Isola, a Milan neighborhood with a great vibe

Just north of the city center, Isola is Milan’s slightly offbeat, somewhat hipster, and completely all-natural neighborhood. On any given day, its vibe is friendly and local. The area offers amazing boutiques and specialty stores, boasts the best barber in the city, and features colorful street art.

Via Pastrengo, 14, 20159 Milano MI, Italy
Isola has become Milan‘s hipster hangout, so you are going to want spend a lot of time here. Best way is sleeping over, and the Isola Apartments are key. Lots of light, minimal decor and all the trappings of home, the loft apartments are great for couples with kids or other kids of third wheels.
Via Strabone, 20159 Milano MI, Italy
When you walk around the Isola neighborhood, make sure to look out for street art. The colorful neighborhood is a tableau vivant for urban artists.
Corso Como, 10, 20154 Milano MI, Italy
Part café, part gallery, part high-end designer shopping and even part hotel, 10 Corso Como feels like you’ve entered into luxury Italian heaven. Walking through a lush courtyard with a secret garden–type feel, it almost seems like you’re strolling through an Italian’s home. Combining classic Milanese-style architecture with modern, fresh decor, 10 Corso Como takes travelers on a unique experience through its spaces. The café features some of the best espresso in Milan; the bookstore has an incredible selection of high-end glossy magazines; and the store, well, let’s just say it gives many designer boutiques a run for their money. Whether you can only peruse the carefully curated high-end ware, or if you’re one of the lucky ones who can snag an Alexander McQueen piece, this shop is a don’t-miss in Milan.
Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale
Don’t think it morbid. This cemetery is one of the most extraordinary places in Milan. Put it on your list as a must-see if you are interested in sculpture, history and some truly breathtaking architecture. Only a mile from the city center it is an easy walk. And don’t forget your camera. Strolling through this place will make you feel intimate with the city, and it’s outside, so no stuffy museum tour. And did I mention it’s free?
Piazza Tito Minniti, 20159 Milano MI, Italy
Isola is Milan‘s sleeper neighborhood because of its great location, hip shops and local vibe. It is also a great area to hang out in because, well, it feels like a neighborhood. Weekend street markets, clever graffiti, cute boutiques, artisanal shops and great bars. Add in there a strong sense of AC Milan fans and lots of people to meet, you’ve got your weekend.
Via Privata Sartirana, 1, 20144 Milano MI, Italy
Start your day at Deus Ex Machina, a motorcycle store in an alley full of them, whose café is the perfect spot for a cappuccino and soft scrambled eggs while you ogle the Ducatis.
Via Cola Montano, 15, 20159 Milano MI, Italy
Matteo Donini, aka the Don, opened his hidden art gallery in 2008 as a celebration of street artists, many of whom are his friends. If you find yourself in the Isola neighborhood in the late afternoon, ring the bell and see what happens.
Via Carlo de Cristoforis, 5, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
It’s worth a peek inside Zaini, Milan‘s historic chocolate maker, which began creating delicious chocolate confectionaries in the 1910s. Celebrating a 100-year anniversary, Zaini opened the via Carlo de Cristoforis location in honor of a century passed and has included the cocktail magic of Mag’s Flavio Angiollilo.
30 Via Paolo Sarpi
Considered by some as a Milan institution, Cantine Isole is a small wine bar/enoteca with a lot of history and great atmosphere. It’s located in the Chinatown neighborhood, near Garibaldi station and the Isola neighborhood. Expect a lot of character.
More From AFAR