Discover the Best Things to Do in Savannah, GA


Savannah, Georgia, is a city brimming with Southern charm, historic beauty, and a wealth of activities to engage visitors of all interests. From its iconic moss-draped oak trees to the cobblestone streets of its Historic District, Savannah offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re indulging in the famous shrimp and grits, exploring the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery, or relaxing on the sandy shores of Tybee Island, there’s something in Savannah for everyone to enjoy.

Key Takeaways

  • The Historic District of Savannah is a must-visit, with attractions like Forsyth Park and the Mercer Williams House showcasing the city’s rich past.
  • Savannah’s culinary scene is a delight for foodies, offering Southern staples like shrimp and grits and pecan pie.
  • Art and culture enthusiasts will find plenty to explore, including the Telfair Museums and the Savannah Theatre.
  • Experience the city’s haunted history through ghost tours and visits to historical sites like the Sorrel-Weed House.
  • Outdoor activities abound, from riverboat cruises to biking, and the nearby Tybee Island Beach offers a perfect coastal escape.

Explore the Historic District

Take a Stroll along River Street

While strolling River Street, visitors should take note of the various monuments, such as the African American Monument and the World War II memorial. The River Street Inn brings back old-world charm rarely seen these days, including balconies with a view of the Savannah River. Or enjoy food, cocktails, and more views of the river from the Rocks the Roof Lounge. Cruises of the Savannah River are available along River Street, including dinner, holiday, and wedding cruises.

Visit Forsyth Park

When exploring Savannah’s Historic District, make sure to set aside some time to visit Forsyth Park. This sprawling green space is a true oasis in the heart of the city. Take a leisurely walk through the park, admiring the lush trees and vibrant flowers that surround you. Don’t forget to stop by the famous fountain, a centerpiece of the park that adds a touch of elegance to the scenery. With its tranquil atmosphere, Forsyth Park is the perfect spot for a leisurely picnic or some rousing people-watching.

Tour the Mercer Williams House

The Mercer Williams House is a beautiful Renaissance-style house located at 429 Bull Street in Savannah. Designed by the great-grandfather of Johnny Mercer, Savannah’s famed lyricist, this house is a must-visit attraction in Savannah. With its high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a large foyer with original British tiles, the house exudes elegance. It has retained its original moldings, 18th-century Chinese porcelain, and stained glass from 1868. The Mercer House can be seen in the movies ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ and ‘Glory.’ Thirty-five-minute tours are available throughout the day. Adult admission is $13.50, while children younger than 7 can see the house for free.

Discover the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is Savannah’s oldest Catholic Church and a Gothic architectural marvel, with its two spires dominating the skyline. Hundreds of thousands of visitors visit here annually as it is among the top ten historic sites in the U.S. and one of the places in Savannah that shouldn’t be missed. It is a stop on the Trolley Tour, so visitors can easily explore its grandeur and learn about its rich history. The cathedral features 81 stained glass windows, 16 gargoyles, and stands at a height of 214 feet with a roof height of 96 feet. Pope Francis elevated the status of the church to minor basilica in 2020, making it one of the 87 churches nationwide with this designation.

Indulge in Southern Cuisine

Try Savannah’s Famous Shrimp and Grits

No visit to Savannah is complete without savoring the iconic shrimp and grits. This classic Southern dish has been perfected in the heart of Georgia, offering a creamy, comforting blend of flavors that will leave you craving more. At The Public Kitchen & Bar, you can enjoy a modern twist on this traditional meal, paired with a selection of local beers from Southbound Brewing Company.

For a truly authentic experience, make your way to Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room. Here, you’ll share a table with new friends and indulge in a family-style feast that includes the famous shrimp and grits among other Southern staples. Remember to arrive early, as the line can be quite long, but the wait is undoubtedly worth it.

Tip: When dining at The Grey, let the seasonally changing menu surprise you. Each dish is a testament to the culinary creativity of Savannah, and the shrimp and grits are no exception. Just be sure to save some room for their exquisite desserts.

Sample Lowcountry Boil

Grab a seat at the bar for a gastropub lunch experience at The Public Kitchen & Bar, which has a fresh-and-local sensibility. Lunch entrees range from Savannah-style shrimp and grits to coconut curry served over rice. You’ll find a wide selection of beer, including many locally-produced ones like local favorite Southbound Brewing Company. thepublickitchen.com, 1 W. Liberty Street, Savannah, GA 31401 Share A Meal With New Friends At Mrs. Wilkes’ If you’re in town on a weekday, Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room is a classic Savannah experience. Show up early to wait in line to snag a seat at this old-fashioned hot spot. At Mrs. Wilkes’, classic Southern comfort food is served family style at large community tables, so come hungry and ready to meet new friends.

