A Sports Traveler’s Guide To Milan: What to Do and Where to Stay

Milan might be more famous for its fashion than its sports, but in my opinion, the best cities always combine the two! Milan certainly does that, with plenty on offer for traveling sports fans. Whether you’re in town for the Grand Prix, the Milan Derby, or just exploring the city, here’s what you need to know about traveling to Milan for sports. 

Top Sporting Events in Milan 

There’s always something going on in Milan, and more often than not, it’s sports-related. There are too many events to list out, but here’s a snapshot of the highlights of Milan’s sporting calendar. 

Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix

The Italian Grand Prix is the fifth-oldest Grand Prix racing tournament in the world, with the first race dating back to 1921. I imagine things have sped up quite a bit since then, with the Monza Circuit being one of the most famous in the world. Held in September, the Monza Circuit is located just north of Milan surrounded by beautiful, lush parklands. 

If you’re into F1 and haven’t checked out the Italian Grand Prix, you should. The Monza Circuit is stunning, and it’s a great excuse to spend a few days in Milan, where you can soak up the atmosphere, history, and vibe of this beautiful Italian city. Plus, there’s a chance Max Verstappen could three-peat this year, which would be a big effort. 

Milano City Marathon 

If you’re into grueling distance running, why not check out the Milan Marathon? Even if you’re not into punishing your body over long distances, the course is equally great for spectators. Held in April, the event first started in the year 2000 and has grown steadily in popularity every year. The course is relatively flat and very scenic, winding its way through the city streets and past some of the most historic landmarks in Milan. 

Milan Derby 

For the uninitiated, the top-flight football division in Italy is Serie A. Milan has two teams that play in Serie A, Inter Milan and AC Milan. Italy is a football-mad country, Milan is a football-mad city, and the Milan Derby (AKA the Derby della Madonnina), when Inter Milan and AC Milan face off, should be on every football fan’s bucket list. 

The timing of the Milan Derby varies each year depending on the upcoming season’s schedules, but there are two regular-season meetings between the two clubs each season. If the teams meet in other tournaments, like the UEFA Champions League or domestic cups, there can be even more derbies in one year. 

The Milan Derby is even more unique because both teams share the same stadium—the historic San Siro stadium. The northern end of the stadium typically belongs to Inter Milan fans, while the southern end is where the AC Milan fans base themselves. It’s one of the best cross-town rivalries in the football world, and well worth checking out. 

Premier Padel P1

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, it may feel like pickleball and padel are taking over the world. Although similar, there are differences between the two. Pickleball uses a plastic ball with holes, while padel uses a depressurized tennis ball, and you can play the ball off the walls, which makes it more chaotic and fun. 

Anyway, the world’s top padel contest, Premier Padel, is coming to Milan in December 2024. You’d be surprised how many people show up to watch this sport – last year the Milan tournament brought in 30,000 spectators, and with the exponential growth of the sport, who knows how this year’s edition will be! The tournament is held at Allianz Cloud, an arena in Milan’s west. 

Top Sports Teams in Milan

Football is king in Milan, but it’s not the only show in town! Here are the top sports teams to catch while you’re visiting the fashion capital. 

Inter Milan

Finishing on top of the Serie A table in the 2023/2024 season, Inter Milan is currently the top dog in Italy. Founded in 1909, the club has a storied history, and is the only club in the country to have competed in top-flight Italian football since its inception. As well as domestic success, Inter won the Champions League in 2010 and is a regular in the competition. 

Inter Milan play at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, also known as San Siro, along with their arch-nemesis AC Milan. The stadium has a capacity of over 75,000, making it the largest stadium in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. 

Inter home games are fun – the “Nerazzurri” hardcore fans know how to put on a show. You’ll see flares, hear singing the whole game, and just generally revel in an amazing atmosphere. There’s no bad view – get seats wherever they’re available and you’ll have a blast! 

