Savannah, the historic riverside birthplace of Georgia, was settled in 1733 by British colonists led by General James Oglethorpe and Colonel William Bull. In 1864, when General William Tecumseh Sherman and his Union Army marched in, the mayor of Savannah gave Sherman's men run of the city in exchange for leaving it untorched. As a result, Savannah is one of the few major cities in the South with antebellum charm and architecture remaining intact. Savannah has one of the largest historic districts in the country.
Southerners joke that in Atlanta, the first thing locals ask you is your business; in Charleston, they ask your mother's maiden name; and in Savannah, they ask what you want to drink. It's partly that ethos that keeps the city tourism industry flourishing, along with a little help from what locals call "The Book": Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (also a feature film). The local art school, Savannah College of Art and Design, also keeps the city awash in accessible, affordable art.
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Film and televisionEdit
- Parts of Forrest Gump were shot in Chippewa Square, Savannah.
I-95 and I-16 are readily accessible to the city.
- 1 Savannah/Hilton Head Island International Airport (SAV IATA). Has a delightful glass-covered square with benches and shops in the center of the terminal, echoing the public squares in Savannah's Historic District. Rental car, Grayline shuttles, taxis, and other ground transportation are on the lower level to take you to Savannah.
Amtrak operates a passenger terminal at Savannah for the Palmetto and Silver Service trains running between New York City and Miami, Florida with three southbound and three northbound trains stopping at the station daily. The modernist 2 Savannah station is located on 2611 Seaboard Coastline Dr, almost five kilometers. Bus 29 offers limited service's to the station.
Greyhound - The Greyhound station is on W. Oglethorpe Ave. inside CAT's Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center, about a half mile from River St.
By public transitEdit
- Chatham Area Transit (CAT) has bus services fanning out from an intermodal Transit Center downtown on W. Oglethorpe Ave. It also operates the free dot Shuttle (Route #5) that winds its way around the Historic District, the free Savannah Belles Ferry that runs across the Savannah River between the Historic District and Hutchinson Island where the Convention Center is, and a free streetcar along River Street on weekends.
- ConnectOnTheDot has information about fare-free transportation in downtown Savannah, comprising an express shuttle, the Savannah Belles Ferry and the River Street Streetcar. The River Street Streetcar is a mile-long historic streetcar line in the Downtown Historic District. However, it is (as of August 2017) out of service during road construction.
The major east-west street through the Historic District is Bay Street, and the major north-south street is Abercorn, which begins at Bay Street and extends south through the city. Parking in the Historic District can be challenging but there are several public parking garages including an underground 1100-space parking garage beneath Ellis Square. On-street parking in the city at metered spaces is free on the weekends, but the spaces fill quickly beginning around mid-morning. Parking spaces nearest to River Street are the fastest to be filled.
- Savannah's Historic District is a good area to see in the daytime by walking. The Historic District is roughly one mile by one mile, bounded in the north by the Savannah River, the south by Forsyth Park, the east by East Broad St., and the west by the Visitor Center and MLK Jr. Blvd. The downtown public squares (see below) provide more than a day's worth of strolling.
- Self-guided audio walking tours and personal tour guides provide background on the history surrounding you.
By private bus toursEdit
- There are several private bus tours that wind through the Historic District with running commentaries. They can be found at the Visitors' Center and numerous places throughout the Historic District.
By horse and carriageEdit
Horse and carriage is a relaxed option (though not for the horses) for seeing the city at a more leisurely pace and is abundant throughout the historic district.
- 1 City Market. City Market is a mixed-use project in the northwest corner of the Historic District. The rehabilitation of the four-block area began in 1985. The result is a facility that economically could not be replicated today. City Market has established itself as a destination for entertainment, dining, and retailing in downtown Savannah. To create an anchor attraction that would attract both tourists and Savannah residents, the developer emulated its successful Torpedo Factory project in Alexandria, Virginia and established the Art Center at City Market. This group of working studios for artists occupies approximately 19,000 square feet of space and has created an opportunity for other tenants of City Market to establish and operate viable food, entertainment, and retail businesses. In addition, City Market has three apartments and approximately 11,000 square feet of office space. Ellis Square is immediately west of City Market and has an interactive fountain, information kiosk & an underground 1100-space parking garage making it very easy to park in the heart of the historic & tourist area.
- 2 Georgia State Railroad Museum, 655 Louisville Rd, ☏ . Daily, 9AM-5PM. Features several vintage pieces of rolling stock, an operating model train layout, and an operating turntable. Adults $7.70, Children (2-12) $4.90.
- 3 River Street. A popular cobblestone street (one way east) along the south bank of the Savannah River. It is lined with numerous tourist-targeted shops and restaurants. The sculpture of the Waving Girl is towards the east end of River Street. The rest of the Historic District is on a bluff above the riverfront and is connected with River Street via stairs or ramps, and is home to many restaurants and cafes, such as the famous River Street Sweets!
