Milan shopping tips
Visiting Milano without shopping is like visiting Paris without going to the Eiffel Tower. Still a magical experience in itself, but with something missing.“Saldi” is a word that will most likely pop up during your trip to Milan if you visit between January -March or July – September. Why? Because it’s sales season baby! First lesson in Italian: saldi = sales.
Shopping and generally getting around the Duomo area becomes difficult during this period because everyone is out to get their discount on. So if you are just passing through or just moved to Milan, here are some tips of where and when to go for those black jeans that just have to have or the little top you desperately need in order to complete your outfit. Fair warning, my advice is based on my budget so I will not be talking too much about all the big luxury brands since I’m not at that point in my life where a 50% discount on a 2000€ dress makes me want to go a grab it.
Given that it’s one of the few and most famous attraction of Milan, you can expect a big crowd pretty much always. Being the hot stop that it is, this area has two shopping streets that you can chose from. The most famous and esthetically beautiful is of course the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. On an early morning, the stroll from the Duomo metro station to San Babila is actually very pleasant and will give you all the Italian vibes that you came for. After 12 a.m. during sales it can be a bit of a nightmare because although the corso is big and open, everyone will be going in a direction of their choice and in compact groups.
The second shopping street where you can wrestle people for your own personal space is Via Torino. The side walk is smaller, the shops are pretty much the same, but I personally think that the shop windows and general inside store planning is done better here, so I tend to prefer this one. One of the best parts of Via Torino is that it if you walk it all the way down and then turn to Corso di Porta Ticinese you get to the Columns of San Lorenzo which is a great spot for a beer or a glass of aperol spritz or just general chilling after some hard hours of snatching and grabbing clothes you probably don’t need but are inclined to buy because they have a discount.
Corso Buenos Aires
Luckily, Milan has more than two shopping streets. Once you’ve had your Duomo experience, because you will inevitably check it out, take some comfort in knowing that something better awaits you not too far away. Corso Buenos Aires is a couple of metro stops from the Duomo, M1 red line Lima stop and presto, you are in the middle of it all. You can also walk it, it depends on how your feet are feeling or how mentally prepared you are for a considerable number of km per day. Now don’t get me wrong, Buenos Aires will also be a little crowded, but less because this is where Italian go shopping and not so much the tourists. The Buenos Aires shopping bliss stretches out for 2 km from Porta Venezia to Piazzale Loreto, 4 km if you do both sides. Who says shopping isn’t a workout? From my experience early in the morning, lunchtime and after 19:00 is when this street is less busy because that’s when everyone is sleeping, eating or getting ready to go out. Your choice! Another bonus that this shopping option offers is the normal food, aka not for turists. In between shops and on the little side streets there is always a small bistro or restaurant to help you keep your energy levels up at a decent price.
Another option for a semi oasis of “shopping tranquility” is Corso Vercelli, M1 red line Conciliazione stop, also a couple of metro stop away from Duomo but in the opposite direction to Lima. Truth be told the variety of shops is a little less exciting than the other streets I already mentioned, but it still gets the job done. I always go to the Coin store here that has a “several shops in one” concept and they do discounts like nobody’s business, you’ll just need the on the spot 1€ Coin card. Corso Vercelli always gives me a very Borghese vibe that I can’t really explain, and the architecture of the area as a whole is something I always enjoy. The bonus here is the Gloria Multiplex cinema half way through the Corso, where you always have one or two movies in original language. If you’re planning to see any new releases while in Milano check the O.V. fine print because everything is dubbed in Italian. Another bonus that I was excited about is that if you still remember all the excitement about crownuts and never got to try one, Food Is Foodies can put that fantasy to rest for you.
Bus Shuttles to Arese or Serravalle
If you feel that these measly streets are not enough to fully satisfy your inner shopaholic cravings you still have options (at least the two that I have tried and can recommend). Not so close to Milan, but not so far away either you have Il Centro, the biggest shopping center in Europe with 200 stores waiting for your wallet. It’s open from 09:00 to 22:00 and you can get there by metro and then change to a bus or you can make your life easy and take the shuttle service from Milano Centrale for a 5€ return. You can also book your ticket online (https://www.centroilcentro.it/bus-navetta/). Il Centro will obviously also be quite packed, especially the now legendary queues in Primark, but you have the most options that any one place in Europe can offer.
My last recommendation for those of you with wider pockets and the willingness to spend more for quality and brands is Serravalle. When I went there for the first time, for a spit second I thought I was in Disneyland because the outlet is built as a small town and each store has its little house in pretty pastel colors. I’m writing this article in January and after having a quick look on their website I can tell you that the outlet prices are 50% and might even plan a visit this weekend now that I think of it. To give you a general idea, last time I went during the summer sale I got some nice Levi’s for 45€ and some super comfy adidas for around the same. You can easily get there by shuttle bus and once there you will be relieved to hear that there is a very nice food court at the entrance to help you fuel up for the day. https://www.mcarthurglen.com/it/serravalle-designer-outlet/en/