Tips on What To Do in Savannah
Savannah offers attractions that will interest history and architecture buffs as well as those who just want to spend time outside and enjoy the pleasant views of nature. Renting or bringing a car could be helpful to explore the surrounding areas, but you'll only need your two feet to get around the Historic District.
- The best way to get a feel for the place is simply to wander its 'tabby' streets, paved with a kind of primitive concrete mashed up with oyster shells. …The lush subtropical greenery is as stunning as the buildings, creeping its way through the ornate railings, cracking open the sidewalk, casting cool shadows, and filling the air with its warm, sensual scent." -- Rough Guides
- It's best to introduce yourself to the sights of Savannah by traveling from the river southward. It's no small task to navigate the nation's largest contiguous Historic District, but when in doubt it's best to follow James Oglethorpe's original plan of using the five 'monumental' squares on Bull Street (Johnson, Wright, Chippewa, Madison, and Monterey) as focal points." -- Moon Travel Guides
Savannah's Historic District is what keeps the city a tourist mainstay. Well-preserved antebellum architecture lines the streets, and recent visitors recommend the various walking tours. Individual tours are also available for some of the more prominent properties, like the Juliette Gordon Low House, preserved in honor of the Girl Scouts' founder. Fans of John Berendt's non-fiction book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, can tour the Mercer-Williams House, located on Whitaker Street in the southern portion of the Historic District.
Outside of the Historic District, writers suggest visiting the city's historical forts, including the Old Fort Jackson east of the city and Fort McAllister to the southwest. Recent travelers recommend a free tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery, located east of the city, where you can find many recognizable landmarks from Berendt's Midnight. If you're looking for the famous Bird Girl statue featured on the book's cover, however, go visit the Telfair Museum of Art in the Historic District.
- You can't leave Savannah without seeing the Mercer-Williams House. … You're not allowed to see the upstairs, where Williams' family still lives, but the downstairs is an interior decorator's fantasy. Williams' sister gives lunchtime tours." -- Lonely Planet
- The oldest public art museum in the South, housing a collection of both American and European paintings, the Telfair Mansion and Art Museum was designed and built by William Jay in 1818. … William Jay's period rooms have been restored, and the Octagon Room and Dining Room are particularly outstanding." -- Frommer's
Beyond the historical parts of Savannah, the city also offers opportunities for nature lovers to spend some time enjoying the view of the Lowcountry outdoors. For a nice place to relax or picnic in the Historic District, go to Forsyth Park at the southern end. A fountain, tennis courts and walking paths that are tucked in under trees await visitors.
East of the center of Savannah are a collection of small islands that make for good day trips, as they are only about a 20-mile drive away. Writers and leisure travelers suggest visiting Tybee Island for several miles of beaches. On the way, you should stop by the Isle of Hope, located southeast of the Historic District, where visitors can walk past charming cottages and beach homes. Skidaway Island, south of the Isle of Hope, is best known for its golf courses.
- If you would like to visit the beach while on the Georgia coast, take the 15-mile drive from downtown Savannah to Tybee Island. This relaxed beach community is a fun day-trip for those staying in downtown Savannah, and a great place to stay if you think you will want to spend more time in the sand than on the historic streets of Savannah." -- Travel Channel
If you're looking to spend some money during your stay in Savannah, check out the City Market area, located in the northwest part of the Historic District. The four-block section of the city attracts a younger crowd with eclectic shops mixed in with restaurants and art galleries.
Writers also recommend Broughton Street. Pricey boutique stores line the street, especially to the west of Bull Street.
- River Street is a souvenir shopper's delight, with some 9 blocks (including Riverfront Plaza) of interesting shops, offering everything from crafts to clothing. The City Market, between Ellis and Franklin squares on West St. Julian Street, boasts art galleries, boutiques, and sidewalk cafes along with a horse-and-carriage ride." -- Frommer's
Professional travelers have called Savannah "a little New Orleans" because of its lively nightlife. A loophole in the city's ordinances allow for the consumption of alcohol in the streets. Bars and the music scenes are big here after the sun goes down. Travel writers suggest the Riverfront area or nearby City Market for good music and drinks.
If you're planning a spring trip, consider timing it for Savannah's St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Following a huge day parade through the Historic District, night-time parties abound along the river.
- Savannah's nightlife is laid-back and enjoyable, though many places are unusually strict about requiring ID. Everything is fairly close together, ranged between the City Market and the river, and almost uniquely in the US (New Orleans is another exception) you can drink alcohol on the streets in open cups." -- Rough Guides
- Savannah allows restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks in plastic cups that patrons may take with them. River Street is a perfect place to grab a drink or an ice cream cone and sit to watch the activity on the water." -- Travel Channel