- 4 Forsyth Park. This large public park, which marks the southern edge of the Historic District, is ringed with bed and breakfasts and crowned with a beautiful fountain. They filmed Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil here. So stay in the park, admire the Spanish moss, and imagine yourself next to John Cusack under the dripping Spanish moss.
- 5 . Fans of "The Book" will find Johnny Mercer's grave here, along with those of Conrad Aiken and other Southern notables. The view of the river is wonderful, and the Spanish moss creates a delightfully spooky atmosphere.
- 6 Grayson Stadium (Historic Grayson Stadium), 1401 East Victory Drive, Savannah, GA 31404, ☏ . It is primarily used for baseball, and is the home field of the Savannah Bananas of the Coastal Plain League collegiate summer baseball league. It was also the part-time home of the Savannah State University college baseball team. It was used from 1927 until 1959 for the annual Thanksgiving Day game between Savannah High School and Benedictine Academy. Known as "Historic Grayson Stadium" it was built in 1926. It holds 4,000 people.
- 7 Wormsloe Historic Site, 7601 Skidaway Rd, ☏ . Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. The entrance has a beautiful avenue of live oak tree, plus there is a visitor's center with history of the plantation and trails along the marshes. $3.50-6.
- 8 Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). Founded in 1978 by Paula S. Wallace, Richard Rowan, May Poetter and Paul Poetter — is an independent, accredited and nonprofit school dedicated to the visual and performing arts, design, the building arts and the history of art and architecture. SCAD enrolls more than 10,000 students from all 50 states and at least 100 countries.
- 9 Lucas Theatre. SCAD uses it for a number of events including the Savannah Film Festival. The college’s support also allows for a wide range of community uses: the Lucas has presented top-line entertainment including opera from London and Italy, European orchestras, country stars, travelling repertory companies and film series. These events bring in an average of more than 1,000 people per week.
- 10 Telfair Museum. The Telfair Museum of Art traces its history from 1886 when the Telfair family home opened to the public as an art museum and school. Now composed of three buildings: the original Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences building, a National Historic Landmark; the Owens-Thomas House, also a National Historic Landmark; and the recently completed Jepson Center for the Arts.
- Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie, the 64,000-sq ft Jepson Center for the Arts is a state-of-the-art museum facility, featuring expanded gallery spaces, expanded educational resources, much-needed art storage facilities, sculpture gardens, an auditorium, café and museum store.
- Over the years the Telfair has become an invaluable confluence of arts, culture and history that reaches out to its audience through a diverse schedule of exhibitions and programs. Among the city's most-visited attractions, the museum is even more popular with the 2006 opening of its third venue, the Jepson Center for the Arts.
- Savannah Film Festival. Held in late October/early November. The festival features more than 50 films, selected from more than 600 entries in the categories of feature, short, animation, documentary and student competition, which are submitted from all over the world. The featured screenings represent a variety of independent filmmakers, while a cross section of workshops, lectures, receptions and special events gives the festival participants an opportunity to meet colleagues active in all areas of film production.
- Savannah Music Festival. "Southern, Soulful and Sophisticated." The festival's distinctive line-up showcases indigenous music from the Deep South, originally conceived chamber music, and a wealth of internationally renowned musicians representing an abundance of musical styles and genres.
- Savannah Tour of Homes. This annual spring event offers self-guided walking tours through private homes and gardens in Savannah's National Landmark Historic District.
- Sidewalk Arts Festival. Held in the spring. The sidewalks of Savannah's charming Forsyth Park come to life with remarkable original artwork and live music. This event is free and open to the public. The Sidewalk Arts Festival draws thousands of visitors to view temporary chalk masterpieces created on the sidewalks of the historic park.
- [dead link] St. Patrick's Day. Held on March 17th, this is considered by many to be the second largest party in the country. The almost 4-hour parade winds through the beautiful historic district where families are picnicking in the squares, and the azaleas are in full bloom. "College antics" are usually regulated to River Street later that evening, making the day very much family friendly, and loads of kitchy fun.
Historic public squaresEdit
Gen. Oglethorpe and Col. Bull laid out their new settlement in 1733 in a series of wards, in which commercial and residential buildings surround a public square. The original four public squares were Johnson, Ellis, Telfair, and Wright. By the mid 19th century, there were 24 public squares in Savannah. Two squares, Elbert and Liberty, both along Montgomery St., have been lost to modern construction, and a third one, Ellis, once lost, is being restored.
- 11 Calhoun Square. Calhoun Square was laid out in 1851, one of the last squares. It is on Abercorn Street with the cross streets being Taylor and Gordon. It was named for John C. Calhoun a well-known South Carolina politician. Massie School and Wesley Monumental Methodist Church are on this square.
- 12 Chatham Square. Chatham Square was laid out in 1847, one of the last squares. It is on Barnard Street with the cross streets being Taylor and Gordon. It was named for William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. On the Southeast corner of the square is Gordon Row, fifteen four story townhouses built as rental housing. The Barnard Street School, now one of the buildings of the Savannah College of Art and Design is on the Northwest corner of the square.
