Where to Stay in Milan, Italy First Time: Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Milan for first-timers are the neighborhoods of Centro Storico, Brera, Stazione Centrale, Porta Nuova, Citta Studi, Navigli, San Siro, Sempione, Porta Vittoria, and Chinatown. These are popular districts for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions an amenities.

In this post, I will give you more detail about where to stay in Milan for the first time, near the train station, with family, for one night, two nights, three nights, as well as the safest places to stay in Milan.

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. You will be pleased to learn that Milan 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 is a overall safe city for tourist, bus as you travel to any touristy city, you should practice common sense and be aware of surrounding. The historic centrer, Brera, Isola and Porta Romana are some of the safest places to stay in Milan for tourist.

Centro Storico is the best area to stay in Milan for first time visitors because it is the most convenient location and it has the widest range of accommodation options for all budget travelers. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within walking distance to Milan’s top tourist sights, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

If you are searching for the best place to stay in Milan near train station, look into the Stazione Centrale area because it is the main station and one of the 3 railway stations in Milan along with Porta Garibaldi Station, and Cadorna Station.

The Central station area is generally safe but as in any crowded station, you should always stay alert and be aware of pickpocketing.

If you travel as a family, I recommend to stay in Centro Storico and Brebra. They are both safe neighborhood for kids with plenty of activities, and wide range of tourist amenities. Central location, good choice for shopping, dining, nightlife for family.

To book hotel, I recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Milan to explore the city. Three days is enough to visit all 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 which is 50 km from Milan.

💖 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

Where to stay in Milan? 16 Best areas & neighborhoods for tourist

1. Centro Storico, where to stay in Milan for first-timers

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

Centro Storico, also known as Old Town, or Historic Center, is the best place 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.

Duomo di Milano, or The Milan Cathedral, is the most important landmark in Milan. With its towering spires, this spectacular cathedral is an architectural wonder, but you wouldn’t want to parachute onto it.

The Milan Cathedral’s construction dates back to the 14th century and took 600 years to complete; its white marble facade, imposing gothic interior, and the early Christian basilica are must-see. One of the highlights of your trip will be the view of the city if you take the opportunity to climb up onto the roof. 

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.

The Royal Palace of Milan is located right next to the to Milan Cathedral. It was once once seated the government, but now it hosts famous art exhibitions and has featured works of Monet and Picasso. Here, you will find the Museo del Duomo (Cathedral Museum) and Church of the Royal Palace of San Gottardo in Corte.

On the north side of Piazza del Duomo is the 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Europe’s oldest shopping mall. Connecting Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala, this Milan’s living room is a neoclassical building that has arcades and an iron-and-glass roof, built by the famous architect Giuseppe Mengoni.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is home to some of the city’s best 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.

The Palazzo Carminati in front of Milan Cathedral is also a must see. 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.

You can also find the 15th-century church and Dominican convent, 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.

Centro Storico is home to some of the top-quality restaurants, and plenty of the little cafes. Stop at the famous bakery Luini, behind well-known La Rinascente department store, and enjoy a tasty Panzerotto, fried filled pizza.

There are plenty of shopping malls scattered throughout the area, you will see nearby 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, you can easily explored on foot, and there is a very well-connected public transport with M1 and M3 metro lines. You can easy to get to other parts of the city. It is best to travel without a car because it can be difficult to find a parking spot, streets here are narrow, and it is a restricted zone.

Milan historic center is the best areas to stay in Milan for 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 ranging from 5 star luxury hotels to budget backpacker hostels. Being the most popular area for tourists to stay in Milan, 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 have only two nights or three nights in Milan; you travel as a family, couple, solo travelers;

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


2. Brera, where to stay in Milan with family

Brera, where to stay in Milan with family

Brera is the best area to stay in Milan with family because it is located right next to famous Parco Sempione, and is only a 10-15 minute walk from the popular Duomo. Brera offers the best all-around combination of the great things about the city. Brera is best for art, nightlife, shopping, solo travelers, couples, families, museums, and dining.

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. Pinacoteca di Brera displays masterpieces of 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.
  • 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. Families and kids can visit Acquario Civico di Milano, one of Europe’s oldest aquarium. Inside the park, you will also see the medieval Castello Sforzesco, the imposing 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 for tourists.

