While the rest of Italy might have been cryogenically frozen six centuries ago, Gay Milan is face-paced, fashion-forward,decidedly avant-garde and extremely…well, GAY!
Sure, Rome and Florence are generally first of a travelers bucket list of historic Italy, but Milan is the Italy of the future, a metropolis where creativity is currency, looking good is mandatory, and everyone knows the deal: you work hard, you play hard.
Lovers of art and design will delight here with world-class boutiques on the pulse of global fashion, but you don’t need to spend money to appreciate modern Italian design’s. Just look up, and you can enjoy world-class art deco and rationalist architecture, plus an incredibly futuristic skyline where modern greats such as Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, and César Pelli have all left their mark.
Tucked away for us queers are fabulously wild parties – catering to everyone with everything from glitter fuelled Twink madness, to hyper-masculine clubs, industrial cruise spaces and hipster havens. Rome might be Italy’s political capital, but Milan is its queer capital – and we just can’t get enough!
For maximum impact, try visit during Milan Gay Pride in June though there is plenty of LGBT pride all year around.
Sadly Italy one of the worst countries in Western Europe for gay rights, and while same-sex unions were legalized in 2016, Italy is the only country in the Western world with a ban on same-sex marriages. Despite this, Italy can generally be considered a gay-friendly nation and public opinion are increasingly culturally liberal, and gay travelers are unlikely to experience any outright prejudice or problems with displays of affection in public.
Having said this: by day Gay Milan is packed with sexy Italian boys and girls picnicking in tranquil parks, sipping coffee in quaint curb-side cafes or roaming art galleries but by night is when things really come alive. High-brow cocktails? Bears with beers? Dark underground fetish parties? Some of the wildest gay parties in Europe? Check, check, check and CHECK!
Even excluding the nightlife, the world-class museums, haute couture shopping, iconic architecture, fine dining; the utterly intoxicating atmosphere will give tourists more than enough reason to visit Gay Milan whether it’s for a night, a week or to live full-time!
Gay Milan Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Milan Italy
So, you’re wondering what to do in the fashionable Milan? Get ready to mix and match history, art, life, and pleasure as you adventure out to discover Milan.
This city has more attractions that you could ever attempt to see in one visit, and you could quickly fall in love with Milan without ever seeing a museum – through there plenty to visit if you so desire. Being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see, and most queer tourists in Milan will merely want to check out the top things to see in Milan during the day!
Milan is a very safe city, but still, all travelers should take caution with valuables especially in crowded areas. Gay people in Milan do not need to make any extra precautions regarding public displays of affection in this progressive city and should have no issues exploring its timeless beauty!
We loved getting lost in the busy marketplaces, sipping espresso on charming streetside cafes and shopping up a storm in designer stores, but in case you need more ideas – here are just a few of our favorite things to do in Milan!
The Last Supper – One of the most famous artworks in the world, tickets sell out weeks – or even months in advance – so book in advance if you want to see Da Vinci’s awe-inspiring “Last Supper” – world’s most famous Renaissance mural.
Milan Cathedral Rooftop – The icon of Milan and tourists are allowed access to all areas including the rooftop terraces, cathedral, museum and archaeological area. Gawk at striking adornments and stained glass windows, or just sit and soak up the view from up top.
Serravalle Designer Outlet – If you came to Milan to shop you should consider a trip to the Serravalle Outlets, Europe’s largest shopping mall located just a short 60 minutes drive away from Italy’s fashion capital – Handy right! While not as chic as the boutiques in town, while here you can enjoy discounts of up to 30-70 percent on major Italian designer brands, which does make it more appealing!
Milan Food Tour – Taste wonderful Italian foods on a walking tour of Milan where with expert help you will discover local secret shops that specialize in traditional recipes and century-old techniques. Test artisan beers, authentic gelato and more while learning about Milan’s connect with its food.
Cooking Class – If you prefer to do, why not take a romantic cooking class with your partner with you learn to cook traditional homemade pasta, pizza or risotto. Discover the culinary traditions of Lombardy while you prepare your own 4-course dinner and learn skills you can take home to show at home. Your friends might hate you however as you become almost insufferable with stores of the authentic pasta you made and how it never quite tastes the same outside of Italy!