- 13 Chippewa Square. This square was laid out in 1815 and named for a battle in the War of 1812. In 1820, this square was a center of nightlife as the William Jay designed theater (still there although greatly altered) was on this square. The classical First Baptist Church and the Charles Cluskey designed Moses Eastman House at 17 W. McDonough are also on Chippewa. North of the square is Independent Presbyterian Church on Bull St. at Oglethorpe. The center of this square is James Edward Oglethorpe's monument. The square is also notable for being the square with the bus stop in the movie Forrest Gump. (The bus stop bench doesn't actually exist, it was a movie prop.)
- 14 Columbia Square. In the center of this square is the Wormsloe Fountain, placed there in 1970 as a memorial to Augusta and Wymberly DeRenne, descendants of Noble Jones. Davenport House, the house saved in 1955 by seven women who went on to found the Historic Savannah Foundation, is on the North side of this square. It is also the site of current preservation activities. The Frederic Ball House and the former law offices on the Western side of the square next to the Kehoe House. The Stone House, dating from the 1820s, has been restored. The Universalist Church, on the Southwest corner of the square, is the former Sheftall House.
- 15 Crawford Square. This square was laid out in the 1840s and named to honor William Harris Crawford who was Secretary of the Treasury under President Madison and once thought to be a prime contender for President of the United States. It is the only square that is still fenced as all the squares were at one time. Crawford Square is on Houston Street between Perry and Hull Streets.
- 16 Elbert Square. This square is one of two lost squares. It was located on Montgomery St. directly across from the westside entrance to the Civic Center and is represented by a small grassy area today. The square was laid out in 1801 and named for Samuel Elbert, planter and Revolutionary soldier. In 1969 the "Flame of Freedom" was placed here, but it was subsequently moved to Liberty Square in front of the Courthouse.
- 17 Ellis Square. This square is one of the original four squares, laid out in 1733. It was also referred to as Marketplace Square because that was its use. The square was named for Henry Ellis, second Royal Governor. Unfortunately, in 1954, this entire square, on Barnard Street between W. Bryan and W. Congress Streets, was covered by a city parking garage. This parking garage was torn down in 2007 and is being replaced by an underground parking structure, Savannah's first, with Ellis Square restored on top.
- On the west side of Ellis Square, the City Market complex extends for two blocks over to Franklin Square. Ellis was the site of the Old City Market, which was demolished in the early 1950s to make way for the infamous parking garage. The loss of the Old City Market upset residents to the extent that efforts began to prevent further losses of irreplaceable buildings.
- 18 Franklin Square. This square is on Montgomery Street between Congress and Bryan Streets. It was named for Benjamin Franklin who had been the Georgia Colony's agent in London. It was laid out in 1791 and for many years the City's water tower was here so it was referred to as Water Tower or Reservoir Square. The First African Baptist Church is on the West side of the square and the end of the City Market complex is on the East side. Franklin Square was restored in the 1980s, the same time period when the City Market complex was built.
- 19 Greene Square. Established in 1799, this square was named to honor General Nathanael Greene, second in command to General George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. The square is on Houston Street, between three convening streets -- York, State (originally named "Prince Street"), and President (originally named "King Street" prior to the American Revolutionary War).
- The Second African Baptist Church, dating to 1802, is on the west Trust Lot of the square. At this church site with Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, Major-Gen. William Sherman announced the famous "Forty Acres and a Mule" to the newly freedmen. On January 12, 1865 when black ministers met with Stanton & Sherman this was reported: "John Cox, aged fifty-eight years, born in Savannah; slave until 1849, when he bought his freedom for $1,100. Pastor of the 2d African Baptist Church. In the ministry fifteen years. Congregation 1,222 persons. Church property worth $10,000, belonging to the congregation."  [dead link]
- On the Southeast corner, Savannah Gray Bricks were used in the construction of 521 East York Street. A sign on the house notes that the bricks were made at the Hermitage Plantation on the Savannah River.
- At the corner of Houston and State streets is the 1810 Cunningham House built for Henry Cunningham, the first pastor of the Second Colored Baptist Church (now Second African Baptist Church located on Greene Square). He was born a free man in McIntosh County, Georgia in 1759.
- 502-512 East State Street were built in 1890.
- 542 East State Street is the home built for free blacks Charlotte and William Wall (ca. 1818).
- 124 Houston Street is a clapboard house built in 1815 by Isaiah Davenport, a builder, who came to Savannah from Rhode Island. Another Isaiah Davenport home is now a house museum on Columbia Square.
- 117 – 119 Houston Street (ca 1810) is believed to be one of the early paired houses in the city, later used as the Savannah Female Orphan Asylum.
