Deciding where to stay in Milan is not difficult at all! Most of the touristic sites and shops are located in the central zone. No matter if you are visiting the city for shopping or culture, the best place to stay in Milan is in zone 1.
Milan is divided into 9 administrative zones (boroughs). Zone 1 (Centro storico) covers all the famous sites and shops. In most cases this zone is all you need. The zone itself consists of smaller districts. This guide will help you to choose the perfect place to stay in Milan.
Map of where to stay in Milan for sightseeing and shopping
In general you can’t go wrong staying anywhere in zone 1 (the purple area on the map). Still, I would recommend you to choose the North-Eastern areas. The metro stations are more and close to each other in these areas. After a long day of sightseeing the last thing you will want is to walk one more kilometer to the closest metro station.
Many travel guides will suggest you to stay in Navigli canal area, but don’t. I really loved this area and it is an awesome place for an evening stroll. Navigli is very romantic especially at sunset. There are a lot of aperitif bars along the canals where you can sit for a glass of wine and cheap eats. It is a great place but only for nightlife and the metro connections to the city center are poor.
Around the Duomo
The Milan Cathedral (Duomo) lies in the heart of the city. Staying in this area is a great choice especially if you are short on time. All the top touristic landmarks and high-end shops are at your doorstep. The beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a famous shopping mall, is on few minutes’ walk away. This area is also very well connected to the other parts of the city via the metro lines M1 and M3.
Where to stay around the Duomo
Brera is a small artsy district to the north of the Duomo. Its narrow streets are packed with exclusive boutiques, bars and cosy restaurants. The Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco) is on a walking distance. The metro lines M1 and M2 provide connections to the rest of the city. Brera is a great place to wander and get lost in the charm of the city. Plus, the area is not so touristic.
Where to stay in Brera
The area around one of the city’s biggest parks, Parco Sempione, is another nice option to stay close to the city center, escaping the hordes of tourists. The Corso Sempione Boulevard will provide you with endless choices of aperitivo bars. This makes the area an awesome place for dining and late night drinking.
Where to stay in Sempione
The area around Porta Venezia is an awesome place to stay, especially if you are visiting the city for shopping. The longest shopping street in Milan, Corso Buenos Aires, will satisfy even the biggest shopping fans. The metro line M1 will take you right in the city center. The area is also full of cheap local restaurants. The central station is close, but avoid staying nearby.
During my trip to Milan I stayed in this area. I chose it because of its closeness to the the city center and its residential and calm look.