Where to Stay in Milan First Time: 16 Best Areas

Where to stay in Milan first time? near the train station, with family, for one, two, three nights? In this post, I will give you detail about the best areas to stay in Milan for first-timers (with a video and map), best hotels for all budgets (including the hotel where I stayed), and safest places.

Italy’s chic and modern Northern capital is fascinating to visit and absolutely packed full of things to see and do. It is the largest city in Italy and the fashion capital of the world, alongside Paris, London, and New York, hosting the famous Milan Fashion Week.

Where to stay in Milan for the first time?

The best areas to stay in Milan for first-time visitors are Centro Storico, Brera, Stazione Centrale, Porta Nuova, Navigli, San Siro, and Sempione. These neighborhoods has central locations and plenty of accommodations for all budget travelers.

Centro Storico is the best overall area in Milan for first-time visitors, and those seeking one night, 2 nights stays due to its central location and well-connected to public transportation. Staying here puts you closer to major attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops.

I recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Milan to explore the city, which is enough to visit the major attractions, to enjoy shopping, and to get a good sense of the local culture and history. If you have more days, you can take a day trips to Lake Como.

Milan is a overall safe city for tourist, but as as in any touristy city, you should always use common sense and be aware of surrounding to avoid pickpocketing. Also, stick to popular and well-lit areas, particularly during the evening.

The historic centrer, Brera, Isola and Porta Romana are some of the safest places to stay in Milan for tourist. Milan Central station area is generally safe but as in any crowded station, you should always stay alert and be aware of pickpocketing.

Where did I stay in Milan?

When I first visited Milan, I stayed for 3 nights at The Corner Duomo Hotel. The hotel has a prime location in the historic heart of Milan, an easy walk from the Cathedral, Teatro alla Scala and Via Monte Napoleone. My suite was amazing and breakfast was delicious!

💖 Best Area for first timers:Centro Storico
💎 Best luxury hotel:NH Collection Milano President
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Worldhotel Cristoforo Colombo
💰 Best budget hotel:B&B Hotel Milano Sant’Ambrogio

Overviews of best areas to stay in Milan for first-time visitors

Here is an overview of recommended areas in Milan for first-time visitors: 

Best areas in Milan for first-time tourists Why should you stay in this area?
Centro Storicothe historic center of Milan that is home to the famous Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and Teatro alla Scala. Staying here allows easy access to many of the city’s main attractions.
BreraKnown for its bohemian charm, Brera is a arty neighborhood filled with narrow streets, art galleries, and trendy boutiques. It’s an excellent choice for families, art lovers, and those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere.
Stazione Centralea good option for convenience and easy access to public transportation. This area is well-connected and offers a wide range of hotels, making it a practical choice for first-time visitors.
Porta Nuovaa modern and upscale district is known for its contemporary architecture and high-end shopping. Easy access to the skyscrapers of the CityLife development, including the iconic Bosco Verticale.
Citta Studiis home to several universities and is known for its student population. Città Studi has a lively atmosphere with affordable eateries and a vibrant nightlife. It offers a more local experience away from the tourist crowds.
NavigliFamous for its canals and vibrant nightlife, Navigli is a trendy area filled with bars, restaurants, and unique shops. It’s a great choice if you enjoy a lively atmosphere and want to experience Milan’s vibrant social scene.
San Sirolocation of San Siro Stadium, home to AC Milan and Inter Milan. Apart from catching a game, you can also explore the San Siro district, which offers a mix of residential areas and green spaces.
SempioneLocated near Parco Sempione and the iconic Castello Sforzesco, this neighborhood offers a quieter atmosphere while still being close to the city center. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a more relaxed stay.
Chinatowna bustling neighborhood with a vibrant Asian community. It offers a unique cultural experience, with authentic Chinese restaurants, shops, and markets. Staying here allows you to explore a different side of Milan.

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Milan:

Map of Best Areas & neighborhood  to Stay in Milan
Map of Best Areas & neighborhood to Stay in Milan

How to get around Milan for a first-time tourist?

Getting to Milan is easy by plane, train, bus, car. Milan has two major airports, Malpensa Airport and Linate Airport. Malpensa is the larger international airport, while Linate mainly serves domestic and European flights.

Milan is well-connected by train to other major Italian cities and European destinations. Milan has 3 railway stations: the Stazione Centrale main station, Porta Garibaldi, and Cadorna stations.

If you prefer driving, Milan is accessible via Italy’s extensive highway network. But, keep in mind that driving in the city center can be challenging due to traffic and limited parking.

Getting around Milan is also easy without the need of having a car. The city is a relatively compact and walkable city. You can easily explore on foot but use public transport like trams or buses to help you get across the city faster.

Milan has an efficient public transportation system, consisting of buses, trams, and the metro. You can purchase tickets at metro stations, newsstands, or tobacco shops.

