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Where to Stay in Milan

Updated September 17, 2023

Discover Milan, where the classic beauty of old-world Italy flirts with chic modernization. 

This buzzing destination embodies the seamless relationship between old and new found in the major Italian cities. Both the financial and economic heart of Italy and the ‘fashion capital of the world,’ the atmosphere of this industrious metropolis will keep you on your toes. Our local travel experts say this northern locale is the best place to stay in Italy for trendy travelers who enjoy the hubbub of city life. From opulent opera houses and excellent art museums to eco-friendly neighborhoods, and sweeping parks, this dynamic city will keep your itinerary full. There are so many things to do in Milan, and each district of the city has something to offer its visitors and overnight guests. To help you narrow down your search, our Milanese locals have rounded up a list of their favorite neighborhoods to fit all types of travelers. So check out these exciting areas as you plan your adventure! 

Table of Contents

1. Centro Storico - Best Neighborhood for Sightseeing

Centro Storico is the lively heart of metropolitan Milan. A great location for first-time visitors, the center offers a sample platter of top-notch Milanese art, fashion, history, and cuisine. The pedestrian-friendly area hosts some of the best things to do in Milan all within a short walk from each other. Perhaps the most iconic of the sights is the Duomo - the largest church in Italy. Decorated with intricate spires and statues, the massive Gothic cathedral is one of the most awe-inspiring buildings in the city. After a visit to the church, continue your walking tour to the regal Palazzo Reale, the former royal palace of Milan, and the Museo del Novecento, a museum dedicated to modern art. The opulent La Scala Opera House and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II are also notable residents of this prime neighborhood. Travelers who don’t want to waste time on public transportation will enjoy the convenience of this central district. However, keep in mind when looking at where to stay in Italy, the cost of accommodations in any city center will be pricier. 

The BC Maison is a wallet-friendly bed and breakfast, located steps away from the Duomo, featuring rooms with an attached balcony or patio. For an apartment stay check out this cozy, brightly-colored, minimalist loft

2. Navigli - Best Neighborhood for Nightlife

Sundown on the canals of Navigli| alessandra1barbieri / Pixabay

For the best place to stay in Milan for nightlife, our locals recommend Navigli. After the sun goes down, the canal-side district comes alive with late-night revelers spilling out of bars and clubs onto the streets. The neighborhood features a variety of restaurants with lovely water views, where you can start your night with dinner and an aperitif like a true Milanese local. A night out in Navigli is one of the best things to do in Milan. However, during the day travelers will discover the area has just as much to offer as in the evening. Explore picturesque towpaths of the canal dotted with charming cafes, eclectic boutiques, and independent galleries. The neighborhood hosts routine flea markets where you can find vintage treasures. To get to the center city sites, expect to take public transportation. 

There are a variety of overnight stays in the canal district. Check out Hotel Milano Navigli a well-priced accommodation with simple, stylish rooms, well-connected by the nearby Porta Genova Metro. Or opt for this chic studio flat that overlooks the canal. 

3. Porta Venezia - Best Neighborhood for LGBTQ Travelers

LGBTQ+ travelers will find Italy is safe as a vacation destination - especially Milan. Porta Venezia is a vibrant multicultural neighborhood and is known as the LGBTQ district. For the best gay bars, Via Lecco is the place to go, with the most popular stops being Leccomilano, Mono Bar, and Pop. During Pride Week the area gets packed with boisterous celebrators there for the festivities. As well as a hub for the queer community, Porta Venezia is known for its cultural diversity and has a sizable immigrant population. Dine at international restaurants from Swedish to East African cuisine. For your sightseeing fix, visit the Natural History Museum, the Galleria Arte Moderna (GAM), and Palazzo Dugnani. Venezia is well connected to the rest of the city by public transportation and offers a wealth of tram and bus stops. 

For visitors who want to stay in a quieter, more residential neighborhood in Milan, our locals say this area is a good option. A travele-favorite is Hotel Mythos, a modest stay that features comfortable rooms and a downstairs bar and lounge. For an Airbnb option check in to this trendy apartment located just a ten-minute walk from the metro. 

