Southern Canal Ring

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).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southern Canal Ring attractions

1. Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American

0.08 MILES

This building is a magnificent art nouveau beast. The founder of the original hotel, Cornelis Alidus Anne (CAA) Steinigeweg had helped establish a Dutch…

2. Amsterdam Pipe Museum

0.11 MILES

This museum is located in the grand 17th-century canal house of the marvellously single-minded pipe collector who gathered this unexpectedly fascinating…

3. Blauw Jan

0.11 MILES

There's a surprise waiting in Kleine Gartmanplantsoen park: 40 huge, lifelike lizards nestled in the grass and sunning themselves on the brickwork. It's a…

4. Little Woodcutter

0.14 MILES

Hidden up in the Leidsebosje parkland's closest tree to the pedestrian crossing on Stadhouderskade (where it intersects with Leidseplein) is an endearing…

5. Vondelpark


Attracting over 12 million visitors per year, Amsterdam’s favorite playground is the green expanse of Vondelpark, with its 116 acres (47 hectares) of…

6. Huis Marseille

0.24 MILES

Large-scale temporary exhibitions from its own collection are staged at this well-curated photography museum, which also hosts travelling shows. Themes…

7. Het Grachtenhuis

0.28 MILES

Learn about the remarkable feats of engineering behind the Canal Ring through this museum's holograms, videos, models, cartoons, scale model of Amsterdam…

8. Rijksmuseum

0.34 MILES

The Netherlands’ top treasure house, the Rijksmuseum (pronounced ‘rikes’), is among the world's finest art museums. With over 1.5km of galleries, it packs…