Things to Do in Leeds City Centre

We might be a little biased, but we think Leeds is one of the best cities in the UK, with plenty of things to do in the city centre and beyond.

Despite being the third-largest city in the country, it's perfectly compact and exudes a welcoming and cozy atmosphere.

Accessing Leeds is a breeze, with a two-hour train ride connecting it to London and a little bit further to Edinburgh, a quick 20-minute trip from York, and just an hour's journey from Manchester. Leeds even has its own airport!

Leeds is a hub of history, culture, gastronomy, and shopping, and its residents are known for their friendly Northern-nature. Regardless of your interests or whether you're a local, student, a day-tripper, or on a more extended visit, Leeds offers numerous activities right in the city centre.

Before we get stuck in to our mega list of things to do in Leeds city centre, we have to mention the number one thing to do (again we're a little biased), whether you're visiting the city or born & bred here:

A food tour, with Leeds Food Tours!

Join us on a culinary adventure through the city centre, visiting six venues with tasty food included at every stop.

You'll meet chefs & restaurant owners, learn some foodie facts, hear a little about the history of Leeds, get a ghost story or two, and maybe even some cheese jokes!

A group of 8 people sat around a table at Whitelocks Ale House eating fish finger sandwiches on a food tour. This is one of the best things to do in Leeds City Centre

Guided food tours run most Saturdays and take around 4 hours, or you can take a self-guided food tour up to 7 days a week, with flexible start times and no need to book in advance.

If you're interested in a self-guided food tour, you can download the app to get started.

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Things to Do in Leeds City Centre: Culture

Leeds Market

Take a walk around one of the biggest covered markets in Europe, enjoying the buzz, the building and, of course, foodie delights.

You can wander by yourself or book onto a free heritage tour, but we recommend booking onto our guided 'Hidden Gems' food tour. You'll delve into the market's rich history, unravel the tales of its traders and most importantly, eat some really tasty food on your way round.

A birdseye view of the inside of Leeds market, one of many things to do in Leeds city centre

Leeds Central Library

Even if you're not an avid reader, the visit is worthwhile just to marvel at the breathtaking interior of this Grade II listed architectural gem.

Street Art

Ready for some artistic eye-candy? Check out the UK's tallest mural, 'Athena Rising.' Word on the street is that it's even taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York! This magnificent artwork, featuring an owl, the moon, and a crown, greets you as you step off the train, making it an unmissable sight.

Get your art fix on the Leeds Welcome Street Art Trail, starting right at the train station. This artistic journey winds through the city center, showcasing the talents of local artists, illustrators, and sculptors. 

For more art, lace up your walking shoes for the Waterfront Art Trail. Yep, you guessed it – it hugs Leeds' waterfront, stretching from Holbeck to Leeds Dock. And once again, Leeds List has got you covered with a detailed guide to this artistic expedition.

The Owl Trail

Feeling like a detective? Embark on the Leeds Owl Trail. Grab a map for just £1 at the Leeds Visitor Centre and set out to discover the 25 owl statues scattered around the city centre, each holding a piece of Leeds' rich history. Happy hunting!

A gold owl statue with a blue sky behind it, part of the Leeds owl trail. This is one of the free things to do in leeds city centre

Theatres & Live Music in Leeds

Let's paint the town with some theatre magic! Leeds offers a wide variety of theatrical options, so no matter when you decide to go, there's a stage waiting for you.

Take a peek at Leeds Grand Theatre, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds Playhouse, Carriageworks, Leeds City Varieties, or the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre for a night of drama and entertainment.

If you're more inclined to let loose to the rhythm of live music, we've got you covered. For big-named artists, make your way to the First Direct Arena.

If indie tunes are more your jam, head over to O2 Academy. And if you're up for discovering some hidden musical gems, venues like Belgrave Music Hall, The Wardrobe, or Sela Bar have got your back. There's a bit of something for everyone in Leeds' vibrant music scene.

Museums & Galleries in Leeds City Centre

Leeds City Museum

Conveniently situated in the heart of the city at Millennium Square, here you'll find six captivating galleries, featuring iconic attractions like the famous Leeds tiger, the mummy of Nesyammun, and ever-changing community exhibits that offer insights into the lives of today's city.

Leeds Dock on a sunny day, one of the many things to do in Leeds city centre

Royal Armouries

Discover the world of arms and armour from different corners of the globe at the Royal Armouries, nestled in Leeds Dock. With five floors of exhibits, it's a deep dive into the history of weaponry.

