First Direct Arena (also known as the Leeds Arena) events focus on Rock and Pop genre, with acts including Jack White, Placebo, Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, and Depeche Mode having already performed here. Although the seats are quite tiny, acoustics are overwhelming as the interior of the arena is built like an steep ancient Greek amphitheatre, with a capacity of 13,500 in total.
The arena officially opened its doors on 4 September 2013 with Sir Elton John playing the very first show. Bruce Springsteen, Kaiser Chiefs, Rod Stewart, and Status Quo were some of the first artists to hit the stage. The building has been nominated as one of England's greatest landmarks and won best new venue in the world in 2014.
Best choice for staying some nights in Leeds: Radisson Blu which is within walking distance to major sightseeing spots such as Town Hall and Leeds Cathedral, plus in neighbourhood to record stores and numerous bars and restaurants. Definitely a plus: First Direct Arena is just some steps away.Book Now
Jumbo Records is a centrally located, independent record shop with a huge range of vinyl and CDs. Running for decades now, it is a real paradise especially if you are an enthusiast of old stuff or current vinyl. There are loads of records to browse. Jumbo covers the whole spectrum of Rock, Indie, and Pop to Dance, Jazz, and much more. Also strongly supporting local artists and newcomers.
A real hot spot is Nation of Shopkeepers. One of the best choices in Leeds for a pre gig dinner or some drinks after the concert. Weather allowing, enjoy a cold drink or one of the fancy burgers in the wonderful outside courtyard. The inside is a inspiring mix of art and live music.
Irish pub Shenanigans is an overwhelmingly friendly place with Irish and Folk music sounds. Have a snack and a beer and if you're lucky, there's also some kind of live music on today's event calendar. They carefully pick their bands and musicians for their talent, so perhaps you'll discover some new favourites tunes tonight.
Leeds University is not only a place to study, but also to enjoy live music in three different venues, with The Refectory the most popular one. Situated in the heart of the campus, it hosted legendary performances since the 60s such as Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The venue is highly renowned for The Who live album Live at Leeds which was recorded there.Find Tickets
In Merrion Street you'll be spoiled in terms of bars in direct neighbourhood. Try MOJO with its amazing Rock ’n’ Roll and Americana memorabilia. The music ranges from the sounds of the 60s to Hard Rock classics and current Rock.
Santiago is all about Rock music. One of the best venues for having some drinks while listening to tunes from a broad range from Metal to Classic Rock and Hard Rock. On some evenings, they are also host to live performances.
Indie, Punk, Emo, to Metal and Alternative - this is the place for a Rock night out. Dance until late or attend one of the intimate live concerts taking place in the venue within. The Key Club is one of the best night clubs around town.
Leeds Cathedral, or Saint Anne's Cathedral, is a small Roman Catholic Cathedral in the city centre of Leeds. A quite tiny one, admittedly. Its erection began in 1901 with the cathedral opening in 1904.
Leeds Town Hall is classical in style with its steps and giant Corinthian columns. Above it all thrones the central tower. Built from 1853 onwards and opened in 1858, it is one of the largest town halls in the UK nowadays.
When the Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen opened in 2013, it responded to a need for a large-room live music venue with a decent bar, craft beer, and reliable street food. What was once a large nursery school in the city’s Northern Quarter is now a vibrant, youthful, three-storey hangout and one of the city’s best live music venues. Ultimate highlight: the spectacular roof terrace.Find Tickets
Verve is all about live music and good times. Serving beers and cocktails indoors and in the spacious outdoor seating area. Enjoy an intimate and unpretentious evening. Open until late on weekends.
When the Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen opened in 2013, it responded to a need for a large-room live music venue with a decent bar, craft beer, and reliable street food. What was once a large nursery school in the city’s Northern Quarter is now a vibrant, youthful, three-storey hangout and one of the city’s best live music venues. Ultimate highlight: the spectacular roof terrace.
Leeds University, really? Yes, it's not only a place to study, but also to enjoy live music in three different venues, with The Refectory the most popular one. Situated in the heart of the campus, it hosted legendary performances since the 60s such as Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The venue is highly renowned for The Who live album Live at Leeds which was recorded there.
Brudenell Social Club is a non-profit community and live music venue northwest of Leeds city centre. It is a centrepiece of the local music scene and most famous for hosting secret gigs for bands like Franz Ferdinand, British Sea Power, and Kaiser Chiefs. It is owned and run by members, for members.
It's an impressive Gothic building that hosts O2 Academy Leeds. With global superstars as well as local newcomers on the event calendar, this is one of the most renowned venues in town. Also centrally located in walking distance to main sightseeing attractions, shopping options and numerous bars and restaurants, O2 Academy is a hotspot for both locals and tourists.
Leeds Festival alongside with its twin Reading Festival, marks one of the most iconic British music events. Basically a Rock festival, it also showcases a line-up that spans various genres including Metal, Punk, Indie, and House. It's a true Hall Of Fame that have graced Leeds Festival famous main stage. Among them AC/DC, Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Green Day, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, just to name a few.
The Wardrobe offers a full event calendar of gigs, combined with excellent drinks and food. Also a great choice if you are looking for smaller shows - whether music, comedy, or art performances. The basement venue hosts bigger, yet intimate live performances. As for the kitchen, The Wardrobe provides a delicious selection of pre or post gig snacks, salads, and burgers on its menu.
Headrow House opened up in 2015 and has since become one of the most popular music venues in Leeds, helped by it’s amazing beer hall, cocktail bar, restaurant, and rooftop terraces, no doubt. For a really cool relaxed feel and definitely worth a visit. Also hosting numerous live performances from both renowned and upcoming artists and bands.
Since its beginnings in 2007, Live at Leeds is an award winning metropolitan festival held annually within a variety of venues and spaces in Leeds city centre. Most of them even in walking distance. It showcases the best new emerging artists alongside more established acts from around the world.
This is the place when you are fond of heavier music. May it be Punk or all variations of Heavy Metal - this intimate live music venue is all about a great gig experience.
First Direct Arena (Photo by Bachmeier / Ramsthaler)
Concert in First Direct Arena Leeds (Photo by Bachmeier / Ramsthaler )