I’ve had the opportunity to spend a few weekends in Savannah over the past eight years. I’ve also gone with a few different people so I’ve “had” to do some of the same activities over again, and trust me when I say, this city does not get boring.
I’m sharing things I’ve done as well as things that sound fun and would be worth checking out on our next visit. I’ve also marked my must-see items with an asterisk*. Like if you don’t do/see/eat these things, you’ve failed at Savannah.
How to Get Around in Savannah
Savannah’s grid layout makes it so easy to get around town and explore by foot! Savannah is known for its incredible walking tours and trolley tours.
A hop-on-hop-off ticket for Old Town Trolley Savannah Tours is actually not a bad way to get around town, so long as you’re flexible with the order of your destinations.
What to See in Savannah
Savannah is best known for its *Historic District (north section and south section) where you can stroll through 22 park squares, and explore museums, monuments, restored 18th-century homes, boutiques, and more than 100 restaurants.
Outside of the Historic District, you may want to stroll through *Forsyth Park This 30 acre park is known for it’s Spanish moss draped oak trees, pedestrian/jogger-friendly sidewalks, and the iconic fountain. The park’s great fountain is one of Savannah’s most recognizable landmarks, and is the perfect spot to snap a photo!
The fun and funky Starland District starts just south of Forsyth Park and is made up of Thomas Square and Metropolitan neighborhoods. It’s and artsy, revitalized area filled with late-19th-century homes interspersed with antiques shops, burger joints, yoga studios, and gastropubs. It’s where a number of my restaurant recommendations are located.
Where to Stay in Savannah
I’ve stayed in various hotels, the best of which was probably the Holiday Inn Express Historic District – With a graceful lobby, full service fireside lobby bar, a rooftop pool and gazebo, guest rooms equipped with flat screen TV, and deluxe continental breakfast daily.
But if that’s not your style, here are a few more places that look nice and have good recent reviews.
East Bay Inn – Built in 1852, located in the historic district and across the street from River Street, pet friendly, and complimentary wine or beer daily.
1845 Tiny House – Private courtyard, located on Greene Square, barely 500 sq ft with bed in the loft.
Mansion on Forsyth Park – Soaring above its namesake park in the heart of the historic district, this hotel offers boutique accommodations in a lovingly restored Victorian-Romanesque building, bathrobes provided.
Liberty Street Retreat – Located in the heart of historic Savannah, 2 bedrooms with full bathrooms.
Marshall House – voted Best Hotel and Best Downtown Hotel in Savannah 2021 on Tripadvisor, fun balcony rooms, authentic historic features, complimentary wine and more.
What to Do in Savannah
Get a hop-on-hop-off ticket for Old Town Trolley Savannah Tours. Savannah might be one of the only cities where a trolley tour is actually a great way, maybe the best way, to see the city. You’ll hit pretty much every point of interest moving along at a decent pace on a single trolley route. Take a shot every time you hear a reference to “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
City Market is a neat place to wander the cobblestone streets to meet some of the city’s emerging artists, listen to live music, shop for trashy souvenirs, or people watch while dining at one of the restaurants.
The SCAD Museum of Art is a contemporary museum where the exhibitions rotate based on the academic term. The Savannah College of Art an Design has over 11,000 students from nearly 50 states and over 100 countries, so you know you’ll see things you’ve never experienced before.
ShopSCAD Savannah is a store filled with artwork, textiles, jewelry, photography made by current SCAD students, faculty, and alumni. Other shops I always visit include The Salt Table and Savannah Bee Company.
Bonaventure Cemetery is a popular tourist destination and is a traditional Victorian cemetery that rests on a whopping 100 acres where you can quietly explore the winding pathways and view centuries-old tombstones. But I’m partial to the Colonial Park Cemetery, which was Savannah’s primary public cemetery until 1853. When Union troops occupied Savannah during the War of Northern Aggression, the graveyard became a temporary home to several hundred Union soldiers who allegedly damaged or defaced some of the stone markers (including altering some dates and ages) and sheltered inside vaults.
Georgia State Railroad Museum is housed in the former Central of Georgia Railway Roundhouse and Repair Shops Complex at Savannah, the Georgia State Railroad Museum exhibits a collection of historic, restored rolling stock and interprets the history of railroading in the state of Georgia.
Try a Haunted Pub Walking Tour to hear ghost stories, get a few drinks, meet some people, and maybe see a ghost..
Where to Eat and Drink in Savannah
For breakfast and coffee:
- *The Coffee Fox is worth the line. Some signature drinks include an espresso with ice cream, stout beer with espresso, and a Mexican mocha with habanero and cinnamon, and a delicious horchata latte.
- Back In The Day Bakery is a quirky, vintage-inspired eatery featuring traditional bakery items: artisan breads, cookies, cupcakes and brownies. But what makes Back in the Day Bakery a Savannah favorite is definitely their “Build Your Own Biscuit” option.
- *Narobia’s Grits & Gravy serves up some of the best (and best value) Southern breakfast and lunch dishes in town. Get anything with crab.
- *The Collins Quarter is an Australian style coffee café that pairs a unique specialty coffee experience with very innovative cuisine in a casual café environment. Picture exposed brick wall, brightly colored leather booths, vaulted ceilings, and magical cocktails, food, and coffee. Go for brunch and dinner.
For lunch and dinner:
- Cotton & Rye rotates menu items and nightly specials for starters, main courses, and even desserts. Focusing on traditional favorites like fried chicken thighs but also throwing in unique options such as eggplant cannelloni. According to Eater Carolinas, Desserts are just as popular and ordering the dessert before dinner is encouraged.
- Green Truck Neighborhood Pub is supposed to have the best pub food in town. And a long beer list with rotating taps of local craft beer you won’t find on tap anywhere else.
- *The Grey was named Eater’s best restaurant of the year in 2017 and Chef Mashama Bailey won the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast category in 2019. It’s located in an old art deco Greyhound bus station, serving amazing modern Southern cuisine.
- The Grey Market is accurately described as bodega-meets-lunch counter, inspired by the amazing “The Grey.” This spin-off serves as a magical counter-service space with casual dishes and grab-and-go items such as sandwiches (bacon-egg-cheese on kaiser rolls, chicken sandwiches), sides, boxed lunches, beer, and wine. Exceeds expectations.
- Anywhere in the Historic District. The legislation in Savannah permits patrons and party goers to carry open drinks as long as those concoctions are held in a plastic, 16-ounce cup and remain in the parameters of the Historic District.
- E River Street is a street with a bit of a trashy party atmosphere. Admire the Savannah River while wandering old cobblestone streets that weave you through historic buildings filled with shops and restaurants that legally serve cocktails and beers to-go.
- Leopold’s Ice Cream has been serving old-fashioned super-premium ice cream to hungry visitors for almost a century.
Itinerary for a Weekend in Savannah
From my experience, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for a first visit to Savannah. That said, I’m not going to spell out a detailed itinerary for you because you may want to do slightly different things than I’ve done, but hit me up if you want help coming up with your own personalized itinerary. Here’s my Google Map that you can use to start planning your own adventure in Savannah, Georgia.