How To Spend A Weekend In Milan

How to spend 48 hours in Milan, Italy. Here you’ll find inexpensive restaurants, budget-friendly activities + entertaining things to do.

Milan isn’t usually top of many lists if you search for ‘places to visit in Italy’. However, don’t let that stop you from exploring this effortlessly cool city. If you’ve only got a weekend in Milan, allow me to show you how to maximise your time for a wicked trip.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that Milan is a top 3 city for me. There’s a sort of specific energy that draws me in, perhaps a combination of fashion, urban architecture and good food. That’s why I’m encouraging you to revisit Milan with this blog post, so you can hopefully replicate my love for the city.

By the end of this travel guide, I’m pretty sure you’ll be browsing flights…

Duomo Milan

The Best Things To Do In Milan With 48 Hours.

Put On Your Best Outfit For Fondazione Prada.

Ahhh the power of Tik Tok.

I had absolutely no idea that such an exhibition in Milan even exists, but everything about the experience just makes sense. The moment you lay your eyes on the iconic gold building, you know you’re about to find some serious gems to admire. You won’t need a ticket to wander around the main grounds, or to see the gold building from afar, but a ticket will grant you entry into the 9-floor exhibition, where you’ll find a multitude of art.

Pose At Duomo Rooftops.

If you don’t feel like visiting the entire Duomo Cathedral, have it on your list to visit the rooftops. There’s nothing quite like witnessing a 360 view of Milan from up above. The stairs to the rooftops are somewhat challenging, but waiting for a lift takes up that precious time you’ve reserved for sightseeing. Besides, you’ll be able to catch air gasping at the impressive architecture, especially when standing under the arches.

Sample Limited Edition Coffee At Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Starbucks in Milan? Heck, Starbucks in Italy? But hear me out. Starbucks Reserve Milano isn’t your typical chain. For starters, you’ve got a whole clothing line at this unmissable building. Lol. You’ve also got visibility of the machines used for coffee grounding, and the largest selection of baked goods. Not to mention the exclusive drinks menu.

Word of warning though, it’s tricky to get a table. There’s usually a queue that stretches around the area so plan your visit well. I was able to sneak a peek an hour before closing, on a Saturday night.

Shop At CityLife Mall.

If you’re craving a chilled afternoon, head to CityLife mall. The leisure complex has virtually any type of store you might need, as well as a tempting food court on the upper level. Less than 2 minutes away, you’ll stumble across skyscrapers, financial offices and open green spaces. These spaces become particularly eye-catching, given the abstract sculptures and artwork dotted around the grass. It goes without saying, picnics and catch-ups are absolutely sensational here.

Conveniently, from CityLife, you’re only a short stroll from Castello Pozzi. The museum has a pretty cool house-of-cards statue that lights up in the evening. Yes, it’s a bit of a novelty to look at, but you won’t want to miss it if you’re near the area.

Wander Around The Canals In Navigli.

Navigli is your best bet for lively nightlife, loud music, and flavoursome food. The district also hosts a handful of boutiques, which makes artsy souvenir shopping a total breeze. The canal area feels different to most parts of Milan, as city glamour is swapped for a more down-to-earth bohemian vibe, but you’ll be so giddy on cocktails and bright lights that you’ll only remember how amusing the night was.

If you don’t plan on drinking, I’d still suggest visiting in the evening for dinner by the water.

Budget-Friendly Things To Do In Milan.

Walk Via Abramo Lincoln Street.

Your social media content is about to look extra magical. Via Abramo Lincoln is THE scene for those perfectly curated Instagram pictures. The unique pastel homes, fresh fruit trees and aesthetically-pleasing plants guarantee you the ultimate aesthetic backdrop. However, I suggest visiting in the morning to avoid crowds. Whilst the street feels residential, there were a handful of people snapping away with professional cameras as early as 10 am.

It’s no wonder the location has often been compared to ‘Notting Hill’, one of London’s most charming spots…

Watch The Flamingos At Villa Invernizzi.

Mysteriously, if you look through the gates of Villa Invernizzi you’ll see a garden full of bright pink flamingos casually prancing around. A real hidden gem.

Get Dizzy With Museo Delle Illusioni.

Less than an hour to spare? Run here. You’ll discover multiple interactive activities, funky mirrors and mad science experiments to keep you busy.

Window-Shop Through Brera District.

Brera is a quirky neighbourhood that will satisfy all your streetwear desires. Whilst the stores tend to be on the pricey side, you can easily spend a few hours window-shopping, people-watching or picking up a few pastries for your walk around the district.

Admire Street Entertainment In The City.

One of the things I love about Milan is the number of street performances that take place within the city. You’ll witness everything from beatboxing to drumming to live graffiti to gymnastics, which instantly puts you in a good mood. The artists are more than equipped to deal with large audiences, so you know you’ll get a worthy show.

Just be careful if stopping to watch a performance, as when your back is turned you might become a target for pick-pockets. Approach with caution.

Inexpensive Food Places In Milan.

With Italy being home to some of the world’s most-loved dishes, the pressure to find good food spots can be daunting. However, I’ll take away some of that stress by adding my most-rated locations in Milan to grab a bite to eat. For additional information, click on the names of the restaurants as I’ve hyperlinked almost all of them.

Be Bop:

Be Bop feels chic, but offers a wide variety of affordable Italian food. The real selling point, however, is the extensive gluten-free menu which fully mimics the gluten-containing menu. The fact most of the tables were occupied by locals was reassuring, as you know you’ve not stumbled into a tourist trap.


Pizzium is the perfect site for bringing friends, and children, to a non-pretentious lunch. Whilst the restaurant predominantly serves pizza, you can score some refreshing salads or side dishes if you’re not feeling like scoffing down carbohydrates. A soft drink and generously-portioned plate set me back just over 10 euros, which I’m sure you’ll agree feels like an absolute steal. A must-visit if backpacking on a budget.

Pizzeria Positano:

I have yet to find a better-tasting pizza than Pizzeria Positano. Not only do the reviews on Google and TripAdvisor match up with my statement, but the lengthy menu makes it impossible to not like this restaurant. Oh, and the dessert? You’ll dribble. I’d highly suggest the Nutella pizza, not that you probably need convincing. The food was so good that I genuinely considered buying a whole pizza for my return to the UK.

Pizzeria 50′ da Geggio:

Located in the heart of the hustle and bustle, Pizzeria 50′ da Geggio is a great option if you’re keen to stay central. Service is somewhat slow here, but the inexpensive pasta dishes will win you over…

What You Should Know When Travelling To Milan.

-Generally, restaurants feature low scores on Google due to the slow service, not the actual food itself. For this reason, don’t be put off if your restaurant of choice doesn’t have a promising amount of stars. It’s likely down to slow speed. Interestingly though, the food seems to be served within seconds. In every place I ordered from, I had food on my table within 10 minutes of sitting down. That’s no exaggeration whatsoever. The advantages of pizza ovens, eh?

-You’re supposed to validate your ticket on buses and trams, but very few people actually do. Lol.

-The stereotype of Milan as a fashion-conscious city is evident on every corner you turn. Be prepared for people to inevitably eye up your outfits, or roll their eyes at your choice of clothing. Having said that, Milan still feels like a friendly city with locals more than willing to help out with directions, or recommendations if needed.

Inspired to book another weekend break? I think you’ll love my recent post on how to spend 3 days in Lanzarote. There’s still time to snap up some winter sun…

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  1. We’ve been to Italy many times over the years but it was only a few years back that we got to Milan – What a surprise! We loved it and have been encouraging everyone to go there ever since.

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