10 Free Things to do in Milan (during Expo)
Everybody knows Milan is expensive: shopping, eating and drinking in Italy’s lively fashion capital doesn’t come cheap! But we can show you that you can enjoy the city on a low budget too.
If you give your wallet a rest and keep up with the local way of life, sightseeing can be very affordable!
Here are our favourite 10 free things to do in Milan:
1) Visit the Duomo (or any other church)
Milan’s iconic cathedral is one of the most stunning churches in the world. And it’s free! Its interior contains some magnificent treasures, a truly breathtaking experience.
Every church in Milan is free to enter. The one dedicated to the patron saint of Milan, Sant’Ambrogio, is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy.
Metro stop: M1/M3 Duomo
2) Get in with the crowd at 10 Corso Como
The fashion and design emporium that is 10 Corso Como, with bookshops, cafés, restaurants and gallerys, has become an essential port of call for anyone with interests in the fashion industry.
Check out the photo exhibitions at Carla Sozzani Gallery. Set in a beautiful courtyard, this place is a much-loved local photo gallery with fantastic rotating exhibitions. The gallery is open daily and it’s free!
Metro stop: M2 Garibaldi
3) Take a stroll around Parco Sempione
Near the centre you’ll find Sempione Park, extending from the back of Castello Sforzesco. It’s a great choice for a picnic on a nice spring day, for a run, a wander or just a breath of fresh air.
This Park is an open air museum of the history of Milan‘s architecture: Castello Sforzesco houses seven museums with free admission every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
After the stroll, head for the area around Arco della Pace for an aperitivo!
Metro stops: M1 Cairoli, M1/M2 Cadorna
4) Admire the Civic Acquario
The aquarium is housed in a stunning Art Nouveau building at the edge of Sempione Park next to the Civic Arena. The building is one of the most beautiful examples of Milanese Liberty, dating back from the early Twentieth Century, with beautiful details such as decorations representing marine life.
There is free admission on the first Sunday of every month.
Metro stop: M2 Lanza
5) Hang out with locals at Colonne San Lorenzo
Colonne di San Lorenzo is a place of great historical and architectural charm where you can admire the magnificence of the Roman ruins and the Basilica di San Lorenzo. Over years this square has also became one of the most popular nightlife spots for young people in Milan, who gather here to drink, play and have fun until the crack of dawn.
Milan has some great street art and one hotspot is Corso di Porta Ticinese, near the Colonne San Lorenzo.
Metro stop: M2 Sant’ambrogio
6) Ride your bike along the Navigli
Thanks to bike sharing, it’s easy to ride a bike around Milan. If you fancy a Sunday morning bike ride, there are two great options: the popular bike path along the Naviglio Grande, from Porta Genova through some open country side, or the Naviglio Martesana cycle path, from Gioia area to the Adda river.
You’ll travel through some great urban nature.
7) Tour the Cemetery
Cimitero Monumentale is a real ‘city of the dead’ and a place where Milan’s history lives on through the graves of its most illustrious inhabitants.
There are more than 15,000 statues and three famous buildings: the Pantheon, the Ossario and the neoclassical former Crematorium. The best thing to do is just wandering around the gravel lanes, marvelling at the sculptures and taking in the solemn atmosphere.
Metro stop: M2 Garibaldi
8) See the world in one district: Chinatown
Milan’s first multicultural district, Chinatown, is definitely worth a visit. The pedestrian area has become a pleasant place to walk around and it’s especially cool around Chinese New Year time, when lanterns light the streets and dragons and lion dances parade around.
Metro stop: M2 Moscova
9) Explore Porta Nuova skyscrapers
Not far from Garibaldi station, you can’t miss Porta Nuova, the new steel-and-glass ‘district’, centrepiece for the Expo 2015 development.
Sit in Piazza Gae Aulenti and crane your neck looking at the spire of the Unicredit building, the tallest in the city, then follow the walkway to Bosco Verticale, a high-rise block of flats with trees and bushes planted on each terrace.
Metro Stop: M2 Garibaldi
10) Sightseeing on a Vintage Tram
Synonymous with the city and a piece of living history, Milan’s original orange trams are the oldest-running public transport vehicles in the world, having been in service since 1928.
So hop on and hop off at your leisure, a ticket is valid 90 minutes and it only costs €1.50!
All of the world is focused on Milan for Expo 2015. Do you know the best way to get there easily? Check our infographic and plan your trip to Milan!