Things to do in Leeds

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

There’s plenty of things to do in Leeds, a hub of northern creativity, the metropolis of Yorkshire and one of the greenest cities in the UK. With a population of over 750,000 and ambitious regeneration plans, the city is one of the largest and most rapidly developing in the country. Tech companies are formed, record labels are created and arts organisations promote social change. No wonder then, that this climate produces countless celebrations of the city’s cuisine, culture and history. There’s lots of things to do in Leeds too with a packed calendar of events means that the city centre has a constant buzz of activity. Home to Opera North and the West Yorkshire Playhouse (and the mighty Leeds United!) you can be sure to find plenty to do. Leeds prides itself on its rich cultural diversity and history, playing host to the decades-old West Indian carnival. The nightlife has an unmistakably northern vibe; whether you choose to have a chilled one in a boutique bar owned by the local brewery, or dance till the AM at one of the DIY club nights showcasing the city’s vibrant live music scene.

Discover our top picks

Music 27–28 October 2018, from £18


Copenhagen-based producer Anders Trentemøller finds beauty in melancholy. Brooding and intense, his music is made for Church, where you can catch him this October.

Music 7 November 2018, from £16

Parquet Courts at Church

New York quartet Parquet Courts return to Leeds after the release of their acclaimed new album ‘Wide Awake’. Catch them at Church on the 7 November.

Childrens 2–12 May 2019, from £00.00

Leeds International Festival 2019

Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back for its second year, this time featuring more than 50 events and 40 speakers over 15 days.

Music 6 October 2018, from £15

Wildest Dreams Festival at the Brudenell Social Club

This all-day festival presents some of the best up and coming artists from Leeds and further afield, including Sweden, in the name of a good cause – with half of its proceeds going to Children of Prisoners Europe.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North
Exhibitions 20 July–14 October 2018, FREE

Tai Shani: Semiramis at The Tetley, Leeds

A heady mix of science fiction, anthropology, and feminist and queer theory featuring a Neanderthal and ‘Woman on the Edge of Time’ – Semiramis by Tai Shani at The Tetley is a powerful, multi-layered experience that will leave you disorientated and invigorated in equal measure.

Things to do right now

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Exhibitions 31 August–27 September 2018, FREE

FRONT at STOCK Gallery

Activity 3 September 2018–2 September 2019, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

Activity 16 September–24 November 2018, from £9

The Modern History of the Northern Quarter Tour