Milan Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Milan gay travel guide to hotels, things to do, gay bars, clubs, parties, saunas, & the gay district.
The Gay Travel Experience: Milan, Italy
Milan is a year-round gay hotspot of a destination. No matter what time you visit, there’s always a ton of gay life and attractions to explore.
Arriving in Milan after traveling around other Italian cities with smaller gay scenes like Venice, my initial reaction was “wow… Everyone here is gay!” It’s a comforting feeling to arrive here in one of Italy’s most gay-friendly cities.
As a hugely international city as well, you can meet both locals and travelers in Milan from all different places around the world. In fact, my two very good friends Jason and Enrique now live in Milan after being my neighbor for years in New York City.
Travelers tend to be opinionated about Milan, so make sure you take advice from friends with a grain of salt. Many people who work in fashion or design visit for work, and so they see the city alongside a work trip.
This often means they don’t get to explore much of Milan’s gay scene or discover that Milan has a ton of gay bars, clubs, and saunas. But with the help of this guide, you will!
In the sections below, I’ll cover where Milan gay travelers should stay, recommend hotels, and list all the city’s best gay nightlife spots.
Gay Milan: Hotels & Where to Stay
Finding the right hotel in Milan for gay travelers is easy! There are essentially two popular areas to choose from.
Hotels Near Milan’s Duomo
These tend to be priced a little higher but have direct access to the most beautiful part of the city and tons of cute cafés and restaurants.
I stayed at The Street Milano Duomo Boutique Hotel during my first trip to Milan and absolutely loved it. The rooms here are so memorable, not to mention chic. Years after traveling around the world, I still remember my boldly blue-lit room.
Below are a few highly rated and relatively affordable Milan hotels near the Duomo that gay travelers love.
Hotels Near Milan’s Central Station
Hotels near Milano Centrale train station are cheaper alternatives that are still within walking distance to the Duomo and the central area of Milan.
In the past, many travelers would say that staying in this area of Milan is unsafe. But in recent years, the Central Station area has experienced significant growth, with many new buildings being constructed. It’s becoming an increasingly popular area for travelers to book hotels.
This neighborhood also offers convenient access to the Milan gay district, where many of the city’s gay bars and cafés are found.
Where is the Milan Gay District?
Milan’s gay district is located to the northeast of the city’s center, straddling the northern limit of the Porta Venezia neighborhood.
The main part of the gay area is called Lazzaretto, however gay bars and saunas can be found farther north in the Central Station neighborhood.
Not all of Milan’s gay life is within the gay district though. Large gay clubs and parties are typically further from the city center. I’ll mention these in this guide’s gay nightlife section!
Milan Gay Travel Experiences
See the Gucci Mural
Milan’s Gucci Mural is a street art landmark! The mural covers the entire side face of a building in the Porta Garibaldi neighborhood. The surrounding ambiance is beautiful too, with restaurants and cafés all around.
Visit the Bosco Verticale
The Bosco Verticale is one of Milan’s most modern developments. These two residential buildings have facades covered in greenery.
They’re eco-friendly and make for some gorgeous photographs. The Bosco Verticale is toward the north end of the city, so it might be a good stop before or after you explore the Porta Venezia or Porta Garibaldi neighborhoods.
You’re in the fashion capital of the world, so do some shopping! Go window shopping at least a little bit if you’re not in the market for anything new.
Tons of Milan gay travelers are visiting just to peruse the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, browsing luxurious storefronts and fashion brands. The blocks surrounding Milan’s Duomo are packed with unique and popular stores.
See Milan’s Famous Duomo
As Milan’s top attraction, I obviously have to recommend a visit to the Duomo! My top tip is to go as early as you possibly can to avoid crowds and long lines. Even in front of the Duomo, there is almost always a crowd of tourists taking photos.
Combination cathedral and rooftop tickets are most popular since you can see all spaces of the Duomo, including the roof terraces.
You can alternatively just buy roof terrace tickets, a cheaper option if you just want to see the views. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to bring your passport or ID card for entry!
More Duomo Views
Head up to Terrazza Duomo 21 if you want to admire the Duomo while sipping on a cocktail. I thought the views here were perfect and I loved seeing the Piazza del Duomo empty out as the night grew late.
I wouldn’t expect a super authentic Italian experience here, but I do recommend Terrazza Duomo 21 for an afternoon or evening drink to experience central Milan from above.
