Whether it’s luxurious high-end designer apparel, or one-of-a-kind vintage gems, or something budget-friendly … whatever rocks your boat, Milan has it all!
Located at the northern end of Italy, Milan has long been known as the centre of fashion and design, rivalling Paris, London and New York at one time. It is also a financial hub known for its high-end shops and restaurants. The city is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural ‘The Last Supper’, reflecting its long history as the cradle of art and culture. Almost all the world-famous designer names such as Armani, Versace, Prada and so on, are represented here. Besides the luxury brands, however, those on a budget can find something interesting too. Check out our list of TOP 10 PLACES TO SHOP IN MILAN.
1. The Golden Quadrilateral
The Golden Quadrilateral, also known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro or Golden Rectangle is the place for upscale shopping. Here you will find designer brands like Cartier, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and so on. This is a popular first-stop for the rich and famous while those on a tighter budget can window shop and move on to more affordable yet trendy options elsewhere.
2. La Rinascente
If you are just looking for a huge everything-under-one-roof department store, La Rinascente at Piazza del Duomo could be your answer. Spread across 10 floors, the store has men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, home furnishings, electronics, beauty products and more. The food hall on level seven offers a good view of the neighbouring Duomo di Milano cathedral.
3. Milan Flea Markets
At Milan’s flea markets, you may come across exciting finds like designer cast-offs or antiques at bargain prices. The Fiera di Sinigaglia, which is open every Saturday from 8am to 6pm, is the most popular in the city. The other one is Mercato Dei Navigli along Alzaia Naviglio Grande, which is open on the last Sunday of the month from 9am to 6pm.
4. DMAG Outlet Shops
The Dmagazine Outlet or DMAG, is known for its designer brands sold at huge discounts because the items are usually either out-of-season or the odd ones that are unsold. There are three outlets across the city and you might never know what bargains you might come across if you put in the time to search.
Another outlet shop worth checking out is Il Salvagente which sells a host of famous designer brands from Armani, Dolce & Gabbana to Miu Miu and Versace.
5. The Brera District
The Brera district is known for its botanical garden, a series of art galleries, the luxury Bulgari Hotel and Bohemian boutiques. Brera is close to the tourist areas but more laid back and quiet. You can start at Corso Como 10 to explore the shops along the row. Located adjacent to Chinatown at the northern edge of the Brera district, Corso Como 10 is said to be the place to explore fashion, art and design. After shopping, you can relax over coffee or a meal at one of the garden restaurants.
Another place to check out in Brera is Cavalli e Nastri which runs three boutiques selling vintage clothing and accessories. Most of the items are for women but they have one shop that caters mainly to men.
If you are interested in the works of local designers, Fornasetti is a good start. The three-storey shop sells thousands of Milanese designer Piero Fornasetti’s whimsical creations ranging from everyday household items to ceramics and fashion accessories.
7. Piazza San Babila
Surrounding Piazza San Babila are many shopping malls and one of them is Brian & Barry Building which sells men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, including famous fashion labels, across 12 storeys. If you are tired from shopping, go up to level 12 to enjoy coffee at the terrace with a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
9. Six Gallery
If you are interested in designer interior furnishings, Six Gallery would interest you. Curated by two architects, the gallery aims at promoting creations from famous and unknown Italian furniture designers. After shopping, you might want to enjoy a meal at the beautifully decorated Sixième Bistro where diners feel like being inside a greenhouse.
10. Prada flagship
Everybody knows and loves Prada and a visit to Milan would not be complete without paying homage to the flagship designer store at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II located right at the centre of the city. The famous designer opened his very first boutique here in 1913 and some of his earlier designs are displayed here, too. While you are there, explore the surrounding area where they have other well-known shops selling jewellery, shoes and books.
It rains often in Milan, so it might be a good idea to pack an umbrella or raincoat wherever you go.
Most locals don’t understand English, so a phrasebook might come in handy.
Between 2pm and 4pm, most businesses are closed unless you are in a tourist area.
A bar or a cafe mean the same thing to a Milanese, so when a local mentions a bar, it could mean a place for coffee.
To buy tickets for public transportation, look for cafes with a big ‘T’ (Tabacchi) sign. You can also buy them at newspaper stands and Metro stations.
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