Milan with Kids – Your perfect itinerary

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There are so many places I want to take my daughter and explore as a family. Traveling with kids makes you see the lighter side of travel. Why not see Milan with kids?

Instead of museum hopping, why not gelato hop and find the best flavor? Even pigeon-chasing pictures make for a good laugh (and I have plenty of those!).

While most people plan a vacation centered around kids and activities that are kid-friendly, I take a rather unorthodox approach. I plan a family trip where I want to go.

Then, I find the best things to do that correspond to what my daughter enjoys. Boat rides, playgrounds in the park…you can always find something small kids like. Little K loves going on trains which we were on quite a few times.

Exploring Milan

View from the Duomo Terraces in Milan - one of the best things to do in Milan with kids

Just bring something to pass the time away like books, coloring pages or a kid-friendly tablet like the Fire Kids edition (we used bring our LeapFrog epic, but it doesn’t seem that is available anymore).

Milan doesn’t exactly come first in your mind when you think of Italy. But, it makes a great base for touring the Italian Lakes region, Northern Italy as well as surrounding areas, even Switzerland.

There is so much in and around Milan for kids, as well as for adults. Just open your mind to the possibilities – it’s a great place for the whole family.

Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with some Italy travel tips before you go.

Milan with Kids – How much time do you need?

It depends on if you are going to do day trips and use Milan as your home base. You could easily get away with 2 nights/ 3 days if you are only interested in staying within the Milan city limits.

However, if you take a day trip to Lake Como or Switzerland or other areas of Italy (the high-speed train is a truly amazing great thing to try), you could easily spend 5 nights.

Personally, I don’t like switching hotels every other night. I prefer to completely unpack and stay in a central location or the city center with great public transportation. For me, this creates a less stressful atmosphere rather than continually checking in to different hotels.

So, what’s the perfect itinerary for Milan for families? Here’s a list of 6 main attractions, plus a couple of day trips, to help you plan your perfect itinerary.

Things to do in Milan with Kids:

1. Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

Side angle of Milan Duomo in front of a deep blue sky
Side angle of the Duomo
Iron doors with intricate detail of Milan Duomo
Heavy, intricate door of the Duomo
Inside the Milan Duomo with many columns
Inside the Duomo
Inside the Milan Duomo the main altar and stained glass window at the back of the church
Main Duomo altar
Terrace of Milan Duomo looking out seeing the other spires
Looking out from the terraces.
  • This cathedral is massive. It holds 40,000 worshippers. The Milan Cathedral is the largest church in Italy and the fifth largest in the world. Bring a great pair of walking shoes, especially if you go up to the terraces at the top of the Duomo.
  • Speaking of the terraces (for which there is an extra cost), much of the time you walk on a slant! Keep this in mind if it has recently rained or you don’t have proper soles on your shoes.
  • Take in an incredible view of Milan and an up-close view of some of the 135 spires and 3400 statues that adorn this church.
  • Check the Duomo’s official website for hours and pricing plans (of which there are several depending on what areas you want to see).

Book your Milan Cathedral and rooftop terrace access here

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Galleria)

Milan with kids - The Galleria entrance coming from the Duomo
Main entrance to the Galleria from Piazza del Duomo
Milan with kids - View of the Galleria inside
Inside the Galleria
standing in the Milan Galleria center and looking up at the intricate design
Standing in the center of the Galleria
Kids in Milan love to spin on the bulls balls in the Galleria
Spinning on the bull’s balls for good luck in the Galleria
  • Right next door to the Duomo is Italy’s oldest shopping mall. Picture two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in the center to create a glass-domed octagon.
  • Luxury retailers, restaurants and bars make up most of the occupants here.
  • Don’t forget to spin your heels three times on the bull’s balls (a mosaic inlay toward the center of the arcade from the Turin Coat of Arms) to bring good luck! Plus, it’s the perfect spot for pictures.

3. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper

Outside of Church of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan
Church of Santa Maria della Grazie
Milan with kids - da Vinci's The Last Supper
The Last Supper
  • This famous painting resides in a convent (Santa Maria Delle Grazie) a 15-minute bus ride from the Duomo.
  • It surprised me to find this wasn’t a framed painting. Instead, it encompasses an entire wall that is 15 ft by 29 ft in what used to be a dining hall.
  • Tickets are limited (and timed) due to only 25 people every 15 minutes allowed entry. If you want to see this, you need to reserve your tickets.
  • Book your tickets 3 months in advance when they open reservations because they do SELL OUT.

➡️ Click here to book your Last Supper entrance ticket with skip-the-line and an English-speaking guide.

4. National Museum for Science and Technology

Looking up at the entrance of the Milan Natural History Museum
Milan’s Museum of Natural History
  • Italy’s largest natural history museum with 3 million artifacts and interactive exhibits.
  • Contains dedicated sections for Mineralogy, Paleontology, Zoology and the evolution of man and plants.

