Milan is often overlooked treated as a quick stopover in Italy rather than the worthy destination it should be. In addition to a rich history and vibrant nightlife, Milan is filled with that intoxicating energy that comes from millions of talented people fighting for success in one powerhouse of a city; this is the New York of Europe. Come enjoy Italy in the fast lane... you can always escape to the lakes if you get tired.
Being a capital of fashion, Milan has no shortage of quality and design when it comes to apparel or accessories. Opt out of the typical sunglasses and dress purchases, to give a serious look at the activewear shops. You'll find bold pieces that just wouldn't exist elsewhere and that no one else will have back home. (Obviously, you should get heels too but how much use will those get comparatively!?)
A classic Italian way to enjoy the evening, the apertivo features a pre-dinner drink and small plates to follow. Most restaurants will host an open buffet from 7pm until about 10pm. For 11 euros (often less, sometimes more) you get a drink and unlimited access to an assortment of Italian food. Just be prepared to muscle your way into the crowd - apertivo is not for the timid! For a good outdoor option try Maya.
The Galleria is not to be missed; it's both a stunning sight and one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Be prepared to be wowed by the architecture but save some time for window shopping. This is worth seeing in the daytime and evening but it will be significantly less crowded the later you go. Be sure to check operating hours first.
If you have more than a few days in Milan, it's almost mandatory to visit Lake Como. Como is the picture perfect getaway; imagine absolutely turquoise water surrounded by lovely mountains and lush Italian gardens. While the setting is worlds apart from Milan, a train from the city center will get you there within an hour and a half - pending which location you choose to visit. Try Lecco or Bellagio (southern parts of Como.) Be sure to confirm the train/ferry times in advance. Winging it will not go down well with this one - speaking from experience!
As a coffee lover, choosing where to sip a cuppa is a real struggle in Milan because nearly every place is fantastic. However, the one standout for me has been Amorino in Navigli. The cappuccino is absolute perfection - no need to add sugar or wait for it to cool. Savour your cuppa in the outdoor seating area for the true Milano experience. As a bonus, Amorino is a gelateria! Dessert after your coffee?
Anything goes in Milan - go bold! Make sure to bring a jacket until the summer months as it does get chillier in the evening. If you're going out, be prepared to do it up to the nines - the men and ladies here will be wearing their best.
Often restaurants and bakeries will make their food fresh so you will avoid many of the harmful preservatives and nasty bits added to highly processed food. There are healthy options available such as salads and fish but let's also be honest...it's Italy, you come here for the food! Just try to keep some greens with each dish to help with digestion - your body will thank you.