Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Savannah, Georgia is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S., with a rich history and culture to boot. Home of one of the largest St. Patrick's Day Parades in the country, the founder of the Girl Scouts, and of course "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
3-4 days is a good start to get a feel for the city, learn about the history, and indulge in some of the best food the south has to offer.
Here are our top picks and suggestions for your Savannah adventure:
Get the lay of the land
Whether you hate all things touristy, or you're all about the souvenir shops and corny character tour guides, hopping on a tour bus or trolley on your first day in a new city isn't a bad idea. Old Town Trolley Tours and Old Savannah Tours both offer similar hop on-hop off experiences for about $30/adult/day. We hopped on and rode through all of the stops, listening to our guide talk about the historical, cultural, and political significance of many of the sights we passed. This allowed us to get a feel for the city and decide where we wanted to get off and spend time.
Eat ~*ALL*~ of the food
The Olde Pink House is perhaps the most famous restaurant in Savannah, and the one most people recommend you visit - and we agree 100%! The food is amazing, the servers are excited to tell you all about the place and answer questions, and the ambiance is top-notch. Advanced reservations are strongly encouraged; you can even request a certain room to dine in (the vault books up very far in advance, but a server told us most of the other spaces are available just days - sometimes, in our case, even hours - ahead of your desired dining time). While they don't require dinner jackets, this is a classier establishment so you may want to stop at your hotel room to change out of your shorts and sandals.
The Ordinary Pub offers both weekend and weekday brunch, with $12 bottomless mimosas. We recommend the Loaded Fritter Tots, Bananas Foster French Toast, and Short Rib Naan but you really can't go wrong here. Check out their menus at http://www.theordinarypub.com/
Drink ~*ALL*~ of the drinks
Take advantage of being able to drink on the street; Savannah does not prohibit open containers and there are plenty of bars and restaurants that advertise "to-go" drinks.
Moon River Brewing Company has an awesome vibe, with ample outdoor seating in a chill beer garden. They have about ten of their own beers on tap as well as a few guest brews, an impressive menu that goes beyond basic bar fare, and to-go cups so you can enjoy your beverage as you continue to peruse the city. Dogs are also welcome! They are pretty strict about checking IDs for anyone getting a drink, so come prepared. https://moonriverbrewing.com
The Ordinary Pub (mentioned above) even pours togosas for when you want to take that last mimosa with you.
Take a ghost tour
Savannah claims to be the most haunted city in the U.S. (along with Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, and surely others). But, there's a legit reason: "Savannah was built on its dead;" the city is actually built on top of graves. Historians and construction workers have discovered skeletal remains under roads and buildings, from Native American burial grounds, unmarked or washed away graves of slaves, mass burials of victims of yellow fever, devastating fires, and bloody battles.
Let's not forget about Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the 1997 movie starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack and directed by Clint Eastwood, based on the 1994 hit novel by John Berendt. If you haven't seen the movie or read the book (we'd recommend the book!), you can read up on it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_in_the_Garden_of_Good_and_Evil
All this certainly sets the stage for a spooky evening in the historic district. Luckily, there are tons of tours to choose from. Whether you'd prefer to walk or sit in the comfort and safety of a bus or trolley, go through cemeteries, dark streets, or haunted pubs, there is a tour for you. We took the Beyond Good and Evil Tour with Ghost City Tours, and our guide Zach was amazing!
Just walk around!
Savannah's Historic District is very walkable, and it’s a pretty walk at that. The neighborhoods were built around 24 squares, featuring huge oak trees, and the homes and churches that border them are among the most beautiful gems in the city. Check out the gorgeous squares and parks, just blocks apart from one another (with a to-go drink in your hand or not ;)). Tom Hanks' character famously sat on a park bench in Chippewa Square telling his life story in Forrest Gump (the bench has since been moved to the Savannah History Museum). We especially loved Johnson Square and the fountain in Forsyth Park, and feel every city should have as many of these lush little areas to encourage people to slow down and appreciate their surroundings. After all, the south has certainly figured out how to live life a little slower.
Yes, there are malls, but we didn’t waste our time with those. I can go to Macy’s and Bath & Body Works just about anywhere. We’re all about authentic experiences.
Our favorite was Broughton Street, conveniently just around the corner from our Airbnb. While you can find Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs here, the real gems are places like Savannah Bee Company (chapstick, hand cream, candles, and all things honey).
Looking for souvenirs? Tourist hotspots like River Street and City Market have you covered.
Check out USA Today’s 10Best recommendations for shopping in Savannah: https://www.10best.com/destinations/georgia/savannah/shopping/best-shopping/
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters
Mercer Williams House Museum
Waving Girl Statue
Things we didn’t have time for, but heard were pretty cool:
Wormsloe Historic Site
Have you ever been to Savannah before? What were your favorite spots?