Experience a Southern Brunch

Apart from the scenic beauty and charming atmosphere, one of the highlights of visiting Savannah is the opportunity to indulge in a delicious Southern-style meal. You can savor mouthwatering dishes that truly capture the essence of Southern cuisine. From savory fried chicken to creamy grits and flavorful collard greens, your taste buds are in for a treat.

If you’re looking for a memorable brunch experience, make sure to stop by The Collins Quarter. Their all-day breakfast menu includes dishes like short rib hash, bananas Foster French toast, and crab cake Benedict. Located in scenic Forsyth Park, it’s the perfect spot for a post-brunch stroll.

For those with a sweet tooth, a visit to Back In The Day Bakery is a must. This award-winning bakeshop offers a delectable selection of pastries that will satisfy any craving.

So, prepare to relax, soak in the sights, enjoy live entertainment, and indulge in a delectable meal as you cruise along the Savannah River. It’s a wonderful way to fully immerse yourself in the charm and beauty of Savannah.

Savor Homemade Pecan Pie

If you’re a food enthusiast, you’ll be delighted by the plethora of restaurants and eateries that line the district. From classic seafood dishes to international cuisines, there’s something to satisfy every craving. And don’t forget to indulge in some delicious Southern desserts, like pecan pie and peach cobbler. The River Street District also boasts a wealth of historic buildings that tell the story of Savannah’s past. You can take a leisurely stroll and admire the architecture that reflects the city’s rich history and heritage. It’s an opportunity to experience the charm and character of Savannah firsthand.

Immerse Yourself in Art and Culture

Visit the Telfair Museums

The Telfair Museums encompass three separate buildings: the Telfair Academy, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Jepson Center and Telfair Children’s Art Museum. The Telfair Academy is a two-story mansion built in 1891 that houses a collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European art, including paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts. The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters offers guided tours that explore this former family home through the lens of the enslaved people who once worked there. The Jepson Center and Telfair Children’s Art Museum is a modern building filled with art from around the world, both historic and contemporary. The Telfair Museums offer a variety of exhibitions, film screenings, artist talks, and performances throughout the year. The building itself, reimagined by a team including SCAD architects, is also something to see, especially the beautiful atrium with its 86-foot-high steel and glass lantern.

Explore the SCAD Museum of Art

The SCAD Museum of Art is a contemporary art museum affiliated with The Savannah College of Art and Design. It offers a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing contemporary works from both established and emerging artists. The museum also hosts educational programming, including film screenings, artist talks, and performances. The building itself is a sight to behold, with a beautiful atrium featuring an 86-foot-high steel and glass lantern. Don’t forget to visit the museum’s gift shop, where you can find stunning artwork created by SCAD students. The SCAD Museum of Art is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and anyone looking to immerse themselves in Savannah’s vibrant art and culture.

Attend a Performance at the Savannah Theatre

Located in the Historic District, this landmark theater, like many other places in Savannah, has a storied past. The building dates back to the 1800s, and has been carefully restored and renovated over the years to remain one of the city’s finest places to catch a show, whether you’re into off-Broadway plays or live music. savannahtheatre.com, 222 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401

Discover the City Market Art Center

Located in the heart of Savannah’s historic City Market, the City Market Art Center is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. This vibrant center showcases the work of local artists, offering a diverse range of styles and mediums. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media, there’s something for everyone to appreciate. The Art Center also hosts regular exhibitions and events, providing opportunities to engage with the local art community. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or simply curious about the creative scene in Savannah, a visit to the City Market Art Center is sure to inspire and delight.

Experience Savannah’s Haunted History

Take a Ghost Tour

Savannah is known as America’s most haunted cities. If you’re intrigued by the paranormal and enjoy some good spooky fun, then a Ghost Tour is a must for your visit! There are a number of ghost tour options to choose from, some of the most popular are with Old Town Trolley Tours, the Ghosts and Gravestones Frightseeing Tour, Old Savannah Tours, or Genteel and Bard. There are many Ghost Tours in Savannah to choose from, from kid friendly to adults only. There are also many history walking tours available through Viator, Genteel and Bard, and others if you prefer to stay away from ghostly spirits!

