6 top things to do in Milan Italy with kids


FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Blog: 6 top things to do in Milan Italy with kids - little travelerFashion city Milan is often overlooked for more romantic or historic Italian cities such as Rome, Florence or Venice. It is however much cheaper to fly there from other European cities (Easyjet often has promo fares). Since Italy has been on my bucket list for a long time, Milan seemed like a good and pretty affordable place to start. Of course, with our little one in tow, we first need to check the things to do with kids in Milan. Are there any fun activities in Milan? Of course there are! If you’re planning to visit Milan, check out our list of recommendations for the 6 best things to do in Milan (with kids or without).

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Also read:
City trip to Milan: the basics
City trip to Milan: our journey
5 tips for succesful city breaks with kids

The best places to visit in Europe with kids


After I booked our Airbnb apartment for 6 nights I found out that both Rome and Venice are only 3 hours away by train. I would have loved to go there. Check out these great things to do in Venice and this overview of places to visit in Rome with kids! If I’d done some more research before my booking, I would have probably opted to do 2 nights Milan, 3 nights in either Rome or Venice and then one more night in Milan. This 2-week train itinerary shows how easy it is to travel from Milan to other major cities in Italy. But hindsight is 20/20, right? So we ended up with 6 nights in Milan.

If your kids are a bit older, I think you can easily see the best parts of Milan in about 2 or 3 days if you plan carefully. But taking a bit more time is never a bad idea when you travel with a toddler and we didn’t regret our 6 nights. And even so, we still didn’t manage to see everything Milan has to offer.

City trip with a toddler, a good idea?

A city trip can be quite taxing for a child. Lots of walking and sightseeing is tiring for those little legs. Like everything in life, it’s all about balance. Even with our toddler in tow, we managed to see quite a lot of Milan and he had a great time. He did complain that his feet were a bit sore after the first day, so we ended up carrying him. Obviously, this would have been much easier if we had brought a toddler back carrier. But we do enjoy city tripping with our toddler!

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Daddy’s shoulders, the best place to be if you’re tired of walking

On day 3 our little world traveler fell ill and we needed a day to relax. We were lucky our Airbnb apartment had a washing machine…. It also had a separate bedroom, with space to put his toddler travel bed. So he had a space of his own that was familiar an safe. After this short break, we took things even more slowly (good thing we didn’t end up going to Rome, that really would have been too much… funny how things work out, isn’t it). But, despite all this, we could still tick a lot of things to do in Milan off our list.

Visiting Milan with kids

When you visit Italy with kids eating Italian ice cream and Italian pizza have to be on your to-do list. But, is Milan child-friendly? What to do in Milan with kids? When I first started researching, Milan didn’t seem like a very child-friendly city. Unlike Vienna, which we visited last year, Milan doesn’t have a lot of playgrounds and Milan’s children’s museum Muba didn’t get great reviews. But when I looked a bit further, I discovered some pretty great things to do in Milan with our toddler.

So, what are the best things to do Milan with kids?

Since research for a city trip takes time, and time seems to be a prime commodity for parents, I’ll share our tips for best places to visit in Milan with your kids. Read more to see which things you really shouldn’t miss when you visit Milan, Italy.

Duomo di Milano / Milan Cathedral

The Duomo di Milano, the huge cathedral in the heart of Milan, is an incredibly impressive building. It’s huge and abundantly decorated. It took nearly six centuries to finish this Gothic cathedral. Because it took so long to complete, it was built in a great number of contrasting styles. Many people find it ugly because of all these building styles, but I think it just makes it unique. You can visit the church itself for as little as €2, but do you know what’s really cool? You can go up the roof of this massive church, to the terraces! At the time of writing it’s €9 if you take the stairs or €13 if you want to go by elevator.

Of course, we managed to go to Milan the week Pope Francis visited the city. Even though we went to the Duomo the Monday after the weekend he was in Milan, it was still packed. I would have loved to go up to the terraces or even inside the Duomo, but it was too busy and our toddler had little patience. So we gave it a miss. From the outside, the Duomo was really impressive too! Note to self: next time we go on a city trip to Italy, don’t forget to check if the Pope will be visiting!

