I was born and raised in Milan, spending the first 18 years of my life in this fashionable Italian city. It’s safe to say I have a fair bit of experience when it comes to exploring the Milan nightlife scene.
Milan is one of those cities that comes alive at night. There are loads of things to do in Milan at night, for both tourists and locals alike, as well as for every interest.
Just because it’s night don’t assume I’m only talking about clubbing and that sort of nightlife.
In this guide I have included everything you need to know about Milan at night. Including how to get around, the best things to do, where to stay, how to make the most of it and more.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover the beauties of Milan at night!
- 1 General Tips for visiting Milan by night
- 2 How to get around Milan at night
- 3 Best things to do in Milan by night
- 3.1 Aperitivo at Arco de La Pace
- 3.2 Aperitivo and wander around Brera
- 3.3 Aperitivo and drinks at Navigli
- 3.4 Aperitivo or eat at the rooftop of Rinascente in Piazza Duomo
- 3.5 See a show at La Scala
- 3.6 See the iconic Milan sights lit up at night
- 3.7 Eat at the street food market inside Stazione Centrale
- 3.8 Discover Isola
- 3.9 Dance the night away!
- 3.10 Milan by night tours
- 4 Where to stay in Milan for nightlife
General Tips for visiting Milan by night
The first thing you might want to consider when visiting Milan at night is: is it safe? My answer is that yes, it is!
And that goes especially for busy, well-touristed or nightlife areas of the city. Stick to well-trodden, well-lit streets and you’ll be completely fine.
But like in any big city, you should keep your belongings close to you and stay aware of your surroundings – pickpockets do exist.
Another safety pointer: make sure you know how to get home at night, and maybe try not to have so many drinks that you don’t know where you are. It’s a good idea to plan ahead, or pre-book a taxi to get home.
Making reservations for dinner (and maybe even for aperitivo) is something I’d recommend. It beats walk-in and queueing, and will make your night run smoother, especially at the more popular Milanese restaurants.
How to get around Milan at night
Getting around Milan at night is a breeze. For a start, the metro runs between 6 a.m. and 12:30 a.m., meaning that everybody except for the late night owls and partygoers will be able to get home using this form of public transport.
Some buses and trams run all night, though just not as regularly as they do in the day. For the ultimate in convenience, I’d recommend getting a taxi if you’re travelling around Milan at night.
Fares are more expensive at night, but this mode of transport just enables you to get from A to B quicker and without having to wait around.
Most of the time, however, you can pretty much get around on foot. If you’re staying in a central area, then you’ll probably be able to walk home from most nightlife or tourist-centric areas.
Outside of the central areas, it’s not exactly unsafe, but it’s just more sensible to get around via a taxi.
Best things to do in Milan by night
Aperitivo at Arco de La Pace
Aperitivo, or apericena as they call it in Milan, is arguably the best and most local way to start an evening in this northern Italian city. If you’re wondering what an apericena is, then don’t worry: I’ll explain.
Taking place usually from around 7PM onwards, this is when bars charge a fixed price for both a drink and a selection of snacks to go alongside it.
Some bars serve up a free-for-all buffet, while others will bring a platter to your table.
Prices vary depending on the bar and area, but generally speaking you can expect to find a good aperitivo with a good food selection for around 10 EUR.
In Milan, one of the best places to enjoy this is at Arco de La Pace. This neo-classical archway is a landmark in the city, but it’s the street leading up to it where the action is.
There are numerous options for aperitivo in this part of the city. My advice is to select one that suits your mood and budget, and then enjoy your drink and snacks as the sun sets, and the city shifts from day to night.
Aperitivo and wander around Brera
The Brera district of Milan is an old part of the city, and something of an artistic hub. When the sun goes down, Brera comes alive.
It’s one of the best places to experience Milan at night; you can take time exploring its cobbled lanes, frequenting one (or more) of its many, many fashionable bars and restaurants.
Bar Brera, with its terrace seating, for example, is a good place to start. For something a little bit more retro, there’s the N’Ombra de Vin, set in a historical building (good wine is served up here).
Another option is the chic Bulgari Lounge Bar, if you really want to splash the cash; decked out in black marble, it’s definitely a luxurious option.
The Navigli refers to Milan’s canal district. It’s a hipster-ish, upcoming sort of area, with a whole lot of bars lining the canals.
Here you’ll find quirky bars, chic little eateries and interesting boutiques to check out, making it easily one of the best places to spend time in Milan at night.
It’s an idyllic spot to enjoy an aperitivo down by the waterside, but not only. After aperitivo you can then stroll around to explore the historical quarter, admiring the ancient architecture as you decide what bar to check out next.
It’s an especially lovely part to explore if you’re visiting Italy in summer, when all the bars put tables outside and the area comes alive. If you’re visiting Milan in winter, it’s equally beautiful thanks to the Christmas lights and decorations.
Aperitivo or eat at the rooftop of Rinascente in Piazza Duomo
I promise you there are more best of things to do in Milan than just aperitivo, but each of these areas deserved its own section!
The Rinascente rooftop may be pricey, but is it ever a beautiful spot to admire Milan at night! With all its glittering lights of the city, you’ll have a view of the Gothic spires of Milan Cathedral to admire.
Rinascente itself is a high-end department store, the old-school variety, and at its rooftop restaurant you can indulge in an aperitivo or an all-out delicious dining experience.