Visit the Sorrel-Weed House

The Sorrel-Weed House is a historic mansion located in Savannah, GA. Built in the Greek Revival style, it is known for its architectural beauty and rich history. The house features floor-to-ceiling windows, original British tiles in the foyer, and elegant moldings. It also houses a collection of 18th-century Chinese porcelain and stained glass from 1868. The Sorrel-Weed House has been featured in movies such as ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ and ‘Glory’. Visitors can take a 35-minute tour of the house, with adult admission priced at $13.50. Children under 7 can enter for free.

Explore Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery is a historically significant site and the final resting place of Johnny Mercer, Conrad Aiken, and Little Gracie Watkins. It is a popular stop on most ghost tours in Savannah, Georgia. The cemetery is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can join a guided tour at 2:00 p.m. every second Saturday and Sunday of the month. The best time to stroll through the cemetery is in March when the azaleas are in full bloom, turning the grounds into a breathtaking painting. The statues throughout the cemetery represent the seven biblical virtues and serve as a reminder to practice them. Admission to the cemetery is free.

Learn about the Pirate Lore of Tybee Island

Tybee Island, located just a short trip from Savannah, is steeped in pirate lore and offers a fascinating glimpse into the island’s history. From the annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest to the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the swashbuckling world of pirates. The island’s rich pirate history comes to life through exciting festivities and live performances that attract visitors from near and far. Don’t miss the chance to experience the vibrant pirate culture that has shaped Tybee Island.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities

Take a Riverboat Cruise

When visiting Savannah, a must-do activity is to embark on a riverboat cruise along the picturesque Savannah River. As you float along the water, you’ll be treated to breathtaking scenic views that showcase the beauty of this historic city. The cruise also offers live entertainment, adding a touch of excitement and fun to your journey. What sets this riverboat experience apart is the opportunity to indulge in a delicious Southern-style meal. You can savor mouthwatering dishes that truly capture the essence of Southern cuisine. From savory fried chicken to creamy grits and flavorful collard greens, your taste buds are in for a treat. So, prepare to relax, soak in the sights, enjoy live entertainment, and indulge in a delectable meal as you cruise along the Savannah River. It’s a wonderful way to fully immerse yourself in the charm and beauty of Savannah.

Rent Bikes and Explore the City

Savannah offers several cycling routes that allow you to discover its beauty from a unique perspective. Pedal your way past charming historical sites, picturesque squares, and breathtaking waterfront views as you soak in the fresh air and natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Whether you choose to explore the botanical gardens or embark on a cycling adventure, Savannah’s outdoor activities promise an unforgettable experience, allowing you to connect with nature and create lasting memories.

Go Kayaking on the Savannah River

When visiting Savannah, a must-do activity is to embark on a riverboat cruise along the picturesque Savannah River. As you float along the water, you’ll be treated to breathtaking scenic views that showcase the beauty of this historic city. The cruise also offers live entertainment, adding a touch of excitement and fun to your journey. What sets this riverboat experience apart is the opportunity to indulge in a delicious Southern-style meal. You can savor mouthwatering dishes that truly capture the essence of Savannah’s cuisine. Whether it’s shrimp and grits, lowcountry boil, or homemade pecan pie, the flavors will leave you craving for more. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Savannah River.

Relax at Tybee Island Beach

After a day of exploring Savannah, take some time to relax at Tybee Island Beach. This beautiful barrier island offers a tranquil escape from the city, with pristine sandy beaches and breathtaking ocean views. Whether you want to soak up the sun, go for a swim, or simply unwind with a good book, Tybee Island Beach has something for everyone.

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the McQueen’s Island Trail. This six-mile scenic nature trail starts at Fort Pulaski National Monument and takes you through picturesque landscapes and diverse wildlife habitats.

For those who enjoy fishing, head to the Tybee Beach Pier on the island’s northern section. Cast your line and try your luck at catching some local fish while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

After a day at the beach, make sure to visit the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the island and learn about its fascinating history.

To make the most of your visit to Tybee Island, consider taking a short trip to Skidaway Island State Park. This nearby park offers camping opportunities, wildlife spotting, and scenic trails for hiking and biking.

Relaxation, natural beauty, and outdoor adventures await you at Tybee Island Beach. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the serenity of this coastal paradise.

Shop for Unique Souvenirs

Browse the Shops on Broughton Street

While exploring Broughton Street, make sure to stop by the Paris Market Café for a freshly made pastry or selection of macarons. It’s the perfect place to indulge in something sweet before continuing your shopping spree. Another must-visit spot is the Savannah Bee Company, where you can stock up on souvenirs and even try mead and honey at their tasting bars. And if you’re a book lover, don’t miss E. Shaver Booksellers on Bull Street. Browse their shelves and say hello to their four shop cats. You’ll also find a great selection of books by Southern authors. After a day of shopping, head to Savannah City Market, a historic landmark and one-stop-shop for souvenirs, original art, and handmade items. It’s also home to various dining options, making it the perfect place to relax and refuel.