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The Duomo is huuuuuge
FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Blog: 6 top things to do in Milan Italy with kids - Duomo di Milano
Impressive isn’t it?

Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli / Indro Montanelli Public Gardens

Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli is a historic city park in the Porta Venezia district (North East of the city center). Established in 1784, it’s the oldest city park in Milan. It’s a lovely green park, with various small playgrounds. At about 172.000m2 there’s enough space to run and play! In the weekends and on sunny afternoons you’ll find the park full of parents with kids, while others are exercising, or just taking a stroll. If you’re visiting Milan with kids, we can recommend spending some time at this park. Take the subway red line M1 to P.ta Venezia or Palestra or one of the many trams that stop near the park (line 1, 9 and 33 for instance).

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Great playgrounds at Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli Park

Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano / Natural History Museum Milan

At the edge of Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli near the M1 Palestra stop you’ll find the Natural History Museum of Milan or Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano. The 19th-century building itself is quite impressive and the museum spans two whole floors. It’s huge! The museum displays minerals, fossils, skeletons and a large collection of preserved animals.

Not surprising, the dinosaurs were our son’s favourite! Too bad almost all of the information is in Italian. There was a new exhibit about earthquakes however that is bilingual English/Italian. There’s so much to see, we spend about 1,5 hours here with our toddler.

Kids under 18 can enter the museum for free, for adults the entrance fee is €5 per person. So this museum is definitely on our list of affordable tourist attractions in Milan.

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The dinosaurs were our favourites!
FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Blog: 6 top things to do in Milan Italy with kids - Museo di Storia Naturale
The Natural History Museum of Milan has loads of preserved animals

Historic trams in Milan

Milan has awesome old trams that are used for regular public transport. Mau had read something about this and we decided this would be a great way to see some more of the city, while staying off our feet for a bit. We searched online and came across TraMilano HopOn HopOff. It looked great, but we thought €15 pp was a bit much. So we researched a bit more and found out that the old trams are actually used in regular public transport. No need to book a special hop-on-hop-off Milan experience! You can just buy a 24h urban day pass for €4,50 and you can take any tram you want, all day long. Just check a map of the tram lines and ride the tram as long as you feel like. That seemed like a much better deal! We were lucky that line 1, which stopped near our Airbnb apartment, was one of those old carriages. Kids travel for free on Milan’s public transport, but they need to be accompanied by an adult who has a valid ticket. 

You can find out more about tickets for the Milan subway on the ATM Milano website.

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The old trams look like they are from a movie set

Castello Sforzesco / 
Sforzesco Castle

Sforzesco Castle is huge and very impressive. There are numerous historical museums inside this medieval fortress, such as the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Museum of Ancient Art, the Archeological Museum and the Antique Furniture & Wooden Sculpture Museum. For €5 you can access all museums. We decided not to go in with our toddler but wandered around the castle grounds and courtyards instead. This was impressive enough (and free). Parco Sempione, which is right next to the castle, is nice to include when you visit the castle. Apparently, there is a kid’s playground in the park, but we didn’t see it.

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Mother and son at Sforzesco Castle
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You can imagine knights roaming around the castle grounds

Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Technologia Leonardo da Vinci – Science and Technology Museum Milan

This museum is the largest science and technology museum in Italy. It’s dedicated to Renaissance painter and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, who did much of his best work in Milan. You wouldn’t know it from the unattractive look of the 16th-century monastery where the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Technologia is housed, but it holds many treasures. The museum has a collection of 16.000 technical-scientific and artistic objects, representing the history of Italian science from the 19th century to the present day. From a large gallery with Da Vinci’s drawings and 130 scaled models based on his sketches to exhibits about communication and computers, energy production, iron and steel industry and even space travel. It has large sections on transport (by road, ship, plane or train) as well. A huge ship, part of a cruise liner and a racing catamaran are inside the water transport building and the rail transport building holds a collection of 21 locomotives and carriages. Numerous airplanes hang from the ceilings and there’s a full size helicopter inside. Outside in the garden you can see Italy’s military submarine, Enrico Toti.