4. Brera - Best Neighborhood for Bohemian Charm 

Art enthusiasts will be captivated by the bohemian history of Brera. Once a hotbed of prominent Italian artists, writers, and intellectuals, the area has become a trendy neighborhood of upscale restaurants, boutiques, and homes. Still, visitors can find the original essence of this creative community alive in the art museums, galleries, literary cafes, and the fine arts academy. Tour the Brera Art Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera), one of the most prominent museums in Italy, featuring masterpieces by Titian, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt. While nearby the future greats of Italy study at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, one of Europe’s most prestigious art schools in Europe. Enjoy a scenic stroll along pedestrian-only cobblestone streets featuring exquisite architecture. At night Brera is one of the city’s top nightlife destinations. 

If you are on a budget, finding accommodations in this quarter can be tricky but not impossible. The Brera Prestige B&B is a charming bed and breakfast within walking distance to the center that won’t be as hard on your pockets as many others in the area. For a homey stay try out this well-equipped downtown apartment

5.  Isola - Best Neighborhood for Young Travelers

The story of Isola is a rags-to-riches tale. Starting in the 2000s, the secluded neighborhood transformed from one of Milan’s seediest areas to a hip locale full of trendy vintage shops, classy eateries, and colorful nightlife spots. A hub for contemporary artists, the buildings are decked out in vibrant street art. The unique character of this up-and-coming district has made it an attractive destination for young locals and travelers alike. New bars, restaurants, and shops are constantly cropping up, waiting to be discovered. Isola is mostly residential and doesn’t offer many tourist attractions, but is well connected to city attractions by the metro. For young travelers looking for local experiences and affordable accommodations, our locals recommend booking a place here during your stay in Milan. 

During your visit check into the Hotel Zara Milano, an elegant hotel with spacious rooms and an outdoor garden for guests to enjoy. Another well-priced choice is this attractive loft, set in a 1920s building with an inside courtyard. 

6. Citta Studi - Best Neighborhood for Budget Travelers

Picking the best place to stay in Italy when you’re on a budget can be tricky. For wallet-friendly accommodations and eateries in Milan, our locals recommend Citta Studi (the city of students). The suburban neighborhood is centered around the Polytechnic University of Milan - one of Europe's most prestigious research universities. During the day enjoy a leisurely walk around the lush Giardini Pubblici. The second-largest park in the city, the sweeping grounds feature a variety of flora and fauna, fountains, and picnic spaces. For a taste of art and culture head over to the nearby Milan Modern Art Gallery. Housed in a lovely 18th-century villa, the museum boasts pieces by contemporary masters including Hayez, Pompeo, Appiani, and Cremona. At night join the local students at the district’s well-priced bars and restaurants. 

One great option for budget travelers, especially groups and families, is the MEININGER Milano Lambrate. This quirky hotel boasts large suites, a game room, and a buffet-style breakfast. Another budget stay is this fashionable loft equipped with a beautiful courtyard, located a stone's throw from the university. 

7. Quadrilatero della Moda - Best Neighborhood for Fashion 

If Milan is ‘the fashion capital of the world,’ its mecca is the Quadrilatero della Moda (the Golden Quad). Milan ranks among the world’s best cities for shopping, and the fashion district is the perfect example of why. The quarter comprises four streets -  Via della Spiga, Via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, and Corso Venezia, that boast a slew of elegant designer boutiques, showrooms, and jewelry stores from the most renowned fashion houses. Whether you have some serious cash to spend or just appreciate luxury design, fashionistas will be in awe of the chic window displays and glitzy storefronts. After shopping, discover the fashions of yesteryear with a visit to the Museum of Costume, Fashion, and Image. The lavish shops of Quadrilatero della Moda are accompanied by some of the swankiest bars, restaurants, and accommodations in the city. 

The Golden Quad is one of the most expensive places to stay in Milan, hotel options for budget-conscious travelers are limited. If you want to stay in this chic district without breaking the bank check out this cozy apartment or this well-placed loft close to all the best shopping. 

