Milan is a city full of contrasting neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and identity. From the bustling historic center around the Duomo to the hip cafes and boutiques of Brera and the lively canal district of Navigli, Milan offers something for everyone.

The Duomo Neighborhood – Heart of the City

The area surrounding Milan’s iconic Duomo cathedral is the historic heart of the city. The magnificent Gothic cathedral dates back to the 14th century and is one of the largest in the world. Climb to the rooftop for stunning views across the city skyline. Nearby, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a beautiful 19th century shopping arcade with mosaic floors and a massive domed glass ceiling. This neighborhood also contains Teatro Alla Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Stop for a coffee and people watching in the lively Piazza del Duomo. Don’t miss Museo del Novecento for an extensive collection of 20th century Italian art.

Brera – Milan’s Arts and Fashion District

Just north of the Duomo is Milan’s bohemian Brera district, known for its art galleries, boutiques and cafes. Stroll along Via Brera and Via Fiori Chiari to browse trendy shops and browse contemporary art. Pinacoteca di Brera is a top attraction housing works by Italian masters like Caravaggio and Raffaello in a historic palace. Unwind at a cafe on Piazza Brera and watch the world go by. Every Tuesday to Sunday, an outdoor antique market selling books, furniture and jewelry animates the streets. Brera also contains several landmarks, including the Orto Botanico di Brera botanical gardens.

Navigli – Milan’s Buzzing Canal District

The Navigli neighborhood southwest of the historic center is centered around two canals, Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese. Once a busy industrial port, today Navigli thrives with cafes, markets and nightlife. Don’t miss the lively aperitivo scene along the canalside. Navigli is also home to Milan’s vintage flea market, Fiera di Senigallia, where you can rummage for treasures every Saturday. For history, stop into Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore church and the attached Cascina San Gregorio museum. Enjoy scenic walks or boat rides along the canals and browse the boutiques and art galleries in this bohemian district.

Chinatown – Milan’s Ethnic Food Scene

Centered around Via Paolo Sarpi, Milan’s Chinatown is the hub of the city’s ethnic cuisine. The neighborhood is packed with Asian grocery stores and eateries serving dumplings, noodles and bubble tea. Food stalls at Via Niccolini market sell steaming baozi buns and containers of noodles. Don’t miss the Chinese New Year celebrations in late January or early February, featuring lion and dragon dances, fireworks and street food. The area also has Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Filipino restaurants to sample diverse Asian flavors. It’s an immersive experience just a metro ride from the Duomo.

Beyond the tourist sites, Milan is a mosaic of distinctive neighborhoods waiting to be uncovered. Wander off the beaten path to find local flavor in Brera’s hidden courtyards, stroll along Navigli’s colorful canals or feast on Asian cuisine in Chinatown. Milan has something to delight every type of traveler.