Stop by Villa Invernizzi as you explore Porta Venezia or make your way toward Milan’s gay district. Villa Invernizzi is a private building, but you can peek through the gate at the flamingos that stay in the courtyard.
I wouldn’t make this spot a destination, but it’s a fun place to pass by if you’re in the area.
Restaurants in Milan
10 Corso Como
10 Corso Como was by far the best restaurant I experienced in Milan. It’s both a chic restaurant and a store selling designer clothing, fragrances, and gifts.
The ambiance was my favorite party of 10 Corso Como. Tables are arranged in a lush garden patio area.
The service is incredible, as is the food. It’s a great restaurant for pretty much any occasion. It can feel romantic enough for a date yet casual enough for a lunch with friends.
La Briciola Mare
La Briciola Mare is a Sicilian seafood restaurant that’s sure to leave you full and happy. This is the spot for a rich and authentic full-course Italian meal.
The atmosphere at La Bricola was electric. It felt casual yet fun, and it seemed like everyone was always laughing! Dessert here is also a must.
Nero 9 has an elegant, minimalist feel. They are an Italian restaurant known for pairing different meat dishes with select wines.
I shared steak tartare, a slew of other meat-based dishes, and some decadent desserts with my Italian friend Mattia. Everything was well-curated and artistically presented.
Cittamani is an adorable, upscale Indian restaurant in Milan that I recommend specifically for their cocktails. The seating along the bar is particularly pretty, with all sorts of gold accents.
The food at Cittamani is Indian, but with an Italian flare. Expect the meeting of two cultures in their dishes rather than food you’d find at a standard Indian restaurant.
The Fisher is a favorite restaurant of my two Milan gay local friends. If you want a luxuriously elegant vibe, this is the spot.
It’s perfect for embracing the fashion scene vibe of Milan. People are dressed well, there are mirrors everywhere, and their seafood dishes are well-presented.
I would say The Fisher is ideal if you want more of a nightlife-type restaurant experience since everything’s a bit showier and louder than in other restaurants.
Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant
I loved everything at Saigon Restaurant and felt so taken care of the entire evening. The staff made the meal feel effortless, always knowing exactly what you’ll need.
Saigon has a dim, almost speakeasy-like feel in its subterranean seating area. Near the entrance at street level, they have a small yet stunning bar area where you can have a cocktail while waiting for your table.
Milan Gay Bars
Most Milan gay bars have a notably different vibe than those of other large gay-friendly cities in southern Europe. They’re even less rowdy than gay bars in other Italian cities like Florence.
Gay bars in Milan have more of a social, relaxed hangout sort of ambiance. They don’t blare pop music to crowded dance floors as you’d find at gay bars in New York.
Everything feels a bit more authentic. The environments are conducive to making new friends, especially among Milan’s gay locals.
Most of Milan’s gay bars are clustered together in the gay district, which is centered around the famous Via Lecco. Synonymous with the gay district, Via Lecco is the official gay street of Milan.
Leccomilano is the flashiest and most colorful gay bar in Milan on Via Lecco. They serve cocktails with hysterically funny names like Rita Oral, Lesbodrama, and Popper Martini.
The bar has both indoor and outdoor seating and is popular for late afternoon or early evening drinks. I’d recommend Leccomilano as a place to start your night out.
Red Café is the hub of Milan’s gay nightlife. This mainstay gay bar has an inviting interior and is popular for grabbing snacks to eat streetside.
As the evenings grow later, there are always more people showing up. Red Café also has the cheapest drinks of any gay bar around. You can get anything from a gin and tonic to a pina colada for only 4 euros!
Sui Generis was a ton of fun. It’s among my favorite Milan gay bars, especially for their music. My friends and I had the friendliest, most adorable trans cocktail waitress who made us laugh all night long.
The bar has high-top tables in an outdoor covered area, which is more comfortable than most other bars’ streetside seating.
ORO StreetBar was one of the busiest and most vibrant gay bars on Via Lecco. The staff was really the star of the show here, greeting me and my local gay friends with hugs and excitement.
Not only was the cocktail waitress fantastic—the man working the bar was super cute too. ORO also features work from local artists on the walls of the bar.
Rainbow Café is the most popular and energetic gay bar in Milan. There’s always a tightly packed crowd of guys outside in Rainbow Café’s sidewalk seating area.
