I have been to Milan five times now and every time I go, I get to revisit the cool places people have shown me over the years, and also discover new ones.
The first stop is always the Duomo and La Galleria. The Duomo is truly amazing, and La Galleria is so gorgeous, even for someone who doesn’t care about high fashion. Along the side of the Duomo, on the same side as the Galleria, there is a shopping mall that I love to go through. Going up on the escalators through all of the different floors you get a drive-by of the Milan fashion craziness, which for me is just the right amount, and then at the top there is a “food court.” Except this food court only has high quality Italian products, fancy restaurants, and a cafe overlooking the Duomo. If it’s not freezing cold and you want to stay awhile, you can have a nice coffee while looking at La Madonnina, the symbol of Milan on top of the Duomo. However the cafe is quite expensive, so I normally just take a quick look and then head back down through the mall!
Nearby the Duomo is a great place for a cheap Milanese lunch. Panzerotti Luini has been in operation since 1888 and is a classic lunch, or snack, spot. You can get a panzerotti, fried or baked, which is basically a pocket of melted mozzarella and tomato, for less than 3 euros. Service is pretty quick but the line is normally down the block, so if you’re in a rush it might not be the best option. Another lunch option is Spontini, which offers a huge slice of Milan-style pizza starting at 6 euros. Their “regular” is huge, and I went for the Spontini version with anchovies on top and it was awesome! Neither of these food options are very health-conscious, but whatever, you’ll walk it off.
This past weekend we found two new great bars for aperitivo. Supposedly, the Lombardia region is known for great aperitivo; hopping from bar to bar and eating the assortment of snacks that come with each drink, is definitely the most fun way to eat dinner. However the other option is to find a bar that offers a buffet during aperitivo time. If you are traveling on a budget, this might be the best way to get a ton of food for not a ton of money! The drinks during aperitivo are normally double what they normally cost, but you get an open buffet of food. The first bar we went to was a little outside the center, Mom Café, but it was full of people and was playing some great music. One mixed drink was 8 euros, but that included dinner so not bad at all! The next night we went to Movida in Navigli, which is also a great place to walk around at night to see the canals. There the drinks were 11 euros, but the buffet was bigger than at Mom Cafe and we were also in a more popular area.
Couple other quick things about Milan:
- If you’re there for a weekend, I would definitely get the 24 hour metro ticket rather than buying singles. It is only 4.50 and if you are short on time it is better to just hop on the metro to get wherever you’re going.
- The Starbucks Reserve Roastery was pretty cool, but since I’m from Seattle, I wasn’t overly impressed. You had to wait in line for a coffee that you could just get down the street, but it was pretty.
- See the Duomo at night! They do such a great job lighting it up and it is so gorgeous.