- Featured as one of Savannah "tiny" houses and painted in the red color often used on 18th Century wood homes in Savannah, 536 East State Street was built for John Dorsett in 1845. It had originally been located on Hull Street but was moved to this location to save it.
- 513 East York Street is a little two-story cottage built in 1853 for the estate of Catherine DeVeaux, a descendant of Jane DeVeauxes. Jane Deveauxes who was sent to the North for an education, but returned to establish a secret school from her home at St. Julian and Price streets from 1847 until after the Civil War. Along with another teacher of African students, Mary Beasley, Jane DeVeauxes was a member of Second African Baptist Church on Greene Square. Jane Deveaux’s school is generally regarded as having been the longest lived, approaching 30 years, and was in existence when General Sherman arrived in late 1864.
- At 548 East President Street is Green Palm Inn, built as a seaman's cottage, now one of Savannah's top-rated historic breakfast inns.
- Johnson Square. This is the city's first square, laid out in 1733. It was named for Robert Johnson, Governor of South Carolina when the Georgia colony was founded. The public mill and oven were located on this square and it was the site of the earliest church, Christ Church, which is still there; but not in the original building. The Savannah Bank Building, now First Union, was the City's first "skyscraper." It was built in 1911 on the northeast corner of Bull Street and Bryan. This is the banking square and many of the City's banks are located here. In the center of the square is the Nathanial Greene Monument.
- LaFayette Square. This square, located on Abercorn Street between Charlton and Harris Streets was laid out in 1837. Until 1846, the city jail was located here; but when it was moved, Andrew Low purchased some of the land and built in 1849 what we now refer to as the Andrew Low House. This house, on the west side of the square, is next to the Battersby-Hartridge House, the only Charleston style house in the city.
- The Hamilton Turner House is also on this square as is the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home. This home, now operated as a public museum, is where the renowned Georgia author lived as a child.
- On the north side of the square is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (built in 1873) and its school buildings.
- Liberty Square. This is one of two lost squares. It was located on Montgomery Street in front of the present County Courthouse. It was laid out in 1799 and named to celebrate the freedom and independence gained through the Revolution and to honor the "Sons of Liberty" who had fought for independence. The "Flame of Freedom" is now on this site.
- Madison Square. This square was named to honor President James Madison and laid out in 1837. It is on Bull Street with Harris and Charlton providing boundaries. The first home built on this square in the 1830s was the Sorrel-Weed House on the northwest corner. On the West side of the square there is St. John's Episcopal Church and its parish house, the Green-Meldrim House which is open to the public. On the corner of Charlton and Bull, there is the Scottish Rite Temple designed by Hyman Witcover who was also the architect for the present Savannah City Hall. Across from that is the Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory, now one of the Savannah College of Art and Design's buildings. The DeSoto Hilton Hotel, on the northeast corner, was built in the 1960s after the original DeSoto was torn down.
- This was the site of the Oglethorpe Barracks, c. 1834, the site of early military parades.
- The center of Madison Square is the Sgt. Jasper Monument.
- Monterey Square. In 1847, the Irish Jasper Greens, a Savannah military group, returned from the Mexican war and this name (Monterey) was given to honor one of the battles in that war. All of the buildings on this square except one (the United Way building) are original to the square.
- Temple Mickve Israel is here with its museum which is open to the public.
- On the southwest corner, at 3 W. Gordon, is the Noble Hardee House, completed in 1869 as a double house but later converted into a single dwelling. Also on this square is the Mercer-Williams House and the 1857 Oglethorpe Club building.
- The Pulaski Monument is in the center of Monterey Square.
- Oglethorpe Square. One of Savannah's first six planned squares in the city plan by James Edward Oglethorpe, this square is on Abercorn Street between State Street (called "Prince Street" prior to the American Revolutionary War) and York Streets.
- Named "Upper New Square" when laid out in 1742, the square was renamed in honor of Georgia founder James Edward Oglethorpe.
- On the east side of this square was the modest home of Georgia's first Royal Governor, John Reynolds. The spot was overlooking the square on the southeast Trust Lot -- now a parking lot of the Presidents' Quarters Inn). Reynolds arrived in Savannah October 29, 1754.
- On the northeast Trust Lot, the site of today's Telfair's Owens-Thomas House, was the residences of the Royal Surveyors of Georgia and South Carolina. The Owens-Thomas House is widely considered the finest example of Regency architecture in the United States. Upon his visit to Savannah, General Marquis de Lafayette lodged in the mansion and spoke to the citizens of Savannah from the balcony overlooking President Street (formerly known as "King Street" prior to the American Revolutionary War).
- The square contains a pedestal honoring Moravian missionaries who arrived at the same time as John Wesley and settled in Savannah from 1735 to 1740, before resettling in Pennsylvania.
- Formerly the Unitarian Church (Jingle Bells Church), sat on the east side of the square; however, it was moved to Troup Square in 1997.
- On the southwest corner is the Savannah College of Art and Design administration building. It was built in 1907 as the Marine Hospital, and then became the Urban Health Center .
