Leisure activities in Milan

leisure in Milan
Updated 2019-05-29 08:57

Famous among fashion bloggers, Milan has much more to offer to expats other than shopping. The city is brimming with renowned museums, prestigious institutions, and contemporary art galleries. It is home to one of Italy's best football stadiums, and full of vibrant bars that offer great nightlife.

Good to know:

An excellent resource for discovering Milan is the Milan Tourist Board. While it is mostly intended for tourists, it also provides a useful starting point for expats keen to learn about their locality.

Museums and galleries in Milan

Milan has long been a hotbed of creativity and is still reaping the results from the medieval period, that can be seen in every corner of the city.

Castello Sforzesco, a beautiful castle located next to the Parco Sempione, is one of the most famous monuments in Milan. It offers a visit to the courtyard and the possibility of visiting some exhibitions.

The Brera Pinoteca is the main public library and art museum where it is possible to see paintings by some of the best worlds painters like Bellini and Caravaggio.

Another gem is the Triennale di Milano, a museum for design and applied arts.

The church Basilica di Santa Maria Delle Grazie offers the unique opportunity to see Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper.

Parks and green spaces

Milan has a network of 54 parks, covering approximately 14,681,400 square metres. Most parks, like the Parco Sempione and Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, feature cycling paths, sporting fields, exercise courses, and gazebos. Milan is also home to many reclaimed farmhouses (cascine) such as Casino Caldera, which dates back to the 16th century and offers a riding school, stables, a pig breeding unit, and poultry. Some cascine also provide possibilities for barbecuing and picnics.

Sports in Milan

Milan offers facilities for everyone, from beginners to competitors. The Palalido in Piazza Stuparich, Canottieri Olona and the L'Ippodromo di San Siro are famous for swimming, as well as the public pools organised by the Comune di Milano and available in almost every neighbourhood.

The city also boasts the Giuseppe Meazza Stadio commonly known as San Siro. Another arena is the Arena Civica, officially known as the Arena Gianni Brera, that provides space for 30,000 spectators and hosts sports events, concerts, and other types of entertainment.

There is plenty of places to practice water skiing, canoeing, rowing, and sailing, and even land sports such as beach volleyball. The Idroscalo is also a great spot to relax on warmer days as it hosts major music festivals including 'Evolution Festival' and the 'Rock in Idro'. In the summer the structure is adorned with beach chairs, umbrellas, and entertainers.

Shopping in Milan

As one of the fashion capitals of the world, fashion is one of the city's biggest draws. For big names, expats can head to Via Della Spiga, home to D&G, Prada, and Marni, or explore the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the glass-roofed arcade located on the Piazza Della Duomo. For alternative brands, you can head to Via Torino and Corso Vercelli, and for high street shops, head to Corso Buenos Aires. Traditionally, shops are open from Tuesday to Saturday.

Theatres and music

Milan has plenty of theatres and music venues, including the major architectural masterpiece, the Teatro alla Scala. This is one of the world's most prestigious opera houses and has hosted some of the best opera singers, composers, and musicians. Brera is also home to many intimate venues, putting on performances ranging from opera to cabaret. Other respected theatres include the Teatro Sala Fontana which is set in the cloisters of Santa Maria alla Fontana and Teatro Manzoni.


Aperitivo time kicks off at around 6 pm, with all bars offering light bites to accompany drinks before dinner or 'apericena', buffet style spreads which cost under â¬10 and replace dinner all together. Milan has many bars and nightclubs in all of its districts, catering to all sorts of tastes. Particular hubs for nightlife include:
Navigli - best known for being the site of Milan's ancient network of canals, the district is a favourite spot for young revellers looking for cocktails, music, and discos
Brera - Milan's artsy, bohemian district is a popular go-to for well-heeled, chic partygoers.
Colonne di San Lorenzo caters to a young, alternative crowd
Corso Como - a vibrant district with bars and aperitivo places
Isola ' known for the excellent music venues notably Blue Note

Around Milan

Just one hour away from Milan is the Lake Como, renowned for its stunning scenery. The city is also close to many other beautiful towns and cities like Lecco, Pavia, and Bergamo. From Milan, it is easy and fast to reach destinations like Venezia and Genova by train. These cities are excellent for a visit on the beach or the famous carnival in Venice. There are many opportunities for hiking and admiring the breathtaking mountain chain boasting Valchiavenna, Valtellina, and the Camonica Valley.

Winter enthusiasts will be blown away by the world-class skiing opportunities on their doorstep, at Piano di Bobbio, Valsassina and Tinale, and Bormio and Livigno.

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