If you want an authentic taste of Milan’s gay bar scene, this is your spot. I didn’t see any tourists or hear any English for that matter. Rainbow Café definitely felt like a local favorite.
Eppol Pie may not be ostentatiously branded as a gay bar, but they’re incredibly popular with locals as a high-end gay-friendly bar in Milan’s gay area. I love Eppol Pie’s cozy interior as well as their decadent desserts.
Stopping by for lunch, an aperitivo, or even an end-of-evening dessert are a few other perfect ways to experience the deliciousness of Eppol Pie.
Company Club is Milan’s beloved bear bar. It’s one of the city’s larger gay bars, with plenty of space for seating during karaoke nights or space to dance on party weekends.
The crowd at Company Club is pretty sexy, a mix of the local bear community, older gay men, and anyone interested in seeing a great drag show.
More Milan Gay Bars
Milan has so many more gay bars than the ones mentioned above. To keep things short, here’s a quick list of other local gay bars you might want to visit.
NoLoSo – Gay bar and restaurant with an instagrammable retro vibe offering nightly aperitivo buffets, Sunday brunch, and weekend DJs.
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Milan Gay Clubs & Parties
Most travelers don’t view Milan as much of a gay party destination even though the city has a variety of gay clubs and parties.
Why? Because almost all the large gay clubs and parties in Milan are located outside the city center. It’s not easy to casually stop by these venues, so you really need to commit to going!
So, make the most of your trip to Milan and plan a night out at one of these popular gay clubs.
ONEWAY Disco Club
ONEWAY Disco is one of the sexiest gay clubs in Milan. The space is huge, with high ceilings and a fantastic light system. You won’t forget the space’s peculiar interior design either, especially the roman column wallpaper and spooky-feeling black and white tiled floor.
Expect go-go dancers, a diverse crowd, and plenty of dancing. ONEWAY frequently hosts all different kinds of themed gay parties including military, “in-the-navy,” spring break, white party, Viking, and more.
During the warmer months, everyone takes advantage of the club’s awesome outdoor terrace space, tucked underneath a lush trellis.
Q Club, also known as Q21, is a gay-friendly club that hosts a weekly Friday gay called qLab. And even though the Friday parties are specifically the gays, other nights at Q Club are still highly inclusive. Their brand is all about celebrating music and love together.
Music at Q Club is mostly techno and house, so expect an electronic, sort of underground vibe. The club is on the smaller side, but the space has an awesome design, full of bright neon colors and laser lights.
If you’ll be heading to any of Q Club’s parties, be sure to RSVP online in advance. This will make getting into the club a lot easier, and potentially cheaper.
Toilet Club is both a local gay organization and a well-known gay club in Milan. Their website is always freshly updated with the latest events, which include performances and special DJs at the club.
Everyone is welcome and you’re encouraged to wear whatever your heart desires. But generally, Toilet Club summarizes their aesthetic as “enamel nails, sharp stilettos, frayed stockings, and smudged makeup!”
The parties take place at District 272 Club, and if you see the photos of this venue, it’ll be clear how perfect the space is for circuit parties. These events have a high production value too, so you can be sure to experience epic DJs and gorgeously muscled dancers all around.
Music at COX parties isn’t your typical circuit music, but more of a transversal sound with techno and house music influences.
More Milan Gay Clubs
Still searching for the right spot to party? I’ll keep things brief with a short list of even more gay clubs in Milan.
Milan Gay Saunas & Cruising Clubs
Metro Club Milano Sauna
Metro Club Milano is the Milan gay sauna that everyone knows about. Adjacent to the city’s main train station, it’s relatively central and not too far from the gay bars on Via Lecco.
Enjoy two steam rooms, a sauna, a jacuzzi, private cabins, and a relaxation zone. Metro Club also has a restaurant/bar and wi-fi available.
Be sure to also check over the membership card requirements in case you need to sign up for an ARCO card beforehand.
Depot Milano Cruising Club
Depot Milano is one of Milan’s most popular gay cruising clubs. Open every day except for Monday, there’s always an awesome event scheduled.
Fenix Sauna Milano
Fenix is a gay sauna and cruising bar with a ton of style. Recently refurbished, Fenix Sauna feels like a resort, with lovely up-lighting, modern finishes, and immaculate amenities.