Visit the Savannah Bee Company

Located on retail-heavy Broughton Street, the Savannah Bee Company is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. This flagship location offers plenty of souvenir opportunities, as well as mead and honey tasting bars. You can stock up on their delicious products, including honey, mead, and other bee-related items. The company’s informative tour takes you to the hives and includes mead and honey tastings. It’s a great way to learn more about bees and their important role in our ecosystem. Don’t miss the chance to experience the flavors of Savannah at the Savannah Bee Company.

Explore the Paris Market

If you only have time for a few hours of shopping, Savannah’s The Paris Market and Brocante is a can’t miss. The 5,200-square-foot, two-story market, which is housed in a former Victorian grocery dating back to 1874, is filled with lovely gifts and one-of-a-kind home goods. Be sure to order a freshly made pastry or selection of macarons from the Paris Market Café before you leave.

Here are some other shopping options in Savannah:

  • Savannah Bee Company: Stock up on something sweet at the Savannah Bee Company, which offers plenty of souvenir opportunities, as well as mead and honey tasting bars. This flagship location is on retail-heavy Broughton Street.

  • E. Shaver: Book lovers should head to Bull Street, the home of E. Shaver. Discover a new read and get lost in the cozy atmosphere of this beloved bookstore.

  • City Market: Explore City Market, a historic landmark that has been a marketplace since the 1700s. It’s a four-block, one-stop-shop for souvenirs, original art, handmade items, and delicious food options.

Enjoy your shopping adventures in Savannah!

Find Treasures at the City Market

City Market is a four block, one-stop-shop for souvenirs, original art, and handmade items like jewelry and sweetgrass baskets, plus places to eat. It’s a historic landmark as well; it’s been a marketplace since the 1700s, withstanding hurricanes, the Civil War, and almost being demolished. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon, or day, here.

Discover Savannah’s Historic Squares

Visit Chippewa Square

Chippewa Square is a historic square in Savannah, Georgia that dates back to 1815. It gets its name from the Battle of Chippewa in the War of 1812. At the center of the park, you’ll find a statue of colonial founder General James Oglethorpe, a social reformer and military leader credited with conceiving the colony of Georgia. The square is probably even more well known for a particular bench, where Forrest Gump once sat with his famous box of chocolates. Chippewa Square is a must-visit for history buffs and movie enthusiasts alike.

Explore Johnson Square

Johnson Square is one of the many historic squares in Savannah, Georgia. It is named after Robert Johnson, the colonial governor of South Carolina. The square is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, surrounded by beautiful architecture and lush greenery. Take a leisurely stroll through the square and admire the historic buildings that line its perimeter. Don’t forget to look for the statue of Nathanael Greene, a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Johnson Square is a must-visit destination for history buffs and anyone looking to experience the charm of Savannah’s historic district.

Relax in Lafayette Square

After exploring the historic district, take some time to relax in Lafayette Square. This charming square is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings and is the perfect place to unwind and soak in the atmosphere of Savannah. Find a shady spot under one of the majestic oak trees and enjoy a picnic or simply sit and people-watch. Lafayette Square is also home to the famous Hamilton-Turner Inn, a stunning bed and breakfast that offers a luxurious stay for visitors. Take a leisurely stroll around the square and admire the architecture and the peaceful surroundings.

Discover Madison Square

Madison Square is one of the charming squares in Savannah’s historic district. It is home to a statue of Sergeant Jasper, an American soldier in the American Revolutionary War. The square is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings and offers a peaceful atmosphere for visitors to enjoy. Take a leisurely stroll through the square and admire the statues that pay tribute to Savannah’s rich history. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the statue of Sergeant Jasper as a memento of your visit to Madison Square.

If you’re looking for more outdoor spaces to explore, head over to Forsyth Park. This 30-acre park is the largest in the historic district and features a stunning white fountain at its center. Take a walk along the paths shaded by moss-draped oak trees and enjoy the serene atmosphere. You can also visit Morrell Park to see the famous statue of The Waving Girl, Florence Martus, who became a local legend for waving at passing ships for over 40 years.

For a unique shopping experience, make sure to visit City Market. This historic marketplace has been a hub for shopping and dining since the 1700s. Browse through the shops to find souvenirs, original art, and handmade items like jewelry and sweetgrass baskets. City Market is not only a great place to shop, but it also offers a glimpse into Savannah’s history.