Lake Como Day Trip – Leave the city behind and head out to spectacular Lake Como, Italy’s famous lakeside resort and home to George Clooney. Hey, gurl hey! Discover the picturesque streets of Como city then relax on a cruise to Bellagio Island for views you will never forget. Hmmm, better make it more than a day trip…There is a lot to take in!
Scala Theater Museum – Don’t miss a tour (or performance) of one of the world’s most important opera houses. From the theater to its museum, catch tales of resident musical geniuses including Toscanini to Barenboim. If you are a fan of classical music fan, you will not want to miss this!
Sforza Castle – A grand Medieval-Renaissance fortress that now houses many of Milan’s most magnificent art including those by da Vinci and Michelangelo. Beautiful inside and out, it can take days to see everything on offer in this vast complex.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – A high-end shopping street housed in an ornate 1800s arcade, this world-famous mall is jam-packed full of luxury clothing brands & upscale dining. Enjoy window shopping or pop into the store, just be prepared for some eye-watering pricetag’s. The coffee, however, is affordable and makes for sublime people watching.
Museum of the Twentieth Century – See magnificent works of art from the 20th century on an absorbing journey through Milan’s Museo del Novecento in the beautiful Palazzo dell’Arengario. Travel through diverse art movements, such as Futurism, Spatialism, Arte Povera and more.
Brera Picture Gallery – Spend a day with one of the leading collections of Italian paintings in the world at the striking Palazzo Brera. Marvel at works by all the greats including Bellini, Raphael, Tintoretto, Titian and Veronese on a journey through art and time.
MilanoCard: Access Milan Your Way – See Milan your way with a MilanoCard, the tourist card that provides free public transportation, discounted rates from 10% to 100% off select museums, access to personal driver services, and much more. Get free access to the top attractions of Milan.
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While politically Italy’s LGBT rights are lacking, gay travelers are still unlikely to experience any issues in the hotels of Milan. After all being gay-friendly is about just providing a non-judgmental and respectful environment in which all people are treated equally. Elegant design, helpful staff, and excellent value for money never hurt anyone though!
Nevertheless, a few stand-out hotels in Milan that are go-to hot spots for gay travelers…and really, doesn’t everyone like to be surrounded by people with common interests! These are the hotels we have checked out and included here. While there are no exclusively gay hotels in Milan, any hotel close to Via Lecco / the gay street of Milan is sure to have more than a few gay guests staying – plus being a stumble home from many of the gay bars is pretty desirable!
There are hundreds of other good hotel option in Milan if you don’t find what you are looking for but we are confident you’ll find something here for you. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a chic designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Milan as something for everyone!
Armani Hotel Milano ☆☆☆☆☆ – If us gays appreciate anything its beautiful design, and this luxury hotel has it in spaces. Embodying Giorgia Armani’s design and lifestyle philosophy a stay here promises a ‘home-away-from-home’ experience with lavish comforts and an utterly unique experience. Yes, everything here is just as utterly memorizing as you would expect from the chic, contemporary rooms to the distinguished restaurant and hip lounge with panoramic views of the city skyline. Further indulgence can be found at the posh spa, by dipping in the indoor pool or talking a short stroll to all the designer boutiques, restaurants and art galleries located nearby.
ME Milan Il Duca ☆☆☆☆☆ – Near to the Fashion District and all the gay nightlife, this luxury lifestyle hotel offers contemporary, cutting-edge design in one of the world’s leading fashion capitals – no wonder it is so gay-popular! A dynamic, design-oriented hotel with a cosmopolitan atmosphere, the rooms here offer unique style blended with modern technology, but we were most obsessed with the spectacular views of the Milan skyline from the Rooftop Bar on the 10th floor. Designed by Italian architect Aldo Rossi, there is also a New York–style steakhouse and oh-so-chic lounge with DJs on the weekend – plus a gym if you feel the need to work out on holiday.
