Best places to visit in Milan: top attractions you don't want to miss

Italy's metropolitan Milan boasts centuries of fascinating history. Visit the city's top places, from the Duomo to Sforza Castle, with these 20 top sites.

As a bustling center of metropolitan Italy, Milan balances history and modernity. Browse futuristic architecture like Piazza Gae Aulenti one minute, and then marvel at centuries-old landmarks like the Duomo the next. Get to know the best places in Milan, from its marbled churches to its treasured museums, with these top 20 attractions.

Take a deep dive at treasured art museums like Pinacoteca di Brera and Pinacoteca Ambrosiana or delve into Milan's rich historical attractions like the Royal Palace and Sforza Castle. Each of these sites paint an intimate picture of Milan, from its Renaissance glory to its current, trend-setting culture.

Whether you're looking for family-friendly parks or shopping centers, this guide will take you to the best places to visit in Milan.

Best places in Milan for history

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1. Royal Palace

Once the glitzy seat of Milan's government, the Royal Palace is a glorious Neo-Classical complex that forms part of the city's iconic historic center. The current building was reconstructed under Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa, so look for her trademark 18th-century glamor along the Grand Staircase. Book the 3-Hour Private Walking Tour with optional entry to its treasured interiors.

Highlights:

The palace puts on blockbuster international shows from masters like Caravaggio. Hunt for the portrait of Empress Theresa in the Gallery Room.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milan MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 12:00 PM-7:30 PM. Open late every Thursday, 12:00 PM-10:30 PM.

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2. Sforza Castle

This 15th-century remnant of Italy's once-divided kingdoms is among Europe's largest castles. Renaissance Milan was ruled by the local Sforza dynasty, and this impressive complex was the seat of its duke, Francesco Sforza. Browse centuries-old artifacts with your Sforza Castle Entry Ticket, including priceless artworks from Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

Highlights:

The castle alone is a Renaissance masterpiece, but nothing can prepare you for the impressive 10 museums contained within.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Castello, 1, 20121 Milan MI, Italy. Open daily, 7:00 AM-7:30 PM.

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3. Duomo

Milan's Duomo is one of the city's most iconic visual landmarks. This towering Gothic cathedral casts a shadow across Milan and punctuates the skyline with its impressive spires and statues. Book a Cathedral and Rooftop Ticket for access to the upper levels. You'll be granted some of the most thrilling city views from its marbled rooftop terraces.

Highlights:

Look for the glittering, gilded sculpture of Madonnina and explore liturgical artifacts in the Duomo Museum.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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4. Leonardo's Vineyard

The Duke of Milan gifted a serene vineyard to Leonardo da Vinci in 1498 in exchange for his work on "The Last Supper." This special, tranquil garden contains those very same vines once tended by Da Vinci. Book entry to the Leonardo's Vineyard Museum to explore the artist's love of Milan. You'll gain access to Leonardo's renovated mansion full of Renaissance treasures before touring the vineyards themselves.

Highlights:

Head to the in-house café to sample the wine made from the vineyard's storied grapes.

Address and opening hours:

Corso Magenta, 65, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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5. San Bernardino alle Ossa

This 13th-century church is an important Mannerist-style building but it also hides a macabre secret within. Its ossuary and frescoes are decorated with human bones that are fascinatingly arranged in patterns and accents. Explore this unique church and discover its grisly link to the plague with a Milan Off-the-Beaten-Path Private Walking Tour.

Highlights:

The skeleton-strewn ossuary with its Rococo frescoes is an incredible sight. Your private guide enhances the experience with local legends.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Santo Stefano, 20122 Milano MI, Italy. Open Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-6:00 PM. Open Saturday, 9:30 AM-6:00 PM, and Sunday, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM.

Best places in Milan for art

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6. Pinacoteca di Brera

Pinacoteca di Brera is Milan's most prestigious art museum and among the top places to visit in the entire country. With a venerated collection of European Old Masters, it's a real treat to get so close to important works by Bellini, Titian, and Veronese. Enjoy a guided tour with the Brera District & Pinacoteca Guided Experience to learn the stories behind the paintings.

Highlights:

You'll get to see Peter Paul Ruben's stirring "Last Supper" and Francesco Hayez's famous "The Kiss," among other iconic pieces.

Address and opening hours:

Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30 AM-7:15 PM. Last entry at 6:00 PM.

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7. Biblioteca e Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana houses one of the world's most important Renaissance collections and a treasure-filled library of ancient manuscripts. Book a Pinacoteca Ambrosiana Ticket & Guided Tour to explore the museum's highlights, from early Raphael drawings and the Codex Atlanticus.