The Milan Metro has four lines (M1, M2, M3, and M5) that cover most areas of the city and its outskirts. The metro is a quick and convenient way to move around.

Generally speaking, the best areas to stay in Milan for tourists and first-timers are Centro Storico, Brera, Stazione Centrale, Porta Nuova, Citta Studi, Navigli, San Siro, Sempione, and Porta Vittoria. These are popular and safe areas, offering a wide variety of attractions an amenities.

Here are the detail of the best areas to stay in Milan for travelers:

Best areas to stay in Milan for first-time tourists are:

1. Centro Storico

Centro Storico, best area to Stay in Milan for First Time tourists
Centro Storico: source Fred Romero

Centro Storico (Historic Center) is the best overall area to stay in Milan for first-timers due to its close proximity to Milan’s top tourist attractions. It is full of historical attractions, art, fashion, design landmarks, as well as many tourist amenities such as hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops.

Located in Zona 1, Centro Storico is so full of ancient buildings and culture. It is very compact and walkable, so you can easily explore on foot, and public transport such as buses, trams, and trains.

One of the most important landmark in Milan is the Duomo di Milano, or Milan Cathedral. Its construction dates back to the 14th century and took 600 years to complete; its white marble facade, imposing gothic interior, towering spires, and the early Christian basilica are must-see. It’s recommended to climb up onto the roof and enjoy stunning views over the city.

The Milan Cathedral is located on the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), a popular meeting point of the Milanese to celebrate important events and is surrounded by importants buildings.

Centro Storico is also home to the Royal Palace of Milan, which was once seated the government, but now it hosts art exhibitions and works of Monet and Picasso. The palace is also home to the Cathedral Museum and the Church of the Royal Palace of San Gottardo in Corte.

There is also the 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Europe’s oldest shopping mall. It is the neoclassical building that has beautiful arcades and an iron-and-glass roof. It is Milan’s living room, linking Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is home high-end boutiques such as Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. There are fast-food restaurants and nice cafes like the old Café Restorante Biffi. The contemporary exhibition space, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada, can be found in the 6th floor.

To the opposite end of the Galleria, you can find Piazza della Scala with its Leonardo da Vinci statue and the historic 18th century Teatro alla Scala theater. A visit to this artistic icon of Milan is one of the cities bucket list must do’s.

Right next to the cathedral stands the Palazzo dell’Arengario, home to Museo del Novecento, museum of art of the twentieth century. You must see Il Quarto Stato painting by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, or visit Giacomo da Arengario restaurant in the top floor.

You can take a look at the Palazzo Carminati, located in front of Milan Cathedral. It was built late1860s as the private home of the famous Milanese manufacturer of silver, Giacomo Casati. But today, it houses companies, salons and boutiques, and luxury apartments.

Centro Storico offers easy access to the Santa Maria della Grazie, which is home to one of the most famous paintings in the world, Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The church and painting are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In addition to historical landmarks, Centro Storico is home to numerous quality restaurants and cozy cafes. Stop at the famous bakery Luini, behind well-known La Rinascente department store, and enjoy a tasty Panzerotto, fried filled pizza.

You can also easily access the Quadrilatero della Moda and the Fashion District. During Milan’s Fashion Week in June and September, it hosts catwalks and shows and the streets are filled with models, celebrities, and photographers.

Milan Historic center is one of the safest areas in Milan because it has a high police presence around it. But it always better to stay stay alert and be aware of pickpocketing as you travel to any crowded tourist area.

Milan Old Town is very compact and walkable, making it easily explored on foot. Additionally, it is well-connected public transport with M1 and M3 metro lines, making it a great base in Rome without a car. Parking spots are difficult to find, streets are narrow, and it is a restricted zone.

Milan historic center is the best overall area for one night, two nights, or three nights due to its super central location and well-connected public transportation. If you stay here, you will be able to explore many famous attractions in a short time.

Centro Storico offers a wide range of accommodation options including 5 star hotels and budget backpacker hostels. Due to its popularity, prices for hotels can get pretty expensive but it is really well worth it, and you can still find a good hotels that suits your budget.

Stay in Centro Storico if you are visiting Milan for the first time; you want to be right in the center of the city; you travel as a family, couple, solo travelers; you are in the city in a short time;

Best places to stay in Milan in Centro Storico for first-timers:


2. Brera

Brera, where to stay in Milan with family

Brera is a charming neighborhood known for its artistic character. It is home to the renowned Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery and offers a bohemian atmosphere with its narrow streets, trendy boutiques, and cozy cafes.

Brera is one of the best areas for families due to its safety, family-friendly atmosphere, and proximity to the Parco Sempione and the historic center. It is a well-rounded area that is best suited for art lovers, party-goers, shoppers, solo travelers, couples, families, and history buffs.

