This lively square is an entertainment hub bursting with lively bars and restaurants, theatres and music venues, as well as engaging street performers.
Leidseplein is a bustling square that sits at the heart of Amsterdam’s cultural district. Join the local residents in the many bars and cafés to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and indulge in people watching, or spend an evening enjoying theatre performances and live music shows.
During the warmer months of spring and summer, the cafés spill out onto large outdoor terraces. Watch the many street performers that are nearly always to be found on the square’s east side. You’ll be treated to anything from acrobatic dancing to free-style live music.
If you are visiting in the winter, the square is covered by a huge ice rink. Hire a pair of skates and take to the ice. To warm up again afterwards, treat yourself to delicious hot food and drink from the many stalls that line the rink.
Leidseplein comes alive at night. Start off the evening’s entertainment with a meal at one of the many varied restaurants. There’s traditional Dutch cuisine, American-style fast food or even dishes from South America and the Far East to pick from.
The impressive neo-renaissance Stadsschouwberg building that dominates the western side of the square houses the largest theatre company in the Netherlands. The performances and shows are often suitable for international audiences thanks to the surtitling system providing English translations on digital displays. Just next to the theatre is the Amsterdam American Hotel, an Art Deco National Monument, where you can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat at its bar and restaurant.
Art enthusiasts should head to De Balie. This busy cultural centre schedules film screenings, theatre performances and topical debates. Stop for a post-show drink in the centre’s café facing out over the Leidseplein.
If you feel like dancing the night away, Paradiso and Melkweg are two extremely popular clubs on the square. Both venues also host concerts and cultural events. Make sure you visit their websites to find out what is on, and to buy tickets in advance. Whilst the bars usually close just after midnight, the clubs stay open almost all night.
Leidseplein is well-served by the city’s public transport system, even late into the night. If you are driving, parking spaces are limited in the city centre, so it’s best to use the park-and-ride services at the edge of the city.