1. Wander round St Nicholas Fair, York's Christmas Market
I will start with the caveat that I can not be held responsible for how busy you will find the Christmas Market on the weekend, or the city centre in general for that matter.
Whilst it is not as large as the markets in nearby Leeds or Manchester, York's Christmas market is packed full of traders selling a variety of goods, ranging from Christmas garlands to locally made ceramics.
If you can visit on weekday, that would be my recommendation. However, there is something to be said for the atmosphere at the weekend (though you will struggle to park ANYWHERE, so perhaps consider the Park and Ride / Train).
Alongside stalls, there is also the aptly named Thor's Tipi, the official market pop up bar which comes complete with open braziers.
(Also don't forget to check out some of the lovely local traders at the Shambles Market, which is right by the main Christmas Market area)
2. Check out York's brand new Christmas Shop
Specialist German Christmas retailers, Käthe Wohlfahrt, recently opened up their first UK stop right here in York, just off Stonegate (in what was the old Mulberry hall shop).
Despite being open and full of Christmas all year round, it's still a great place to head for a dose of festive cheer.
I particularly enjoyed walking past the the window display earlier on this week, which is currently at peak cheer/joy etc.
3. Find the best mulled wine and cider
After a day trecking around the rather hectic city streets, it's well worth checking out one of York's numerous pubs/bars for a quick pit stop or a longer respite session!
My top recommendations for mulled wine/cider are Vahe Bar on Goodramgate and The House of The Trembling Madness on Stonegate (though be warned that the latter can be a nightmare to get into on busy nights).
4. Sit by an open fire
Following on from my mulled suggestions, I thought it might also be worth pointing out some of the pubs in York which have welcoming and warming hearths!
5. Walk the walls
York is still surrounded by an impressively almost complete medieval wall. During daylight hours the wall is freely open to the public and makes for a lovely circular walk around the city.
From this relatively high vantage point you can enjoy incredible views of the Minster and can see other historical sites in the city, including The Red Tower, a Roman Ice House and The Richard III Museum.
6. Grab a mince pie by the Minster at Treasurer's House
As a big National Trust fan, I couldn't help but mention one of my favourite properties in the city centre, Treasurers House which is open Thurs-Sun until the 18th of December.
Not only do the Trust do a great job of dressing the house for Christmas, they also have an excellent downstairs cafe which serves rather good mince pies, if my memory serves me correctly!
7. Warm up with a hot chocolate
If alcohol isn't your thing, hot chocolate might be the way to go on a cold day, especially if you're visiting with little ones.
My favourite spots for Hot Chocolate in York include Evil Eye on Stonegate (though this is quite an adult place), El Piano (great for vegan and GF diners) on Grape Lane and Coffee Culture on Goodramgate.
8. Hear Handel's Messiah performed in the Minster
Handel's Messiah, featuring the extremely famous hallelujah chorus, is one of the most iconic pieces of classical Christmas music.
This year it is being performed at York Minster Choir in one of the most atmospheric concert venues in the country (IMO).
Tickets usually sell out fast for anything at the Minster around this time of year, so grab yours quickly