- Orleans Square. This square, located on Barnard St., between Perry and Hull Streets, was laid out in 1815 and named to honor the heroes of the War of 1812. The German Societies placed a fountain and benches in this square in the late 1980s.
- The house with the massive columns on the east side of the square was built in 1844 for Aaron Champion. It is known as the Harper-Fowlkes House which is owned by the Society of Cincinnati in the state of Georgia. Across the square is the Civic Center, completed in 1970.
- Pulaski Square. This square on Barnard Street between Harris and Charlton Streets was laid out in 1837 and named for Count Casimir Pulaski, one of the highest ranking foreign officers to die in the American Revolution.
- The red brick Jewish Education Alliance building on the East side of the square is now a dormitory for the Savannah College of Art and Design. The house on the northwest corner of Barnard and Harris is new housing, completed in 1993. The house across from it is the 1839 house of Francis Bartow, a Confederate hero. It is now several apartments.
- Reynolds Square. Located on Abercorn Street between Congress and Bryan Streets, this square was named for James Reynolds, a Georgia Royal Governor.
- On the Northeast trust lot, the Filature House was located. This center of the silkworm effort was the first large building in the colony and used as a meeting center before it burned down in the mid-1800s. The Corps of Engineers building is now on that site.
- The Pink House is one of the few houses to survive the Great Fire of 1796. Across St. Juilian Street from it, also on the West side of the square is the Oliver Sturgiss House. He was a partner with William Scarbrough in the Steamship Savannah venture. The southwest trust lot on this square was the site of the parsonage in the earliest colonial days. The Christ Church Parish House is on the Northeast corner.
- The square also houses the John Wesley Monument.
- Telfair Square. From 1733 to 1883, this square was named St. James Square and was one of the most fashionable residential areas. It was renamed to honor Edward Telfair, three-time governor of Georgia (1786-1792) and his family. Located on Barnard Street between York and State Streets.
- The Telfair family home, now the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest art museums in the South. The Trinity Methodist Church and the Federal Buildings which were completed in the 1980s are on this square.
- Troup Square. This square, located on Habersham between Charlton and Harris Streets, was laid out in 1851. It was named for George Michael Troup, Congressional representative, governor, and senator. There was only one other square, Washington Square, named for a person who was alive when so honored.
- On the west side of the square there are the high stoop McDonough Row Houses, built in 1882 that were the object of one of the first historic restoration efforts in the 1960s when federal funds became available for historic preservation activities.
- Kennedy Row, low stoop brick houses on the west side of the square, were built in 1872 and also rehabilitated in the Troup Square Renewal Project.
- Also on the west side of the square, there is a dog fountain that was reinstalled in the 1980s.
- The Armillary Sphere in the center of the square was created in the 1970s and represents an ancient astronomical device. It used to have gold continents inside and 12 Zodiacs on the rim; but they were removed to prevent theft or further vandalism.
- Warren Square. This square, laid out in 1791, is on Habersham Street between Bryan and Congress Streets. It was named for General Joseph Warren, killed in the 1775 battle of Bunker Hill. The city parking garage covers the two western Trust Lots.
- The Spencer House, built in 1791, on the west side of the square, underwent a total restoration in the 1980s. A private philanthropist has completely redone the double house on the Northwest corner of Habersham Street in 1993.
- On St. Julian Street between this square and Washington Square there are some of the oldest houses in the historic district.
- Washington Square. This square, on Houston Street, is near the site of the old Trustees Garden. It was named for George Washington. For many years, until the mid-20th century, this square was the scene of the biggest New Year's Eve bonfires, many often taller than the houses around the square.
- The Seaman's House, operated by the Port Society to serve the needs of visiting seaman, is on the Southwest side of the square.
- The Mulberry Inn, also on this square, was a cotton warehouse, built in the 1860s. It became a Coca-Cola bottling plant before being converted to an inn.
- Whitefield Square. This square, on Habersham between Taylor and Gordon Streets, is named for the Rev. George Whitefield, an early minister in the colony, friend of John Wesley, and founder of the Bethesda Orphanage in 1740. Constructed in 1851, this was the last of the City's squares. Around the square there are wooden Victorian houses, a later style in the historic district.
- On the north side of the square are two very tall, modern buildings: the Red Cross and the Rose of Sharon apartments. Also on this square is the First Congregational Church.
- Wright Square. This is one of the oldest of the City's squares, laid out in 1733. It is on Bull Street between State and York Streets. It was called Percival Square to honor Viscount Percival, later the Earl of Egmont. It was renamed to honor James Wright, Georgia's last Royal Governor.
- It was commonly called "Court House Square," as from its earliest days to the present, it has held a courthouse on the site. The present yellow brick courthouse, on the east side, was designed by William Gibbons Preston and was renovated in 1992 for continued use by County offices.
