Yorkshire Museum- Yorkshire Museum is a good place to start your journey to get a grasp of the history of York from the Neolithic age, to the Romans, to the Vikings (a visiting exhibit when I was there). A lot more has happened in York than you would think, and this museum does a great job of sharing the info. Surrounding the museum is the ruins of an abbey, and it is here that I learned that Constantine was made emperor in York.
Take a walk- There is much to see when walking around York. I enjoyed taking a walk down the Shambles, recognized as one of the oldest streets in England, and one of the best preserved medieval streets in the world. Looking up when walking through the town, and spotting different symbols, like the printer's devil, which was the symbol for the printing press. Make sure you pay attention, for there is much to see in York, and it is a wonderful walking town.
York Castle Museum- If you only have time for one museum, let it be this one. I really loved this museum! It stands on the site of York castle and is housed in Grade I buildings that were once prisons. It holds many unique exhibitions. Some of the highlights: diary entries from women in different times (ex. 1800s) and different class groups, fashion through the ages, WWI exhibit told from the perspective of the soldiers, and those that stayed behind, and a replica of Kirkgate; street from the Victorian era, where they had people working in the various shops answering your questions about the time period. Truly a great museum!
House of Trembling Madness- Obviously the name piqued my interest, but when I learned that it's a medieval bar in an attic; I was sold! I enjoyed local beer along with a local cheese plate, and after our visit I went and shopped in their gourmet store on the first floor to bring more local items back to the room with me. The bar is lit with candles, and the walls are lined with stuffed animals that peer down at you from above. It was very crowded, but the environment was friendly and historic with some modern touches (craft beer). I visited more than once, and that's how you know it's a cool spot.
Guy Fawkes Inn- I had to visit the birthplace of Guy Fawkes! I did read that the food is great, but I couldn't seem to get a reservation when I was there, so I would recommend you book in advance. I had a beer in the corner, and loved dreaming of times past in York, and kept hearing in my head, "Remember, remember the 5th of November."
Betty's Tea House- A regal cafe, inspired by the Queen Mary, and opened in 1936. It is the perfect place to have afternoon tea or lunch. I had a special pasta dish that was hearty and tasty, and I followed it with a glass of rosé and a fruit tart. A good thing that I didn't eat all day before, because I didn't want to leave so I kept ordering. I recommend you take your time here. You will most likely have a wait to get in, because it is very popular, but it was worth it for me.
The Perky Peacock- A cafe in a medieval tower! Yes, please! This cafe was one of my first stops in York, and after admiring the historic interior, I had my latte outside at a table by the river, where I could watch the boats go by, and look at the beauty of York.
York Tap- I have never been inside such a gorgeous pub at a train station. This Victorian pub makes you not mind a long wait at the station (I came here twice). Once again, it's a historic pub but with the modern update of craft beers. The real reason to visit this pub is the interior design, but it's also a perfect place to get some postcard writing done, and when you are finished, right outside the door is a mailbox to drop your mail in.
Vikings- Season 5, The Sack of York