This is an immensely appealing city district that retains some splendid buildings and much of the grandeur of the city’s rich history within its maze of winding streets. But Brera is also a thriving and vital modern part of the city, packed with artists, artisans, and a positive buzz of modernity.

Brera is known as Milan’s artists quarter because of its art school, art galleries and studios. Brebra is home to Pinacoteca di Brera, founded in 1809 by Napoleon I, and is one of Italy’s largest art galleries. It displays masterpieces of famous artists such as Mantegna, Raffaello Sanzio, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, and Piero della Francesca.

The gallery is located in the 18th-century Neoclassical building, Palazzo di Brera. The same building also houses the Academy of Fine Arts and the Braidense National Library.

If you want to take a break from art, head to the nearby Brera Botanical Garden, a secret little oasis in the heart of Milan. It was a place for meditation and cultivation for the Humiliati monks as far back as the 14th century and for the Jesuits from the 16th century, and became a Botanical Garden between 1774-1775.

There are numerous museums and churches in Brebra, such as The Brera Astronomy Museum, part of the Brera Observatory; The Museo del Risorgimento, a place to learn Italian history; and The Chiesa di Santa Maria del Carmine, a beautiful church in Piazza del Carmine.

Brera is located within a short distance from wonderful Parco Sempione park with lots of attractions and outdoor acitivities. Families and kids can visit Acquario Civico di Milano, themedieval Castello Sforzesco, the Arco della Pace, Triennale Design Museum, and Blanco tower.

Brera is very convenient for the rest of the central cities’ sights too. This affluent neighborhood is just a few minute’s walks to the north of the Duomo and the attractions of the historical center of the city such as Teatro alla Scala and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Brera is a very walkable neighborhoods and it is also served by numerous subway stops like Cairoli, Montenapoleone, and Lanza. It is also convenient location to stay if you plan to rent a car.

Apart from its arty, bohemian atmosphere, Brera has a large pedestrian area, many narrow streets, plenty of high-end boutiques, antique shops, stylish bars, classy cafes, and restaurants.

You can check out the Mercato dell’Antiquariato di Brera, and open-air market, every third Sunday of the month. You can purchase souvenirs here for your friends and families including handmade jewelries and vintage items.

You are spoiled for choice for places to stay in this area, whatever your budget. Although there are many properties in the mid-price category, you will also find some good hostels and budget rooms, and at the other end of the scale, there are some spectacular five-star hotels here.

Stay in Brera if you’re want a family friendly area; you want to stay in a safe neighborhood; you want to be close to the center of the city; you want the city’s best art galleries;

Best places to stay in Milan in Brera for first-time visitors:


See more:

3. Stazione Centrale

Stazione Centrale, where to stay in Milan near main train station
Milano – Stazione di Milano Centrale by Fred Romero

Stazione Centrale is Milan’s central train station area, making it a convenient location for tourists. Besides its transportation significance, it features modern architecture, high-end shopping at Corso Buenos Aires, and easy access to other parts of the city.

Stazione Centrale is the best area to stay in Milan near the main train station. It’s the most important railway hub of the Lombardy Region and the second-largest station in Italy after Roma Termini.

It is conveniently located in Piazza Luigi di Savoia in Zone 2 of Milan, north of Giardini Park. It offers easy access to Porta Nuova, Breba, and the historic center.

You will be located within easy access to the city’s major attractions, as well as close to the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Modern Art Gallery of Milan, and the Monumental Cemetery of Milan.

The main station itself is an attraction. It is a magnificent building built in 1864 and reintroduced early in the 1930s. Michelangelo Pistoletto’s ‘Apple Made Whole Again’ was revealed at the 2015 Expo. Take a look.

From Milano Centrale to the Milan Malpensa airport, you can catch the Malpensa Express train. From here to Linate Airport and Milan Bergamo Il Caravaggio International Airport, you can check buses and taxis.

Central Station is also the best place to stay in Milan for one night due to its central location and excellent connection to public transportation. There are train to Lake Como, Florence, Rome, Verona, Venice, Nice, Paris, Basel, Geneva, and Zurich.

Milan Central Station is generally considered safe for travelers. Like in any major city, there are pickpockets or scams. If you take care of your belongings, practice common sense, and be aware of your surroundings, you can avoid the risk of these petty crimes.

Milan Central Station has plenty of accommodations options. Accommodations here tend to be cheaper compared to other central parts of the city. overall, it is the most convenient location in the city to take day trip to other parts of the region.

Stay in Stazione Centrale if you have one night in Milan; You want to stay near the train station with cheap accommodations; you want to travel to Lake Como;

Best places to stay in Milan Central Station for first-time tourists:


See more: Where to Stay in Lake Como

4. Porta Nuova

Porta Nuova and Isola, staying near Garibaldi
UniCredit Tower

Porta Nuova is a rapidly developing district with sleek skyscrapers and contemporary architecture. It is Milan’s main business district, offering upscale shopping at Corso Como and excellent dining options, making it a great choice for those seeking a modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Located between Milan Central Station and the arty Brera, this area was named after the Napoleonic gate that was built on this site in the 19th century.

