Shopping Streets and Spots, Milan (Self Guided)

Milan is a world-renown fashion and design capital. Here, you can find most of the world's top fashion brands, from Gucci, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana to Levi's and Diesel. Fashion is the second religion in Milan and this self-guided tour will take you to the worship places of the fashionistas and shopaholics.
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Shopping Streets and Spots Map

Guide Name: Shopping Streets and Spots
Guide Location: Italy » Milan (See other walking tours in Milan)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Author: kane
Corso Buenos Aires

1) Corso Buenos Aires

Corso Buenos Aires is the main communication artery and the most important shopping street in north-eastern Milan. It is about 1.2 km long connecting Milan's centre at the Duomo to the nearby city of Monza. Corso Buenos Aires is one of the busiest streets of Milan having more than 350 stores, shops and outlets. During the Christmas holidays, it becomes even busier when it sells most of the city's decorations.

Being the longest shopping artery in Milan and one of the biggest in Europe, it hosts hundreds of shops, many of them part of the big chain stores. It features the highest concentration of clothing stores in the whole Europe. The street is mostly dotted with neo-classical and art nouveau buildings featuring the late 19th and 20th Century style.

Corso Buenos Aires is generally more inclined towards products of mass consumption like ready-to-wear type clothes. Connecting the centre of Milan to Monza, Corso Buenos Aires was originally an old street known as "stradone di Loreto". In the late 19th Century, the old road was demolished. The horse cars that used to serve this route were replaced by trams. In the mid 1950s the trams were also abolished and were replaced by the modern subway line. Shops selling high fashion products have replaced the small shops that used to sell traditional Milanese products. Similarly, modern buildings and flats have taken the place of old buildings. Prices, on average, are accessible. During sales periods, after Christmas and in mid-summer, the two-mile long street attracts the shoppers with colorful price tags. At that time, it becomes a great place for bargains.

Once you enter the street, you are sure to leave the street loaded with bags of goodies. Defined as a rich city dedicated for art and pleasure, Milan is a place for fashion and shopping. It is rightly said about Corso Buenos Aires that it will make you “Shop till you Drop.”
Sight description based on wikipedia
Grand Café & Tre Marie

2) Grand Café & Tre Marie

What to buy here: Panettone.

If you’re likely to be in Milan at Christmas get the most traditional (and tasty) local cake of this holiday season. Panettone is a Milanese patisserie must. It’s a sweet and fluffy bread loaf, whose cupola shape is quite characteristic. It contains candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as raisins, which are added dry and not soaked. Many other variations are available such as plain or with chocolate. It is served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine, such as Asti or Moscato d'Asti. In some regions of Italy, it is served either with “crema di mascarpone”, a cream made from mascarpone, eggs and a sweet liqueur such as Amaretto, or “zabaglione”, made of egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine. Historically dating from the 15th century, the Panettone is nowadays made in many bakeries and patisseries, but you should look for Le Tre Marie, known as the most traditional Panettone in town. At Grand Café & Tre Marie, they realize special limited editions for unique presents every year, which you can also accompany with a hand written dedication to emphasize the spirit of your Christmas greetings. The average weight of a Panettone is around 1 kg, but it varies according to the brands and their creativity. At Grand Café & Tre Marie it costs 31 euros.
Fratelli Freni

3) Fratelli Freni

As a city primarily famous for its fashion industry, Fratelli Freni puts Milan on the candy-seeker's map with its delicious sweets and chocolates. Italian chocolate may not be as well known as Belgian chocolate, but here you will find more uniquely shaped, tasty confections. Buy some for yourself and take some home to your friends!
Via della Spiga

4) Via della Spiga

Via della Spiga is one of the chicest shopping areas of Milan, situated in the north-east of the deluxe Quadrilatero della Moda district along with Corso Venezia, Via Monte Napoleone, Via Sant’Andrea and Via Manzoni. The street is famous for its sophisticated elegance manifested in stylish clothing, shoes, handbags and other accessories put on sale. Among the famous brands presented here are Dolce & Gabanna, Sergio Rossi, Tod’s, Bulgari, Gianfranco Ferre, etc. to mention but a few. At #2 is the enormous David Chipperfield designer boutique. #23 is reserved to Krizia who introduced a mini skirt and knitted dresses to the world's fashion. At #28 there is a vintage space and the store for women accessories is found at #26. Roberto Cavalli, a Florentine designer, renowned for its animal print, architectural and geometric motifs sweaters and dresses much loved by the youth, has opened a new store at #42. The Moschino brand and its wicked style are also part of the streetscape. A true paradise for fashionistas, this street is well worth spending one's time and, sure enough, money!
Via Monte Napoleone