- Next to the Court House, also on the east side of the square, on a Trust Lot, is the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, built in 1844. Also on the square is the United States Post Office, built in 1899 of Georgia Marble. Around the top of the building there are panels of all different types of marble quarried in Georgia.
- On this square, Tomochichi was buried in an elaborate funeral service in 1739. His monument remained as done by the early colonists until it was demolished in the early 1880s to make way for a monument to William Washington Gordon. The members of the Colonial Dames in Georgia were responsible for placing a huge boulder of Georgia granite in the Southeast side of the square in memory of Tomochichi.
- Take a Riverboat Cruise on the Savannah River Queen or the Georgia Queen.
- Visit the Savannah Visitors Center and the Savannah History Museum.
- Ride the free Savannah Belles Ferry across the Savannah river to Hutchinson Island.
- Watch the show at Club One Jefferson (home of the Lady Chablis-Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil)
- Walk the Bull Street corridor from City Hall (at Bay St.) to the fountain in Forsyth Park.
- Take a picture with a statue in one of the historic squares.
- Walk down River Street, see the Waving Girl, and shop in one of the local candy shops.
- Shop at City Market. Check out the local art galleries, where you can often pick up great student art for prices easy on the wallet.
- Visit the Telfair Museum of Art and the Jepson Center for the Arts.
- Stay at a Savannah B&B historic mansion inn for high drama and beautiful scenery.
- Children will enjoy following the "Savannah Safari," a coloring book of Savannah's wildlife typically depicted in dolphin rain downspouts and lion water fountains.
- Visit Bethesda Home for Boys (the oldest orphanage in the USA) 9 miles south of Savannah.
- Buy cookies at the Byrd Cookie Company.
- Take a trolley tour or one of the many ghost tours.
- Visit the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace and the beginning of the Girl Scouts.
- Tour the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
- Picnic in Forsyth Park.
- Attempt to find Forrest Gump's bench at Chippewa Square (it's not there).
- Visit Flannery O'Connor's childhood home. She played in the square and kept chickens here, and for Southern literary buffs, the small house is a must.
- See a Savannah Bananas Game (also known as the Sand Gnats).
- Visit Old Fort Jackson, just outside Savannah's city limits.
- ShopSCAD, 340 Bull St. On Madison Square. Great works of art by students at SCAD. Right across the street from the Gryphon Tea Room. Why buy junky mass produced souvenirs when you can support student artists? They always have a wonderful mix of eclectic items.
- E. Shaver Booksellers, 326 Bull St (On Madison Square), ☏ . This is a great locally owned bookstore. Tons of new books inhabit many intimate rooms. If you eavesdrop on the doyennes who work there, you can learn all kinds of juicy gossip on the locals. They always have good advice on the latest book or that literary souvenir for Aunt Sue.
- The Book Lady Bookstore, 6 E. Liberty St (Just off Bull St., across the st. from the Desoto Hilton), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5:30PM. Exactly as a bookstore should look and feel, this full service used, rare, and new books shop, steps right out of a Dickens novel. Right around the corner from Shaver's, The Book Lady has lots of cozy places to sit, knowledgeable staff, and endless hard-to-find books in all genres. Free wifi, reading garden, and a cafe that serves coffee, tea, cold drinks, and homemade scones, cookies and more. Check their events schedule for author readings and book signings.
- ZIA Boutique (ZIA), 325 W. Broughton St., ☏ . 11AM - 6PM. A beautiful and hip boutique with a stunning & exotic selection of global jewelry. The owner travels the world in search of the unusual and offers his own bold designs as well. $20-400.
- The Paris Market & Brocante, 36 W. Broughton St, ☏ . A wonderful treasure trove of a little bit of everything -- items for home, etc. The owner has a wonderful eye for the unusual.
- Joseph's Salon, Drayton St, ☏ . Full service pampering and consultations, nails, hair, and skin care, located in the historic district beside the Desoto Hilton Hotel. Owner Joseph Moody has been the go-to hairstylist for beautiful hair in Savannah for over 20 years. Call for an appointment.
- Portobello Antiques, 220 E. Oglethorpe Ave, ☏ . Is an upscale antiques and decorating store. They have quality vendors in a clean environment. This is true New South style.
- See a show at the Historic Savannah Theatre, 222 Bull St, ☏ . See a musical variety show with the talented performers of this theatre company.
- [dead link] Folklorico, 440 Bull St, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM; Su 1PM-5PM. Great place for fair trade, handmade products. Owners travel around the world to find treasures to share.
- Liquid Sands Glass Gallery, 5 W. York St. (On the South side of Wright Square), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM; Su 1PM-4PM. Savannah's only gallery dedicated to the American Studio Glass Movement. Selection includes sculpture, lighting, wall pieces, drink ware and jewelry.
- Tubby's, River St. Excellent crab cakes. Great view of river street and the Savannah River from an upstairs balcony. Friendly service, good views, great food and drinks make it an excellent place. $$.
