Are you looking for the best things to do in Savannah, Georgia? You’ve come to the right place. My husband and I moved to Savannah last year and it has been a new city to fall in love with and document for us.
I was born in Pensacola, Florida and moved around a lot when I was younger. I ended up in Upstate New York (outside Syracuse) and spent my teenage years there. Besides moving a lot, we didn’t travel a lot growing up. But that made it hard for me to stay in one place for too long.
Therefore, my desire to travel and see more places grew over time. I landed in Charleston, South Carolina after college as my parents (once again) moved while I was away at Penn State University. I instantly fell in love with Charleston and living there sparked my interest in photography.
I could not stop snapping photos and chasing sunsets. It became a true hobby and has lasted the last 7 years. Then my husband and I moved to Savannah, Georgia last year and have never looked back.
Welcome to the Hostess City of the South
Savannah is a true Southern city full of charm and history. I absolutely love the city’s Southern hospitality and all of the green space. The city was designed as a grid and there are public squares everywhere.
Forsyth Park, the main park with the iconic fountain, is a large space with plenty of places to walk your dog, picnic, play guitar or just take in the natural beauty. I do believe the city oozes with Southern charm straight out of a movie and I love calling it home.
The city is nicknamed the Hostess City of the South for a reason. I find the people to be very warm and welcoming. Quite honestly, people are more friendly to tourists than many other destinations I won’t name.
It has a slower pace of life and this shows in many ways. I think the people of Savannah, Georgia really enjoy slowing down and enjoying the natural beauty, a walk in the park, etc.
At the end of the day, Savannah is a historic city with a lot of past – good and bad. I think the city understands its part in history, specifically the slave trade, and has done a good job of addressing this.
Many of the house museums here will be honest about some of the horrors the slaves encountered and I think that transparency is true and real. I think Savannah is really in tune with its Southern heritage and welcomes anyone ready to learn more.
My Favourite Places in Savannah, Georgia – The Side Streets
I honestly think my favorite places in Savannah are the unexpected side streets. I always advise people to take strolls down some of the smaller streets, such as Charlton or Barnard.
It’s so special because I feel I truly escape on these walks. The noise of the city simmers down and I feel at one with Savannah. I can look at all of the historic homes, the live oaks, the gorgeous window boxes, and really feel as though I’ve stepped back in time. It is truly magical.
Best Photography Spots in Savannah, Georgia
My favorite square ever is Washington Square. It’s quiet and quintessential Savannah. All the squares have different attributes but this one is a favorite.
I recommend a stroll down Gaston Street as well. Part of it flanks the northern end of Forsyth Park and the homes on this street are truly breathtaking. They are perfect for photographers and travelers alike.
Isle of Hope, Georgia (roughly 30-35 minutes from downtown) is a lovely little town that really captures the essence of lowcountry life. But you really can’t go wrong walking around Savannah. Spring is the best time to visit for blooms (early March through mid-April) which makes for great photos.
10 Best Things To Do in Savannah, Georgia
Since Savannah offers endless attractions it can be easy to miss a few of the highlights. Of course, getting that insider local knowledge is the best way to see the hidden gems of a destination. And that’s what I’m here for. Below are my top 10 things to do (in no specific order) in Savannah:
1. Watch the Sunset from a City Rooftop
The sun sets in the Southwest of the city and many rooftops, such as Top Deck or Peregrin, offer stunning views of the skyline and the sunset.
2. Take a Day Trip to Tybee Island
Tybee is the beach of Savannah and less than 30 minutes from historic downtown. It is a quirky and artsy beach town with a lot of restaurants/bars to choose from. You’re also allowed to drink alcohol on the beach (just no glass), so that adds a little fun to the day.
3. Stroll through Jones Street
This street has been named the prettiest street in Savannah and one of the most beautiful streets in all of America. It is truly a gem and you cannot visit Savannah without strolling down the cobblestones.
4. Picnic in Forsyth Park
Forsyth Park is the heart of the city. It is where a lot of people come together and is the pulse of Savannah. Grab a to-go sandwich or salad and head to the park for an hour or two under the oaks. It’s truly a perfect afternoon spent.