After a day of exploring, unwind with a cocktail and enjoy a beautiful Savannah sunset at The Lost Square, the rooftop bar at The Alida hotel. The rooftop offers panoramic views of the city and is the perfect spot to relax and take in the sights.

Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or shopping, Madison Square and its surrounding attractions have something for everyone to enjoy in Savannah, GA.

Learn about Savannah’s Civil Rights History

Visit the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is a must-visit attraction in Savannah. It offers a powerful and educational experience that delves into the history of the civil rights movement in the city. The museum showcases exhibits and artifacts that highlight the struggles and triumphs of African Americans in their fight for equality. Visitors can learn about significant events, such as the sit-ins and protests that took place in Savannah, and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the civil rights movement on the local community. It is a place that honors the past and inspires visitors to continue the work towards a more just and inclusive society.

Explore the Beach Institute

Located in the heart of Savannah, the Beach Institute is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and history buffs. This historic building, originally established as a school for African American students in 1867, now serves as a cultural center and museum. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and artistic expressions of African Americans through the institute’s diverse collection of artwork and exhibits. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media, the Beach Institute showcases the creativity and resilience of African American artists.

Step inside the institute and discover the stories and contributions of African Americans in Savannah and beyond. Learn about the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement, the vibrant culture of the Gullah Geechee people, and the impact of African American artists on the local and national art scene. The Beach Institute also hosts educational programs, workshops, and events that celebrate African American culture and promote dialogue and understanding.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply curious about Savannah’s diverse heritage, a visit to the Beach Institute is a must. Immerse yourself in the captivating exhibits, engage with the local community, and gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of African American history and culture in Savannah.

Learn about the First African Baptist Church

The First African Baptist Church is a historic church located in the Historic District of Savannah. Its history began in the late 1700s as the parish first served Catholics fleeing turmoil from Haiti and France. The standing structure first began construction in the 1800s and it features 81 stained glass windows, 16 gargoyles, and is 214 feet tall with a roof height of 96 feet. Pope Francis elevated the status of the church to minor basilica in 2020, which is a high honor, as only 87 churches nationwide, including 18 cathedrals, carry this designation. Be sure to check the visiting hours to ensure you arrive at an appropriate time to tour the church.

Discover the Contributions of W.W. Law

W.W. Law was a prominent civil rights leader in Savannah, GA. He dedicated his life to fighting for equality and justice for African Americans. Law played a crucial role in desegregating public facilities, advocating for voting rights, and promoting economic opportunities for the African American community. His efforts and activism had a significant impact on shaping Savannah’s civil rights history. Today, visitors can learn about W.W. Law’s contributions at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, which showcases the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement in Savannah. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about the city’s rich history of activism and progress.

In Conclusion

Savannah, GA is a city that offers a perfect blend of history, charm, and Southern hospitality. From exploring the picturesque Forsyth Park to wandering through the beautifully preserved Historic District, there is no shortage of things to do and see. Whether you’re a food lover, an art enthusiast, or a nature enthusiast, Savannah has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture and vibrant atmosphere of this charming city. Savannah is waiting to welcome you with open arms!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the must-visit attractions in Savannah, GA?

Some of the must-visit attractions in Savannah, GA include exploring the Historic District, visiting Forsyth Park, touring the Mercer Williams House, and discovering the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

What are some popular dishes to try in Savannah?

Some popular dishes to try in Savannah include Savannah’s famous Shrimp and Grits, Lowcountry Boil, Southern Brunch, and Homemade Pecan Pie.

Are there any art and culture attractions in Savannah?

Yes, Savannah offers a vibrant art and culture scene. Some attractions to visit include the Telfair Museums, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah Theatre, and City Market Art Center.

Is Savannah known for its haunted history?

Yes, Savannah is known for its haunted history. Visitors can take ghost tours, visit the Sorrel-Weed House, explore Bonaventure Cemetery, and learn about the pirate lore of Tybee Island.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Savannah?

There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Savannah. You can take a riverboat cruise, rent bikes to explore the city, go kayaking on the Savannah River, and relax at Tybee Island Beach.

Where can I shop for unique souvenirs in Savannah?

Some places to shop for unique souvenirs in Savannah include Broughton Street, Savannah Bee Company, Paris Market, and City Market.

Which historic squares should I visit in Savannah?

You should visit Chippewa Square, Johnson Square, Lafayette Square, and Madison Square to experience Savannah’s historic squares.

What can I learn about Savannah’s civil rights history?

You can learn about Savannah’s civil rights history by visiting the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, Beach Institute, First African Baptist Church, and discovering the contributions of W.W. Law.

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