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Living in Milan as an Expat: A Guide to City Life for Americans

Living in Milan is an experience like no other, offering a unique lifestyle that caters to various interests and passions. Milan, often referred to as the fashion capital of the world, is a city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and modernity. Whether you’re planning to move to Milan or just curious about life in this iconic city, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

Get ready to embark on a journey through Milan, exploring its vibrant neighborhoods, cultural gems, culinary delights, and much more.

living in milan

Living in Milan

Milan’s Unique Charm

Living in Milan is an exhilarating experience. The city exudes a unique charm with its stylish residents, historic architecture, and a passion for innovation. Many expats that move here say there is no place in the world like it. This blend of tradition and modernity creates a dynamic environment that appeals to a diverse range of people from expats to native Italians alike. Milan’s growing cultural importance brings many expats here for both work and pleasure, which makes it a very appealing destination for staying a long period of time.

Popular Neighborhoods in Milan

When living in Milan, there are many different distinct areas you may want to consider. Depending on your preferences, you are sure to find something that fits your desired lifestyle. Here are a few of the most famous places that people choose to live when moving here.


Brera is a picturesque, bohemian neighborhood known for its artistic ambiance. This district is home to numerous galleries, boutiques, and some of the best cafes in the city. It is both popular to expats and locals alike, making it a great place to be able to experience new culture while being easy to fall back on old styles.


If you love a lively atmosphere, Navigli is perfect. It’s famous for its canals, vibrant nightlife, and a plethora of restaurants serving authentic Italian cuisine. This has become a very trendy place to live and popular amongst the younger people who want to live in Milan.

Porta Nuova

Porta Nuova has become one of the most popular areas to live in, especially for expats. This area has high-rises, great transportation, and many of the city’s biggest businesses. It is more akin to city life you may know from the states, with many modern amenities you’ve come to expect with city life.

There are many other amazing places to live in Milan, but those three are regarded as some of the most popular to live in.

Cost of Living in Milan as an America

One of the most popular questions for expats is “What is the Cost to Live in Milan?” Unfortunately, the answer to this can vary from person and it gets even more complicated for expats. Though there are some expenses that will be the same for citizens or expats. For example, a 1 Bedroom you can expect around 1000-2000 Euros a month which is around +/- 10% with the US dollar. Generally, many expats have told us the cost of living in Milan is around the same as most major American cities.

Exploring Milan’s Culture

Art and Museums

Pinacoteca di Brera: This renowned art gallery houses an impressive collection of Italian art, including works by Caravaggio and Raphael. It is the major museum in Milan and considered one of the best museums in the world.

Visit Pinacoteca di Brera

The Last Supper: This masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci can be found in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Make sure to book your tickets well in advance. The convent isn’t really a museum as there is only the single defining work that brings people in. Though there are other historic and beautiful pieces to see there.

Visit Santa Maria delle Grazie

Music and Opera

Milan is synonymous with opera. Don’t miss the chance to attend a performance at the famous La Scala, one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Founded in 1778, the opera house is almost as old as America!

Visit Teatro La Scala

Culinary Delights

Risotto alla Milanese: Savor the city’s signature dish, a creamy saffron-infused risotto. Its simplicity is deceiving as there is a plethora of flavors while seemingly few ingredients.

Aperitivo: Experience the Italian tradition of aperitivo, where you enjoy drinks and appetizers at local bars. Starting with a traditional spritz or negroni, the aperitivo helps people relax after work and start unwinding. For an expat living in Milan, aperitivo is much like a happy hour in the states.

Lifestyle and Entertainment of Milan

Fashion Capital

One of the things Milan is most known for is its importance in the fashion world. Some call it the fashion capital of the world with many shows that bring pros from all over the world. Take a stroll through the Quadrilatero della Moda, the city’s fashion district, where you can shop for luxury brands and the latest trends. The Milan fashion week takes place in late February, so look out for this if you’re interested.


If you’re a football enthusiast, attending an AC Milan or Inter Milan match at San Siro Stadium (Stadio Giuseppe Meazza) is a must. Milanese residents are passionate about their football. The San Siro can fit 80,000 people and has tours of the facilities and a museum with historic memorabilia.


Living in Milan as an expat is an experience that blends rich history, modernity, and cultural diversity compared to your times in the USA. This bustling metropolis offers a unique way of life that caters to various interests and passions. Whether you’re attracted to art, fashion, or simply the joy of living in a vibrant city, Milan has something to offer everyone. Embrace the Milanese lifestyle and enjoy the enchanting journey in the heart of Italy’s fashion and cultural capital.

Remember, Milan isn’t just a city; it’s a lifestyle.

We also have a page dedicated to Moving to Milan if you would like to get started or fill out our quote form at the top of the page. If you are interested in moving anywhere else in Italy, take a look at our Moving to Italy Guide.

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