Porta Nuova district represents one of Italy’s best urban regeneration projects. Porta Nuova covers an area of 300,000 square feet, reconnects Milan’s three different parts: Garibaldi, Varesine, and Isola.

There are significant landmarks in the neighborhood such as Piazza Gae Aulenti, the UniCredit Tower, and the Bosco Verticale complex. The complex has two residential towers, one over 350 feet high, the other around 250 feet. It is an ecological masterpiece and includes around 900 trees.  Since 2014, it has attracted many visitors and tenants.

Corso Como/Porta Nuova are conveniently located close to Milan Cetrale Station and the Garibaldi train station, making it an ideal area for those staying in the city one night or two nights.

Porta Garibaldi is the second largest train station in Milan with direct trains to Milano Malpensa Airport. To get to Milano Linate and Orio Al Serio/Bergamo airports, you have to change at the Central Station.

Visitors and locals all enjoy the nightlife, dining, and shopping opportunities. It still remains one of the lesser-known districts of Milan yet has much to offer.

Foodies will want to check Eataly Smeraldo, a huge emporium where you find a Michelin-starred restaurant and many great Italian cuisines. The pedestrian area of Corso Como is lined with bars and boutique restaurants, great for nightlife.

To the north of Porta Garibaldi station lies the trendy, up-and-coming neighborhood of Isola. It’s developing from a working-class district to a vibrant hipster area. It has vibrant nightlife, chic boutiques, and fine-dining spots.

You can shop at Mercato Isola covered market for foods; head to Via Borsieri and Via Thaon de Revel for some more shopping; have a dinner at Via Valtellina; or just relax at a contemporary botanical garden called Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano park (Library of Trees);

Porta Nuova and its surrounding has many choices in accommodations. You can find both budget and luxury options in the district.

Stay in Porta Nuova if you want to stay in a modern area of Milan; you enjoy seeing some greenery in a city; you are visiting Milan for the first time;

Best places to stay in Porta Nuova and Isola for first-timers:


5. Citta Studi

Città Studi, as the name suggests, is an area dominated by academic institutions and universities. It exudes a lively and youthful vibe with affordable eateries, lively bars, and a student-friendly atmosphere.

Located in Milan’s Zone 3, this area is probably the best part of Milan for budget travelers and young travelers due to its student-friendly accommodations, cafes, and eateries.

Known as the university district, it is home to the Università degli Studi di Milano, the Politecnico technical university, and the League of European Research Universities.

After all, students have to live on a budget. So, in addition to some great value backpackers hostels and affordable hotels and guest houses, you’ll find that the prices in the local restaurants, bars, and cafes are incredibly budget-friendly.

Citta Studi has good shopping too. If your fashion tastes don’t require expensive brand names and labels, this is an excellent place to explore the stores.

Students like to party, so this is one of Milan’s best nightlife areas for the younger crowd (or the young at heart.)

Citta Studi is home to the Modern Art Gallery Of Milan. If your artistic taste is more modern-day than the work of the renaissance masters of the historic center, you will be well rewarded by a tour around this gallery.

You will also find one of the oldest and most popular breweries in Milan, Birrificio, and Saturday market Valvassori Peroni market for food and drinks.

Citta Studi is a good part of Milan to stay in if you are looking for a low-key and leafy area full of parks since there are several around here in which you can stroll and unwind from the bustle of the city center.

The Citta Studi is situated in Milan’s eastern suburbs about 3 km away from the historic center. Served by couples of metro stations and a railway station, it’s easy to hop on the Metro or take a tram into the city center.

This area is also close to Milan Central Train Station, so if you arrive or leave by rail, it’s a very convenient place to stay. Citta Studi is one the best neighborhood near the train station.

Stay in Citta Studi if you are traveling on a budget, you want great affordable nightlife, you want an open and leafy and youthful neighborhood; you want lively and full of students;

Best places to stay in Milan in Citta Studi for first-time travelers:

Navigli, where to stay in Milan for nightlife

Navigli is famous for its picturesque canals lined with trendy bars, restaurants, and vintage shops. It is a vibrant nightlife hub, and visitors can enjoy a delightful stroll along the waterways or experience the lively atmosphere during the evening.

Navigli is one of the best areas to stay in Milan for nightlife because it has a huge night scene, especially the area around two canals, Naviglio Pavese and Naviglio Grande.

Located on the southern side of Milan, Navigli is also the most romantic and charming district in the city, ideal base for young people. It is packed with trendy restaurants, bars, and riverside boutiques.

Navigliio Pavese is Milan’s most active night life zone, with lots of restaurants and terraces. Beside these canals and in the maze of streets that surround them, you will find an enormous number of excellent bars and clubs, design shops, restaurants, and galleries.