The main ground-level floor has all the “wet” amenities, including a Turkish bath, sauna, hydromassage pool, and showers. There’s also a bar area and a smoking room.
Upstairs on the first level is the sauna’s cruising area where you’ll find a maze, movie room, glory holes, and a relaxation room.
Hot Dog Club Milano
Hot Dog Club is a longstanding gay cruising bar popular for sex parties and fetish events in Milan. It’s located right next to Fenix Sauna mentioned above. One of Hot Dog’s most popular fetish events is the original sneaker and foot sex party.
Every Thursday, Hot Dog Club hosts a Naked Party, where everyone is free to cruise in the nude, or while wearing some sexy underwear.
Royal Hammam Sauna
There’s a ton of indoor and outdoor space here to explore including a full-size outdoor pool with sun loungers, jacuzzies, and a dry sauna. Their dimly lit modern jacuzzi tubs are awesome with their fun, wavy shapes.
If you’re visiting Milan during the summer, check out planned pool parties at Royal Hammam.
Inferus Club is a relatively new gay cruising club just outside Milan’s gay area. I really like their setup and the feel of the space, with an elevated cruising level across from the bar area. The style is industrial yet boldly colorful.
Bangalov hosts gay sex events with different themes each night. Typical party themes include Leather & Fetish night, Open Mind, “Top Of The Top”, Underwear Night, and No Face Night, where everyone wears head-covering masks.
The club is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Before you go, sign up for an ARCO card, which is required to get in. ARCO is an LGBT+ association that accredits gay establishments all around Italy.
Circle TBlue Sauna
Circle TBlue Sauna may be the farthest from central Milan, but it’s a clean and inexpensive gay sauna where you’ll find a much more local crowd. Plus, if you’re headed here during late-night hours when there’s no traffic, the taxi ride isn’t long.
A massive dimly lit pool is the star of TBlue Sauna, creating an open, relaxed, and sexy ambiance where everyone can cruise each other.
The sauna also has a video room, Turkish bath, labyrinth, patio seating area, a small cafeteria, and a modern locker room. Professional massage services are available too, including hot stone and lymphatic drainage options.
Another cruising bar close to Via Lecco, Illumined Bar is an easy stop to find some trouble after hanging out at the nearby gay bars. And while they may not be the best or most talked about cruising spot, Illumined is open 24 hours. It’s never too late to go!
Things are busiest after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Thursdays after midnight are slower, but there are usually still some guys here.
Milan Gay Travel Tips
What to Wear in Milan
As you might expect here in the world’s fashion capital, people dress nicely. They dress fashionably regardless of the weather, too.
If you’re visiting in the summer season, you’ll notice that even while the temperature may soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), locals don’t wear tank tops or super casual garments.
I recommend packing some ultra-lightweight t-shirts or some sweat-wicking button-down shorts. My button-downs from Bonobos were perfect for keeping cool and relatively dry!
You can even wear a pair of chic swim trunks as shorts to help beat the heat while exploring the city.
During the winter, you can bet that locals will be wearing their favorite designer coats, scarves, and other fashionable cold-weather gear.
Beware of Taxi & Transport Strikes
Taxi strikes are common in Milan, and when they happen, things can become very inconvenient. Most recently, the strikes have been in protest of Uber.
If you’re arriving in Milan during a taxi strike, you may be left stranded at the train station or Airport, forced to utilize public transit. For anyone with a lot of luggage, this can be quite frustrating, especially during hot and humid summers.
Taxi strikes aren’t the only thing that can disrupt transport, either. Local unionized public transport workers also strike frequently in Milan.
The best thing you can do is allow yourself extra time, no matter what mode of transport you plan on taking in Milan. Consider pre-arranging transport to or from the airport, which I’ll provide more information and links for below.
Milan Has Two Airports
Ask anyone who’s traveled to Milan via plane, and they’ll tell you how much of a trek it is to get to the Milano Malpensa airport.
Malpensa is Milan’s primary international airport, but it’s roughly an hour-long drive outside of the city. Most large international routes will operate through Malpensa, but not all of them.
Milan Linate Airport is much closer to the city center. If you can find a flight from your destination to Linate, I bet you’ll be much happier when your ride into town is only 10 to 15 minutes.
See wolfyy’s complete collection of gay travel guides for more gay destination ideas around the world.