8. Porta Romana - Best Neighborhood for Local Atmosphere

Treat yourself to an authentic Milanese experience with an overnight stay in the colorful neighborhood of Porta Romana. The multifaceted neighborhood gives you a side-by-side look into the two sides of the city. In the north part of the quarter, you'll find luxurious boutiques, posh restaurants, and grand manor houses catering to the upper echelon, while the lower side of Corso Porta Romana is a hub for artists, students, and hipsters. Here you can find laid-back eateries, hole-in-the-wall bars, and lively nightlife spots. On brand for this funky district, the neighborhood is home to the Fondazione Prada complex, an eclectic art gallery designed by Rem Koolhaas. After visiting the exhibits grab a drink onsite at Bar Luce, a 1950s-style watering hole designed by American filmmaker Wes Anderson. Although there aren’t many landmarks in the district the city center is just a few stops away by bus, metro, or tram.

Our locals recommend Porta Romana for travelers looking for a taste of local life, or those seeking a quieter residential area. Room at UNAHOTELS Mediterraneo Milano, a contemporary lodging that houses a Mediterranean restaurant inside. For an apartment stay, check out this warm, eye-catching flat.

9. Porta Nuova - Best Neighborhood for Modern Milan

Step out of the Renaissance and into the future with an overnight stay in Porta Nuova. The former industrial zone received a face-lift for the 2015 World Expo and has since become the emblematic neighborhood of modern Milan. Known as the business district, the area comprises contemporary coworking spaces, plazas, and skyscrapers. During your visit stop by the iconic Unicredit Tower office; standing at 231 feet tall, it is the highest building in all of Italy. Unsurprisingly the area is a hotspot for Milanese young professionals by day and night. Porta Nuova offers more than office blocks. The neighborhood is one of Europe’s most sustainable districts and emphasizes public transportation, green spaces, and eco-friendly architecture. Bosco Verticale is one example of these sustainability-focused efforts. The green apartment building is covered with over 20,000 plants and aims to promote metropolitan reforestation. This forward-thinking neighborhood is a great place to stay in Milan for travelers who want to experience a newer side of the city. Guests can find an array of affordable accommodation, dining, shopping, and nightlife options. 

Spend your trip at the avant-garde Heart Hotel Milano, close to the metro and train station. If you love the concept of the Bosco Verticale, rent this penthouse apartment decorated with lush plants everywhere. 

10. Ticinese - Best Neighborhood for Hipster Travelers

Street art walls in Porta Ticinese | WillyCortez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ticinese might be one of the oldest neighborhoods in Milan, but a recent wave of trendy businesses has breathed new life into the area. The up-and-coming district is quickly becoming a beloved destination of the hipster set but is still relatively under the radar for tourists. Walk around and discover local independent galleries, casual eateries, quirky cafes, dynamic co-working spaces, and eclectic stores. The quarter offers two main shopping streets. Corso di Porta Ticinese is dotted with vintage boutiques and classic record shops; and on Corso San Gottardo, you can find quality leather products and electronics. Ticinese boasts a relaxed atmosphere and pedestrian-friendly activities. Enjoy a leisurely walk through Giardino Oriana Fallaci, which features stunning flora and fauna indigenous to Italy. For a taste of history head to the Colonne di San Lorenzo, one of the few Roman monuments left in Milan. 

Enjoy this bohemian district with a stay at Hotel D’Este. The classic hotel features roomy accommodations and a downstairs bar. Another option is this delightful apartment, brightly colored with lots of natural light. 

Local Recommendations on Where to Stay in Milan 

Milan is a beautiful destination to stay in Italy for travelers who want a taste of history and modernity. Explore the multifaceted neighborhoods of the city that allow you to hop between the past and the future. For the classic beauty of old-world Italy stay in the historic Centro Storico, home of the iconic Duomo Cathedral and the most popular attractions of the city. Or if futuristic architecture and innovation are more your speed, head to the chic Porta Nuova district. There are so many things to do in Milan and picking your accommodations based on your itinerary is the best way to go. Connect with our local Milanese travel guides to help you choose the best neighborhood to hang your hat in during your vacation!

Travel Tidbit: Keep in mind that prices for accommodations tend to fluctuate based on the time of year. Even budget stays can be pricier during tourist season. 

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