Everything starts to happen here around sunset, and you can enjoy an aperitivo, usually with a free buffet, at any of the scores of bars that line the canals. Another great option is to hop onto one of the canal longboats that ply up and down the water and enjoy a drink there with fabulous views for free.

After sunset, many bars kick on and transform into late-night watering holes and nightclubs where you can party for as long as you have the willpower and energy. During the summer months, it is crowded with hippies, students, tourists, and locals, who enjoy their drinks and dinners along the canals.

During the daytime, the area transforms somewhat, and you will find some excellent upmarket boutique shops selling fashion items and antiques. If you are fortunate enough to be in Milan on the last Sunday of the month, you should make a point to head over to Navigli.

There is a huge antique market called Merctino dell’Usato di Porta Genova, on last Sunday of every month, selling not just antiques but with little stores purveying all kinds of interesting and fascinating goods, perfect for gifts and souvenirs.

In addition to its vibrant nightlife, Navigli is home to numerous cultural attractions to explore in the day time. You can visit the Church of San Cristoforo on the left bank of the canal, and the Basilica di San Eustorgio, located near the Darsena docklands.

There is also Darsena del Naviglio with its Saturday Fiera di Sinigallia flea market; Cappella Portinori, Porta Ticinese neoclassical-style gate, and the Alley of the Washerwomen, a colorful place where women scrubbed clothes on the stone slabs.

Navigli offers many public transportation options with plenty of trams, buses, and is close to Porta Genova railway station.

Despite its popularity, Navigli still offers some affordable options for budget travelers. You can find budget-friendly guesthouses and apartments for rent in this area.

Stay in Navigli if you want to be close to the city’s best nightlife, a hipster area with vintage shops; you want to take a sunset cruise down the canal; this is your first visit;

Best places to stay in Milan in Navigli for first-timers:


7. San Siro

San Siro, famous for its football stadium
San Siro

San Siro is a more residential area, located 5 km north-west of Milan city centre. This district’s name will be extremely familiar to any football fan since it’s home to the fabulous San Siro Stadium, or Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, home of AC Milan and Inter Milan.

If you get a chance, you should watch a game here. You won’t forget the passion and excitement of 75,000 Italian football fans roaring their team on. 

You can also explore the largest congress center in Europe Milano Congressi and Fieramilano; as well as watch a horse competition at the Ippodromo del Galoppo.

San Siro has plenty of green spaces to relax and unwind. Montagnetta di San Siro, also known as Monte Stella Park, is one of the district’s main parks. It is a great place to take a stroll, or visit the Church of Santa Maria Nascente.

The District of San Siro is in a quiet, suburban part of Milan over on the city’s western side. It’s a good place to stay if you want to be somewhere a little more tranquil and relaxed than the city’s bustling heart.

Despite being out of town, there are fantastic transport links into the city because of the sports stadium, so you are just a few minutes away from all of the sights.

Despite being a predominantly suburban district, you will find that San Siro has plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment. The area around the San Siro Stadium is packed with affordable restaurants, bars, and shops. And if you are traveling as a family, you will be pleased to discover that the stadium area has plenty of kid-friendly activities and play areas.

This area has plenty of hotels that cater to travelers on all budgets. There are plenty of good apartment rentals as well, and all in all, the accommodation prices here are a little lower than in the center of Milan so if you’re traveling on a budget, let’s stay in San Siro is well worth considering.

Stay in San Siro if you are a football lover, want an out-of-town location with excellent transport connections, and you’re traveling with your family; you want local vibe; you are first-time travelers;

Best places to stay in Milan in San Siro:


8. Sempione

Sempione, large urban park in Milan with big green space

Sempione is a tranquil area that houses the famous Parco Sempione, the city’s largest park. It is conveniently located close to the popular Brera and the historic center neighborhoods.

The Parco Sempione covers 116 acres so you can wander its paths for hours enjoying time away from typical city life. It opened at the end of the 19th Century and there are many things to enjoy. It is home to many plants, animals, charming buildings, a medieval castle, a Napoleonic arch, the aquarium, and the sports stadium.

You will see an ancient military fortress, Castello Sforzesco, built in the 14th-century by the Visconti family. It was restored by the Duke of Milan in the 15th-century.

The Sforza Castle is now home to several museums that houses masterpieces and valuable art such as frescoes by Da Vinci and Bramante, Michelangelo’s unfinished last work, and international art exhibits and events like Milan Fashion Week fashion shows.

The historic gate of Arco della Pace, or Arch of Peace is made from marble and was built in honor of Napoleon’s victories. There is also Arena Civica is an impressive amphitheater, the most famous sporting arena that hosts major soccer and rugby games and international concerts.

You can also take the elevator all the way up to the top of Torre Branca, the tallest tower for fantastic views of Parco Sempione and the Duomo. Designed by Gio Ponti, it was the venue for the 5th Triennale exhibition in 1933.