Highlights:

Enjoy an intimate 1.5-hour tour of some of Italy's finest treasures, including a chance to see Caravaggio's still life masterpiece, "Basket of Fruit."

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Thursday-Tuesday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM. Closed on Wednesday.

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8. Museo del Novecento

For those in search of more modern creative output, the Museo del Novecento is a mecca of Abstract, Arte Povera, and Post-Impressionist art. The architecture and design make it an impressive place to visit on its own, from its spiral ramp entrance to its kinetic wall displays. Enjoy a deep dive through the museum's highlights with the Museo Novecento Private Tour.

Highlights:

You'll experience Italy's fantastic modern contribution to art, music, and cinema, from Boccioni's "Electricity" to Modigliani's Cubist portraits.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 8, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-7:30 PM. Late open every Thursday, 10:00 AM-10:30 PM.

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9. Santa Maria delle Grazie

Santa Maria delle Grazie is one of Italy's finest Dominican convents. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the artistry in its architecture alone is worth the visit. Most come, however, to see one of the world's finest artworks, Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper." Book the Guided Tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper to skip the line and get insight from a local art historian.

Highlights:

You'll skip the line for instant access to Da Vinci's masterpiece with a guided tour of the convent's other treasured artworks.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:15 AM–7.00 PM.

Best places in Milan for families

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10. Branca Tower

This breathtaking 1933-built iron tower sits in the center of the stunning Sempione Park. With an incredible view across the city, families will love taking the hair-raising lift to the 108m-high panoramic platform. Book your Branca Tower Entrance Ticket to skip the queues after enjoying Sempione's playgrounds and trails.

Highlights:

The modern elevator takes you up in less than a minute for an exhilarating view for the whole family to enjoy.

Address and opening hours:

Viale Luigi Camoens, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Wednesday-Friday, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, and 3:00 PM-6:30 PM. Open Saturday, 10:30 AM-1:00 PM, 3:00 PM-6:30 PM, and 8:30 PM-12:00 AM. Open Sunday, 10:30 AM-2:00 PM, and 2:30 PM-7:00 PM.

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11. San Siro Stadium

Soccer-loving families should beeline straight for AC Milan's home stadium, where you can catch a game, tour the grounds, or browse soccer history in the museum. With the San Siro Stadium and Museum Tour, you'll be taken down the sidelines and stands, with a tour of the changing rooms used by soccer legends.

Highlights:

This behind-the-scenes tour is a treat for any soccer fan, with memorabilia from Milan and Italy's sports achievements, including tops from Italia 1970.

Address and opening hours:

Piazzale Angelo Moratti, 20151 Milano MI, Italy. Tours and museum Monday-Friday, 9:30 AM-5:00 PM. Closed on weekends for matches.

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12. Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology

This magical museum is one of the best places in Milan to take your kids. Get up close to Leonardo da Vinci's fascinating flying inventions with a Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci Museum Entry. There are also hands-on exhibits and an outdoor hangar with steam trains and antique submarines.

Highlights:

Skip the ticket booth and marvel at Italian tech through the ages, including a captivating space area.

Address and opening hours:

Via San Vittore, 12, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Open Saturday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM, and Sunday, 9:30 AM-6:30 PM.

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13. Leonardo3

If your kids aren't yet familiar with Leonardo da Vinci, this excellent museum does a good job of introducing his life and work. With recreations of inventions and interactive models, the entire experience is captivating for inquisitive children. Book your Leonardo3 The World of Leonardo Museum Entry Ticket to dive into the work of Italy's most famous polymath.

Highlights:

Discover Da Vinci's crossbow designs and unveil the secrets of his "Last Supper," painting with a digital restoration.

Address and opening hours:

 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, 11, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:30 AM-9:00 PM.

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14. Indro Montanelli Gardens

With its football fields, carousel, and fun bumper cars, Indro Montanelli Gardens is the perfect retreat for families. These charming 18<sup>th</sup>-century gardens provide plenty of trails and fields to run wild in, and a host of monuments for your kids to discover. Look for Civico Planetario Ulrico Hoepli, a 1930s planetarium in the park's eastern reaches.

Highlights:

 Stroll the park or pop into the glitzy Palazzo Dugnani, an 18th-century mansion with fountains and manicured lawns.

Address and opening hours:

Via Palestro, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 6:30 AM-11:30 PM.

