Back to Blog

The best way to get to the heart of York is to explore its independent scene, meet local people and discover its authenticity.

If you’re looking to treat yourself, find an unusual gift for a friend, source somewhere to grab a bite to eat – York has it all. With so much on offer here’s a summary of the #OnlyInYork places that we recommend you visit.

Bishopthorpe Road (Bishy Road to the locals)

Bishopthorpe Road, the winner of the Great British High Street of the Year 2015, is just a short walk from the city centre, where a cosy parade of shops and eateries are waiting to give you a warm Yorkshire welcome.

For lovers of life on two wheels, pop into Cycle Heaven at the Angel, a café, bar and cycle shop, the perfect pit stop to refuel. To impress the locals it’s worth knowing that the area is more affectionately known as ‘Bishy Road’.

Fossgate and Walmgate

The Fossgate and Walmgate area is a great place to shop and socialise, with numerous cafes and quirky shops. If you feel the need to cool down buy an ice cream at (N)ice Cream Factory, where you can watch your own ice cream being made right in front of your eyes with the magic of liquid nitrogen.

Pick up an unusual gift from Give the Dog a Bone, where cheeky greeting cards and souvenirs from your favourite comics, film & TV programmes are for sale. Want to liven up your living room? Visit Botanic, York's urban jungle, packed full of interesting houseplants of all shapes and sizes.


Micklegate is historically the most important of York’s four main medieval gateways, the royal gateway to the city, and today it is a bustling street of award-winning restaurants, cafes and unique shops.

Head to FortyFive Vinyl Cafe to unwind, drink coffee and listen to retro music being spun on vinyl. If hunting down rare vinyl is your thing, look through their collection of LP's and 45's including fan favourites and collectables.

Fifth Quarter (Gillygate and Bootham)

A short walk from the iconic York Minster are Gillygate and Bootham. Love cheese? Well the aptly named Love Cheese needs to be on your to do list. With specially picked cheeses, from mild to strong, young to mature, hard to soft, it’s cheese heaven! For the mind and body, The Zentist stocks everything you will need to free your spirit, selling healing Crystals, essential oils and jewellery.

Minster Quarter

If you see a hidden Snickelway (alleyway to non-York folk) on your travels, walk down it, you will be rewarded for your curiosity and will be surprised at what you’ll find. Low Petergate, Grape Lane, Stonegate and Back Swinegate all form a snug block of retail wonders. Shopping experiences include The Cat Gallery, two whole floors dedicated to our feline friends packed full of PAW-fect novelty gifts.

Feeling peckish? Dine away at Los Moros, serving tasty North African cuisine. If you love cute cuddly bears pop in to Stonegate Teddy Bears, where you’ll find a giant cuddly surprise waiting for you at the door, ideal for capturing the perfect insta selfie (you'll know why when you see it!).

Shambles and Goodramgate

Nestled in the heart of the city is the Shambles Market. Stop by and say ‘Ey Up’ to local traders selling exceptional fresh produce, unique crafts and essential merchandise. Then rest up at the Shambles Food Court and enjoy a bite to eat as you mull over the tasty street food and world cuisine on offer.

If you’re hungry for more take a stroll along Goodramgate, a street packed with historic pubs from the 15th and 16 century (well worth visiting) and a collective of independent shops. Head towards Monk Bar and visit Cleggs, full of decorative accessories from across the globe, it’s the perfect chance to give your home an exotic makeover.

Next door is the Monk Bar Model Shop, an Aladdin’s cave full of all kinds of models and kits. A dream for model railway enthusiasts, collectors and those young at heart.

Back up Goodramgate towards York Minster, you can Spice up your life at Rafi's Spice Box. Take home a make-your-own-curry spice pack, full of ingredients tailored to your own tastes. Make the curry you love when you get home (or back to your holiday apartment).

Celebrating York's Indie Scene

We’ve only touched the tip of the Indie York iceberg - for an in depth flavour of the scene delve deeper on the Visit York website.

Indie York have produced a really useful map that is worth getting your hands on. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled on our website for any upcoming independent shopping festivals and street party celebrations that take place during the year.

Share your adventures with us, using hashtag #OnlyinYork on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to tag us in your image @visityork. You might end up being featured on official page.

You may also like

Los Moros wraps 712938981
Food drink white

Los Moros

IMG 20180428 WA0005 2048970573
Things to do white

Full day and 1/2 day Indian cookery courses with Sharmini Thomas

FB IMG 1603909426297 603208854
Food drink white

Bull & Co