Delve into the many delights of buzzing Leidseplein to people-watch while enjoying a meal or just a drink after a day of sightseeing. In the warmer months, the area is packed with people gathered on the terraces of the restaurants and bars. Order a local beer and watch the street performers. In the winter, visit one of the many restaurants or clubs, or head to the ice rink surrounded by hot food and drink stalls for an atmospheric outdoor experience. If you love architecture, 17th-century Leidseplein has some interesting buildings for a walking tour.
There’s plenty to do at night at Leidseplein. Enjoy a typical Dutch meal or order American-style fast food before taking in a movie or a concert. Art lovers can meet up at De Balie, a cultural center for film screenings, theater and debate. De Balie’s buzzing café faces Leidseplein. For a laugh, watch the street performers or book a comedy show (in English) in one of the nearby theaters. Music lovers should check out popular nightclubs Paradiso and Melkweg. These local institutions also host concerts and cultural events. Check their websites for a current schedule of shows and to buy tickets in advance.
In the redbrick neo-Gothic Stadsschouwburg that dominates the square, many of the performances are suitable for an international audience. Dutch plays often have surtitles, which are digital displays with English translations. Next door are the ornate fountain, bar and restaurant of the Amsterdam American Hotel, a National Monument in art deco–style. A two-minute walk away is Max Euweplein, an arty square with a life-sized chess board. Here you will find the Hard Rock Café, with a lovely terrace facing the canal, and the Holland Casino.
Leidseplein is in the southwest of the Canal Ring and easy to get to by public transport, even late at night. It’s a short walk from the Vondelpark. If you are driving, consider leaving your car at one of the park-and-ride lots at the edge of the city and then use public transport to get around. There are parking lots in the city center, but spaces are limited.
Many pubs close just after midnight, but clubs stay open almost all night.