Sempione is home to the shopping and drinking street, Corso Sempione. In the daytime, you can shop just anything here, and enjoy drinks at nighttime.

In recent times, more accommodation alternatives have sprung up in Sempione. There is good value to be had here. You need to travel to see many of Milan’s other highlights but there are a few drawbacks to making Sempione your base.

Stay in Sempione if You want to be surrouned by green spaces; The large park appeals to you; Good value accommodation is important.

Best places to stay in Milan in Sempione for first-time tourists:


9. Porta Vittoria

Porta Vittoria offers a glimpse into Milan’s local life and cultural heritage. It features historical sites, local markets, and a more authentic experience away from the tourist crowds.

Located to the east of the city center, around a 25-minute train ride from the central station, Porta Vittoria takes the name of the 16th-century gate that was built by the Spanish when they occupied the region.

The Porta Torsa gate and the city walls have long since gone but it is nice to remember the history of Milan. Today you will find a neighborhood known for its shopping and nightlife. With such things close at hand, Porta Vittoria is a good choice for a base in Milan.

However, it is not noisy at night, so it is a good choice for families with good accommodation available. You can explore the area, stopping for a drink in one of its trendy cafes. 

For shopping, you can check out the Corso XXII Marzo Avenue and Corso di Porta Vittoria, for designer brands like DKNY, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors.

To experience local Milanese life, visit the Mercato Ortofrutticolo market that sells fresh fruits, vegetables, and poultry. The Parco Vittorio Formentano, also known as Parco Marinai d’Italia, a park with a big fountain in memory of Italian mariners, is also well worth a visit.

Check out the board game shop, Excalibur Games, where you can meet friends and play games. The highlight is Monumento alle Cinque Giornate di Milano in Piazza Cinque Giornate. It remembers the local uprising against the Austrians in March 1848.

For hisory buffs, take a look at WOW Spazio Fumetto, an interesting art museum, dedicated to comics and animation. You can visit the Institute of the blind of Milan, Dialogo nel Buio Milan if you have more time in the area.

Best places to stay in Milan in Porta Vittoria:


10. Chinatown

Chinatown in Milan is a vibrant neighborhood with a distinctive Asian flair. Visitors can explore Chinese markets, savor delicious Asian cuisine, and experience a different cultural ambiance within the city.

Chinatown is a safe neighborhood in Milan and just a short distance from Brera and Porta Nuova districts. Chinatown, also known as Quartiere Cinese by locals, is the biggest and oldest Chinese community in Italy.

It is a pedestrian neighborhood encompasses the streets of Via Paolo Sarpi to via Niccolini, via Bramante, and via Aleardi.

If you visit during Chinese New Year, in between January and February, you will encounter the New Year parade with dragon dance from Piazza Gramsci towards Parco Sempione.

If you are interested in cuisine, this may be the place for you, whether looking for a good restaurant or wanting a takeaway or to buy for self-catering. Kathay Market is the largest ethnic food place in Italy. 

There is more than food here. Chinese-owned businesses sell almost everything you might want from clothing to electronics. For a shopping experience, visit Paolo Sarpi with many stores and shops that sell products both from Italian brands and Chinese manufacturers.

The accommodation comes in the form of apartments or rooms to rent.  With the advantage of being central and on the metro line, Chinatown is a great base within the city.

Best places to stay in Milan in Chinatown:


11. Porta Romana

Porta Romana is a trendy neighborhood known for its fashionable boutiques, design stores, and stylish cafes. It offers a mix of contemporary and bohemian vibes, attracting those seeking unique shopping experiences.

Located right beside Navigli, it’s easy access to nightlife area. It is home to both hipsters as well as some of the wealthiest people in Milan. 

Tourists are welcome to join them to get a good feeling of current Milan life. Boutique hotels offer the best accommodation for tourists in Porta Romana. You will be staying close to Duomo and the university neighborhood, hence the young hipster element found in this district. 

All the actions are centered around the famous Bocconi University and the Policlinico hospital, with young workers and students.Here you also find numerous art galleries like Spazio Maiocchi and Giò Marconi gallery, and Giardini della Guastalla, the oldest public park in the city.

Prices are reasonable while the train and tram stations make it easy to access other parts of Milan. 

Stay in Porta Romana if you are happy to travel to see the main sights of Milan, getting a flavor of local life is interesting to you, you want reasonably priced accommodation.

Best places to stay in Milan in Porta Romana:


12. San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo, most romantic neighborhood of Milan

San Lorenzo is a lively neighborhood known for its artistic and alternative scene. It’s home to the Academy of Fine Arts and features vibrant street art, quirky shops, and a diverse range of nightlife options.

Located just to the southwest of The Duomo San Lorenzo, the area spreads out around the central hub of the Piazza San Lorenzo, a square surrounded by little cafes, bars, and restaurants that are great places to watch the local Milanese go about their social lives.