➡︎ Book Museum of Science and Technology skip-the-line tickets and entrance admission fee here

5. Civic Aquarium of Milan

  • Oldest surviving building from the 1906 World’s Fair which now houses over 100 types of underwater life in 36 pools.
  • Kid-friendly
  • Only €5 adults and €3 children, plus the aquarium is free on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday after 2:00 pm, as well as the first Sunday of the month.

6. Castello Sforzesco

Sforza castle citadels - a great place to go in Milan with kids
Sforza Castle
  • Sforza Castle is one of the largest citadels in Europe, now housing several museums and art collections
  • One of Milan’s top attractions for tourists
  • See Michaelangelo’s famous Pietà Rondanini

Many of Milan’s attractions require tickets and have long lines, however one way to avoid this is to book a tour in advance. Often, these enable you to skip the line, too. A couple worth mentioning have been listed here. Click the buttons for an in-depth description.

➡️ Click here to book a small-group guided tour of the Sforza Castle

Day Trips from Milan

7. Lake Como/Italian Lakes district

View from the ferry of houses lining Lake Como
View from the ferry on Lake Como
Milan with Kids - on the ferry approaching the town of Como
Ferry approaching the main Como dock
Walking through a square in Como in the morning hours with a restaurant and gift shop in view
Walking through a square in Como in the morning hours
Tables and chairs are set out for a restaurant in a piazza awaiting the first customers
A restaurant in Como prepares to open
  • An easy, 45-minute train ride from Milan Centrale to Como S. Giovanni.
  • Take a boat around the lake and get off at one of the charming villages of Bellagio (about an hour from Como on the fast ferry) or Varenna (a 15-minute ferry ride from Bellagio).
  • Meander through cobblestone streets and the perfect place to enjoy the lakes with the Alps in the distance.
  • See if you can spot George Clooney’s house!  I looked, but we weren’t far enough out on the lake.
  • In Como, consider taking the funicular to Brunate for views of the region from above.

➡️ Book your Lake Como, Bellagio and Varenna Day Trip here!

8. Lugano, Switzerland

Milan with kids - the mountains and lakes of Lugano with a bell tower in the foreground
Just off the train in Lugano and this is what we see
Milan with Kids - walking through pedestrian friendly Lugano
Walking through Lugano
Lugano waterfront with boats and shopping promenade
Lugano waterfront
View of San Sabastian funicular track
San Sabastian funicular
View of mountains and lakes from the top of San Sabastian
At the top of San Sabastian
Milan with kids - View of Lugano from the top of San Sabastian
Looking out over Lugano
  • This was my favorite day trip although I am not sure why. Maybe it’s because we could be in Switzerland for a day! From the train station (which was 75 minutes from Milan and €24 per person each way), head down to the waterfront promenade.
  • Enjoy lunch at one of the numerous eateries while looking out over the water and Alps.
  • We followed the lake around until we came to the funicular that takes you up Mount San Salvatore to Capodoro – an excellent lookout point with a restaurant or starting hiking point.

➡️ Click here to book a full day trip to Lugano, Lake Como and Bellagio

9. Florence

Visit Florence and walk along the river as a day trip from Milan with kids
Walking along the river in Florence
  • Only 1 hour 40 minutes away by high-speed rail (€52 per person each way), you can visit the birthplace of the Renaissance.
  • Head to the Uffizi Gallery to see works by Botticelli, da Vinci, and Michealangelo
  • Stroll through the Ponte Vecchio (a bridge housing shops and vendors)
  • Browse the Piazza Della Signoria for classical statues such as David and Michaelangelo as well as the Fountain of Neptune

❇️ You definitely need reserved tickets for the Uffizi Gallery as they sell out quickly. Click here to book your timed Uffizi Gallery tickets here.

10. Ride the Bernina Panoramic Train to ST. Moritz

Taking the Bernina panaramic train from Torino to Saint Moritz is an amazing day trip from Milan with kids.
Take the red Bernina Panaramic train
  • Ready to take the steepest train journey in the world? 
  • Climb 1800 meters on the Bernina Express as you make your way from Torino, Italy to ST. Moritz, Switzerland.
  • Travel on one of Switzerland’s most scenic rail journeys
  • Round-trip transfer from Milan is included

➡️ Click here to book this amazing 12-hour tour on the Bernina panoramic train to St. Moritz here

Best time to visit Milan with kids:

School-aged children and older kids – If you are tied to a school calendar, try extending their spring break for a few days and do an amazing 10-day Italy trip with 4 days in Rome included in there.

March or April is ideal for walking around as it isn’t too hot or jam-packed with tourists.

Another great time is the beginning of June if your kids are out by then. Most kids in Europe still are in school until the beginning of July, therefore there are fewer families vacationing.

Babies and toddlers – Enjoy this time! You can take advantage of perfect weather and minimal crowds if you travel in April-May or Sept-Oct.

