The best of Leeds

As one of the UK's largest student cities, Leeds is filled with culture, nightlife, independent cafés and restaurants, shopping and more.

With so much to choose from, here’s our top 10 things to do in Leeds to get you started.

From small independent venues to the First Direct Arena, Leeds has a thriving music scene. The famous Brudenell Social Club hosts a mixture of up and coming and big-name bands, and you’ll see superstars at the 02 Academy and the First Direct Arena. Head to The Wardrobe for a more chilled vibe, or catch a band and some pizza at the Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen. 

Leeds is home to a packed calendar of festivals throughout the year. Leeds Festival attracts thousands of music fans with its big-name artists, whilst SlamDunk is a haven for fans of alternative music. Visit the vibrant Leeds West Indian Carnival for music, costumes and a masquerade procession, or take in the beautiful projections across the city at Light Night Leeds.

Discover the next big name in comedy at The HiFi Club, The Wardrobe, and The Original Oak, or catch your favourites at the City Varieties. You might even see a big-name comedy star in The Library testing their new material. In Horsforth, our Student’s Union and the Old King’s Arms also host regular comedy nights.

Leeds Pride is the biggest annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, with thousands of attendees coming together in the city to celebrate. One of the largest free pride events in the UK, Leeds Pride takes place each summer.

If you love live theatre, there’s no need to travel to London. You can catch West End musicals, ballet, opera and more at the Leeds Grand Theatre, and the best in new theatre at the Leeds Playhouse. For film buffs, Hyde Park Picture House is an independent favourite, or you could even see classic films in Millenium Square, accompanied by the live orchestra of Opera North. 

Leeds has a thriving food scene – from shopping fuel at Trinity Kitchen to Indian street food at the famously delicious Bundobust. You can get drinks and snacks with a show at Chow Down, just minutes from Leeds Train Station. Call Lane boasts some of the city’s best bars, or you might decide to take part in the famous Otley Run pub crawl.

Leeds has a rich sporting history, so if you love all things sport you’re in luck. Leeds is home to Leeds United, the Leeds Rhinos, Headingley Cricket Club and the Leeds Knights Ice Hockey team to name just a few. If you love a challenge, why not sign up to a race - the Rob Burrows Leeds Marathon, the Leeds Half Marathon and the Abbey Dash 10km are just some of the city’s most popular events.

From big name shops in Trinity Shopping Centre to boutiques at the historic Corn Exchange and Leeds’ popular thrifting scene, there’s plenty of options no matter your style. The Victoria Quarter and Country Arcades are worth a visit for the beautiful architecture alone.

Locals call Yorkshire God’s own county – and for good reason. Leeds is surrounded by beautiful green spaces, from Horsforth Hall Park to Otley Chevin. Perfect for when you want to take a break from your studies.

If you love culture, you’ll love Leeds’ museums and galleries. Catch contemporary art at The Tetley, immerse yourself in history at the Royal Armouries Museum, or lose yourself in the beautiful Leeds Art Gallery. When the sun’s shining, a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the perfect place to get your culture fix in glorious surroundings.

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