The Westin Palace ☆☆☆☆☆ – An internationally renown chain know for its’s LGBT friendly policies and inclusive vibes – perfect if you want some familiarity away from home. This upscale hotel has spacious, bring rooms and distinguished suites with mid-century décor and antique furnishings. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffest, posh bar and enviable location.
Hotel Viu ☆☆☆☆☆ – A towering hotel of “green” boasting a spectacular rooftop with pool, a Michelin-starred chef, and world-class design throughout with entices Milan’s creative – and many gay guests – to stay. All the modernist rooms feature designer furnishings, there is a chic mixology bar and lets not forget the breath-taking lobby created by award-winning designer Nicola Gallizia – but to be honest, you will probably struggle to drag yourself away from the pool and its fabulous views to enjoy much else of Gay Milan if you are not careful!
Straf ☆☆☆☆ – A much-lauded (and frequently sold out) hotel from the mind of fashion designer Vincenzo de Cotiis who has transformed a 19th-century palazzo into a home for bold, elemental design. A stone’s throw from the Duomo in the city center Staf is characterized by a personalized and attentive that moves away from the standardization typical of the hotel industry. The uber-cool rooms featuring split slate, burnished brass, cement and iron, glazed glasses, worn mirrors and custom-made furnishings synthesize two seemingly distant philosophies: the extreme hi-tech functionality of minimalist imprint with warm and intimate environments.
Hotel Napoleon ☆☆☆☆ – A gay-popular modern hotel housed in a renovated Art Nouveau building just minutes from the gay bars around Porta Venezia. The rooms are very Milan minalmist though some have the luxury of Juliet balconies and whirlpool tubs – and there is a trendy bar and included breakfast buffet to make your life easier.
Too Cute 2b Str8 ☆☆☆ – A modish loft with seven rooms and a large communal living room for meeting other travelers located in the trendy Città Studi quarter. This is a straight-friendly guesthouse, where absolutely everybody is welcome – and is the closest you will get to a gay hotel in Milan.
Hotel Teco ☆☆☆ – A gay-popular hotel just steps from the Via Lecco gay bars featuring down-to-earth rooms and friendly service at affordable prices. Many rooms have terraces and views, and there is a free breakfast buffet daily – just perfect after a long night out!
Hotel Ibis Milano Centro ☆☆☆ – A basic hotel with some of the cheapest private rooms in Ibis, and conveniently located in the heart of Gay Milan. You won’t find any inspired design here, but the price is unbeatable, and quality is always high making the Ibis perfect if you don’t plan to spend much time in your hotel room.
Ostello Bello Hostel ☆☆ – If you are on a real budget in Gay Milan, or merely want to make friends to explore the nightlife you should look no further than the gay-friendly Ostello Bello Hostel. Just a ten-minute walk from most of the gay bars, this trendy hostel with cheap-chic décor always organizing cultural events and any other kind of activities, as well as offers live music and DJ sets every week. The three sleeping floors of the hostel are acoustically isolated from the bar and are accessible only by guests guaranteeing you a quiet and relaxed environment when you decide you want to sleep.
Gay Nightlife in Milan
Milan might be hot during the day, but after sundown, things get even hotter here!
In this high-octane and uber-stylish city there is also a remarkable gay bar scene with more haunts than you could visit in one trip. Most are focussed on Via Lecco street near the Porta Venezia metro station, with more being found on Via Sammartini and a few others are scattered around the city. Nevertheless, the highlight here is all of the fabulous queer, gay nightclubs and parties scattered all over the city that go until the early hours of the morning.
Just like Vienna, Prague, Glasgow, and Guadalajara, Milan had a much bigger gay scene than we were ever expecting – and we absolutely loved every night out here!
Use our Gay Milan Map at the end if you’re lost, but there is plenty of bars, cocktail lounges, drag shows and bear dens littered across Milan to satisfy even the most discerning of gay travelers. If you are going to party, be aware that many gay dance parties in Milan are sadly closed in the summer months (from July-September) so be sure to check opening hours before heading out.
Like everywhere else in Gay Italy, a membership card is required for entry to all gay cruise bars, saunas, and even some gay parties in Milan – usually the ANDDOS card. This is because these places are entitled to be recognized by the law as “cultural associations” and pay nearly 0 taxes, but then must by law admit only associates. Similar systems can be seen in Singapore, Melbourne and the USA.
