Best Things To Do in Savannah
Much of Savannah's charm lies in meandering through the Historic District's verdant squares – all 22 of them. Along the way, you'll happen upon numerous historic homes like the Mercer Williams House, popularized by "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," and the home of Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts. There's the famous Bonaventure Cemetery for a Spanish moss-canopied stroll, and there's the City Market, which is an ideal place to pick up a few souvenirs. You can also take a quick car ride over to the beach at Tybee Island.
- #1View all PhotosfreeForsyth Park#1 in SavannahParks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Go to this 30-acre park in the heart of Savannah's Historic District to relax after a long day of sightseeing. Keep your camera ready, though, as there is plenty to see here as well. Stroll past the stunning white-stone Forsyth Fountain, memorials dedicated to the Confederacy and the Spanish-American War, the Fragrant Garden for the visually impaired and the 300-year-old Candler Oak tree. From the park, you can see several historic sites within walking distance, including Hodgson Hall (home to the Georgia Historical Society) and the old Poor House and Hospital, which was used to treat wounded soldiers during the Civil War.
- #2View all Photos#2 in SavannahHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Savannah's history stretches back to 1733, when General James Oglethorpe docked his ship on the Savannah River and named this new territory (and America's 13th colony) "Georgia." You can hear all about Savannah's past and the events that shaped its present on a history tour. What's more, you won't have any trouble finding a tour that suits your interests, Savannah boasts a bevy of city tours – from architecture to ghosts to photography – for a variety of travelers.
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If you're planning to tour Savannah's Historic District, City Market is a great place to start. Spread out across four blocks, the open-air marketplace features restored warehouses sheltering everything from restaurants to boutiques to art galleries. When you're not shopping, listening to live music or enjoying a casual bite to eat, simply sit and people-watch: past visitors said this area is great for resting weary feet and taking in the Savannah scene. Plus, City Market is also home base for trolley and carriage tours, so if you need to kill time before or after your tour, you'll find plenty to see and do here.
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Towering over Lafayette Square in the Historic District, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist's Gothic towers should lure in any architecture buff. The original cathedral was constructed in 1799 by the first French colonists to arrive in the area. At the end of the 19th century, the old building was torn down to make room for the larger, stone cathedral that you see today. If you've ever seen photos of it, you've likely seen the cathedral's intricate gold-leaf designs, Italian marble altar and stunning stained-glass windows.
- #5View all Photos#5 in SavannahSightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
While a stroll through a cemetery may sound a little morbid, recent travelers agreed that a visit to the more than 100-acre Bonaventure Cemetery is a must for lovers of the written word. Keep your eyes peeled for the tombstones of such celebrities as poet Conrad Aiken and lyricist Johnny Mercer. You should also make a point of looking for the grave of Danny Hansford (buried in the neighboring Greenwich Cemetery), whose murder inspired John Berendt's best-selling book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
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Running alongside the Savannah River in the Waterfront district is River Street, a lively area perfect for afternoon strolls. According to recent visitors, this area has renounced its seedy identity from 30 years ago; once a hot spot for cruising sailors and unruly teens, the cobblestone street is now lined with more than 75 souvenir shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs housed in old cotton warehouses. However, River Street is still the place to go for pub crawls, making it attractive to party-seekers and slightly less family-friendly after dark. Plus, the area comes alive with street musicians after the sun sets.
- #7View all Photos#7 in SavannahNatural Wonders, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Right up there with Forsyth Park and River Street, Wormsloe Historic Site is one of Savannah's can't-miss attractions. Even if you never heard of the site, you've likely spotted it in pictures: its star attraction is the mile-long avenue leading to the plantation, which is lined on both sides by towering live oak trees dressed in Spanish moss.
- #8View all PhotosfreeTybee Island#8 in SavannahBeaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
When you've had your fill of ghost stories, green squares and historic homes, head to Tybee Island. Just a half-hour east of the Historic District, Tybee Island is home to 5 miles of beachfront, the famous Tybee Island Light Station and the Marine Science Center, among other attractions. On your way to the beach, consider a stop at Fort Pulaski Monument, a Civil War landmark sandwiched between Savannah and Tybee Island.
- #9View all Photos#9 in SavannahMonuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMonuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Named for Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski, it was here that General Robert E. Lee was first assigned after graduating from West Point. Today, you can explore the fort's colossal ramparts, intimidating stone towers, drawbridges and moats. Frequent re-enactments allow you to see what life in the fort was like back in its heyday. After you've gotten your fill of Pulaski, head to the nearby Tybee Lighthouse (situated about 5 miles east of the fort) for some fantastic views of the coast and a stroll along the barrier island's 5-mile-long beach.
- #10View all Photos#10 in SavannahHistoric Homes/Mansions, Museums, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHistoric Homes/Mansions, Museums, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
George Welshman Owens was a wealthy planter, lawyer and politician who lived in this house with his wife, six children and 14 slaves beginning in 1830. Unlike the other two Telfair Museums, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters focuses less on art and more on architecture, which is sure to impress. In fact, recent visitors described the house as both simple and elegant. If you like history, then an hour or two at the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters should definitely make it on to your to-do list. A tour of the facility reveals what life was like for the upper-class in 19th century Savannah: You'll see Greek-inspired craftsmanship and beautiful stained glass, not to mention the old carriage house and slave quarters.
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According to some recent visitors, a stop at the Mercer-Williams House is a must when in Savannah. While it was once home to lyricist Johnny Mercer, this house is much more famous for its other resident, Jim Williams, a noted Savannah antiques dealer and the central character in John Berendt's best-selling book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." In fact, Williams is the only person in Georgia to have ever been tried four times for the same crime: the murder of Danny Hansford, which allegedly took place in this very house. While the upstairs is off-limits, you're invited to explore the ground floor, which is ornately decorated with 18th- and 19th-century furnishings, Chinese porcelain and portraits dating back to the 1700s.
- #12View all Photos#12 in SavannahMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
The Telfair Academy, along with the Owens-Thomas House, and the Jepson Center for the Arts comprise the oldest public art museum in the South. If you're a fan of artwork from the 19th and 20th centuries (or if you just need a break from the Georgia heat), you'll want to spend a few hours perusing this mansion-turned-museum. Housing more than 4,500 works of art, including paintings from the Impressionist period, plaster casts of such renowned works as the Venus de Milo and period furniture left over from the Telfair family themselves, this marble-clad museum shelters a diverse array of pieces. But according to recent visitors, it's Sylvia Shaw Judson's famous "Bird Girl" statue, which appears on the cover of John Berendt's bestselling book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," that's the real highlight of the museum.
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The SCAD Museum of Art, which occupies a building originally constructed in 1853, is an extension of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The museum hosts a rotating roster of exhibits, but also boasts a permanent collection of more than 4,500 works, including the Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, couture pieces from Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta and Givenchy, among others, as well as works from Salvador Dalí, Nicholas Hlobo, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, among many others.
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