• Jeff & Katie Miller

Leeds City Centre

If you’re going out to have fun, shop, grab a bite, grab a pint, or just to stroll through Leeds, chances are you’re heading to the City Centre.

The City Centre is the main shopping, business, and entertainment district in Leeds. The main thoroughfare of the City Centre is a long, wide, stone-paved street that bustles with people, is closed off to vehicular traffic, and is walled with lovely three- to four-story buildings with unique, old-world architecture, and with smaller, equally tempting side streets and alleys shooting off to the left and right as you make your way about.

Leeds City Centre

The charm of the buildings doesn’t end with the exteriors either; a popular feature of Leeds’s main shopping district, as well as the shopping districts of even larger cities such as London, are the enchanting arcades.

An arcade is essentially a small street or series of streets, that run as straight, seemingly endless passageways through the insides of buildings, and are lined on either side by small, closely-packed shops with large glass windows – perfect for spying on the happenings or appealing products within. What really defines the quintessential arcade is its ornate, colorful décor, as well as the unfailing and innumerable, custom-designed  archways and arched ceilings.

Victoria Arcade

Some arcades can be narrower and more quaint as well, however just as appealing, such as Thornton’s Arcade below.

Thornton’s Arcade

The classical attractiveness of these arcades and historical buildings is also somewhat incorporated into the design of Leeds’s larger, more modern shopping mall.

Also located in the City Centre, Trinity Leeds features a twenty-first-century take on the arcade-style ceiling, this one being made up of hundreds of symmetrical glass squares that together form a celestial pattern that rolls like a wavy cloud over the entire complex, letting the sky in, but keeping the weather out.

No doors. You walk into Trinity Leeds as you would walk into any other alleyway off of the main thoroughfare.

Trinity Leeds

There are many other interesting sites and attractions both at and on the way to the City Centre as well. Here’s a short list of just a few that Katie and I have seen and might explore more in the upcoming months:

  • There are carts that sell cups of sweet corn, similar to carts that sell roasted nuts in New York or Chicago. One of the carts we found said “Hollywood Sweet Corn!” on the side, which seemed to be just the perfect culinary metaphor for a couple who grew up in the Midwest, moved to Hollywood for a couple years, and relocated to Leeds… But in case you’re wondering: no… people don’t sell sweet corn from carts in Hollywood.

Hollywood Sweet Corn???

  • TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx over here, haha.

  • I flipped out when I saw Poundland! Never been to a Poundland? It is essentially the equivalent of the Dollar Tree in The States.

  • One of the first times that Katie and I were on campus, I met a skateboarder and asked him where the local skate shop was. He told me about “Welcome” in the City Centre, the local shop he liked best. I needed a skateboard deck (the wooden part you stand on) since I had left mine in Illinois when we came over, and only brought my wheels and trucks (axels) with me when we moved over. We found the shop, found the perfect shop-brand deck, and walked out with my first UK deck. Never forget: 1) Always support your local skate shop, and 2) “Don’t Mess with Yorkshire”.

Welcome Skate Shop

  • Not sure if Schuh is a popular store in the US, but I’ve seen it in England and Ireland a couple times now. I needed a good pair of walking around shoes, so I bought some hightop, weather resistant Vans from here. Katie was even sweet enough to hook me up with her student discount!

  • Here are some other quick, interesting sites we pass to and from the City Centre:

Leeds General Infirmary

Leeds City Council

Leeds City Museum

Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds Cathedral

See you at the City Centre!

Photo Credit: Katie Miller

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