Things to do in Savannah, GA

Get Your Bearings in Savannah

By Amy Pine
Savannah Expert

Stay
Eat
See & Do
Party
Shop

Where to Stay

Chances are you’re coming to Savannah for its history, beauty and charm, and there’s no better place to soak in all three than by staying in a Historic District hotel. Whether you choose a bed and breakfast, boutique hotel or big chain, you’ll be within walking distance of the best attractions, restaurants, shops and nightlife. If you don’t mind driving a few miles to get to your destination, you can save big bucks by staying in Midtown or on the Southside.

Take It or Leave It:

If you like to support local businesses, stay at one of Savannah's bed and breakfasts.

What to Eat

Some of Savannah’s most venerable restaurants are located in the Historic District, but don’t overlook other areas like the nearby Thomas Square Streetcar and Starland districts, which are home to some of the city’s tastiest fare. If you’re willing to venture even farther, you’ll find several hidden gems in Sandfly, Midtown and on the Southside.

Hot Tips:

Savannah's restaurants are pretty lax about dress codes. Whether you're in the mood to get dressed up or prefer to go casual, you're sure to find similarly dressed patrons.

Be Sure to Sample:

Shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. Y'all are in the South, after all.

Things to See

To take in Savannah’s best attractions, all you need are walking shoes and a map. The Historic District’s 22 public squares feature interesting monuments and lush green space, while the surrounding houses boast beautiful historic details like intricate wrought iron gates. If you prefer a guided tour, take a carriage ride or hop on board one of the city’s many tour buses.

Avoid:

If you're not in the mood to fight crowds while you're exploring the Historic District, then avoid coming to Savannah on St. Patrick's Day weekend.

Hot Tips:

Savannah has some amazing annual festivals, including the Savannah Music Festival, Savannah Book Festival and Savannah Film Festival.

Places to Party

From rollicking pubs to swanky bars, the Historic District is the best place in Savannah to enjoy a night on the town. City Market, which boasts several bars and outdoor entertainment, is a great starting point. River Street and Broughton Street are just a short stroll away and feature a nice selection of bars and dance clubs. A few Downtown coffee shops serve wine and beer, providing a nice alternative to those who want to avoid the bar scene.

Caution:

If you take advantage of Savannah's open container law, make sure you stay within the specified Historic District boundaries when you leave the bar with your to-go cup. When in doubt, ask your bartender.

Where to Shop

For some of the best shopping in Savannah, head to Broughton Street and nearby City Market. The two Historic District shopping areas have a little bit of something for everyone from galleries, boutiques and antique shops to gourmet markets, gift shops and jewelry stores. If you want the same great finds but are willing to head off the beaten path, venture on over to Sandfly, a trendy neighborhood featuring several unique, locally owned shops.

Best Local Souvenir:

A jar of Savannah Bee honey, available at the company's Broughton Street or River Street stores.

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Things to do in Savannah


Savannah is known for...

Five of Savannah's most unique features and characteristics.

1. Historic Squares:

Savannah’s 22 squares are the city’s ultimate free attraction, boasting breathtaking monuments, grand live oak trees and ample green space. From the soaring marble monument memorializing General Count Casimir Pulaski in Monterey Square to the charming white gazebo in Whitefield Square, where you’re likely to see a wedding in progress, Savannah’s squares are meant to be explored and enjoyed. All of the squares are located within walking distance of one another, so seeing them all in one day is easily doable. If you’re pressed for time, limit your journey to the picturesque squares along Bull Street.

2. Live Oak Trees:

Massive, magnificent and hauntingly beautiful, Savannah’s live oak trees are one of the city’s most iconic symbols. The trees, which are native to the Southeastern part of the United States, can live for hundreds of years and have impressive Spanish moss-covered canopies, making them the perfect spot to escape from the sun’s rays. You can find live oaks in every corner of the city, but for the most spectacular vista, head to Wormsloe Plantation, an 18th-century colonial estate that features a dramatic, oak tree-lined entryway.

3. Cemeteries:

There’s perhaps no better place to learn about Savannah’s history than in her cemeteries. Colonial Park Cemetery, located in the center of the Historic District, features gravesites that date back to the mid-18th century. Laurel Grove Cemetery, on the city’s west side, is a stark reminder of Savannah’s segregated past, with separate sections for whites and blacks, along with a Civil War burial ground for Confederate soldiers. Bonaventure Cemetery, on the city’s east side, boasts breathtaking views of the Wilmington River and is the final resting place for several notable Savannahians, among them songwriter Johnny Mercer and poet Conrad Aiken.

4. Events and Festivals:

People travel to Savannah from near and far to party like Irishmen at the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The parade, the second largest in the nation, is held every year on March 17 (except when the holiday falls on a Sunday), but expect the party to get underway a few days prior and continue until the last pint of Guinness is chugged. If you’re not feeling green or if you prefer a more sophisticated scene, check out one of the city’s prestigious annual festivals, including the Savannah Music Festival, Savannah Film Festival and Savannah Book Festival.

5. Art:

Savannah is a town that embraces art and artists. The Telfair Museums, which comprise the Telfair Academy, the Jepson Center for the Arts and the Owens-Thomas House, feature an impressive permanent collection of more than 4,000 works from the 18th century to the present. The influence of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s thousands of students can be felt throughout the city, with numerous venues displaying their unique works and wares. Savannah also boasts dozens of art galleries, many of which are located in City Market, a charming, open-air marketplace in the heart of the Historic District.