- River House, 125 W River St.. Seafood restaurant with white linen tables. A very decent restaurant with up market prices. The flounder is not bad but overcooked. As for the seafood platter, it is not worth the $29 as it is served warm and it is pretty small.
- Mrs. Wilkes's Boarding House. W. Jones near Whitaker, lower level. An original Savannah experience. Offers genuine southern home cooking served family style. Locals and tourists enjoy the convivial family dining. President Barack Obama dined here when he visited Savannah in March 2010.
- SOHO South Cafe, 12 W. Liberty St. Centrally located in Savannah's historic district. Adorable and comfortable funky decor in an old car garage with a large menu of great salads, sandwiches, and more. Artwork, crafts and books also for sale. Favorite of locals too. Outside tables also available.
- Lady & Sons. W. Congress and Whitaker. A popular Savannah experience, made even more popular with the exponential explosion of Paula Deen and sons on the Food Network. Reservations for lunch are taken beginning at 9:30AM. Expect a wait.
- Wiley's Championship BBQ. M-Sa. Corner of Highway 80 and Island's Expressway (out President Street Extension), 10 minutes from downtown Savannah. The "barbecue joint" features championship quality beef, chicken and pork BBQ complemented by homemade Southern sides daily for lunch (11AM-2PM) and supper (5PM-8PM).
- Gallery Espresso (Corner of Bull and Perry Streets). Outside seating on Chippewa Square makes this arty coffee shop even more appealing to locals and tourists alike. A large, almost daunting, menu of coffees, teas, sweets and sandwiches is sure to satisfy your hunger, while the abundant local art on display feeds the mind.
- Walls BBQ, 515 E. York Ln (on a lane, that is, an alley, just behind Oglethorpe Avenue in the Historic District, 232-9754.). Insiders know this is a true Savannah experience. The best crab cakes in Savannah, lots of yummy vegetables, and homemade desserts. Hard to find but well worth it.
- The Hyatt Regency Hotel. Right on the water and has a decent restaurant that has fabulous views of the river. It is possible to eat breakfast right next to the window while a huge container ship passes within maybe 100 feet. A pretty decent breakfast.
- Pirates' House. E. Broad near E. Bay. A Savannah tradition next to the historic Trustee Garden. The place to go with kids. Yo-ho-ho!
- Express Cafe & Bakery, 39 Barnard St. Locals and tourists enjoy reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, snacks in a comfortable setting, just south of Ellis Square.
- B. Matthew's Eatery, 325 E. Bay (on the bluff overlooking the River).
- Johnny Harris, 1651 E. Victory Dr. Old school Savannah BBQ place. Eat in the kitchen for a casual meal, in the bar for a cozy feel, or in the ballroom for a more spiffy dinner. The fried chicken is the best in town. The BBQ sauce is a classic.
- The Gryphon Tea Room. A tea room, owned by the Savannah College of Art and Design, in an old pharmacy on Madison Square. Tea and atmosphere are excellent, but service and food often disappoint.
- 700 Drayton Restaurant. In the Mansion on Forsyth Park hotel. A fine cuisine restaurant and cocktail lounge located in historic downtown Savannah, adorned with chic artwork, stunning chandeliering, and the full restoration and artistic touches of the original 1888 Savannah Mansion.
- Mellow Mushroom. Laid-back pizza restaurant with full bar, good pizza, and many vegetarian options.
- The Pink Pig. Charming BBQ restaurant just across the Savannah River!
- Angel's BBQ, 21 W Oglethorp Ln. Hole-in-the-wall but hip BBQ joint with a handful of tables, very large sauce selection, and lots of vibe.
- The Bay Cafe, 1 Jefferson St. Daily 5PM-3AM. Beneath Club One. Full service food and drink.
- 1 Desposito's, 3501 Macceo Dr, Thunderbolt, GA, ☏ . Tu–Sat, 5–10PM. One of the few surviving family-owned shrimp shacks from a previous era, with the same secret-recipe dipping sauce that they've used for more than half a century. Go for a taste of old-timey Southern boiled shrimp.
- Byrd Cookie Company. A hometown favorite, this Savannah cookie company offers a multitude of favorites but make sure to try their famous Scottish Oatmeals!
- River Street Sweets. A must for Savannah visitors, this candy shops makes the candy right in front of you. You can buy home made fudge or their world-famous pralines.
- Savannah Rum Runners. This local cake shop offers delicious rum cakes as well as other fine treats.
- Leopold's Ice Cream. A nostalgic soda fountain, ice cream parlor and sandwich shoppe re-created by Savannahian and Hollywood movie producer, Stratton Leopold. The original shoppe was on the corner of Habersham and Gwinnett Streets, just down the street from the birthplace of Johnny Mercer, Savannah's "Huckleberry Friend" and legendary lyricist known best perhaps for "Moon River," made famous in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and for "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," made famous in Walt Disney's "Song of the South."
