Where to Stay in Milan – Neighborhoods & Area Guide

Milan is one of the most fashionable cities on earth, if not the most fashionable. At the cutting edge of the latest fashion trends, and home to some of the world’s greatest designers, Milan is one of a kind. As the global capital for not only fashion, but design of all kinds, Milan is a must visit for lovers of fine art, architecture and creative finesse.

With such artistic flair and individuality, it is fair to say that the neighborhoods of Milan are far from uniform. From the high fashion factory buildings of Zona Tortona to the coffee culture of Porta Venezia, there is something in Milan for everyone to enjoy.

Naturally, many visitors will want to visit the city’s cultural and historical gems. The Milan Cathedral is widely regarded as one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in all of Europe, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II allows you to step back in time to the 1800’s.

The world famous painting, ‘The Last Supper,’ can be observed at the Santa Maria Delle Grazie convent in the Piazza di Santa Maria. Whatever your opinion on art or religion, there is no doubt that this is a masterpiece.

Let’s take a look at where to stay in Milan.

Brera

Brera, Milan

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Brera, Milan

As the artistic heart of Milan, Brera is a great place to stay if you are short on time or just love the romance of life in the heart of a city.

The streets of Brera are lined with countless artisanal shops selling everything from locally made wine to exquisite oil canvases. If you want to head home with some souvenirs from your time in Milan, be sure to peruse the wares Brera has to offer.

In terms of architecture and culture, Brera is abundant. From the Accademia di Belle Arti to the Museo Astronomico, there is something incredible to discover just around each corner.

Being the main touristic hub of Milan means that Brera can sometimes feel a little hectic, especially in the high summer months. You can take some respite in the Giardino Botanic. This inner city oasis was founded in 1775 and to this day retains its historic charm.

Good For: Art Lovers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, Older Travelers: All Kinds of Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Museo del Risorgimento, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Brera Botanica Garden, Teatro alla Scala, Piazza dei Mercanti, Pinacoteca di Brera, Museo del Novecento, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Sforzesco Castle

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Hotel Milano Scala – Hotel Milano Scala is a carbon-neutral hotel in the heart of Brera. Each room features its own unique style and décor, but all offer the same luxury amenities – private ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and a spa bath. The hotel’s boutique style is both fashionable and comfortable. Breakfast is included.
  • Brera Prestige B&B – Brera Prestige B&B is just 250-meters from Sforzesco Castle and the closest metro station, Lanza Metro Stop. All rooms are spacious, bright, and feature calming, neutral tones. There are both deluxe rooms available and a junior suite. Each room has a private ensuite bathroom, hairdryer and complimentary toiletries.
  • Castello Sforzesco Suites by Brera Apartments – There is a calming and warm feeling to Castello Sforzesco Suites. All suites are modern, minimalist and incredibly stylish. There is free WiFi throughout the property and air conditioning too. There is a day maid service for your convenience. All suites come with an ensuite bathroom and minimal kitchen facilities.

Porta Nuova

Porta Nuova, Milan

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Porta Nuova, Milan

A neighborhood that has undergone some serious urban regeneration in the last decade or so, Porta Nuova is a concrete paradise for city slickers. If you want to embrace modern Milan in all its glory, or want to experience some of the city’s best hipster boutiques, Porta Nuova is the place to stay.

If you are a self-proclaimed foodie, then Porta Nuova is, for sure, the best place to stay in Milan. Within the period urban renewal, Porta Nuova saw restaurants of every variety pop up left, right and center. From classic Italian pizzerias like Carlsberg Øl, the soulful soups of Bianco Latte, to international influences of Parco Sushi & Sashimi, you are thoroughly spoiled for choice.

Sitting just north of bustling Brera, Porta Nuova is the ideal place to stay in Milan for urbanites who want to soak up the city vibes while getting to grips with the city’s more rustic charms.

Good For: Architecture Lovers, Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures Foodies, Party Animals, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Indro Montanelli Park, Spazio Krizia, Palazzo Dugnani, Porta Garibaldi, The Mall, Case Bonaiti e Malugani, Agenzia delle Entrate

Hotel Recommendations:

  • ME Milan II Duca – ME Milan II Duca has a beautiful rooftop terrace that offers impressive views of Milan’s cityscape. Each room has its own modern and super-chic design. All rooms have a private ensuite bathroom that features plenty of bright, white marble. There is a hotel bar and resident DJ sets every night.
  • Hotel Cervo – Hotel Cervo is a fantastic mid-range hotel in the heart of Porta Nuova. All rooms have soft carpeted floors and plump duvets and pillows. The bathrooms are all private and ensuite, and come with a shower cubicle and complimentary toiletries. There is free WiFi throughout the hotel.
  • Antica Locanda Solferino – Antica Locanda Solferino sits on the border of Brera and Porta Nuova, offering you the best of both worlds. The rooms are comfortable and homely, offering classic Italian decor. There is a large screen TV with Sky channels in all rooms, and WiFi too. An outstanding breakfast is included.