We decided to leave this museum until the very last day. We only had the morning to explore and it wasn’t enough. This museum is huge! And to take it all in you need A LOT more time. If your kids are a bit older you can easily spend a whole day here. For our toddler, a few hours were enough though.

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Jace was fascinated by the scale models of Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions
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How cool, a real submarine!

Other cool Milan tours and things to do in Milan with kids

City trip Milan with kids, yes or no?

So, what’s our verdict? Should you visit Milan and more specifically, should you visit Milan with kids? The answer is a definite yes! Although I would most likely pick Berlin or Vienna over Milan as city to live in, a lot of tourist attractions in Milan are very suitable for kids. There’s a great park with playgrounds, the old trams are awesome, there’s a huge castle and we’ve seen at least two very cool museums… what’s not to like. On top of that Italian food is a hit with most kids, so you can’t really go wrong. Food tip: try the authentic Italian cuisine at Trattoria Sabbatini near M1’s Lima station!



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22 thoughts on “6 top things to do in Milan Italy with kids”

  1. Reading this is taking me back to Milan — one of my all-time favorite vacations I’ve ever had! I loved the way you wrote this and obviously the pictures, too.

  2. Ooh, we’ve just got back from a family holiday to Rome so I was really interested to read this. I absolutely love Italy and have been looking into more trips. Sounds like there’s more to do in Milan as a family than you would imagine. The castle looks very impressive indeed. Have pinned this for future reference. Thanks! #citytripping

    • Yes, Milan was a pleasant surprise. It was our first introduction to Italy, and I expect we’ll go there again. Rome and Venice are still on our bucket list!

  3. You guys are very similar travelers to me and my family. I would LOVE to explore all of those selections with our 3 year old too. He is obsessed with museums, trams and finding new playgrounds. I’ll be sharing this useful post with my followers too. Thanks!

  4. I guess you just don’t think to check if the Pope will make your plans a little more difficult to carry out, right? 😉 I know I wouldn’t! I love that there are historic trams in Milan, I would never have thought that! The trains are pretty good in Italy and I’ve used them to do day trips from Pisa (because of cheap flights) so they’re totally doable! #CityTripping

    • Yep, we’ll never make that mistake again. When visiting Italy, always check if by any chance the Pope will be visiting! 😉 Thanks for the tip about the trains, we might try those next time.

  5. I’m so glad I read this. I’m often tempted by Milan (like you say – lots of cheap flights) but I was a bit scared it wouldn’t be child friendly – but it looks great and it is always good to know there is a good playground to stop off at! #citytripping

    • Yes, exactly, lots of cheap flights and definitely worth it. Public transport is great, food is great and enough to see and do, so perfect for a city trip!

  6. Great tips! IIf everything goes like planned we will be there in 2018 and I was not happy with this trip since I have a 5 year old boy. You convinced me! Now I can’t wait to see all those places.

    • You’ll have a great time in Milan, Maria! Really, there’s enough to see and do to keep a 5-year old occupied!

  7. I would never have thought about taking the kids to Milan but this sounds amazing – especially the castle and Da Vinci museum. Plus, dinosaurs are always are win for my boys. Thanks for the tips!

  8. I can’t wait for our Italy trip. I’ll definitely be printing off these recommendations so we can do a few while we are there. Thank you for the great info!

  9. I took my son to Italy a couple years ago but we didn’t make it to Milan. Next time we go, we will definitely make the trip! Your pictures are beautiful and my son would love the dinosaurs at the natural history museum! Thanks for the inspiration for our next trip overseas!

  10. We love natural history museums so the one in Milan would be a hit for us. Also, my daughter is really into princesses and royalty right now so she loves whenever there is a castle to go to. #fearlessfamtrav

  11. When I visited Milan, I haven’t had kids yet. So I never paid attention to the playgrounds or old trams or natural history museum or science museum. I can imagine now that my boys would love these. But back then it was all about the Duomo and the Last Supper. Kids really change our way of travelling! Hope to bring my kids to Milan one day to explore the city in a different light. #FearlessFamTrav

  12. Milan a one of the few Italian cities I haven’t been to! I have done the lakes but never Milan itself – would love to go with Baby especially with your suggestions. #fearlessfamtrav

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