Large classic town square has the kind of space that you might expect of an italian plaza. In other parts of town, this much open space would be a natural spot for performers and punters to gravatate to.
The main problem is that the square is next to a very busy road - Lothian Road - with a large hotel and businesses around it. Unlike say St Andrew Square Garden, with its pleasant New Town setting and landscaped gardens, there's not much atmosphere to soak up here.
The square sees varied use for markets, booths, and as a pop-up entertainment space.
The role of the Square has been the subject of many discussions. The Council erected a large screen in the middle of it in 2009 which beamed BBC news 24/7. The Council decided to turn the screen off in 2013 as public interest didn't justify the £26,000 power and maintenance bill, although it still remains.
Plans are afoot to build a new 5-screen Filmhouse, and cafe in a multi-level tower in Festival Square. A decision is likely in Autumn 2021.
The Square has been used for occasional public screenings, and Fringe and festival shows.
A path found, at the North-West corner of the Square, curves along new office blocks and upmarket coffee shops and terraced bars, built in the traditional neo-classical fashion of the New Town. it provides a quiet shortcut to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Haymarket/Fountainbridge.