Chinatown

Chinatown, Milan

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Chinatown

Milan’s Chinatown may not be as flashy nor as vibrant as that of London or Sydney, but there is a whole heap of culture – namely food culture – to explore. If foodies got excited at the sound of Porta Nuova, spare a moment’s thought for Milan’s Chinatown.

Although Milan is home to some of the finest Michelin starred Italian restaurants in the world, there is a great selection of truly hidden gems in and around Via Paolo Sarpi. Not only Chinese food either; cuisines from all over Asia can be sampled around here. From the tucked away, hole-in-the-wall style dim sum spots to the more refined diners like Wang Jiao, there is so much to try in Milan’s Chinatown.

To experience some of the varied artistic culture in Chinatown, take a visit to the La Fabbrica del Vapore – Comune di Milano. The renovated tram factory is now an impressive shared art space.

Good For: Art Lovers, Backpackers, Budget Travelers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures Foodies, Digital Nomads, Like a Local Travelers, Long Term Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Chinese Restaurants in Via Paolo Sarpi, La Fabbrica del Vapore – Comune di Milano, Monumental Cemetery, Porta Garibaldi,

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Leonardo Hotel Milan City Centre – Leonardo Hotel offers a great selection of air conditioned ensuite rooms in the heart of Chinatown. The buffet breakfast is very good and includes gluten-free options. There is an on-site bar that guests are welcome to enjoy, or relax on the outdoor terrace with a drink or two.
  • Garibaldi Apartment – Paolo Sarpi 8 – Garibaldi Apartment is an ideal apartment for long-term travelers seeking a home away from home in Milan. The apartment has its own cozy living room area, basic kitchen, and bedroom. It is a perfect size for two travelers, but four can sleep in the apartment on the comfortable sofa bed.
  • Concoct Milano – The holiday rental complex has an option to suit every budget. You can choose from a deluxe double room with a garden view or a spacious one-bedroom apartment. The premium one-bedroom apartment has its own private garden. Each accommodation option has air conditioning, WiFi and complimentary toiletries.

Porta Romana

Porta Romana, Milan

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Porta Romana

This neighborhood is home to some of Milan’s most affluent residents. Despite this, Porta Romana is rather unpolished and retains its rustic charms. This is a welcoming and friendly neighborhood in Milan that is not necessarily as refined as Brera, but is no less beautiful.

With the travel press repeatedly questioning whether or not Porta Romana is Milan’s coolest neighborhood, it is safe to say that this is an area of interest to the great and the good. If you are a 21st Century traveler who wants to visit the next-best neighborhood before the mass-crowds arrive, Porta Romana is the place to stay in Milan.

There are dozens of swanky cocktail bars to explore. Take a table under the sun-umbrellas and watch the world go by.

This neighborhood was once a distillery complex that has been regenerated into a stylish and walkable district that is not to be missed when in Milan.

Good For: Trendy Travelers, Budget Travelers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Digital Nomads, Like a Local Travelers, Long Term Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Swanky Cocktail Bars, Museum Engineering, Nina Lumer Gallery, Piazzale Libia, Fondazione Prada, Teatro Carcano Centro d’Arte Contemporanea, Giardino Marcello Candia

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Hotel Five – Hotel Five is a modern and minimalist hotel in Porta Romana, close to Bocconi University. All rooms are soundproofed and have air conditioning and WiFi. There is an impressive American-style breakfast buffet each morning included in some room rates. Just 50-meters from Porta Romana Metro Station.
  • UNA Hotel Mediterraneo – UNA Hotel Mediterraneo is a great value hotel in the center of Porta Romana. All room rates include unlimited WiFi access and a generous breakfast buffet. Each room features a comfortable double bed, an ensuite bathroom and flat screen TV. The rooms are modern and bright and offer plenty of space.
  • Hotel Porta Romana – Hotel Porta Romana is a great mid-range hotel that offers guests free internet access in the lobby and air conditioning throughout. The free buffet breakfast adds great value for money. The rooms are basic and a little dated, but comfortable and clean. Family and single rooms are available.

