Historic architecture, neon, beer and plenty of tourists – welcome to Leidseplein. A one-stop shop for party-goers, this hyperactive square is a major tram intersection and a litmus test for nightlife. There are countless pubs and clubs, and a smorgasbord of restaurants. Pavement cafes at the northern end are perfect for watching street artists and eccentric passers-by.
On the square's eastern side, farmers would leave their horses and carts at the Leidsepoort (Leiden Gate) before entering town; it was demolished in 1870. The strip of greenery on the other side of the Singelgracht, with large chestnut trees is called Leidsebosje (Leiden Wood).
Entertainment venues radiate from its centre, and nearby Kerkstraat pulses with trendy gay establishments. For more intimate (but not necessarily more serene) bars and restaurants, explore the festive streets of Lange Leliedwarsstraat and Korte Leliedwarsstraat, as well as the streets behind the Stadsschouwburg .