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

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019 at Leeds Art Gallery
Exhibitions 14 September–17 November 2019, FREE

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019 at Leeds Art Gallery

An exciting indicator for what’s around the corner in terms of British contemporary art, the 70th anniversary edition of New Contemporaries is a must see.

Trojan Horse at Leeds Playhouse
Theatre 3–5 October 2019, from £14

Trojan Horse at Leeds Playhouse

In this vital verbatim show, using real-life testimonies, LUNG examine the damage caused to Birmingham communities following the 2014 government inquiry.

Ageless Festival at Yorkshire Dance
Dance 25–26 October 2019,

Ageless Festival at Yorkshire Dance

Featuring a wide range of artists, film-makers and speakers, Ageless is a 2-day festival which re-imagines age through dance.

Mushy - Lyrically Speaking at Leeds Playhouse
Theatre 8–12 October 2019, from £14.00

Mushy – Lyrically Speaking at Leeds Playhouse

The uplifting and true story of Musharaf Asghar, the young man with an acute stammer, who found himself thrust into the limelight on the TV show ‘Educating Yorkshire’.

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley, Liverpool Biennial 2019 touring programme
Exhibitions 22 June 2019–3 May 2020, FREE

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley

As part of the Liverpool Biennial touring programme, The Tetley is hosting works by artists Holly Hendry and Taus Makhacheva.

Music 8 December 2019, 7:30 pm–11:00 pm, from £33.25

The National at First Direct Arena

Following their much-celebrated album, I Am Easy to Find, The National are bringing their melancholy alternative rock to Leeds’ First Direct Arena this December.

Things to do right now

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Experience The Magic of Trees at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens
Families 5 March 2019–1 March 2020, Normal admission charges apply/free to National Trust members

Autumn at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens

Activity 11 September 2019–28 February 2020, from £5

Meditation at the Manchester Buddhist Centre

Suli Yoga
Activity 11 September–30 October 2019, FREE

Yoga and Mindfulness with Suli Yoga