Isola

Isola, Milan

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Isola, Milan

Once a totally isolated part of Milan, Isola is now the flavor of the month. Having received a lot of attention and investment in the past few years, Isola is proving to be an indispensable neighborhood to modern Milan.

With thanks to the purple metro line, it has never been easier to stay in Isola and immerse in local living, while having the option of being in Milan’s historical center in a matter of minutes. What is not to love?

Isola is proving to be a popular place to live and there is a young and vibrant community based here. As such, Isola is better suited to the long-term traveler, or digital nomads who want to explore a city’s tourist hotspots and live the local life.

The coffee culture is strong, as is the nightlife. Isola’s architecture game is on point; budding designers and avid urban photographers will surely fall head over heels in love with Isola.

Good For: Architecture Lovers, Trendy Travelers, Budget Travelers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Digital Nomads, Like a Local Travelers, Long Term Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Bosco Verticale, Kasa dei Libri, Galleria d’arte Lucie Fontaine, Brand New Gallery, The Don Gallery, Blue Note Milano, Santa Maria alla Fontana, Foundry Napoleonic Eugenia

Hotel Recommendations:

  • BB Hotel Aparthotel Isola – BB Hotel Aparthotel is ideal for travelers who are staying long-term in Milan or who want that bit of extra space. The apartments are split level with a spiral staircase leading to the bedroom and living area. The apartments each have basic kitchen facilities and private bathrooms.
  • Hotel Zara Milano – Hotel Zara Milan offers a classic Italian breakfast each morning, this is included in the room rate. WiFi is complimentary and on-site parking is available. Guests are welcome to enjoy the hotel’s garden or relax in the bar. Rooms all have a comfortable double bed and ensuite bathroom.
  • AC Hotel Milano, a Marriott Lifestyle Hotel – AC Hotel is a central hotel in Isola that is well connected to the city center by nearby transport links. The rooms are modern and feature minimalist furniture and plenty of space. There is a superb fitness center that guests are welcome to use. A great breakfast is included in some rates.

Porta Venezia

Porta Venezia, Milan

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Porta Venezia, Milan

Porta Venezia is one of the historical hits of central Milan. The gate that stands in Porta Venezia today dates back to just the 19th-Century, but the origins of the gate can be mapped back to the Medieval era, even earlier.

In Porta Venezia, the old Milan meets new in a happy and thriving union. You will find the modern shopping outlets, like H&M, within the vicinity of ancient gems like Palazzo Serbelloni.

Speaking of shops, Porta Venezia may just be one of the best neighborhoods in Milan for shopping. Not only do you have access to the affordable high-street stores, like Zara and Foot Locker, but there is a wonderful selection of second-hand, high fashion bounties. In these shops, items that may have once appeared on Milan’s runways are available pre-loved and for a fraction of the cost.

The Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli is a peaceful place to explore after you’ve exhausted the shops.

Good For: Art Lovers, City Slickers, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Shopaholics, Fashionistas, Whistle Stop Travelers, Luxury Travelers: All Kinds of Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, Palazzo Serbelloni, Casa Guazzoni, Porta Venezia Gate, Palazzo e Torre Rasini, Villa Invernizzi, Natural History Museum, Palazzo Luraschi, Berri Meregalli S House

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Worldhotel Cristoforo Colombo – Worldhotel is a bright, luxurious hotel in the heart of Porta Venezia. Most rooms are ornate and traditional in their style, although some have had a modern facelift. All rooms have private ensuite bathrooms and complimentary toiletries by Roberto Cavalli. There is an Italian restaurant on-site and luxury spa complex.
  • Eurohotel – Eurohotel is in the center of Porta Venezia and set in a gorgeous 1920’s building. There is a boutique feel to the hotel and a fitness room and spa center. All rooms have flat-screen TV, air conditioning and WiFi. Breakfast is included in some room rates.
  • Hotel Fenice – Hotel Fenice is a modern and light hotel directly opposite Porta Venezia Metro. All rooms come with their own private ensuite bathroom, featuring either a bathtub or a shower cubicle. The rooms all come with air-conditioning and free WiFi as a standard. A good breakfast is included.

Zona Tortona

Zona Tortona, Milan

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Zona Tortona

Fashionistas will already be firmly acquainted with Zona Tortona, for this is the district that hosts both Milan Design Week and Milan Fashion Week. Thankfully, this neighborhood is well geared up for the sudden onslaught of visitors for those two weeks of the year.

