Heading to Milan at Christmastime? These are the best things to do for Christmas in Milan!
Essential Travel Resources for 2021 & 2022
These are my favorite companies that I use on my travels.
Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.
For road trips and ground transportation, rent a car through Discover Cars.
Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide.
For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.
Get reliable travel insurance through World Nomads.
Visit Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
The famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is a landmark in Milan and a meeting place both for locals and visitors. This classy Italian spot wears its best dress during the merry season and it’s a must-see place, ideal for beautiful photos and dreamy shopping as well.
Every year features an imposing Swarovski Tree right under its dome, boasting over Christmas 10,000 ornaments and more than 35,000 lights.
Just out of the Galleria, in the center of Piazza Duomo, passers-by can admire another beautiful, although arguably less impressive Christmas tree, the Duomo Tree.
Taste Italian delicacies at the Duomo Food Stands
In the same area of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and extending for several meters along the pedestrian road, as well as in the square behind the Duomo you can walk along this cozy Christmas market with wooden houses, selling freshly made traditional foods and other typical Italian winter dishes, including smoked cold cuts, jams, bakery products and chocolates.
Roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, ginger bread… you name it. Here, you will also find handmade Christmas decorations at very convenient prices.
Explore Milan’s Christmas Village at the Navigli
Whenever talking about things to do in Milan, I have often mentioned the Navigli as a great place to spend the day or the evening when visiting Italy’s fashion capital.
The dockyards of the so-called Navigli Grandi or also Darsena is a joyful Christmas locations to visit no matter your age! The whole area becomes a beautiful festive villages featuring a unique Christmas tree right on the water.
Young visitors adore to meet friends and enjoy spending time on the ice skating ring while younger crowds have no problem waiting in line to check Santa’s booth.
The whole Navigli becomes a huge Christmas-themed village during the weeks preceding the holidays open from the morning until the evening. Don’t forget to check the Christmas food stalls with delicacies including Milanese polenta, Panettone, and Pandoro!
Attend a Christmas Concert at Teatro alla Scala
Italy’s most famous opera house, the Teatro alla Scala celebrates the opening of the winter season with the annual Christmas Concert, often during the two nights before the eve.
The concert features the performance of their orchestra and chorus and it is also broadcast on TV a few days after for those unable to attend. If you wish to attend the magnificent gala, try to get the tickets in advance directly on the site of the theater.
Live Milan like a local at the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! fair
During the first week of December, Piazza Castello and the surrounding area hosts the oldest of Milan’s Christmas market in Milan. A traditional appointment for locals, over 350 stands feature secondhand objects of varied interests, booksellers, artisans, florists, and so, so much more.
The festival is also a delicious opportunity to sample some of the traditional Christmas food of the region, including roasted chestnut, corncob, spicy sausages, smoked meat, pancakes with Nutella, and cotton candy. If you want to feel like a real local, try the firunat a beloved smoked chestnut steak typical of the Lombardy region.
Enjoy a Gospel Night
Milan’s Blue Note is one of the city’s most famous and popular music halls and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to discover the magic of a place where Italians have been spending their evenings for decades.
During the evenings of the last week of December, the Blue Note hosts Angels in Harlem Gospel Choir, a fix appointment that every year engages and entertains hundreds of locals during the most magical nights of the year.
According to your budget, you can book a ticket just for the concert, add a glass of champagne for a midnight toast or even enjoy an elegant as well as delicious multi course dinner.
Get lost in the Villaggio delle Meraviglie
Head to Giardino Indro Montanelli in Porta Venezia neighborhood to discover the magnificent Public Gardens and the Villagio delle Meraviglie, the Village of Wonders, active during the entire month of December and until Epiphany.
Visit the house of Santa, enjoy Christmas carols and local music, live bands, and other live entertainment, as well as a huge heated ice rink for the whole family. Kids love the huge Christmas tree carousel, the nativity scene and the different workshops open to the public.
Eat a slice of Panettone
Christmas in Italy is not the same without tasting a thick slice of freshly baked Panettone, the most famous Christmas sweet made in the country. Known and produced all over the world, but also imported from Italy to every corner of the planet, don’t miss this experience if you are spending your Christmas holidays in Milan.
Panettone is a a typical Christmas sweet bread with plenty of dried fruit, nuts, and unique aromas of almond and even spices.
If you have a more simple taste and palate, then try a slice of Pandoro, another popular Christmas sweet bread, without any ingredient, often served with a generous spoonful of Sabayon or coffee cream on top.
Give yourself the chance to spend an eco-friendly Christmas
Going completely eco-friendly this Christmas in Milan? This is a tangible possibility at the Green Christmas Market held every year in the old neighborhood of Isola, a very picturesque district in Milan.
All the stands and events have a clearly green focus and are devoted to promote a sustainable and ecological holiday season.
How? You might be wondering… Well, the products featured and sold at the market include eco-fashion garments, design object made with recycled and bio-ecological materials, natural cosmetic products and more.
Try your ice skating skills at a city ice rink
Ice skating is one of the many activities locals enjoy around Christmas time both in the center of Milan as well as in many other cities in the Lombardy region.
In most of them the price of the ticket includes the possibility of having a pair of skates during the time on the rink, so you don’t really need to worry if you don’t have skated with you (often the case with tourists, right?) or if you decide to go ice skating at the last minute.
Ice skating rinks also have bars or cafeterias where you can sit, enjoy music, and even a comforting cup of hot chocolate too.
When in Milan, check the following venues:
Ice Rink in Largo Beltrami
Ice Rink in Largo Cairoli
Ice Rink in Bagni Misteriosi
Ice Rink in (from 4:30pm to 7:30pm, on holidays from 10:30am to 7:30pm)
Piazza Città di Lombardia (only in the afternoon).
Covered ice rink in Montanelli Gardens (Villaggio delle Meraviglie).
Discover the pretty Bagni Misteriosi
Also in the Porta Romana area of Milan, Bagni Misteriosi or Mysterious Baths features a complex of Christmas activities and markets during the months of November and December.
Other than the imposing ice rink surrounded by the waters of the Bagni, you can also check the small winter hut and markets such as the Flug Market and the Popcorn Garage Market.
There are much more entertaining activities to enjoy, including games and interactive shows, creative ice-skating courses, workshops for the whole family but also more adult and intellectual activities such as philosophy meetings and literature coffee dates.