Christmas in Milan: Top 10 Must-Do Activities this Festive Season

Milan is a great city to explore throughout the year, but it’s exceptional during the Christmas season. The city comes alive with sparkling lights, colorful decorations, bustling markets, and various events, making it an unforgettable holiday destination. Here’s our roundup of the top 10 must-do activities to make the most of your Christmas in Milan: 

 

1. See the Christmas Tree in Piazza del Duomo & Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The main square of the city boasts a beautiful Gothic cathedral and a stunning Christmas tree, which is usually lit up on December 7, the feast day of Milan’s patron saint, Sant’Ambrogio. It’s a great place to admire the majestic architecture and festive decorations. 

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful shopping arcades, situated near the Duomo. The arcade is adorned with garlands, lights, and a giant Christmas tree at its center. You can also discover numerous high-end shops, cafes, and restaurants inside.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II during Christmas

2. Escape the Crowds and Enjoy City’s Famous Attractions

The vibrant fashion and design capital of Italy transforms into a captivating winter wonderland during the colder months. While it’s always bustling with energy, Milan is particularly charming during winter. The city sheds its bustling crowds and with fewer tourists around, you can enjoy its famous attractions without the usual hustle and bustle. For instance, you can admire Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, in the Santa Maria delle Grazie church or visit the Sforza Castle, a medieval fortress that houses numerous museums and art collections.

 

3. Visit Artigiano in Fiera – Support Local Artisans

For hundreds of thousands of people there is no Christmas without Artigiano in Fiera. Since 1996 the fair has promoted artisans, creators of beauty and goodness, of unique and quality products, respectful of nature and people. Artigiano in Fiera, the largest event of its kind in the world, has become the International Expo of Crafts, Peoples and Nations.

 

4. Explore the Best Christmas Markets in Milan 

Christmas markets offer an excellent opportunity to enjoy local culture, cuisine, and purchase unique gifts and souvenirs. Some of the most popular markets include;

  • Mercatino di Natale in Piazza del Duomo – features over 60 stalls selling handicrafts, food, and decorations
  • Obei Obei in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio – showcases the rich gastronomic heritage of Italy’s diverse regions
  • Fiera degli O’Bej O’Bej in Piazza Castello – features antiques, vintage collectibles, and handcrafted toys 

If you are looking for something different, embrace the eco-conscious spirit of the season at Green Christmas by the Fonderia Napoleonica, a market dedicated to sustainable practices and environmentally friendly products, or visit The Boutique of the Red Noses by Veronica Sacchi Association: A cause worth supporting.

 

5. Immerse Yourself in Christmas Music & Decorations

During the Christmas season, Milan offers a rich program of Christmas concerts. You can enjoy classical, gospel, jazz, and pop music. The city is also adorned with thousands of lights and ornaments, creating a magical ambiance. You can enjoy the beautiful displays on the streets, squares, and monuments of the city. Some of the most remarkable ones are located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Via Montenapoleone, and Via della Spiga, where you can also find some of the world’s best fashion boutiques.

 

6. Explore Navigli

Milan has one of the most charming and lively areas, where you can find numerous bars, restaurants, art galleries, and antique shops along the canals that run through the city. You can either take a stroll or ride a boat along the waterways. Alternatively, you can enjoy a drink or meal in one of the many cozy venues, such as Aethos Milan’s Mediterranean-style brasserie, ZAÏA, or cocktail bar, The Doping Bar.  

 

7. Eat Delicious Local Food

Milan boasts of a diverse and exquisite culinary culture that you can explore during your Christmas vacation. Some of the authentic dishes that you must indulge in are risotto alla milanese (rice cooked with saffron and cheese), cotoletta alla milanese (breaded veal cutlet), ossobuco (braised veal shank), panettone (sweet bread with candied fruits and raisins), and torrone (nougat with almonds or pistachios). These delicacies are easily available in numerous restaurants, cafes, markets, and shops across the city.

 

8. Go Ice Skating

If you want to have some fun and get some exercise, why not try ice skating in one of the many rinks that pop up around the city during the winter? Some of the most popular rinks include Ice Village in Parco Sempione, where you can skate surrounded by nature; Palazzo del Ghiaccio in Via Piranesi, where you can skate in a historic building; and Darsena Ice Village in Piazza XXIV Maggio, where you can skate next to the Naviglio Grande canal. Head to the “Intro Montanelli” park where the amazingVillaggio delle Meraviglie” comes to life from November 18th to January 7th. You will find a covered (and heated!) ice skating ring, Santa’s House (check out for special events if you have kids), a big Christmas carousel, Christmas markets, delicious food and loads of fun! 

 

9. Unwind With an Aperitivo

Aperitivo is a Milanese tradition. You can enjoy an aperitivo in one of the many bars or clubs in Milan. Aperitivo usually includes a drink and a buffet of snacks.

 

10. Rejuvenate in a Wellness Center

After a day of shopping and sightseeing, you can indulge in some relaxation in one of Milan’s many wellness centers. Milan’s wellness centers offer a wide range of treatments, including massages, saunas, and Turkish baths.

 

Milan offers a diverse range of activities during the Christmas season. Whether you’re seeking cultural experiences, shopping opportunities, entertainment, or relaxation, this amazing city has something to suit your taste and budget. Enjoy a fantastic holiday!

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