Milan is not a city full of spaces for great outdoor activities; people just make the best of what is available! The biggest park in the center of town is Parco Sempione, bordered by the Sforzesco Castle, the Triennale, the Arco della Pace and the Aquarium. It’s no wonder it has been central to Milanese leisure time activities since its creation in 1888.
So even if it’s not comparable to the beautiful (and unique) London parks, it constitutes a very good and effective outlet for kid’s energy. They can run, ride bicycles and play football, and on the side nearer Arco della Pace there is a nice playground with big climbing structures that will appeal even to the most experienced kid. Nearby there are kids’ electrical motorbikes and cars — the dream of every preschooler, and a cute (and old) electrical train that will be the joy of the younger ones.
If you go in the afternoon then, when everybody is in need of a break, you can indulge in what Milanese excel at: aperitivo! The park is in fact surrounded by very cool and stylish bars that around 6pm get ready for the big “happy hour” crowd. Happy hour in Milan does not mean cheaper drinks; it means free food!
Arriving early, and having booked a table, means you can enjoy a drink even with children in tow. The counters are normally covered in trays of food, maybe not Michelin-starred, but of the type children love. There will be carrot and celery sticks, pizza and focaccia squares, little bruschettas, chunks of salami and mortadella, tofu cubes, a warm pasta, little sausages, meatballs, cheese cubes, sometimes fruit and, if you are lucky, raw fish… and all of this is on free buffet. These places become busy once office people set free, which is normally around 8pm, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy the chilled-out atmosphere before calling it a day and taking your kids home!
There are a few nice bars around the Arco della Pace and my favourite place is Living, just on the right of the arc, especially in the summer when they have nice tables on the pavement with great views of the park trees just in front of you.