Things to do in Milan during Christmas

What to do in Milan during Christmas time

If you’re planning a visit to Milan during Christmas, you’re in luck. This fashionable city really goes above and beyond with its seasonal festivities, from child-friendly Christmas markets, where kids can post their wish-lists to Santa, to wrapping up nice and warm before hitting the ice-skating rinks. Those looking to stay warm indoors can enjoy Christmas concerts at landmark venues like the Teatro alla Scala and Duomo, while simply strolling through the city will take you past twinkling lights, glittering Christmas trees and more. Read our list of the best things to do in Milan during Christmas to feel suitably inspired!

  1. Go shopping in the Christmas Village
  2. Take in the Christmas tree at the Duomo
  3. Treat yourself to a Christmas concert
  4. Lace up and go ice skating
  5. Admire the Christmas lights at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Go shopping in the Christmas Village

Feel the Christmas spirit in full swing at the Christmas Village, one of the most festive things to do in Milan during Christmas. Mooch along the wooden stalls of local-made arts and crafts, dance along to a fun, live performance and even have your photograph taken with Santa Claus. Located in the Porta Venezia area of the city, it’s a great place for families to visit, as little ones can post their own wish-list to Santa! The best way to take in the different themes of the Village is by boarding the small train that snakes its way around the site, with multiple stop-off points if you see something that grabs your attention.

Best for: Families.

Don’t forget: To believe in Santa, at least for the day – it makes it all the more fun!

2. Take in the Christmas tree at the Duomo

During your Milan holidays there’s no missing the Duomo (cathedral). And we mean quite literally: this grand, marble structure makes up part of the city’s iconic landmarks, with its layers of needle-like spires and intricate detailing. The Piazza in front of the Duomo is a spacious square that makes for a pleasant stroll through, but all of this comes into its own at Christmas time, when a huge, sparkling Christmas tree is erected at the centre of the piazza. Whether you’re visiting the Duomo or heading towards the nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, there’s no doubting that you’ll instantly feel festive whenever you pass by the Christmas tree.

Best for: Iconic landmarks with a festive touch.

Don’t forget: Pose for a photo with the tree and the Duomo in the background for a unique photograph – this only happens once a year!

3. Treat yourself to a Christmas concert

Enjoy an evening of high culture at the prestigious Teatro alla Scala, where a number of Christmas concerts take place. As you relax in your plush seats, listen to the incredible choirs and orchestras perform their Christmas-themed songs and performances, which is amplified in its excellence thanks to the incredible acoustics. If the interior of the venue doesn’t give you goosebumps – think red velvet curtains, gold-detailed balconies and pillars – then the performances certainly will. Remember to dress formally for the occasion, as this is an experience that you won’t want to forget; in fact, it’s worth arriving slightly earlier so you can really take in the grandeur of this famous, historic theatre.

Best for: High-end culture.

Don’t forget: Christmas concerts also take place in the Duomo but are on a first-come first-serve basis – so get there early!

4. Lace up and go ice skating

One of the most popular winter activities, there’s plenty of places to lace up your skates and hit the ice in Milan. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, everyone can enjoy whizzing their way around the rink! Better yet, many are open from the morning until midnight, so you can either exert your energy during the day or go for a moonlit glide instead.

Best for: Keeping fit.

Don’t forget: Remember gloves, socks and a scarf!

5. Admire the Christmas lights at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

If you want to see something truly breathtaking during your Christmas visit to Milan, then there’s no missing the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The shopping arcade is already impressive as it is, with its curved glass domes and tall, grandiose buildings filled with high-end and designer shops. But at Christmas time, it somehow manages to top all of this, with the simple addition of a glittering Christmas tree and twinkling lights. Even the meanest Grinch will struggle not to fall for the festive beauty of the place, which you can enjoy either by strolling through, window-shopping or stopping off at one of the chic cafes to really soak up the ambiance.

Best for: Former-grinches.

Don’t forget: Don’t miss the Duomo at the other end of the arcade, with more festive scenes to check out.

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