AC Milan

AC Milan finished in second place in Serie A this season, behind their rivals from across the city. AC Milan was founded in 1899, making it a few years older than Inter, and has had incredible domestic and international success. AC Milan actually built San Siro stadium, and kindly agreed to share it with Inter. 

AC Milan’s fanbase, the “Rossoneri,” couldn’t be more passionate. They’re loud, devoted, and always bring an incredible atmosphere to Milan’s games. If you’re traveling for sports to Milan and your dates happen to align with an AC Milan game, don’t miss your chance to hit up this iconic venue. 

Olimpia Milano

Football isn’t the only show in town—Milan also loves its basketball. The city’s team, Olimpia Milano, won the Coppa Italia in the most recent season, and last won the league in the 2017/2018 season. The team plays at the Mediolanum Forum, a 12,700-capacity stadium in Milan’s south. The season runs from October to June, and is essential viewing for basketball fans.  

Best Hotels for Sports Fans Traveling to Milan

So, where should you stay if you’re traveling for sports to Milan? The city has plenty of different options to choose from, especially in Duomo, the most historic part of the city and a hub of restaurants, attractions, and other sights. Duomo is a great central location, and it’s easy to get to San Siro from there. Because it’s such a popular area, it can be loud and more expensive, but it also puts you in the center of all the action. I’d recommend checking out Duomo Rooms Milano or Amabilia Suites Milano

If you’re traveling on a budget, the San Siro region is a great place to stay with some more affordable options. You won’t be right in the middle of all the city’s action, but it’s very convenient if you’ve got tickets to an Inter or Milan game. Milan’s public transport system of subways, buses, and trams makes it easy to get from San Siro to the other sights of the city. My hotel picks for this area would be the B&B Hotel Milano San Siro or the Sheraton Milan San Siro

Best Restaurants for Sports Fans Visiting Milan

Milan is surrounded by rice fields, so one of the most traditional dishes in the city is risotto. You’ll find a lot of amazing local restaurants offering authentic Milano risotto—don’t leave the city without trying it at least once! The city also loves its seafood, with some of the best Italian seafood restaurants found in Milan. 

Langosteria is one of the best options for seafood, but you should also check out​​ Erba Brusca, which has its own amazing vegetable garden—you can’t get any fresher than that! If you’re looking for a meal in the San Siro area, Ribot Restaurant and Da Mario Steak House are good options. 

Traveling to Milan for Sports? Grab a Drink at These Bars

It’s a holiday, so you’re going to want to visit a bar or two, right? For sports fans, there are a few bars across the city with TVs showing a variety of sports, from football to basketball and motorsports. Maremoto Brewing Co. and Mulligan’s Irish Pub and Whisky Bar are both great hangouts for sports fans. 

There are also plenty of cool tapas spots, wine bars, and cocktail hangouts (you can’t leave Milan without having a negroni) throughout the city. Nottingham Forest is an amazing bar for elevated cocktails, and N’Ombra de Vin is a great wine bar to sample some of Italy’s finest drops. If you’re in the canal area of Milan, make sure you check out Rita and its sister tiki bar for amazing cocktails. 

Tips for Sports Fans Traveling to Milan 

If you haven’t been to Milan before, here’s what you need to know about visiting the city: 

  • You don’t need to tip—workers have a good hourly wage and it’s not expected 
  • If you’re visiting during August, be warned that many restaurants and stores are closed
  • August is also an incredibly hot time to visit Milan 
  • Don’t sleep on apertivo—it’s basically a cocktail hour with free nibbles at many bars
  • Many museums are free on the first Sunday of each month 

Also, Italians take their coffee seriously. If you want a latte, make sure you order a cafe latte, or you may just end up with a glass of milk!

Milan: The Perfect Destination for Your Next Sports Trip

Milan is best known for its fashion, but it’s also a great destination for sports fans. Whether you’re in town for F1 racing or the Milan derby, you’ll have an amazing time exploring this iconic city. From historic buildings and incredible architecture to some of the best cocktails and seafood in the world, there are so many reasons to visit Milan for sports!