Savannah, Georgia is one of the most historic and beautiful cities in the United States, and it has a soul of its own. While it constantly makes lists of best cities to travel to, it maintains an air of Southern charm while never feeling overwhelmingly touristy. The cobblestone streets and the homes that line them have seen centuries and tell stories of their own.
While I lived in Bluffton, South Carolina as a child, my father spent a stint working in Savannah, so I spent many weekends exploring its wonder. There’s so much history to learn. Ghost stories to chill. Architecture to admire. Food to devour. There’s never a dull moment in Savannah.
Where To Stay:
The Mansion on Forsyth Park – This four-star hotel is housed in an old Victorian mansion overlooking Forsyth Park. My dad actually helped manage this hotel back when it first opened, so I spent many childhood days in awe of the place – the halls are like walking though an art gallery. This opulent hotel is the perfect getaway in the city, is within walking distance to everything, and features a spa, courtyard pool and 700 Drayton Restaurant.
Where To Eat:
The South boasts some of the best cuisine (I mean, comfort food) in the world, and there’s no shortage of great offerings in Savannah. Try Paula Deen’s famous The Lady and Sons, or stop by Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room for some traditional family-style eats. The Olde Pink House is a Savannah classic for fine dining in an old colonial mansion. You may recognize Clary’s Cafe from the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and this diner serves up delicous southern-style classics. For pizza, stop by Vinnie Van Go Go’s on Bryan St. After eating, grab dessert at Leopold’s Ice Cream or Lulu’s Chocolate Bar. Start off your day with some treat from Back In The Day Bakery. There’s no shortage of amazing eats in Savannah!
What To Do:
Forsyth Park (and City Squares)
There are many historic and beautiful squares to wander through in Savannah – and Forsyth Park is the best. These grounds are draped in Spanish moss, and house the famous fountain, reminiscent of the Place de la Concorde in Paris, at the north end. Also worth a stroll is Johnson Square! Savannah’s historic district is comprised of 22 squares, and every square displays a bit of Savannah’s history and are full of fountains, monuments, memorials, and more.
Stroll along the river front and wander through the many shops and restaurants. There are art galleries, boutiques, and views of the Savannah River and the Talmadge Bridge. My favorite past time is visiting the Savannah Candy Kitchen for free samples of their warm, fresh pralines. You can even take a riverboat cruise!
Wander the Historic Streets
One of my favorite things to do in Southern towns like Savannah is simply wander the historic city streets. Take a stroll down the brick-paved, oak-covered Jones Street and admire the architecture, peaking in to secret gardens here and there.
Get Spooked on a Ghost Tour
There’s a reason why Savannah has earned the title of most haunted city in America. The number of ghost stories that I heard while growing up visiting this city are endless. With so much history (and much of it macabre), there is no end to the tales of hauntings in the ancient buildings and streets of Savannah.
Take a Carriage Ride
Part of Savannah’s charm lies within its architecture, as well as its history. Step back in time by taking a scenic carriage ride around the city.
If the ghost tour wasn’t enough for you, check out one of the United States’ most famous cemeteries. Bonaventure is located on the bluff of the Wilmington River. It gained fame for its feature in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and is notable for its scenery and history. The famous statue of Gracie Watson draws visitors, as well as other notable burials there.
Explore City Market and Shop Local
There are plenty of shops, galleries, cafes, and more to explore around the city! City Market on the corner of Jefferson and West St. Julian is full of restaurants and shops. Over on Boughton Street, explore the two-story Paris Market for treasures from around the world, or stop by Leopold’s for some ice cream. Find more along Bull or Whitaker Street, like E Shaver Booksellers.
Visit Some of Savannah’s Historical Homes and Churches
There’s so much history everywhere you turn in Savannah, and I don’t know about you, but I love exploring old houses. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can visit in Savannah – such as the Mercer Williams house, Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace, or the Owens-Thomas house. Churches such as Christ Church Episcopal or the Cathedral of John the Baptist are open to the public to visit as well.
Check out some local art.
Savannah is home to the famous Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), so there is no shortage of amazing art to be found around the city. You can visit the Gutstein Gallery on E Broughton Street, or the Telfair Museums.
Venture out to Tybee Island (and Fort Pulaski)
About a thirty minute drive out of downtown, Tybee is a scenic barrier island with stunning beaches, piers, and a quaint downtown. Remember shirtless Liam Hemsworth running around on the beautiful Georgian beaches in The Last Song? (Let’s be honest, did we even notice the beautiful Georgian beaches?) Yepp, that was filmed on Tybee!
Additionally, make a pitstop at Fort Pulaski on the way. Located on Cockspur Island, this historic fort was a battle site during the Civil War, where the Union used cannon fire to convince the Confederate garrison inside to surrender. Take a walk back in time in these walls, and explore the scenic grounds.
Visit Wormsloe Plantation
Outside of Savannah, Wormsloe Historic Sight offers a drive down a beautiful avenue lined by towering oak trees covered in Spanish Moss – and the trip is worth it for that view alone. The grounds are home to the ruins of Wormsloe Plantation – the colonial estate of Noble Jones (1702-1775), who arrived in Savannah with the first group of settlers from England. The ruins are the oldest standing structure in Savannah.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Savannah?