As this semester comes to a close, I thought I might make a brief list for those arriving to this marvelous city in the future of my top five favorite hot spots. From the best lunch-and-study spot to shopping second-hand, these are the places I will surely miss the most.
1. Juice Bar
OK, call me a basic b****, but I am a girl who loves her juices, her parfaits, her natural foods, etc. Week one, after we received a walking tour around the center of Milan, we stumbled across this little gem-- with a rather unique name, I know. As you would assume, Juice Bar offers a variety of fresh juices and smoothies, but also breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If you want a real salad, with customized toppings, this is one of the few places you can go to get one. If you are on the go, they have a whole shelf of freshly prepared and packaged lunch cups, soups, parfaits, even sushi. My absolute favorite dish (which they stopped serving as soon as it got warm) was their udon, shrimp, and edamame soup in a miso broth. So. Dang. Delicious. I loved it so much that I tried to make my own rendition, and actually got pretty close, so that has become a staple in my weekly meals. Basically, go here and there is something for everyone. They also have cool seating, with couches and plush pillows, so its the perfect study spot.
There is no lack of places to go for amazing aperitivo, but if you really want to get (more than) your money's worth, check out Maya in the Naviglio Grande. For just 10 euro, you will get to choose one drink from an extensive list of generous sized cocktails, and all the amazing italian-spanish foods you could want. From lentils and roasted vegetables to paella and seafood rice, there is a huge buffet that is ever replenished, and it will be the best 10 euro you ever spent. I don't know how they make money with that kind of deal, but that's not my problem. Take full advantage, and sit outside when its a nice night to enjoy the people watching and beauty of the canal.
Much like a Buffalo Exchange, Bivio is the place to go for more contemporary second-hand clothing (labels like Zara, H&M, GAP, but also unknown labels and the occasional designer score). They also accept your used clothing, offering you 30% of the resale value in cash, or 50% in store credit. I came in here various times, but only came in to sell my own items at my last visit. When you are packing to return home and realized you've nearly doubled your closet since arriving, you will have to downsize a bit, so this is the place to go. I ended up lightening my load, making 45 euro, and snagged a pair of red converse sneakers as my final purchase in Italy. They've been on my list of must-haves FOREVER, so to stumble upon them, barely used, just in my size, at 10 euro?? Priceless.
4. Parco Sempione
For those 75 degree afternoons with nothing to do, head to the park surrounding the Castello Sforza and bask in the sun. Go alone and read book, or pack a picnic with friends and crack open a bottle of wine. The park is massive, and amazing for people watching. Plus its always nice to feel separated from the city for a few hours.
5. N'Ombre de Vin
nestled in Brera, this place is two different kinds of bars depending on the day and time you go. If the title didn't make it obvious, this place serves only wine, and features a large cellar-like room below ground with a bunch of communal tables to mingle with friends and strangers. Apparently they offer a pretty good aperitivo as well, but its just as fun to go in the early evening for a wine date. Go back around 11 pm on a friday night, and you would never guess it was the same place. A live DJ rocks the house, and people dance on tables (guilty as charged). What can I say? Wine is a wonderful thing.
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<p>My name is Meredith, and I am a 3rd year Media Studies major from UVA. I love bananas, yoga, and traveling the world. I am also a fashion blogger and pursuing a career in fashion, so I hope to record how my experiences in Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world, shapes my future! </p>