Brimming with historic landmarks, Southern charm and venerable traditions, Savannah, Georgia is an ideal destination for those who enjoy sightseeing. Whether visiting in the spring or fall, Savannah is always pleasant to meander through, with cobblestone streets, beautiful and well-kept parks, gardens and historic antebellum homes. Savannah is home to a wide variety of lush greenery and a pedestrian-friendly layout. Visitors are encouraged to explore and wander the beaten path.
While spring may offer an array of festivals and the vibrancy of blooming azaleas, there are plenty of year-round activities open to the public. Sightseeing tours offer an exploration of the city’s old forts, historic squares — including waterways and the infamous Savannah Squares built in 1773 by James Oglethorpe. Civil War reenactments regularly take place, and there are a variety of museums to keep history buffs occupied.
With consistently pleasant, moderate temperatures, an abundance of history and a multitude of trendy neighborhoods and restaurants, Savannah is a great destination for families. Here are the top five things to do while visiting Savannah, Georgia:
Visit the Historic Sights
Savannah is home to an array of historic sights, including the Mercer-Williams House, which has become famous mostly due to its role in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Now entirely restored, this landmark currently features a private collection of 17th and 18th century furniture and art, as well a collection of delicate Chinese porcelain.
Hailed as one of the most haunted cities in the country, Savannah has plenty of ghost tours that will guide you through the spookier parts of Savannah’s historic and Victorian districts. Some tours will even lead you through the dark history of Savannah in an actual hearse!
If you enjoy the theatre, you can always purchase tickets for a show at the Savannah Theatre, one of the oldest operating theatres in the country. Initially opened in 1818 with a production of The Soldier’s Daughter, followed by Raising the Wind, the theatre continued to put on performances by many notable stars, including Oscar Wilde, Henry Irving, and Julia Marlowe. Today, the theatre has a multitude of current and upcoming shows, like Jukebox!
Additionally, the Savannah Cotton Exchange is a landmark rich with historical significance and complexity. Dating back to 1887, this cotton exchange ships more than 2 million bales of cotton annually. For history aficionados, this is a landmark that should not be missed.
Dieters be warned: Savannah is brimming with Southern delicacies, including fried green tomatoes, traditional mac and cheese, fatty pork chops, fried chicken, and buttery collard greens. With an array of family-owned restaurants — such as Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room — serving up customary Savannah staples like beef stew and fried chicken, Savannah offers plenty of classic dining options for those who appreciate Southern home-cooking. In addition, there are restaurants that approach traditional meals with a contemporary flair, like Cafe Florie and Sweet Potatoes. Fine dining in Savannah also takes on a new depth with upscale eateries such as Elizabeth on 37th, which serves decadent and innovative Southern-style cuisine.
If you are interested in restaurants run by celebrity chefs, Paula Deen has one called The Lady & Sons, which includes a buffet complete with an impressive selection of Southern-style classics.
Explore Tybee Island
Tybee Island is a great way to spend the day in Savannah. Also known as Savannah Beach, this accessible island is only 18 miles from the city center. Tybee Island includes a 3-mile stretch dedicated to a public beach; salt marshes bursting with unique wildlife and interesting bird species; and several fishing piers, deep sea charters, and offshore charters.
The island is also host to over 25 different restaurants, many of which offer fresh seafood, including fresh Wild Georgia Shrimp.
Tybee Island is also host to a variety of shopping and nightlife destinations. Beachside cocktail bars, shops, art galleries, and small stands where you can buy handmade jewelry, trinkets, and paintings abound on this barrier island paradise.
River Street Marketplace
An open-air marketplace located right on the river, this bazaar offers over 50 shops, with international goods imported from countries such as Costa Rica, Nepal, Peru, China, Ireland, and Japan, as well as local goods. This shopping destination is unlike any other, with beautiful historic architecture, sweeping oak trees, interesting vendors, and visitors from all over the world. Shoppers can even enjoy the sight of ships passing as they shop for everything from souvenirs to beautifully handcrafted jewelry.
Savannah Riverboat Cruise
Savannah Riverboat Cruises offers vacationers an evening filled with fine dining, exciting entertainment, and of course, a detailed tour of Savannah. Several cruise times are available, including an early afternoon cruise where you can enjoy a decadent brunch and a view of Savannah in its busiest hour. There’s even an evening cruise that offers a glimpse of Savannah by moonlight. Each cruise features a sightseeing tour, an array of Southern-style cuisine, and lavish cultural entertainment.