Naturally, if you are heading to Milan for either design or fashion week, it is highly advisable to sort your accommodation out as far in advance as possible.

Whether you are in Milan for the events or not, it matters little. Either way, Zona Tortona is an exciting and vibrant neighborhood in which to stay. Thanks to design week and fashion week though, there are dozens of upmarket eateries and cocktail bars in Zona Tortona that are fit for, well, royalty.

Armani Silos is perhaps the year-round highlight of Zona Tortona. This 4-story museum is home to the work of world-renowned fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

Good For: Art Lovers, City Slickers, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Shopaholics, Fashionistas, Luxury Travelers: Fashion Week/Design Week Only Visitors

Neighborhood Highlights: Milan Fashion Week, Milan Design Week, Armani Silos, Mudec Museum of Culture, BASE Museum, Giardino Vincenzo Muccioli, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Nhow Milan – Nhow is a modern hotel in the heart of Zona Tortona with a sociable hostel feel. Throughout the hotel, you will find an impressive collection of contemporary art. Each room has a unique design and super stylish finish. There are complimentary toiletries, slippers and fluffy bathrobes in the ensuite bathrooms.
  • Hotel Magna Pars – Hotel Magna Pars is a popular choice during Fashion Week, for it is a 5-star luxury hotel in central Zona Tortona. The lavish suites are modern and feature comfort levels above and beyond expectation. A superb breakfast is included in the room rate and room service is available.
  • Atmos Luxe Navigli – Atmos Luxe is a small, boutique hotel on the border of Zona Tortona and Navigli. The hotel offers both private ensure rooms and hostel-style, communal dorms. There is a shared lounge area and kitchen too. Breakfast can be provided for an additional fee. WiFi is free and available throughout.

Central Station Area

Central Station Area

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Central Station Area

Milan is a buzzing metropolis of a city that is well connected to nearly every other major city in Europe by bus or rail. Due to the more expensive nature of Milan, it is often a whistle-stop layover for backpackers and inter-rail travelers.

If you are on a tight budget or are only planning on being in Milan for a day or so, staying in the Central Station Area is a wise move. Not only do you save a lot of money on taxis, but you are staying close to the must-visit tourist hotspots of Milan.

Naturally, the Central Station neighborhood is a little more functional than, say, Brera. Being a transportation hub, however, means that you can get to where you want to be in a matter of minutes. That said, from Central Station, hotspots like Milan Cathedral and Piazza Della Scala are less than an hour’s walk away.

Good For: Budget Travelers, Backpackers, City Slickers, Culture Vultures, Whistle Stops Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Boschi Di Stefano Museum-Home, Arcobaleno Film Center, Elfo Puccini, Porta Venezia, Civico Planetario Ulrico Hoepli, Berri Meregalli House, Brera

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Hotel Michelangelo – Set in an impressive, towering building, Hotel Michelangelo is just 50-meters from Milano Centrale Train Station. All rooms have been well soundproofed and many offer city views. Each room comes with a Smart TV, free minibar, and free WiFi. Breakfast is included in some room rates. Parking is available.
  • NYX Milan – Ultra-modern hotel just a 3-minute walk from Milano Centrale Train Station. All rooms come with a 40’’ flat-screen TV, ensuite bathroom and complimentary toiletries. There is a hotel bar, Clash, where guests are welcome to meet and mingle. Both single and triple rooms are available, doubles too.
  • Spice Hotel Milano – Spice Hotel Milano is a modern, urban-style hotel just a 5-minute walk from the major transport links. The rooms are stylish and spacious and feature all the amenities you could need, such as ensuite bathroom, WiFi, and television. The staff are more than happy to help guests in any way.
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Milan, Italy
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List of Image Sources

Where to Stay in Milan – Neighborhoods & Area Guide:

Brera, Milan

  • Brera, Milan: pierdea / shutterstock
  • Porta Nuova, Milan: AleMasche72 / shutterstock
  • Chinatown: Moomusician / shutterstock
  • Porta Romana: Kiev.Victor / shutterstock
  • Isola, Milan: Alessio Orru / shutterstock
  • Porta Venezia, Milan: Kirill Neiezhmakov / shutterstock
  • Zona Tortona: Adriano Castelli / shutterstock
  • Central Station Area: Eugenio Marongiu / shutterstock