5. Walk the Riverfront and Watch the Cargo Ships
It may not seem exciting but the large cargo ships that pass through on the Savannah River each day always turn heads. Savannah is actually one of the largest port cities in North America.
The city sits along the river and there is plenty of access to stroll waterside. But seeing a giant cargo ship pass by and slip under the bridge is truly a humbling experience.
6. Visit all 22 City Squares
Savannah is built on a grid and has 22 public squares throughout the historic district. Many will only pass through a handful due to their proximity to the main paths but I challenge anyone to visit them all. They each have their own personalities and I think they are all worth a see.
7. Discover the Isle of Hope
This quaint town is a short drive from the city and is straight out of “The Notebook.” It is a beautiful little town with so much Southern charm – from the large homes with wraparound porches, to the waterfront access along the Wilmington River, as well as the charming moss-adorned trees.
It is like an escape from the city, without ever really leaving Savannah.
8. Enjoy a to-go Beverage
I suppose if you’re not a regular consumer of alcohol, this may not seem as much of a privilege. But Savannah has no open container laws in the historic district. Therefore you can walk around with an adult beverage (in a plastic cup) as you please.
It’s completely ordinary for any restaurant or bar to have stacks of plastic cups near their doors so you can pour your drink into them before you head out to explore. It’s just something unique to take advantage of that few cities other than maybe New Orleans offers.
9. Visit the SCAD Museum of Art
SCAD is a huge part of Savannah and has honestly contributed so much to the city. The vibrant art and music scene here really has to give credit to the college. Their art museum is truly one of the most creative and unique displays I’ve ever seen (at least in the South).
The exhibits change fairly regularly so there is always something new to see. You can easily spend 2-3 hours there if you want. If you’re visiting in the summer months, it allows for a break from the heat.
10. Eat Southern Food
Food shouldn’t need to be on the list, but I find too many people get sucked into the tourist traps that don’t offer true Southern cuisine.
When in Savannah, Georgia you can find some of the best seafood, fried chicken, and grits ever, but you need to find the right places. Make it a priority to dine at a true Southern establishment.
Best Day Trips from Savannah, Georgia
The best day trips from Savannah, Georgia include Isle of Hope (as described above) and Tybee Island too. Wormsloe Historic Site is another great option. The entry has been depicted in countless films and there is a lot of history and nature to discover.
If you have the time, I would recommend a day trip to Hilton Head Island as well. It’s less than an hour and there are a lot of cute restaurants and shops.
Best Southern Cuisine of Savannah, Georgia
The food scene in Savannah, Georgia is truly one to be taken seriously. It isn’t just Southern food anymore. There are more high-end and interesting options. My top picks are below in categories.
Overall Restaurants/High-End Dining:
Best Rooftop Bars:
- Alleycat Lounge (speakeasy vibe, unique cocktails)
- Artillery (classy, fancy cocktails)
- Totally Awesome Bar (dive bar, games)
- The Rail Pub (karaoke, grungy)
- Pinkie Master’s (historic dive bar, cash only)
Where to Stay in Savannah, Georgia
I think Airbnbs are most likely the best way to go since you can stay in some really incredible historic residences. Lucky Savannah and Luxury Living Savannah both offer great options as rental companies.
Savannah Today (@savannahtoday on Instagram) is an excellent Airbnb option right on Broughton Street. Best hotel recommendations are: Perry Lane, DeSoto, Kimpton Brice and the Andaz.
Need to Know Before you Go
My number one piece of advice is to try and explore like a local. Try and live the 2-3 days you’re in town as if you call this city home 365 days a year.
Avoid the horse carriages, explore the city by foot. Don’t dine on River Street, eat at restaurants off the beaten path. Walk away from the museums with the most flyers and pamphlets, but go to the ones that will enrich your life.
I definitely recommend they take advice from someone that lives here and ask lots of questions beforehand. Hope you enjoy your stay in Savannah!