The oldest city in the state of Georgia — Savannah — is equally historic as it is beautiful. It’s not hard to become enchanted by its cobblestone squares, Spanish moss-covered trees, antebellum charm, and easy-going pace of life.
Whether you are a southern native or you’re planning your next weekend getaway, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Savannah.
Where to Stay
Opt for a guest room
Savannah is teeming with guest rooms in beautiful, historic homes. Check AirBnb — there are a ton of options and a guest room may be one of the most economical, yet picturesque ways to experience Savannah. I stayed at Los Robles, just a few blocks south of the famous Forsyth Park.
The recently opened Perry Lane Hotel is To. Die. For. Being that it is brand new, all of the amenities and accommodations are state-of-the-art and top-of-the-line. They really spared no expense in making this hotel both beautiful and comfortable. Imagine if all the amazing bohemian-modern designers that you follow on Instagram collaborated to make the perfect hotel. Done and done.
Opened in 1838, the Ballastone Inn is steeped in Savannah’s rich history. With only 16 guest suites, it is booked pretty far out, but each room is uniquely decorated and represents a significant moment, place, or person in Savannah history. It is also right in the heart of the historic district, making it convenient to all of the sights.
Where to Eat
You can’t go wrong at The Collins Quarter. Everything on the menu is fresh, tasty, and unique. Their dishes are inspired by Australia but have a certain southern flare. The ambience is lovely for lunch or romantic for dinner and their cocktail menu is killer to boot!
Opened by a Texas transplant, this sweet cafe is brimming with good eats and southern charm. They specialize in Tex-Mex inspired dishes and are known for their Kolache buns (sweet buns that come stuffed with bacon, sausage, or veggies). Great for a quick breakfast to-go or to leisurely sip on one of their horchata lattes. They have an open-air porch on the second story that gives you a view of the lovely Spanish Moss-draped oaks that line the streets of Savannah.
Cap off a day of wandering around West Jones Street with afternoon tea at The Gryphon. In a beautiful building, right off Madison Square, the cozy tea room has much of the original architectural elements from when it was a pharmacy in the early 20th century. It is now owned and operated by SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, and many of the waiters are SCAD students.
Just south of Forsyth Park, in a repurposed bank, is Local11Ten and its bar, Perch. Aptly named, Perch is a terrace on the rooftop that looks out over Bull Street. Grab dinner downstairs, then head up to the roof for a nightcap or skip dinner and grab drinks and lite bites at Perch. Everything on the menu is delicious and completely locally sourced. I’m not usually a Caesar salad gal but they add crispy duck skins on theirs and it is fab.
Fancy a drink where Georgia Hussars’ armory once housed their artillery? I thought you might… The Artillery is in a space that has housed a variety of businesses over the past century but is now a trendy place to grab an equally trendy cocktail. The decor nods at its history, like most things in Savannah do — the space is beautiful and so are the drinks.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with any restaurant that has wine in the name, and Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market is no different. In the lobby of the Perry Lane Hotel, Emporium has a southern-inspired menu and great cocktails. Be sure to stop by for an afternoon snack or drink. Happy hour is from 3-5pm daily.
What to Do
Go for an evening run (or a stroll if you’re less enthusiastic about cardio) through Forsyth Park. It is considered “the Central Park of Savannah,” with walking paths criss-crossing through 30 acres of lush grass. It has a number of monuments and fountains and borders Savannah’s quaint historic district.
Named after the Battle of Chippewa, this square is now most famous for its appearance in Forrest Gump. Buy a box of chocolates around the corner at Chocolat by Adam Turoni and snap a shot on Forrest’s bench.
There are a lot of tours of the historic district but the most fun are the walking ghost tours led after dark. A number of tour companies offer them, but some are better than others. I took a tour with Ghost City Tours but Blue Orb also has great ones. If you need a little liquid courage to handle experiences with the paranormal, there are pub crawl versions as well.
If you like milk glass and vintage purses as much as I do, antique shopping in Savannah will be right up your alley. With antique stores on almost every block, you can’t go wrong. I found a ton of well-priced spoils at Wright Square Antique Mall. No matter where you end up going, make sure to ask if they can offer any kind of discount, they’ll usually give you 10 percent off just for asking.
Make sure to swing by the Telfair Museums, it is the oldest public art museum in the southern United States and is split between three unique buildings, one of which was the Telfair residence in the 1800s. One ticket gains you entrance to all three locations.
Savannah River Street
At the northern border of the historic district is River Street. It is teeming with quaint boutiques, charming brew pubs, and views of the Savannah River… but also tourists. This is a good stop on your trip to pick up souvenir t-shirts and postcards and is a bit more bustling than the more quiet streets of the historic district.
Looking to get out of the city? A hike in Savannah National Wildlife Refuge will fulfill your itch to get outdoors. The park is sprawled over nearly 30,000 acres and spills into neighboring South Carolina. With miles of hiking and walking trails to explore, and a ton of native wildlife to see you could spend an entire day here.