A few weeks have gone by since the official opening of the Expo, definitely the event of the year (or perhaps decade) for Milano. All the VIPs came out for the inauguration on April 30-May 1 and now the dust has settled, both literally and figuratively, on the Expo site. The last pavilions are being finished and the volunteers and workers have had time to get into their routines welcoming and assisting visitors. That makes now the best time to go!
So you’ve decided to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. But before you go, you need some basic info on when to go, where to buy tickets, how to get there and how to plan your day. All these details are available on the Expo website, of course, but we’ve put together a one-page summary for easily access, just for students!
Avoid the kids and wait a few weeks (or go at night)
The Expo is open every day 10am to 11pm, from May 1-October 31. That gives you lots of options for when to go. One thing to keep in mind is that during these first few weeks lots of local schools are bringing schoolchildren to the site for a field trip. Want to avoid the throngs of kids? Just wait until school is no longer in session: the last day of class is June 8. Keep in mind that school will start up again in the fall in mid-September.
If you can’t wait that long, by all means, brave the crowds. Or just go on an evening ticket, which is super-cheap (see info below). The field trips will be over long before 7pm!
Skip the ticket line and get tickets in advance
Student tickets can’t be purchased online because you need to show your ID to prove that you’re a student in order to get the discounted price. The official Expo price for students up to 25 years old is €29. You should buy your tickets at a the ExpoGate (in Piazza Cordusio, near the Castle Sforzesco fountain) or another authorized vendor in order to avoid waiting in line at the Expo site. (Be aware that even if you skip the ticket line at the Expo, however, you’ll still have to wait to pass through the airport-like security, so be prepared to queue up!)
All students enrolled at a Milan university have an even bigger discount for one ticket: €10! And Bocconi students get a bigger reduction still, with a price of just €7. Bocconi students should go to the Egea bookstore between 10-25 June to get this discounted ticket.
Another low-cost option is the €5 evening price for admission after 7pm. This a good option to get a feel for the Expo itself, but keep in mind a few important caveats: lines can be long for buying tickets (so, again, buy tickets in advance either online or at a ticket reseller in Milan) and some pavilion activities may be closed in the evening. Restaurants, of course, will be open, so you can choose one of the many international cuisines for your dinner. This is also a great way to enjoy the famous installation the Tree of Life, designed by the Expo’s artistic director Marco Balich, because the artwork features a spectacular lights show. Also, a few of the pavilions put on music and entertainment during the later hours, so it’s a pleasant way to the spend the evening. Turnstiles for entrance close at 9pm and the site closes at 11pm, but there’s talk of keeping the Expo open until midnight on the weekends. Yet another reason to take advantage of the cheap evening ticket!
Leave the car, take the subway
If you happen to have a car in Milan or if you’re subscribed to one of the many car sharing services in the city, you might be tempted to drive to the Expo. Resist the temptation! Parking is super expensive (€12 per car), advance reservations are required and you’ll need to take a shuttle to get from the parking lot to the pavilions.
The best way to get to the Expo is by taking one of the subway lines that stop there. Coming from the city, the red line (M1) in the Rho Fiera Expo direction is probably the easiest option. Other less-used lines are part of the Regional Rail Service, just look for S5, S6, S11 and S14. Remember, however, that Rho is outside the city limits and your usual monthly pass to use the public transportation won’t cover your trip. You’ll still need to get another ticket to get to the Expo: a round-trip ticket is €5. Complete info is available on the ATM website.
Channel your inner Indiana Jones and choose wisely
There are a total of 96 pavilions representing 143 countries at the Expo. That means that you absolutely won’t be able to see everything in one day. So choose wisely! You can visit the pavilion of your home country or that of your friends. Or maybe go to the places representing countries you may not get a chance to actually visit in the near future. Or make your choice simply based on the attractions at the pavilions: a full-on forest in Austria, a fun net walkway in Brazil, a slide in Germany, an immense plant wall in Israel, the scarcity project in Switzerland or the sand-like architecture in the United Arab Emirates. You can study up on everything the Expo has to offer by checking out their website.
Remember, the area is open from 10am to 11pm every day, so you can certainly pack in a lot during that time… but not everything!
Skip breakfast and come hungry
Remember how there are a total of 96 different pavilions? There are just about that many choices of where and what to eat, as most countries also offer a few options for visitors to taste the local cuisine. Prices vary greatly, from a few euros for a sandwich to a full meal of €40-50 euros. Some highlights: empanadas in Argentina, arepas in Columbia, foie gras in France, fish burgers in Holland, satay in Indonesia, kimchi in Korea, margaritas in Mexico, arancini at the Mediterranean cluster, lobster rolls in the US . Of course, this is just a small taste of all the Expo has to offer. So bring a few extra euros and an empty stomach and you won’t be disappointed!