It’s not very hard for a New York City girl like me to fall in love with Milan. The accessibility to anything you can possibly want to do, its richness in art & culture, great shopping and the mix of modern and old architecture remind me so much of New York City. This wasn’t my first time in this amazing city – after our honeymoon in Lake Como, Thomas and I also spent a few days in Milan! However, this was my first time exploring the city at a slower pace and in the winter. The streets were dressed in holiday cheer and it made it all that more magical to walk around and take it all in. Waking up with no set plan in mind, I treated every day very causal and it felt so good. I usually don’t stick to a strict itinerary ( all the fun of traveling is in the moments you DON’T plan…I’m convinced of that!) – but for this trip, I really just relaxed and literally sat drinking coffee for hours at a time. There’s a ton I didn’t do but hope to go back soon to continue getting close and personal with this beautiful city. In case you missed it, if you need more Milan recommendations, please read Local Milan Guide with Francesca here. Please, please, feel free to email me or leave me a comment if you’re planning a trip and have any questions!
Excelsior Hotel Gallia – Centrally located and across the street from Milan’s central station, the service and attention to detail at this hotel is superb. It’s a category 6 Starwood property so I didn’t expect any less but it’s always nice to be surprised. From the friendly greetings at the entrance to the decadent breakfast and finally to the complimentary Maserati car service to take you wherever you would like, this hotel really exceeded my expectations. Can’t wait to return!
Paticerria Marchesi – I went here every day. The coffee was great and the three different locations made it easy for me to just walk in depending on the area I was in. I even went as far as to taking a cab to get to the original location which opened in 1824. The minute you walk in you feel like you went back in time. It was nostalgic and authentic – and I loved every minute of it.
Bar Luce – Designed by Film Director Wes Anderson, this cafe is inside the Fondazione de Prada and is a must! Not only was my lunch great, but it’s a beautiful space and when it was one of the places where I sat alone and enjoyed people watching. Add this to your list!
Da Oscar – This unpretentious and local favorite was so delicious! I can’t take credit for finding this gem – my cousin who travels to Milan for work loves it and took me there. It was the cheapest meal we had and possibly the yummiest! If you’re looking for an authentic, low-key Milanese experience then go here. Try the spaghetti and lobster pasta or the Penne al Ragu!
Antica Osteria Cavallini – Elegant with great service, this restaurant was within walking distance of the hotel. The wine and food were excellent – this was in the pricier range but worth it. Tell them to shave off a few slices of the sausage that’s in front of the room – trust me you won’t miss it – it’s larger than life! haha.
Le Speciliata – This restaurant is known to have the best pizza in Milan ( over 50 varieties!) Francesca, whom I interviewed for the local Milan guide, recommended this place and boy was I happy we tried it. Le Speciliata is filled with locals and fashion designers and editors who are obsessed with it. Oh, and they have gluten-free options as well! THIS IS A MUST.
Walk, Walk and Walk – It’s a city so walking is the best way to see it. I encourage you to get lost and just walk. (Cautiously, don’t want you to end up in the wrong part of town in the dark!) Some of the best neighborhoods to walk are the historic aristocratic center like the Duomo and Montenapoleone or the bohemian area of Brera.
Visit Fondazione de Prada – A cab ride away, this contemporary art museum is a must! Be ready to dedicate a few hours because it’s a huge space and deserves every bit of the time you’ve got. Save your tickets because the Fondazione also has a small gallery at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and they will let you in with the same ticket!
Visit Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – Located in the center of Milan. this glamorous space combines luxury with art, all in one space. I arrived by 7:45 AM every day because by 10 AM the crowds are unbearable. If you want to take pictures without people in them and enjoy this shopping space then go early. Oh, and after you’re done with pictures, grab a coffee at Paticerria Marchesi which is located inside the Galleria on the second floor. Sip your coffee until the stores open and then go outside and brave the masses!
Visit Duomo – You can’t visit Milan without going to the Duomo. It’s beautiful and crowded so if you plan to visit then get there by 8 AM to take pictures outside and to be the first in line when they open at 11 AM.
Burn calories at Barry’s Bootcamp – If all the walking is not enough then book a class at Barry’s and you’ll feel the burn! Barry’s is a favorite of mine in NYC so finding a Milan location was awesome! The staff was super friendly and the instructor made sure to speak both Italian and English during class so that I could understand. I also realized that having an instructor scream at you in Italian is way better hahaha!
Spend a day in Lake Como – The beauty of Milan is how centralized you are and how quickly you can get to other parts of Italy. Just an hour away ( 30 minutes away if you take the express train) – by train and if you stay at the Excelsior Hotel Gallia then the station is literally across the street! Stay tuned for a post about my day trip to Lake Como. It’s one of my favorite places in the world ( Amalfi Coast is my first!) – can’t wait to share more!
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