/ The Amsterdam Guide

Leidseplein: Popular Square Where Tourists Meet Locals

Leidseplein buzzes with activity day and night. Sip chardonnay and savour bitterballen, bite-size deep-fried ragout filled balls. On chilly spring and autumn days wrap a fleece shawl around your shoulders and only the tip of your nose will get cold. In winter the square is almost abandoned. All activity shifted inside bars and cafes.

Hop on tram 1, 2, 7, or 10 and get off at Leidseplein. Enjoy at least one lunch, dinner, cappuccino or Heineken in one of the restaurants, cafes or bars.

Hundreds of restaurants huddle in the narrow streets just off Leidseplein, creating a culinary diversity. Choosing the right type of cuisine is an attraction in itself; Indonesian, Chinese, Surinam, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, Mexican, Turkish, Ethiopean, Tibetan and more. They all post their menu out front both in Dutch and English.

If Leidseplein is too crowded for you, walk east along Prinsengracht, Kerkstraat or Keizersgracht. Touristy places dry up after a few blocks and you will find a scattering of interesting bars and restaurants.

Leidseplein in Spring


For Potheads
WHAT: Bulldog Palace
WHERE: Leidseplein 15 (map)
OPEN: 7 days from 08.00-01.00
Bulldog is a famous coffee shop aka hash bar chain with attached souvenir shop  Bulldog Palace opened its door on 1 April 1985 in a former police station, a wink to the established orders. This place is always full with tourists and the occasional local, a very safe for beginners. It is a bit like going to Bangkok and drinking coffee at Starbucks.

For Shopping Addicts
WHERE: Leidsestraat (map)
Trendy clothing, souvenirs or athletic gear? Leidsestraat is packed with exclusive shops and boutiques, and not a single big mainstream store. Imelda Marcos would jump for joy because every other shop seems to sell shoes. Check out Australian at number 101. Drool over cream-filled chocolates, ice-creams and dark chocolate.

For Spicy-food Eaters
WHAT: Bojo
WHERE: Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 49 (map)
OPEN: Monday – Friday 11.00 – 21.00, Saturday and Sunday from 16.00
Bojo is an informal Indonesian eatery with affordable prices. If hunger strikes, drop in for a Bojo rames – white rice with spiced stewed beef and chicken, green bean in coconut sauce and prawn crackers. Or would you rather have Nasi Goreng Dwaja – fried rice with giant shrimps? Bamboo covered walls and authentic ethnic food make you feel as if you are in Indonesia.

For Comedy Lovers
WHAT: Boom Chicago
WHERE: Leidseplein 12
Amsterdam’s longest running English language comedy night out. Shows are a mixture of audience-prompted improvisations and rehearsed sketches. They are fast, political, musical and above all funny. They provide a wry look at life and poke fun at people on both sides of the Atlantic

Sights and things to do within walking distance of Leidseplein
Rijksmuseum: Bad and Good News
Browsing and Buying in the Nine Streets

Van Gogh Museum

photo credit: personal collection

3 places are mentioned in this post!
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