Don’t worry; you can easily get one at the entrance of the venues that actually require the card, showing a photo ID and paying a fee. The card is valid for one year, and can, of course, be used across different venues.
Gay Bars On Via Lecco
LeccoMilano – Irreverent, naive and easy-going, this popular bar draws a refined, international crowd with plenty of events and live performances. LeccoMilano offers amazing international cocktails, an American-style Bar and tantalizing aperitifs served at your table. As a nod to Tom of Finland in Gay Helsinki, Friday night has a “Tom Of Milan” theme and on Saturday is their lesbian-popular ‘Femellas’ party complete with DJ music.
Lelephant – A fun gay bar with drag shows, DJs later in the night, and a favorite ‘buffet & drinks’ deal on Wednesdays. Relaxed and without attitude, this is one gay spot in Milan are welcomed without attitude – Trust us, this is incredibly refreshing after a few days here.
Blanco – Oh-so-Milan, this fashionable spot is very LGBT-popular with an all-white décor, pricey cocktails and a long wait for a table. In the summer, just relax and sip your cocktail outside standing while chatting with locals, but if you don’t like pretentious places, this is probably not for you.
Mono Bar – A funky gay bar with retro-stylings, live DJs, and laid-back vibes – best paired with a pre-dinner aperitif selection and divine cocktails. Friendly staff and relaxed crows make this an ideal spot to gear up for a bigger night out!
Chiringay by Tropical Island – An outdoor pop-up bar that only takes place in the summer from April through September in Park Giardini Indro Montanelli. Hot guys, great drinks, and unique vibes –this tropical island in the center of the Milanese metropolis concept has for years been considered a meeting point for fashion and nightlife addicts, artists, bloggers and all those in the know.
Other Gay Bars in Milam
G Street – An American style gay lounge in Milan like you might find in Honolulu, Orlando or Fort Lauderdale. Annyoginlu, you need a requires the Anddos membership card to enter – but if you have one from the gay saunas in Milan you can enjoy lower drink prices here and friendly locals. On Via Sammartini street, this new gay bar offers also offers sexy go-go dances and disco-dance weekends.
Afterline – A gay Milan institution on Via Sammartini, this gay bar offers frivolous disco-fun and acts as an intimate and welcoming meeting point for the local LGBT community. You breathe the history of Milanese gay life, although these days it is most often filled with hordes of young boys and a few hustlers. There is always a go-go boy on Fridays and live DJ on Saturday. When we visited there was also a private lounge for lesbians only, the closest thing to a lesbian bar in Milan we found.
Beerbanti – A traditional, gay-friendly bar & cafe that Europe does so well with affordable drinks and specialty cocktails. Originally from Florence, this spot has become popular with young LBGT local especially between 6 – 9 pm where an array of tapas is served. Beerbanti is not only a pub, but it is also: a brewery, piadineria, appetizers, cafeteria … but also a sandwich shop.
K.O. Club Milan – A cruising bar where you can basically guarantee all younger / fit guys are escorts. There are some fun strip shows and drag talent, plus discreet cabin in the basement for your own fun but we didn’t enjoy it here.
Confused – Much like the name, we are not quite sure what as going on there and we found a mix between a gay bar, rent boy paradise and soft-core sex shows. Located on via Sammartini street there is a healthy dose of male strip shows, DJs and dancing with a very mixed crowd. Cruisy and undeniably hot, if you want to gawk at gorgeous Milanese men, this is the place to go.
Gay Clubs and Parties In Milan
Gay club parties in Milan are all the rage with different locations being popular every evening, but we have only listed the most popular and fabulous, as there are almost too many to count!
TRACK Milano – A epic gay dance club in northeastern Milan, close to the Company Club gay cruise bar if you don’t quite find what you are looking for. All the biggest gay parties of Milan are generally held here – even if outside groups organize them. Open every Saturday night with intense laser shows and the hottest go-go boys we have seen. When you enter, they give you a punch card for the bar – and you settle the tab when you leave, so don’t lose the card! Fantastic infrastructure, friendly staff and never a dull night here!