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15. Navigli Canals

The important Navigli Canals were first created in the 12th century and played a great role in elevating the city to its grand status. Leonardo da Vinci even worked to improve some of these important waterways. Families will love hopping on a Navigli District Guided Canal Cruise, passing bustling markets and public art spaces.

Highlights:

You'll pass through Darsena with tales of Old Milan. This is a spot loved by local Milanese.

Address and opening hours:

Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 20143 Milano MI, Italy. Open 24/7. Tour times and dates vary.

Best places in Milan for culture

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16. Piazza Gae Aulenti

Milan may be known for its Renaissance piazzas but it's also the center of Italy's most stunning contemporary architecture. Piazza Gae Aulenti is one such place, home to towering skyscrapers and a glitzy, curved public square. Enjoy this slice of Milan's contemporary culture with a Piazza Gae Aulenti and Pelli Tower Walking Tour.

Highlights:

Explore the breathtaking Library of Trees, a botanical park consisting of clever geometric green spaces. You'll also spot Italy's tallest skyscrapers.

Address and opening hours:

Foro Buonaparte, 10, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday and Friday, from 7:00 AM.

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17. Franciacorta Wine Route

Milan is surrounded by Italy's rich wine country. Take a day trip to Franciacorta to discover some of the country's most esteemed tipples. The Franciacorta DOCG has been likened to France's own Champagne, with sparkling wine made by the same traditional method. Book the Full-Day Food & Wine Experience in Franciacorta to explore scenic vineyards and cellars.

Highlights:

You'll see some of Italy's most picturesque vineyards, among some of the finest places in Italy for foodies and wine lovers.

Address and opening hours:

Paderno Franciacorta, 25050 Province of Brescia, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

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18. Mudec Museum

Milan's dedicated museum of culture, the Mudec Museum, is fittingly located in a stunning former factory complex. Covering everything from global movements to the latest art exhibitions, Mudec places Italy and Milan in dialogue with the wider world.

Highlights:

The factory space is a sleek place to explore, with exhibition halls bathed in light and industrial chic.

Address and opening hours:

Via Tortona, 56, 20144 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 AM-7:30 PM. Open Monday, 2:30 PM-7:30 PM, with late openings on Saturday and Thursday to 10:30 PM.

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19. La Scala Museum and Theater

This 18th-century theater has seen some of Italy's most prized classical and opera premieres, including masterworks by Bellini, Verdi, and Puccini. Book the La Scala Museum and Theater Tour to explore its detailed interiors, from stunning private boxes to harlequin costumes.

Highlights:

This tour is led by a private guide who will entertain you with anecdotes about some musicians who have performed in the theater. If you're lucky, you may spot musicians rehearsing.

Address and opening hours:

Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:30 AM-5:30 PM.

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20. Quadrilatero della Moda

Milan is renowned as a fashion capital. Immerse yourself in its high fashion hub at Quadrilatero della Moda. Book the Walking Fashion Tour to explore the city's most prestigious designers and watch as master tailors work their magic. You don't have to pick up a new piece to see the beauty of Quadrilatero della Moda's cobblestone streets and eclectic shopfronts.

Highlights:

Your tour includes a walk along Via Monte Napoleone, Milan's most prestigious shopping street and among the most expensive pockets of real estate in the world.

Address and opening hours:

Quadrilatero della moda, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

FAQs

How many days should I spend in Milan?

Milan is ideally explored over a long weekend, with 3 days offering a good time to visit its essentials. Still, a week will offer a better feeling for the city, with longer vacations delivering day trip opportunities in Italy's spectacular wine country.

What is the best time of year to visit Milan?

Milan is a vibrant city all year round with a packed calendar of events and openings. The high season from May to August is the best for warm weather lovers. If you want to skip the crowds and enjoy cooler seasons, consider September, October, and early spring.

How do I get around Milan?

Milan has a great public transport network with a metro system that services most major tourist spots. There are also light trains, trams, and buses. While taxis can get expensive, they're a great option with fixed fares for convenient travel to and from airports and specific sites.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Milan?

Milan is a large city that's home to distinct neighborhoods. The Duomo district is by far the primary spot for sightseers., home to the namesake cathedral and numerous palaces. For art lovers, chic Brera, Porta Venezia, and Darsena provide a slice of contemporary creativity.

What are the best places to go shopping in Milan?

Quadrilatero della Moda is Milan's epicenter of high fashion and boutique designers, showcasing many of the city's most beloved fashion houses. For more alternative spots, consider a trip to Cinque Vie, a beautiful neighborhood with vintage and antique shops.