While here you should visit the splendid Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore. Established during the 4th-century, it is the oldest church in Milan. On the front of the church stands the most famous Roman ruins in Milan, the Colonne of San Lorenzo.

The southwest gate of Milan from medieval times, Corso di Porta Ticinese is the common meeting spot for local people. The street is lined with street art, independent shops, restaurants, a few hostels, and hotels.

One of the appeals of this part of town is that you’re very close to the city center and the Duomo area. It is a comfortable walk, but there are two great transport options if you don’t want to walk.

For short journeys, like from San Lorenzo to The Historical Center, it’s great fun to jump on one of the iconic trams that you will find everywhere in the city. Trams aren’t the quickest way to get around, but they’re the most fun and scenic. Alternatively, take the Metro, the city’s fast and highly efficient subway system.

Best places to stay in Milan in San Lorenzo for first-timers:


13. Porta Venezia

Porta Venezia, where to stay in Milan for shopping
Porta Venezia. source: Bernt Rostad

Porta Venezia is an elegant area with beautiful 19th-century architecture and wide, tree-lined avenues. It is known for its fashionable shopping streets, such as Corso Buenos Aires, and offers a sophisticated ambiance.

Porta Venecia is conveniently located close to Milan’s main train station, making it an ideal base for those wanting to stay near Milan Centrale or those who have 1 to 3 nights in Milan.

Porta Venecia is also shopper’s paradise where they can find the longest shopping street in Milan, Corso Buenos Aires, and the nearby Corso Venezia, which is located in Quadrilatero della Moda.

Porta Venecia is a wealthy and quiet suburb just to the Duomo’s southeast in the center of Milan. It’s a fascinating little enclave of the city since even though it is close to the center, it isn’t the favored choice of many tourists, so you are free to see the city as it truly is.

It is also a well-known immigration place and has several foreign restaurants with food from all around the world. There is food from Africa, Asia, and South America.

There are some pretty parks here, and the profusion of old Art Nouveau buildings such as Casa Galimberti, Palazzo Castiglioni, and Casa Campanini makes it a lovely area to stroll around and soak up the atmosphere.

As with most parts of Milan, there are some beautiful old churches in the neighborhood; a highlight is the Basilica di San Carlo al Corso.

The Indro Montanelli Public Gardens is the is a large city park, but smaller than Parco Sempione. Inside the park, you will find attractions like the 17th-century palace Palazzo Dugnani and the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano (Natural History Museum).

Nearby, art lovers can visit the GAM, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Modern Art Gallery) and the PAC (Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea).

Because of its parks and open spaces, Porta Venezia is an excellent place to stay with family if you want to be somewhere central but away from the busiest and most chaotic areas.

If you like reading, Palazzo Serbelloni has a library with more than 75,000 books to choose from!

Known as Italy’s only true gay quarter, Porta Venezia is where the LGBTQ community gathers with several gay bars such as Pop Milano, Mono Bar, and Leccomilano’s creative cocktails.

There are some great mid and high-end accommodations, and you can rent some very well-appointed apartments, which are a good option if you are traveling as a group.

Stay in Porta Venezia if you want a central location with cheap accommodations and good transport connections; you love art; you want LGBT and gay-friendly area;

Best places to stay in Milan in Porta Venezia for first-timers:


14. Fiera Milano City

Fiera Milano City, a residential suburb in Milan
Fiera. source: Luca Volpi

Fiera Milano City is an area that hosts numerous trade fairs, exhibitions, and events throughout the year. Visitors interested in attending or exploring such events will find this location convenient.

Fiera is a prosperous and attractive suburb of Milan, over in the western outskirts of the city. If your idea of the perfect city stay is in a leafy out of town area, dipping in and out to see the sites on the excellent Metro system, then this part of town should appeal.

Via Pagano, via Marghera, Corso Vercelli are the important arteries of this area. They are surrounded by big boulevards, calm atmosphere, contemporary buildings, and villas.

Fiera is a good option if you have money to spend on more expensive accommodation and entertainment. You will find top-quality hotels around here, and the wealthy residents choose to dine in some splendid top-class restaurants and bars.

It’s not the place to stay if you’re traveling on a budget, but if you are a couple who enjoy the better things in life and a bit of peace and quiet, Sierra is a good option.

The same thing goes if you travel with your family and want quieter streets, parks, and an altogether more relaxed base for your explorations of Milan.

Stay in Fiera if you have a little bit more money to spend on hotels and entertainment, you want to stay out of the center o, you are traveling with family, you’re looking for a prosperous residential suburb.

Best places to stay in Milan in Fiera for first-time visitors:


15. Ticinese

Ticinese, a great area for cool bars and bohemian vibe
Ticinese. source: Pierre André LECLERCQ

Ticinese is a bohemian neighborhood known for its eclectic mix of shops, vintage stores, and hipster cafes. It exudes a laid-back atmosphere and is popular among artists and creative individuals.