Club Plastic – A living piece of history, Club Plastic has been Milan’s most fabulous gay disco since it opened in the 80’s and still today has a loyal following in alternative Milan LGBT. They normally have an amazing line-up, insanely good vibes and super friendly people – but the entrance fee can often be quite steep.
ONE WAY Club – A gay club open every Saturday night just out of Milan city in Sesto San Giovanni. Hyper-masculine and attracting mostly bears, mature guys, and fetish lovers thanks to its friendly staff and excellent value for money.
Nuova Idea – A Saturday night gay club for everyone: gays, lesbians, transsexuals, straights, and unicorns. Fun drag shows and go-go boys, with a busy dark room and affordable drinks.
La Boum – A gay dance & nightclub open every Friday night with a convenient location, friendly people, and great music! La Boum frequently gets packed out and attracts young Milanese who love to party without pretense or fuss.
GATE Party @ TRACK – A huge monthly gay dance party with sexy dancers, international DJs, lasers and world-class production qualities – plus a busy darkroom. Gate Party is worth planning an entire trip around to Gay Milan, but it is expensive compared to other options n Milan with entry between 20-25 euro + 12 euro for ANDDOS membership card if you don’t already have one.
GATE PARTY presents "GALAXY" - Sabato 12 Novembre 2016 - Track Club Milano
Wonder – A new gay dance party in Milan where digs blast pop, Top 40 and gay anthems across in multiple rooms. Check Facebook for upcoming events.
Vogue Ambition – An LGBT popular winter dance party with a hipster / mixed crowd and ’80s, 90’s dance music. Venues and themes frequently change so check their Facebook page but generally held two times per month.
Glitter CLUB – Hosts a popular LGBT night on Saturdays that draws in the party gays with pop and indie music accompanied by fun drag shows. Euro-trash vibes are it glittering best.
Vergine Camilla @ Patchouli Cafe – Milan is a work-hard, play-hard kind of city which often leaves the weekday nightlife lacking. Luckily every Wednesday you can head to Patchouli Cafe for drag shows, fab food, and drinks from 7 pm daily … and with free entry! Halleloo!
ExecutiveG @ Quantic – Wednesday not good for you? Try a similar thing on Thursday are the new Quantic club. Fabulous drag queen shows featuring bold colors and a party that goes late into the night, so don’t make plans for the following day!
Toilet Club @ Q21 – An LGBT-popular dance party night held on Saturday night. Very alternative with a devil-may-care approach to partying. Anything and everything goes here so check out their upcoming events and let your freak flag fly!
qLAB @ Q21 – Talking place every Friday night at the same venue, qLAB is a temple of Pop music and hedonistic fun. Be prepared to dance for hours to the amazing music and surrounded by gorgeous people.
La Domenica – A party run by the Arcigay Milan LGBT community organization, featuring several well-stocked bars, busy dance floors pumping to DJ house, R&B and pop music + a few relaxing spaces. There is usually a buffet dinner with drag and performance shows early in the evening then partying into the night. Check out their website or the latest dates and venues.
Gay Saunas in Milan
Had enough of gay cruising in Milan – either in the bars or elsewhere? For those who want a bit more guaranteed action, the gay saunas in Milan will not disappoint you (unlikely all those faceless accounts on Grindr or the other hook up apps…).Foreigners are typically welcoming through-out the Milan gay scene, but many guys don’t speak English in the saunas so you’ll need to be good at reading non-verbal cues. Luckily we have our first-time gay sauna guide to help!
Metrò Club Milano – The most popular gay sauna in town, perfect for indulging in a few hours of quintessentially Milanese gay fun. A three-level destination in the heart of Gay Milan, there is a small gym, male massages, sauna, jacuzzi and lounge bar for relaxing in. Staff can be hit and miss, and the crowd is generally a mix of younger and older guys of different body types – with a rent boy or two thrown in.