The seventh floor is actually home to a number of different restaurants, all offering different views.
See a show at La Scala
La Scala is Milan’s famous opera house, first opening its doors way back in 1788. It’s actually one of the world’s most renowned opera houses, with many famous singers gracing its stage over the past 200-plus years.
You can book yourself tickets for one of the nightly performances here, ranging from ballet to opera and classical music performances, and which change according to the season.
And for daytime delights, you can even visit the museum to learn more about its history. Milan at night wouldn’t be the same without this quintessential storied venue.
See the iconic Milan sights lit up at night
One of the simplest ways to see the city after dark is to hit up its landmark sights. Rather than being crowded with tourists, they’re virtually crowd-free, with the bonus that they are gorgeously illuminated in the evening, too.
They may not be open to the public, but seeing places like Milan Cathedral, Castello Sforzesco and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele lit up at night is a beautiful sight to see, even if just from outside.
These central attractions of Milan are all close to each other too, meaning you can easily see them on foot.
Eat at the street food market inside Stazione Centrale
I hope you’re not surprised by the amount of food and drinks related activities in this Milan nightlife guide. Like many great Italy quotes say, we really are fixated on our good food in Italy.
One of the best things to do anywhere in the world in the evening is to simply eat. And it’s no different in Milan at night. One of the top spots to find a bite to eat is at Stazione Centrale.
Built in 1931, Milan’s Central Station is not only an enormous and beautiful transport hub (think colonnades and friezes), it’s also a great place to pick up an affordable snack or two after dark.
The street food market is relatively new and there’s a ton of local favourites and Italian classics to chow down on. You can eat anything from focaccias to fresh fish, and pair it with a huge variety of cocktails, wines or soft drinks.
Isola is another of Milan’s cool neighbourhoods, an up-and-coming district with working class roots that has seen rejuvenation in recent years. It’s a great place to come to experience an alternative side to the city.
There’s a thriving street art scene and numerous galleries, as well as a ton of bars and restaurants to check out. For aperitivo, you shouldn’t miss the local hipster hotspot, Bar Frida.
Dance the night away!
If your night definitely doesn’t end with dinner, then you’ll want somewhere to party. There are several fun nightclubs in Milan that are definitely worth your time.
Some of the most famous are Hollywood Rythmoteque, LoolaPaloosa and the rather chic (and exclusive) Old Fashion.
When I used to live in Milan and go out at night, Old Fashion was my personal favourite, since it has a huge outdoors area and is located close to Parco Sempione. It’s not as cool if you’re visiting Italy in winter, but still worth a visit.
Rome at night can be magical, but some say the nightlife in Milan is even more exciting.
Milan by night tours
For those who don’t feel like walking around Milan at night by themselves, fear not! There are plenty of Milan by night tours for every mood and travellers.
There are a whole load of different tours to choose from, whether you like walking, or eating, or feeling riding around on a Segway.
Milan by Night 2-Hour Walking Tour – Walking tours can take some of the best spots in Milan, such as this one that’ll whisk you around the historic centre of the city.
The bonus of going on a tour like this is that you’ll have a knowledgeable guide feeding you interesting information the whole time.
Prefer something private? Check out this Milan private walking tour by night on Viator!
Milan: 2.5 Hour Segway Night Tour – For Segway action in Milan at night, you could try a tour like this one.
It’s a good option if you don’t feel like walking around, or if you’ve already been pounding the pavements all day and your feet just don’t want to stroll or wander anymore.
Milan: Evening Food Tour – But maybe you can be coaxed into walking if there’s beer involved! This walking tour involves beer, for example, as well as a crash course in Milanese cuisine. What more could you ask for?
Where to stay in Milan for nightlife
There are lots of cool places to stay in Milan.
Exactly where you choose to stay will depend on your travel style and personal preferences, but generally speaking, if you want to make the most of Milan at night I would suggest either Navigli or a central area.
That way you will be close to all the action, and won’t need to travel long distances between what you want to do and your accommodation. Here are some cool places to stay for every budget.
Budget: Ostello Bello – There are two hostels of this chain around Milan and both are good budget options, with a lively atmosphere, spacious dorms and convenient central locations, perfect for exploring Milan by night!
Mid-range: Ibis Milano Centro – Part of the Ibis chain, this is a good mid-range hotel, with a guaranteed standard of room set up and a great central location.
Luxury: Galleria Vik Milano – If you’re looking to splurge a bit, this is the place to do so. Located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, it couldn’t get any more central than this, with stunning views over the galleria just outside your window.
Final thoughts on the best things to do in Milan at night
There you have it, the ultimate guide on how to spend an epic night in Milan! Have you visited Milan at night before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
Having spent the majority of my life living in Milan, personally trying out all the best things that the Milanese nightlife has to offer, you can rest assured that I have shared with you all my top tips.
Whether you choose to join a night tour, or drink an Aperol Spritz at Arco de La Pace like the locals do, you’re sure to spend an amazing night in Milan. I hope you find this guide useful in planning your Milan trip!
Milan might not get as much attention as Florence, Rome, Venice or Cinque Terre, but that’s not to say it doesn’t deserve an in depth visit on any Italy itinerary. And by night, it can become even more charming.
If you have any questions about making the most of Milan at night, just let me know in the comments below!
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