5) Via Monte Napoleone (must see)

Nicknamed ‘Montenapo’ by the Milanese, this stylish and luxurious street in Milan is famous for its ready-to-wear clothes and jewelry shops. Many distinguished Italian fashion designers, as well as designers from all over the world, have their exquisite boutiques and stores in this most significant street of the Milan Fashion District. Also known as the 'Quadrilatero della moda', it houses many exclusive Italian shoe stores and the headquarters, major offices or large emporia of several of the world's top fashion.

Milan, one of the major fashion capitals in the world, was renovated in the Neoclassical style at the beginning of the 19th century. Upper class used to live here in palaces. Roman city walls erected by Emperor Maximian can also be seen at places in this street. After World War II, Monte Napoleone became one of the foremost fashion streets similar to other world’s famous streets like Bond Street or Oxford Street in London and Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris.

Its name dates back to 1804 at the peak of the Napoleonic era. Since Milan was always a centre of art and pleasure, foreigners used to gather into the city. They not only discussed business but also visited Milan as being a wealthy city dedicated to art and pleasure. With its narrow side streets branching off, Via Monte Napoleone is one of the most elegant streets in Milan, and one of the most stylish in Europe.

Why You Should Visit:
The fancy part of Milan – fun to browse (temptation is nigh!), and even more fun to people watch.
The people working here will treat you like a King or Queen regardless if you buy anything or not.

Walking the length of Via Monte Napoleone is definitely worth it. You can walk from it to La Scala in about 10 minutes or you can get to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Galleria for more shopping.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

6) Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (must see)

Corso Vittorio Emanuele is a popular shopping street lined on both sides with boutiques selling clothes and accessories, situated behind the Milan Cathedral and connecting Piazza Duomo with Piazza San Babila. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy, this is the second largest pedestrian area in downtown Milan, ideal for shopping and passing time away. Extending from its side are a number of small covered shopping galleries emerged as a result of post-war renovations. Other than luxurious shops offering latest collections of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and other top brands, the passage houses a number of cinemas, restaurants and cafes equally worthy of one's time and money.

Why You Should Visit:
If you want a quick round through the shops, this is one of the best – very good looking and classy, even for Milan standards! It has really been spruced up for Expo 2015.
La Rinascente

7) La Rinascente (must see)

Founded in 1865, La Rinascente is a classical fashion department store in Milan that has been recognized as the most modern shopping place. It is an eight-storey huge shopping mall that sells nearly everything one can think of, from lingerie to colorful ceramics. All the departmental stores selling the latest cosmetics, accessories and footwear are situated here. The top floor is the home of innumerable gastro bars and a delicatessen: Italian cuisine, sushi bar, a branch of Obikà mozzarella bar, etc., along with the wine, juice, chocolate and cheese bars. It also treats visitors to a panoramic view of the Duomo cathedral. The top floor has an indoor-outdoor cafe where hot chocolate and coffee can be enjoyed while appreciating the beauty of the Duomo.

La Rinascente was renovated during the summer of 2008; its former mall-like feel has been replaced by a boutique feel. All in all, a great place to look around, to do shopping and to enjoy a drink or a meal while sitting in the comfy environment of the many on-site restaurants.

They have clean bathrooms on the top floor, and there is no fee. While you're there, just walk over to the big windows and get a bird's eye view of the Duomo while enjoying the air conditioning.
If you need to do Tax Refund, collect all your receipts from La Rinascente and process them on the same day on the same top floor. The receipts are only valid for tax refund if done the same day, so it is better to do all your shopping from La Rinascente in one day, then proceed to the Tax Refund and complete a single form including all receipts.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 9:30am-9pm; Fri, Sat: 9:30am-10pm; Sun: 10am-9pm (hours change monthly)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Via Torino

8) Via Torino

Via Torino is one of the main shopping streets of Milan. It connects Piazza Duomo with the typical Ticinese district. Via Torino is famous for its specialty in shoes – one of the woman’s favorite product. Full of shops selling shoes, the street is famous for its wide range of shoes merchandise – from all-terrain boots to dainty sandals. In recent years Via Torino has developed a shoe mall, with a large number of shops selling shoes mainly to the young people. Price range varies from inexpensive to the medium-to-high priced along with the difference in quality.