Tblue Sauna – A newly opened sauna in Milan with a large, neon-lit pool, jacuzzi, Turkish bath, sauna, relaxation areas, shower and simple bar. Tblue Sauna offers a great male massage with English speaking staff. Very modern and cool, but a little quiet early in the week – like most gay sauna around the world.
Fenix Sauna – A gay sauna mostly frequented by bears, leather lovers, and mature guys. There are two floors, a male massage room, showers, lockers, a Turkish bath and Finnish Sauna plus split cruising zones to keep you entertained. Found in the same building as the Hot Dog Club Milan gay cruise club.
Royal Hammam – One of the busiest gay sauna in Milan – and far better than any gay hammam we visited in Istanbul or Ankara! Sure, the staff here can be quite rude (this is Italy after all), and there are a few hustlers hanging around, but the Royal Hammam also has a large outdoor pool with relaxing terrace, sauna, jacuzzi, Turkish bar, full bar and large cruising/darkroom space. Open 24 hours on the weekends and until 2 am during the week, with a nice mix of young, sexy Italian men and expats.
Gay Cruising and Fetish Clubs in Milan
If the bars or gay parties in Milan are too vanilla for you, perhaps these fetish clubs and cruise lounges are a better fit?
We have to warn you; however, Milan has one of the most intense fetish scenes we have ever come across, and it is not for everyone. Expect lots of sassy Italian attitude, and general disdain for English speakers – but if you can get past that, you will probably have a wild time.
We have tried to identify places for the more ‘initiated,’ but really there is nothing vanilla here. The gay cruising spots in Milan have spread around so use our Gay Milan map at the end to find the closest to you.
Bangalov – A hardcore gay cruise bar that is not for the faint-of-heart. If you like a bit of rough play with leather, and chiseled, animalistic men this is the place for you. There is a strict dress for and regular themes listed on their website including gay underwear, naked and leather nights. Hot men, epic vibes, and a great interior mean Bangalov consistently remains the most popular cruise location in town for all those ‘perfect’ looking Milanese men. Surprisingly the staff here are attitude free and very helpful, but the crowd is the sort to always be chasing after the hottest piece of meat. If you are him, you will love it – but if you are not a model it can be a bit disheartening.
Hot Dog Club – Go for the name alone! The Hot Dog Club Milan takes the place of the infamous Flexo Club Milano with more of a ‘naked club’ concert. Divided into two floors, with a large dressing room, personal lockers, a new bar and cruising space area with relaxation rooms and glory hole + dark labyrinths. Last but not least there is the sling, video area and room of mirrors. Located in the same building as Fenix Sauna, so why not visit both on the same trip!
Illumined – A very Italian 24-hour gay cruise club in the heart of Gay Milan, full of attitude and plenty of hot guys. Three floors with the top level being the most hardcore, and the bottom for relaxing with a movie room and lounge. There is also a bar, small cabins, kinky dark room, and glory holes. We also enjoyed the dance floor and full bar, mixed crowd with a surprising amount of hot guys, but there are also a few rent boys hanging around.
Inferus Club – Born from the fires of hell, it is safe to say this new gay cruising bar in Milan is not getting the Vatican’s seal of approval anytime soon! A small space for flaming locals to first with the angles of sins in the dark rooms, private cabins, XXX video rooms, slings or glory holes mazes. There is a small bar if you want to work your way into the 9 Circles of Hell, with plenty of fiery events held most weekends.
DEPOT Milano – A cruise bar in Milan for leather/fetish lovers. Raw and hardcore, everything here is purposely dark and crude. With visible bricks, iron, black leather, and steel. You can only love it or hate it. There are no middle ways for those who come to discover DEPOT for the first time, but you will not know until you try. Check their website for the event line up but the Naked Party and Bisexual nights are always intensely fun.
Company Club – The local cruise spot for chubby men, bears and their admirers. A pub styled gay venue, open all week long and in the hours of the evening and night. Well-known with a nice beer selection and far dance floor, we love that Company Club is generally attitude free and a nice place for those less- initiated I the cruising world. We are not saying that bears are not as kinky as everyone else, they just see to be more welcoming with less attitude to newcomers, and especially foreigners who don’t speak Italian!