The square developed in the 17-th century as a wagon park for farmers and peasants to leave their carts here before entering the city centre. The name is because of Leidsepoort, which once marked the end of the main road from Amsterdam to Leiden. Nowadays, Leidseplein is a busy tram intersection and centre of night-time transport.
Leidseplein is one of Amsterdam's popular centers for nightlife, with theatres, lots of cafes, restaurants, cinemas, the casino, the Lido theatre with live entertainment and music centres Paradiso and Melkweg. Street musicians, jugglers, fire-eaters and other performers make the square a lively place until the early hours, especially on warm summer evenings, when you can get there also a henna tattoo.
At night, it is the meeting point for youth, who hang out in the clubs and cinemas around the square. It is also popular with pickpockets as well with drunk groups of tourists.