Ticinese is home to 2 shopping streets including Corso di Porta Ticines (with vintage boutiques, trendy streetwear, and record stores) and Corso Genova. Corso San Gottardo street is good for electronic stores, leather goods, and a popular art gallery.

Other attractions are the Colonne di San Lorenzo with the oldest Roman ruins in the city, and a huge park with 2 basilicas, Parco Giovanni Paolo II, a great spot for families with children to enjoy.

It is an old urban district that has seen a recent renaissance, and now it is full of exciting and interesting independent stores, co-working spaces and cafes, small galleries, and hip bars and bistros.

Ticinese’s location is extremely convenient since you’re very close to the center of Milan, just to the south of the historic center. It’s an excellent destination for budget Travelers since there are some good hostels and economical apartment rentals.

But if you want to splash the cash, there are some lovely boutique accommodations at a higher price range.

Stay in Ticinese if you want to stay in Milan’s most up-and-coming suburb, you want to be close to the historic center, you want cool bars, quirky shops, and a bohemian vibe.

Best places to stay in Milan in Ticinese:


16. Bicocca

Bicocca, a student area in Milan

Bicocca is home to the University of Milano-Bicocca and offers a modern campus environment. It also features cultural spaces like the Hangar Bicocca contemporary art center, attracting visitors interested in academia and arts.

Bicocca is popular among students, providing affordable apartments and guesthouses for budget travelers. It’s a residential area that offers a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere compared to the city center.

There is a large shopping mall nearby, where you can get all the supplies you need. Centro Sarca and Bicocca Village are big shopping centers with many shops, restaurants, and cinemas.

Milan’s largest park is here also; the Parco Nord Milano is a vast open area to walk, run, recline, get a breath of fresh air, and enjoy a picnic.

You can enjoy the performance at Teatro degli Arcumboldi theatre, and visit the Villa Arcimboldi museum which is a former 15th-century home, and modern art exhibits at Pirelli HangarBicocca in a renovated factory.

You have numerous tram and bus stations in Bicocca. There are also Bicocca, Bignami, and Ponale stations on Metro line 5.

Stay in Bicocca if you want to stay close to one of Europe’s largest urban parks; you want an out-of-town location; you enjoy the atmosphere of a lively student community.

Best places to stay in Milan in Bicocca:


Check out my virtual tour of the best places to stay in Milan in this video:

Where should I stay in Milan for the first time?

Centro Storico is the best overall area for first-time visitors due to its close proximity to Milan’s famous attractions. Staying here allow you to be located within easy access to the top sights, restaurants, bars, and shops.

Where to stay in Milan near the train station?

Porta Nuova, Brera, Porta Venezia, and Duomo are the some of the best areas to stay in Milan near Central Station. The area around Milan Central Station itself is the best overall area near the main tration station because it is the most convenient location.

Where to stay in Milan with family?

The best areas to stay in Milan with family are Brera, Navigli, San Siro, Sempione, Porta Vittoria, and Centro Historico. They are all offers central locations, easy access to public transportation and family-friendly amenities and attractions.

Where to stay in Milan on a budget?

The best areas to stay in Milan on a budget are Porta Venezia, Navigli, Città Studi, and Bicocca. These areas provide a range of affordable accommodations, budget-friendly dining options, and easy access to public transportation.

Where to stay in Milan for one night? 

The best areas to stay in Milan for one night are Centro Storico, Brera, Porta Garibaldi/Isola, and Corso Como/Porta Nuova. Each area offers a unique experience and provides convenient access to attractions, dining options, and transportation hubs.

Where to stay in Milan for 2 nights? 

The best areas to stay in Milan for 2 nights are Centro Storico, Brera, Navigli, and Corso Como/ Porta Nuova. Centro Storico is the heart of the city, Brera is known for its artistic and bohemian atmosphere, Navigl has vibrant nightlife, Porta Nuova has modern vibe and lots shops.

Where to stay in Milan for 3 nights? 

The best areas to stay in Milan for three nights are Centro Storico, Brera, Navigli, and Porta Nuova. Each with its own unique charm and attractions. Consider what you value most in a neighborhood and choose the one that aligns with your preferences.

Read Also:

In conclusion, Centro Storico, Brera, Stazione Centrale, Porta Nuova, Citta Studi, Navigli, San Siro, Sempione, Porta Vittoria, and Chinatown are the best places to stay in Milan for tourists due to their central locations, and wide range of accommodation options for all budget travelers.

Overall, Centro Storico is the best base for first-timers due to its super central location. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of city, within walking to many tourist attraction, restaurants, bars, and shops.

Milan has plenty to offer, but 2-3 days are usually enough to explore its main attractions, such as the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

Leave a Comment