At the other end of the Via Torino, down from the Duomo, is the Ticinese district which offers a selection of small shops and workshops.

Milan has been defined as a rich city dedicated to art and pleasure. It is, no doubt, an active participant in the fashion race of the world's capital cities along with Paris, Tokyo and London. Here you can find anything you can dream of. With the wide variety of shoes available and the prices ranging from very low to very high, you will surely find something that matches your style and your budget. If you have a love for shoes, you must visit this street, you will be baffled with the choices available for you.
La Coloniale

9) La Coloniale

What to buy here: Martini Bianco (White Martini).

The Milanese aperitivo is an occasion for meeting friends, socializing and having a chat with them over an (often) expensive drink and a variety of food on a buffet you can choose from without extra costs. You may also want to host an “aperitivo” at home. In this case, try Martini Bianco, which makes very delicious Martinis. Although Martini has become the most acclaimed and cosmopolitan Italian drinks brand in the world, its white variety is not enough popular abroad. Martini Bianco is a fine blend of Italian white wine infused with herbs and sweet floral botanicals and produces an aromatic yet delicate drink (a sweet vermouth) with notes of vanilla and citrus. Drink it over ice with soda and a slice of lemon to have an Italian “spritz”, but try it also with a slice of orange if you prefer a sweeter taste. You can find Martini Bianco in almost every “common supermarket” at an average price of 8 to 10 € per bottle. Look for it in the aperitif area. When in Corso Genova for example, you could enter La Coloniale (Corso Genova, 19) and buy it there. Should you want to try it before buying it, you can visit Terrazza Martini, a very exclusive lounge bar located in a terrace on top of a tower building in Piazza Armando Diaz, 7. As the name suggests, their Martini cocktails are exactly as they should be and the view from there is unbeatable.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday 8 am - 10 pm; Sunday 8 am - 7.30 pm.

10) Scarazzini’s

What to buy here: Unusual umbrellas.

Milan’s known as the Italian capital of design. And design in Milan is applied to even the most unusual objects. Umbrellas are amongst these, especially those made by Francesco Maglia. Francesco Maglia's hand-made design umbrellas set the trends thanks to their originality and innovation. In his Milanese workshop you can find silk umbrellas, rain umbrellas turning into beach umbrellas and of course bespoke umbrellas based on your creativity. His workshop in via Ripamonti 194 (enter the building without hesitation) is actually a source of ideas where umbrellas come to life, either thought for women, men or for curious applications, all made with a huge variety of wooden handles and countless coating patterns. Each is a real masterpiece you may want to become unique with small variations from its original design, choosing every imaginable detail (for example, you can ask for the handle to be braided with leather or other materials, the umbrella to be made of your favorite fabric etc: nothing is impossible as long as you are willing to pay for it and prices for customized umbrellas often go over 500 euros). Should you prefer to buy a ready-made umbrella which is made according to the same quality standards as their bespoke counterparts, prices stand between 70 and 250 euros.

You can find Maglia’s umbrellas at Scarazzini’s (Corso Genova, 28) a typically old fashioned shop dedicated to high quality articles including razors, knives and walking sticks. They’re the only ones in town equipped with both fabrics, wood and technique to realize a Maglia bespoke umbrella.