Steer clear of July and August as that is the European travel season with prices at their peak and top attractions are packed. In addition, it’s hot and muggy throughout much of Europe at this time.

Eating in Milan

Admittedly, Italy is probably one of the easiest cities to take a picky child eater. Where else can you indulge in delicious Italian cuisine such as pizza, pasta, and gelato?

Every. Day.

Don’t be fooled by the price of fish (or slab of meat) like my husband was. Menus list price as price (in Euros) per etto (€ xx per etto where etto = 100 grams). So, if your fresh caught fish is 400 grams, multiply appropriately.

Things to do in Milan FAQs

Cute villages seen from cruising the Northern Italy Lakes region
The Italian Lakes region
Is 3 days enough for Milan?

If you are only spending time in the Milan city center, yes, 3 days is enough for Milan. However, if you plan to take any day trips to Lake Como or Florence, then I would suggest you plan for five days.

Is Milan good for kids?

Yes! Milan is definitely a good choice for kids. With its relatively compact center, it is easy to walk around. Plus, kids will love walking along the Duomo’s terrace, playing with all the interactive toys at the Science Center and gazing in wonderment at all the large fish in the aquarium. Not to mention all the gelato stands around!

Where can I take my kids in Milan?

Definitely take your kids to the Duomo. It’s an amazing feat of construction and they’ll enjoy walking on the terraces. If your kids know the bible, seeing The Last Supper by DaVinci is an incredible experience and one they will never forget.

Milan on miles and points

As an avid miles and points geek, I plan the majority of our vacations using them.

Getting there: For this trip, we used American miles (30,000 each in economy + 11.20 in taxes) to go from Cleveland to Philadelphia to Venice. After 3 days in Venice, we took the high-speed train to Milan.

Returning home: We flew back home from Mallorca (an island off the coast of Spain) through Madrid to Chicago. I transferred 36,000 American Express Membership Rewards points to Iberia Plus for a Premium Economy seat for each of us plus $120. Iberia passes fuel charges on to the customer, so that is why the taxes are higher. This was our first time flying premium economy and it was a great balance of extra comfort for not too many more miles.

Stay in a 4 or 5-star hotel using points. Our hotels were covered by my Hilton points in Venice and Zurich, Hyatt points in Milan and Mallorca and Marriott points in Lake Como.

I reviewed the Park Hyatt Milan which we stayed at using points and a suite upgrade. It is in the absolute best area of Milan – right next to the Galleria with views of the Duomo from our rooftop terrace.

Entrance to the Park Hyatt Milan hotel - white stone with greenery on top of the entrance area
Entrance to the Park Hyatt Milan

Interested in how you can travel for pennies on the dollar? Please subscribe to my newsletter where I talk more often about credit card rewards and how to use them for family travel.

Milan with kids Summary

No matter where we go, it’s a learning experience. For us as parents, as well as children. We grow culturally as we meet new people and explore new territories. Don’t be afraid of taking your kids somewhere they have never been before. It’s how they learn to be respectful of other cultures and that everyone has a different story to tell.

Next time you are wondering what to do in Milan with kids, just think of what you want to do. Kids will follow. They love to explore and see new things. Just give them a chance.

What are your favorite places in Italy to travel to as a family? Is there something missing on this Milan itinerary for kids that you would definitely suggest? Please let me know in the comments!

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White building on left illuminated with white lights next to a large cathedral with many spires on the right; under a white overlay with black text reading 8 things to do in Milan with kids

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  1. Crystal @EatDrinkCLE says:

    I had an Italian boyfriend from Milano so this post was extra special for me – such great memories! Although I completely missed out on the spinning around on the bull’s balls tradition! Lol

    1. Christine says:

      That’s funny! Next time you go to Milan, you will have to spin for good luck 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  2. This is an awesome post. Thanks for sharing! I’m traveling to Italy next year, so I will keep this in mind!

    1. Christine says:

      Oh Italy is great! I just mentioned to my husband that I want to go back in a couple years to take my daughter to Rome (that was where we went on our honeymoon) for her to see all the history there. It’s amazing when you see things you read about in history books. Have an awesome trip!

  3. Mady Stoner says:

    As a soon-to-be mama, I am bookmarking this NOW! I love seeing how parents are able to travel to incredible places with their kids, and it’s nice knowing there are options so you don’t have to spend a fortune doing it.

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Mady. I think I travel more after having my daughter than I did before, even though I have always loved traveling. Using miles and points makes it so much more cost effective, but it’s like having a part time job just managing them. Congrats on the soon to be new arrival!

  4. Love this! Milan is fantastic and it’s not nearly as touristy as the other cities in Italy! The day trips look fun too! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes, agreed on Milan not being as touristy. We had just come from Venice where it was so hot (this was in June) and crowded. Milan was definitely more laid back. I always want to go back to Italy for some reason (I think it’s the food).