We recommend taking the yellow water taxi from Granary Wharf (outside the train station South Entrance) to Leeds Dock for some added fun!

Leeds City Art Gallery

Appreciate the wonders of modern and contemporary British art, and don't forget to grab a cup of tea and slice of cake at the charming tiled hall cafe.

Thackeray Medical Museum

For a large dose of medical history! Although it's not exactly in the city centre, it's close enough and housed in a former Leeds Union workhouse, making it a fascinating visit with or without the children.

Things to do in Leeds City Centre: Food and Drink

Take a Food Tour of Leeds

It would be rude if we didn't use this section to plug our own product once again, right?

Eat, drink and discover Leeds with us on a Leeds Food Tour. Eat some of the very best food in Leeds, at six different venues! Take a guided food tour, or use the app to follow the map and redeem digital tokens at each stop on a self-guided food tour.

A group on a food tour of Leeds, listening and tasting at the chilli shop. A food tour is one of the best things to do in Leeds city centre

Gin, Wine & Coffee Experiences

Tours by Gin Journey are a gin lover's dream, featuring five gin samples, five tantalising gin cocktails, a chauffeur to escort you to five venues, and a wealth of new gin insights – it's a must for all you gin lovers out there!

Expand your wine horizons with a wine tasting session at Yorkshire Wine School. They host a variety of evening tastings at the Radisson Blu hotel, but if that doesn't align with your schedule, we highly recommend trying a tasting flight at Veeno, paired with one of their signature charcuterie boards. Cheers to discovering new wines (and enjoying cheese!).

Become a coffee connoisseur with North Star's 3-hour home barista course. No prior experience is necessary; all you need is a passion for coffee. Delve into the fundamentals of coffee usage, sensory skills, the coffee supply chain, latte art, and so much more. Similarly, 200 Degrees offers a range of courses, including Basic Barista, Latte Art and Home Brew.

Food Challenges

Participate in an exciting food challenge experience in Leeds! There's plenty to choose from, from Tapped's "Furious Disc of Agony" Challenge Pizza, Mojo's "Mad Dog" food challenge, to MEATliquor's "Triple Chilli Challenge".

But our favourite are the Hot Ones Challenges put on by our friend Frank at the Chilli Shop.

Beer Tours

Leeds Beer Tours, Leeds Heritage Beers Tours and Brewtown Tours all offer beer tours around Leeds city centre, so you have plenty of choice here!


Need to line your stomach first? We're still here reminding you about our food tours ;)

Street Food in Leeds

Jump into Leeds' street food scene! Take a look at Trinity Kitchen or Leeds Kirkgate Market for various street food vendors all in one place. If there's too much choice for you, and you can't make your mind up- we would be happy to show you around, by booking onto a Leeds Food Tour!

one of the best things to do in leeds is enjoy the street food. Image shows a man at a street food stall in Leeds market handing over a Tunisian sandwich

Fine Dining in Leeds

If you fancy sampling some finer dining in Leeds, try one of Leeds' many tasting menu's! We love Man Behind the Curtain, Vice and Virtue, Home, and the newly opened Six By Nico- but you'll have to be plan in advance for these and get them booked in advance as they tend to book up quick!

Rooftop Drinking in Leeds 

When the sun does shine (being hopeful here) run, don't walk to one of Leeds' rooftop beer gardens. Belgrave Music Hall. Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Cafe, Sky Lounge, IF Rooftop, Headrow House, Issho, Angelica, The Alchemist - Trinity are just a few that are fabulous when that lovely sun shines.

Check out our blog here for more Leeds food recommendations.

Things to do in Leeds City Centre: Shopping

Leeds' Famous Arcades

Leeds has many arcades, we recommend you shop, walk and eat in the many places situated inside. Admire the gorgeous design and architecture in Queen's Arcade, Thornton's Arcade, Grand Arcade, County Arcade and Victoria Quater.

On our guided food tours, we take you through a couple of the arcades between venues, stopping for a brief history lesson and to point out some impressive clocks!

One of the best things to do in Leeds is shopping, and here's an image of one of the beautiful covered arcades

The Corn Exchange

Stroll around the beautiful Leeds Corn Exchange, packed with great architecture and history, as well as some great indie shops and eateries, including The Cheesy Living Co, Owt and a shop we love, The Great Yorkshire Shop!

