during the evening/night. The nightlife in Navigli so vibrant! Navigli is dear to my heart and is my favourite aperitivo spot. I love the fact that it bustles with a lot of life. Many restaurants are lined up along the canal giving you dozens of options for an aperitivo (also called happy hour). If you intend to have an aperitivo, it usually starts around 6 pm. The Darsena, a place where you will often find locals perform the ritual of drinking and chatting is also within reach.
How to move around in a day?
You can buy the day pass urban ticket which gives you access to all the transport systems within the Milan Urban zone for a Price of € 4.50, valid for 24 hours after stamping.