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: 25 Best things to do in Milan, Italy

3. Stazione Centrale, where to stay in Milan near main train station

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

Stazione Centrale, or Milan Central Station, is the best area to stay in Milan near the main train station. Milan Central Station is the most important railway hub of the Lombardy Region and the second-largest station in Italy, behind Roma Termini. It is conveniently located in Piazza Luigi di Savoia in Zone 2 of Milan, north of Giardini Park.

In the case of Stazione Centrale, its attraction includes the main station itself. It is a magnificent building built in 1864 and reintroduced early in the 1930s. Its shops, cafes, and facilities, in general, are excellent with the huge numbers passing through the station daily eager customers as well.

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 because it is the most convenient location and it very well connected with public transportation.

You can easily visit the Historic Center, take a day trip to Lake Como. Train from here also take you to Florence, Rome, Verona, Venice, Nice, Paris, Basel, Geneva, and Zurich.

You will be close to the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, the Modern Art Gallery of Milan, the Pinacoteca di Brera, and the Monumental Cemetery of Milan.

Milan Central Station has plenty of accommodations options ranging from budget to 5-star quality. 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 in a safe area 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, modern district of Milan

Porta Nuova and Isola, staying near Garibaldi
UniCredit Tower

Porta Nuova is a modern disitrict, conveniently located between Milan Central Station and the arty neighborhood Brera. It 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.

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, where to stay in Milan for budget

Citta Studi means “city of students” in Italian, and this is a perfect description of this part of Milan. Located in Milan’s Zone 3, this area is the overwhelming favorite place for young students to stay, and because of this, it’s probably the best part of Milan for budget travelers and young travelers.

Citta Studi is a university district, 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 one of the best bases 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. It has slightly cheaper rental prices with many bed and breakfasts and guesthouses.

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, famous for its football stadium

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, where you can find Milan’s largest park

Sempione, large urban park in Milan with big green space

Sempione is the area around 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, good neighborhood for shopping and nightlife

Porta Vittoria is located to the east of the city center, around a 25-minute train ride from Milan’s 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, few steps away from central Milan

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, beautiful residential area

If you prefer to be outside central Mila, a calm and quiet area, look at Porta Romana. 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, most romantic neighborhood of Milan

San Lorenzo, most romantic neighborhood of Milan

Located just to the southwest of The Duomo San Lorenzo is a charming part of central Milan. This small and attractive 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, the artistic community

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

In Milan, shopping is everywhere. But if you need shopping, the best areas are near Porta Venezia, Citta Studi with the longest shopping street in the world, Corso Buenos Aires. Centro Storico is also a central district with many fabulous shopping arcades.

Located close to Milan’s main train station make Porta Venecia a good base for those who have 1 to 3 nights in Milan. Porta Venecia is also home to the longest shopping street in Milan, Corso Buenos Aires, ideal for those who like shopping.

You can also shop at Corso Venezia, which is part of the famous 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, residential suburb in Milan

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

The quiet City-Life district, 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, cool bars and bohemian vibe

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

Ticinese is a conveniently central district of Milan that isn’t quite yet on the tourist map. this is all in the process of changing, though, since Ticinese is one of the hippest and most under-the-radar, upcoming districts of Milan.

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, student area in Milan

Bicocca, a student area in Milan

Bicocca is an exciting district of Milan located in the northern part of the city. This area of town is the site of the enormous  University of Milano-Bicocca, an ancient seat of learning. These days the university gives the area tremendous youthful energy.

There are some great accommodation options in this part of town, especially if you are traveling with friends or with your family. Much of the accommodation in this area is in the form of apartments, so if you’re on a budget, it’s a good option since you can economize by using the kitchens in these larger living spaces.

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:


See also: Frequently Asked Questions about Best Places to Stay in Milan

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 area to stay in Milan for first-timers due to its close proximity to Milan’s famous attractions. If you book a hotel here, you will be within walking distance to the top sights such as Duomo, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops at your doorstep.

Where to stay in Milan near the train station?

Stazione Centrale is the best area to stay in Milan near the main train station because it is the most convenient location. Have look at Excelsior Hotel Gallia (luxury), Andreola Central Hotel (mid-range), and Spice Hotel Milano (budget).

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Overall, I recommend Centro Storico as the best area to stay in Milan 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.

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