Leeds Trinity

Shop all your favourite high street fashion at Leeds Trinity! Home to Mango, Primark, New Look, Boots, Space NK, and recently rumoured to be opening a flagship Zara in the old Topshop space. Leeds Trinity also has various restaurants to dine in, including its very own street food space, called Trinity Kitchen, where various venders provide some seriously good food from varying cuisines, there's also a rooftop restaurant, cinema and bar with outside terrace.

Victoria Gate

Browse the next seasons trends at Leeds' newest shopping centre, Victoria Gate. Home to John Lewis, Cos, The White Company, & Other Stories and more, it's luxury feel is worth a visit.

Things to do in Leeds City Centre: Fun and Games

Axe Throwing

Push yourself out your comfort zone with 70 whirlwind minutes of axe throwing at Whistle Punks! "If you want vanilla go bowling" -this is a new and exciting trend where you can compete with your team mates in this axe-eptional competition. It can be tiring throwing axes, so make sure to order some food and drinks whilst here you wait for your turn.

One thing to do in Leeds city centre is axe throwing, shown here by an image of two axes against a grey background

Shuffle Board

Electric Shuffle, where players compete against one another to outscore their team mates by sliding a weighted puck down a shuffle board. A great one for groups who are competition hungry.


Housed in a beautiful Grade II listed property, Flight Club on Park Row offers six social dart games to enjoy. Make sure you bring some friends mid week or on a Saturday though, as they have a minimum group size in order to play.


Drink and bowl at Roxy Lanes, right in the city centre. They also offer Air Hockey, American Pool, Basketball, Ice-Free Curling and Shuffleboard - you could spend hours finessing your skills here.

Escape Rooms

Grab a group of your most knowledgable friends and try one of Leeds' Escape rooms. Leeds has various to try including Tick Tock Unlock, The Great Escape Game and Escape Hunt.


Everything else to do in Leeds City Centre

There are so many more things to do in Leeds, that we're struggling to fit into the above categories! Here are a few more for you, to finish off with:

Get yourself on a treasure hunt around Leeds! There's a few to choose from, like Scavenger Hunt, Hunt Fun and Treasure Trails.

Something a bit different, why not try a ghost hunt? Both Leeds Old Workhouse (which is now called Thackeray Medical Museum) and Armley Mills are fantastic locations for an overnight ghost hunt!

Any aspiring photographers in the making? Leeds has photography tour/lessons, there's actually a few companies that offer this, so see which suits you best and go from there!

You may have seen this one on your For You Page on Tik Tok, Tadatuft, a central Leeds hub for rug-making. Go join one of their many workshops, or enjoy a private event. Perfect for team building, hen parties, birthdays or just a creative afternoon with friends. Unleash your inner artist and enjoy creating your very own design!

If anyone's into dancing, these next two are for you...Shake your hips at Casa Columbiana's Salsa lessons, they offer weekly Bachata, Salsa and Kizomba classes- they also serve authentic latin drinks, food and coffee! What more can you ask for? If Salsa isn't your thing, Leeds Burlesque offers a variety of classes, workshops and even courses. Every level is catered for, so why not give it a go?

Sit at the back if you don't want to be called out...enjoy an evening at one of Leeds' many comedy clubs. Try out HIFI, The Wardobe, Leeds City Varieties and Leeds Comedy Club.

Leeds Central Library offers genealogy workshops, where you can look into your family history. Discover their vast collection of over 18,000 books, newspaper archives, journals, directories, maps, electoral registers, photo's, playbils and parish records. They also offer history workshops and drop in sessions.

Become a member at Aire Street dark rooms, book onto a printing session to refine your photography and printing skills. Their five week beginner course will develop (did you get that?) your dark room photo development and you'll find out about film types and best practice procedures for film handling.

Sing like no one is watching at one of Leeds' karaoke rooms! We've got lots of options varying from House of Fu (they have an entire upstairs area just for karaoke!), Mix Karaoke, Box, Roxy Ball Room, Hello Karaoke (brought to you from the people who own Belgrave and Headrow House) and more!

Don't Forget...

Well done if you're made it to the end of this monster blog post about things to do in Leeds city centre! We're ending with a final reminder about our food tours, where you can tour six foodie spots with food at every stop!

Book a guided food tour here, or download the app to do a self-guided tour, with instant start if you wish!



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