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Creating your own self-guided walk in Milan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

Throughout its 2,000+ year-long history Milan has accumulated an impressive collection of architectural monuments, thanks to some of the best artists and architects this world had ever seen who blessed the city with their presence. Masterpieces like the Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper,” vividly...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km
East Centro Walking Tour

East Centro Walking Tour

Milan is a city steeped in history, but also a strategic economic center for Italy, as well as an international fashion hub. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore. Take this tour and visit the main sites in Milan's Centro Storico.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Religious Sights Walking Tour

Religious Sights Walking Tour

Milan may be a world fashion capital and an European financial capital, but religion, and "the church" in particular, remain a major part of Milanese life. Many of the churches that you see today have undergone reconstruction or renovation, as preserving historic and religious heritage is one of the city's priorities. Take this tour to visit some of the most notable places of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Milan without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Milan, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
Core of Centro Storico Walking Tour

Core of Centro Storico Walking Tour

Milan is a city that boasts both historic and modern architecture. It is also a strategic economic center for Italy and is home to the country's stock exchange. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites like the La Scala opera house and the famous Duomo, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
West Centro Walking Tour

West Centro Walking Tour

Milan is a city steeped in history, but also a strategic economic center for Italy, as well as an international fashion hub. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore. Take this tour and visit the main sites in Milan's Centro Storico.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Milan's Best Aperitivo Venues

Milan's Best Aperitivo Venues

Apéritifs usually are alcoholic drinks that are normally served before a meal. But in Milan the Aperitivo can actually become a fun, cheap (but not unchic) dinner with friends or (in a romantic venue) with a date. The all-you-can-eat formula allows you to buy just one drink and serve yourself with...
12 Cafes To Visit in Milan

12 Cafes To Visit in Milan

The industrial capital of Italy and one of the world's fashion and business centers, today's Milan is teeming with chaotic urban rush on a daily basis. Although it can't compete with Rome in terms of history, art and architecture, there are hidden gems in Milan well worth searching...
16 Best Pastry Shops in Milan Italy

16 Best Pastry Shops in Milan Italy

Are you looking to satisfy your sweet tooth with genuine, locally-made Italian pastries and drink real “espresso”? This guide covers the best pastry shops/cafes in Milan, the capital of fashion and excellent northern Italian food. Places where one can drink coffee or tea and eat some of the...
Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan

Needless to say much about Milan and the things the city is famous for. From fashion and luxury to football and Berlusconi, the list is long. Still, some of the distinctively Milanese items may pass unnoticed to the eye of a stranger, if not caringly pointed in the right direction by a knowledgeable...
Milan's Fashion Restaurants & Bars

Milan's Fashion Restaurants & Bars

Milan is a city well known for luxurious fashion and shopping. With this guide your designer experience doesn't have to end at the stores and boutiques. Almost every major Italian fashion house (as well as a few foreign ones) has entered the food, beverage, or hospitality businesses in Milan,...
Sweet Shops of Milan

Sweet Shops of Milan

This guide will undoubtably make your trip to Milan a sweet one. Most locations are in the city centre, whilst others are set in older headquarters, that boast incredible landmarks and hidden beauties. Milan is habitually associated to fashion and business but has some exquisite examples of art...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Milan for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Milan has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Milan's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Milan Pass and Milano Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple Milan's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Milan hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: TownHouse Galleria, Room Mate Giulia, Maison Milano | UNA Esperienze.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Milan, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Milan typically costs from around US$25 up to US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Milan from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the three interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for all three).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Milan on a bike tour (3 to 3.5 hours) visiting the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Enjoy a day of art, food, wine and sightseeing on a 3-hour tour of Milan following in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci! A great combination of the Renaissance, appetizers, and wines to help one unwind in a true Milanese style at one of the city's most fascinating spots.

- Take a walk deeper “under the skin” of Italy’s fashion capital. Skip lines to Milan's Duomo and Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” to save more time for visiting other iconic local attractions and experiencing the true spirit of Milan.

- Spend 3 hours sightseeing the center of Milan led by a knowledgeable local guide, exploring the city's most notable attractions like the Duomo, Piazza de’ Mercanti, the Loggia, via Dante, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the Scala Theatre and many other prominent locations.

- Enjoy exclusive access “behind the scenes” of the Milanese Fashion District on the one and only Milano fashion tour visiting a number of the city's top ateliers and fashion stores. The tour guides have worked there for years themselves, so they know the fashion industry inside out to ensure you see only the best boutiques.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Milan, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Venice, the Cinque Terre, a combo of Genoa and Portofino, Lake Como, or Lake Maggiore. For as little as circa US$80 to US$150 per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including breathtaking Venice, small piece of paradise in the form of five little villages hanging from cliffs over the sea, glamorous coastal towns of the Italian Riviera, and the scenic Italian Lake District. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Milan, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.