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I love Milan. I have been several times now and on our most recent visit, we got to really explore all over the city! I think Milan is often overlooked by tourists, despite having so much to see and do. I love the city atmosphere and the cosmopolitan feel of Milan. My family had a great visit and I’m so excited to share things to do in Milan with kids and a three day itinerary to help you plan your next trip!
Things to in Milan with Kids – A Three Day Itinerary
Arriving in Milan
If you are arriving by plane, its best to know that both Malpensa and Linate airports are a ways outside the city center. You can access the city via public transportation, either on the Malpensa express to Milano Centrale or Urban Bus from Linate.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi from either airport to your hotel or, what I would recommend, is to have a private transfer meeting your family at the airport. Especially if arriving at Malpensa after an overnight flight from the US, it’s so much easier to have a driver waiting for you when you exit immigration and baggage claim.
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If you are taking the train to Milan (or the Malpensa Express from the airport), once you arrive at the Central Station you can take a taxi or public transportation to your hotel. We were actually able to walk from the Central Station to our hotel – it was only a 10 minute walk!
Where to stay in Milan with Kids
When planning to visit Milan with Kids, we wanted to stay at either a Marriott or Hilton property because we diligently collect loyalty points. For some strange reason we could not USE Marriott Bonvoy point in Italy – not sure why, but we figured if we had to pay, best to EARN points.
I booked our hotels kind of late (about two months in advance) since I was not 100% sure of our agenda (and I’m a busy travel agent, always planning everyone else’s trips) and there was not a ton of availability!
We ended up staying at the Four Points Sheraton in a family suite. This hotel was okay – it was clean and close to the train station, and in a cute neighborhood with some nice restaurants, the BEST gelato shop and a few coffee and sandwich shops.
Our main complaint was this hotel is a little far from the Duomo and the other sites we wanted to see. We also found the lobby area very poorly designed. It was cramped and crowded. The room was also a little small for a suite, but by European standards, it fit our family of four. We had a bedroom with a king bed and a murphy bed in the living room for the kids.
Previously, I have stayed at the Principe di Savoia – this is a luxury , five-star property that I would love to visit again.
Close to the Duomo you might opt for the Townhouse Duomo (I send clients here) or the Park Hyatt Milano which is right off the Vittorio Emanuele shopping plaza. I have also had clients stay at the Best Western Galles which would be a good choice as well!
What to eat in Milan with Kids
Of course, one of the major draws to a trip to Italy is eating all the delicious food! Italy is also a country whose cuisine varies by region.
In Milan, I recommend trying a dish of risotto Milanese (rice with saffron), cotaletta Milanese (fried cutlet), or osso bucco. Well actually hubby recommends these since I’m vegetarian and I made him try all these local dishes!
In Milan, I had some great creamy pasta dishes. One night I had a tagliatelle with mushrooms and another lunch a tortolloni with spinach, which was finished with a gorgonzola walnut sauce. It was truly amazing!
The kids stuck to the usual pasta, fries and pizzas. We had hoped to try a slice at Spontini, Milan’s answer to NY style slice pizza!
Also, before dinner in Milan, be sure to take in an apertivo (pre-dinner drink) at any bar you stumble upon. On our last night, we had planned to take an apertivo at the Aperol Terrazza (Terrace located on the 2nd floor of the Motta food court next to the Duomo) but for some strange reason it was closed for a few hours on the afternoon of our visit.
Not deterred, we opted to have a drink at one of the restaurants with seating right on the square. This was a great experience to enjoy an aperol (ask for a spritz) with a close view of the Duomo! Highly recommend a happy hour beverage here, on the terrace, in one of the restaurants in Vittorio Emanuele or on the rooftop of the Rinascente.
Now, no discussion on what to eat in Milan would be complete without a mention of the most amazing gelateria we stumbled upon, Gelataria Paganelli. This was right near our hotel, but worth a trip. They had the coolest flavors – avocado, olive oil, sesame seed, to name a few. Plus, the quality was really outstanding. Best gelato of our entire trip!
Things to in Milan with Kids – A Three Day Itinerary
We spent three days in Milan with kids – which we thought was the perfect amount of time to see all the big tourist sites along with time to explore less-er known areas. Here is our three day itinerary for Milan with Kids:
Milan Day 1 – Arrive and get settled into the hotel. By the time we checked in it was around 4pm, so we gave ourselves a little walking tour of the area around our hotel. This afternoon time slot would be the perfect time to book tickets for the Last Supper, since in my experience booking this for clients, the late afternoon time slots are often the last ones available.
I visited the Last Supper when I was in Milan in 2017, so we skipped it on this visit, but if you are interested YOU MUST BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE. You get a timed ticket for a 15 minute window to go in, see the painting and ask questions of the docents. It’s a truly amazing piece and I highly recommend booking a visit during your time in Milan
Day 2 – For our first morning in Milan, I booked us for a 3.5 hour cooking class with Cook in Milano. This was such an awesome experience you can click to read my full Cook in Milano review.
