Leidseplein is a busy square at the southern end of Amsterdam's central canal ring, almost facing the popular Vondelpark. Leidseplein translates roughly as Leiden Square, as it sits at the end of Leidsestraat which, throughout much of the history of the square, was the main road to the town of Leiden. Today, Leidseplein serves as a transport hub in the city, with a number of tram lines intersecting here, as well as a centre for nightlife and shopping.
There are plenty of interesting sights and entertaining services here. A common fixture of this entertainment focused square is the street performers that can almost constantly be found on the squares eastern side. From acrobatic break-dancing to freestyle jazz on the double bass, there is always something to see.
During the summer months, the other side of Leidseplein is taken up by the large terraces of the bars lining the square. Here, tourists and locals sit back and relax with a drink while taking a break in their shopping trip or on their way to the nearby Museumplein to take in more sights. During colder times of the year the terraced area is covered by an outdoor skate rink, while hot food stalls appear throughout the square.
How to get to Leidseplein
To get to here from Central Station, take trams 1, 2 or 5 to the fairly self explanatory Leidseplein stop, from other parts of the city, trams 7 and 10 are the ones to look out for. On foot, you can find the square from the city centre by following Leidsestraat, which cuts through the south-western edge of the canal ring. For those travelling by car, the nearby Q-Park multistorey car park at Marnixstraat 50 is the most convenient location to park.
There are a number of very popular Leidseplein hotels in Amsterdam, due to their proximity to the city's nightlife hotspots as well as the must-see Museumplein area. Big names such as the Marriot and Eden Amsterdam American Hotel can be found here, as well as smaller gems like The Golden Bear and Backstage Hotel.
Much of Amsterdam's nightlife centres around Leidseplein and the streets nearby. Famous music venues such as Melkweg and Paradiso can be found here, while Irish pubs, brown cafés and smaller nightclubs line the square and the streets radiating off it. For a classy night out, the city theatre, the Stadsschouwburg, sits directly opposite the tram stop on the square itself.
In the streets surrounding Leidseplein, restaurants and bars serving food account for almost every building. Korte Leidsedwarsstraat and the intersecting streets are crammed with Chinese, Italian and Argentinian restaurants, most of which offer great deals due to intense competition. There are also a number of higher end restaurants nearby, with Café Americain in the Eden Amsterdam American Hotel being a popular choice, particularly for Jazz Brunch on Sunday afternoons.
Stores of Apple and Mini
Two flag stores of leading companies – BMW Mini and Apple are located in the old department store building called Hirschgebouw at the square. Both shops have unusually designed interior, frequently attracting considerable crowds anxious to see the new products of these companies.
Around Leidseplein, there are a number of popular shopping spots as well as services that may be useful to the visiting tourist. One of the most noticeable services on Leidseplein is the large branch of international bank ABN Amro on the southern edge. A large taxi rank can also be found on here, as well as stops for many night bus routes.
At Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 21, just past the Bulldog café on the eastern side of the square, is Amsterdam's Uitburo. This office deals with nightlife and events in Amsterdam and is a good place to stop in for information on what's happening as well as to buy tickets to any events you may wish to attend. Just around the corner form this is a service that can come in particularly handy if something goes wrong: Amsterdam's lost and found service, in the city offices on Korte Leidsedwarsstraat.