Historic architecture, beer, clubs and steakhouses – welcome to Leidseplein. The square is always busy, but after dark it gets thronged by a mainstream crowd of party lovers (more tourists than locals). A major hub for nightlife and trams, it has countless pubs and clubs, masses of restaurants and an aroma of roasted meat. Pavement cafes at the northern end are perfect for people-watching. Entertainment venues line the streets around the square; nearby Kerkstraat has a cluster of gay venues.
On the square's eastern side, farmers would once leave their horses and carts at the Leidsepoort (Leiden Gate) before entering town; it was demolished in 1870. The strip of greenery with large chestnut trees on the other side of the Singelgracht is called Leidsebosje (Leiden Wood).