Cook in Milano lasted from 9:30am until about 12:30 pm. When we left Clara’s cooking class (where we also sat down and enjoyed the lunch we prepared) we were stuffed and in need of some walking around. I had wondered if I should have scheduled time to go back to the hotel and nap after such a decadent meal, but that probably would not have been an efficient use of our time.
Cook in Milano is located in the Tre Torre (City Life) neighborhood – named for Three Towers. After our cooking class, we walked around this area and then over towards the Parco Sempione. Here the kids were able to run around a little and we could sit and relax on a park bench! We really were so full from our Cook in Milano meal.
After catching a second wind, we headed into the Castello Sforzesco. The park butts up to the back of the castle. Entrance to the castle is free, but you have to pay to visit the museums. Again, I spent a bunch of time here two years ago, so we just explored the castle grounds and pressed on to the Duomo for our 4:00 ticket.
When you exit the front of the Castle, go to the left and there is a good gelato/coffee shop (Bar Castello). From there, head down via Dante, which is a pedestrian only thoroughfare with shops and restaurants. This will lead you right down to the Duomo.
I highly recommend buying your Duomo entrance tickets in advance. I purchased a timed ticket for 4-6pm that included the Church, Crypt of St. Charles, and a lift ticket for the rooftop. Apparently, there is a skip the line ticket for the lift, which I regret not getting. If I wasn’t with the children I would have liked to have done a private guided tour of the Duomo, since my art history knowledge is lacking and having a private guide is an awesome way to learn so much. But we did a private guided tour in Venice (kid-friendly) and my kids can only handle so much!
When we arrived at the Church, we spent about an hour walking through. I love visiting Churches, and looking at every single thing! We also lit some candles and spent time sitting in the pews. I was disappointed that there was so much scaffolding even inside, as the Church is undergoing a major reconstruction.
After self-touring the inside of the Duomo, we had to exit to go around the back to the lift for rooftop access. At that time, baby girl had to go to the bathroom, so we stopped in Rinascente to use the toilet. Then we returned to the lift entrance and there was a little line. We waited about 20 minutes for our turn to take the elevator up to the roof terrace. Again, there was a “fast track” line, definitely wish we would have done that!
The rooftop of the Duomo is one of my favorite things in Italy. I love walking up there and looking down on the city. Again, it was unfortunate that so much of the top of the Duomo was under scaffolding, but I for sure recommend you head up there to walk around, its magnificent!
Day 3 – This was our last day in Milan and our last day in Italy. I did not have anything booked for this day because I had some ideas of things I wanted to do and I wanted to have some flexibility with the day.
In the morning, we headed over to San Siro to tour the stadium. This was great, and something my son really wanted to do. It was a little confusing to plan our trip to San Siro so I wrote a whole post about how to plan your tour to San Siro Stadium (COMING SOON).
If you are taking a cab or Uber to the Navigli, use this address to get you to the center of it all: Via Casale, 4, 20144 Milano MI, Italy
The Navigli district is located in the south of Milan, along several canals. Some call it the Venice of Milan! You can even do a boat tour of this area, but what we loved was being able to dine along the canal. We stopped into Naviglio 48 and literally had our best meal of the trip! There were so many cute places along the canal.
After eating, we of course stopped for gelato at Orso Bianco. There is also a CicollatinItaliane here as well.
After lunch, we wanted to spend our final afternoon back in the Duomo area. We took an Uber over to the Football Shop so my son could get his AC Milan jersey. The credit card machine at the San Siro Store was down so we could not purchase it there, but it was the same price at the shop, so if you don’t have time to head to San Siro, this is a great place to get football merchandise.
On our last afternoon in Milan, we walked around the shops, and walked through Vittorio Emanuele II. I love this shopping gallery – not just for the high end shops that are so fun to look through, but for the beautiful ornate-ness of this plaza.
After some window shopping, we sat down for an apertivo in the square before walking back to our hotel. We wandered through the Brera district, which is full of cute shops and really cute restaurants. Walking around Milan was such a great way to see so much and explore many of the city’s great neighborhoods.
A few other things I wanted to do but we didn’t have time for:
- A tour of Teatro della Scala (the opera house). This might be good for slightly older kids. I had read there are actually kid friendly performances. Maybe someday…
- Milan has a small aquarium in the Parco Semplice.
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum – this would be a great option in colder or rainier weather.
- Dinner in a tram car (this was sold out for our dates)
- Family Friendly Guided tour (again, we did this in Venice)
- Milan Ghost Tour
- Hop on/Hop Off bus ticket
Tips for Visiting Milan with Kids
In my opinion, Milan was a great city to visit with kids, but of course some helpful hints are always good to know:
* It was very easy to walk around, although we did A LOT of walking. Each day we averaged around 5 miles!
* Uber was a great way to get around Milan as well.
* Across Italy, restaurant service is slower than in the United States. This was hard for our kids to sit through long dinners each night. Italians also eat dinner late (as do we at home) but we were going to restaurants around 8 or 8:30. We gave in and let them play with our phones while waiting. With that said, all the restaurant servers were so welcoming to families!
Milan is a great city to visit and I highly recommend adding a trip to your Italy itinerary! Have you been to Milan with kids? What are your best family friendly tips for visiting Milano?