Savannah is called the "Hostess City of the South" and as such, there are no shortages of watering holes; from hole-in-the wall joints to upscale bars. In downtown Savannah, it is legal to consume alcohol in public. Ask the bartender or doorman for a "go cup" (a "traveller" if you're a local) to pour your libation in.
- Pinkie Masters, Drayton St. A true Savannah dive. Jimmy Carter started his campaign here, and if the man's in town and drinking, he's probably here. They don't take cards, so be sure to bring cash.
- Circa 1875, 48 Whitaker St. Lots of paneling and atmosphere, this beautiful and cozy bar with an extensive wine selection also mixes great drinks. Becoming the hangout for the intellectual set.
- Club One Jefferson, 1 Jefferson St. daily 5PM to 3AM. Shows are nightly at 10:30PM and 12:30AM. Club One defines itself as the premier gay bar in a town priding itself on a level of decadence that falls somewhere between New Orleans's and Key West's, and it's the hottest and most amusing spot in town. Patrons include lesbians and gays from the coastal islands, visiting urbanites, and cast and crew of whatever film is being shot in Savannah at the time (Demi Moore and Bruce Willis showed up here in happier times). There's also likely to be a healthy helping of voyeurs who've read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. You pay your admission at the door then wander through the street-level dance bar, trek down to the basement-level video bar for a (less noisy) change of venue, and (if your timing is right) climb one floor above street level for a view of the drag shows. There, a bevy of black and white artistes lip-synch the hits of Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, and Bette Midler.
- Churchill's Pub & Restaurant.
- Molly McPhersons, Congress St. Scottish bar populated with the 20-something set.
- Moon River Brew Pub. Brewpub with good range of beers, standard bar food.
- The Rail Pub.
- Wet Willies, River St.. Well known for their potent frozen drinks.
- The Bar Bar.
- Savannah Smiles Dueling Piano Saloon, Williamson St (behind the Quality Inn on Bay Street). Where piano players ask you to sing along while you enjoy your favorite drinks.
- A Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Savannah Airport (Fairfield Inn & Suites Savannah Airport), 10 Stephen S. Green Dr (Northbound on I-95:Exit 104, turn right at exit traffic light, continue to next traffic light/Crossroads Parkway, right at light, hotel on right. Southbound on I-95:Exit 104, turn left at exit traffic light, continue through 1st traffic light to 2nd traffic light/Crossroads Parkway, right at light, hotel on right.), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 69-119.
- Avia hotel, 14 Barnard St, ☏ .
- Azalea Inn and Gardens (Azalea Inn Bed and Breakfast), 217 E Huntingdon St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Inn with 11 rooms in the Garden District of the Historic District. Private off-street parking, nightly dessert, evening wine and hors d'oeuvres, bedtime cordial, and 3-course breakfast. Swimming pool, renowned gardens and eco-friendly style, on-site produce gardens.
- The Ballastone Inn, 14 E Oglethorpe Ave, toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Bed and breakfast in the historic district. 16 rooms, elevator, around-the-clock concierge, southern breakfast, high tea, bar and private courtyard gardens. $235-395.
- Cambria Suites Savannah Airport, 50 Y Johnson Hagins Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. This hotel has a resort style indoor pool and hot tub.
- Catherine Ward House Inn (Catherine Ward House), 118 East Waldburg St, ☏ . Check-in: flexible, check-out: 11AM. Historic District bed and breakfast that features 9 rooms - 2 with king sized beds, 2 with jacuzzis. Full breakfast, wifi access, parking, and free sodas/waters included in room rates. 2 guest rooms are dog friendly (with no weight limit). $149-249.
- Clarion Inn & Suites, I-95 & SR 204 E., ex. 94 (I-95 and SR 204 East, Exit 94), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. On-site meeting room, indoor heated pool and hot-tub, fitness center. 70-140.
- 1 Comfort Inn & Suites at Savannah Airport (Comfort Inn & Suites Savannah Airport), 15 Jay R Turner Dr (Northbound on I-95:Exit 104, turn right at exit traffic light, continue to next traffic light/Crossroads Parkway, left at light, hotel on left. Southbound on I-95:Exit 104, turn left at exit traffic light, continue through 1st traffic light to 2nd traffic light/Crossroads Parkway, left at light, hotel on left.), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 59-119.
- Comfort Inn & Suites Midtown, 211 Stephenson Ave (I-95 to Ex. 94. Right on 204 E (Abercorn). Follow Abercorn 12 miles to Stephenson Ave. Make right turn onto Stephenson. Hotel next to Ryan's.), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 70-90.
- Comfort Suites Gateway, 596 Al Henderson Blvd (I-95 South, exit 94 (Hwy 204), turn left. First light turn left, straight ahead located behind Ruby Tuesday's. I-95 North, exit 94 (Hwy 204), turn right. At the light, turn left, straight ahead located behind Ruby Tuesday's.), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. All rooms are suites, wireless internet and breakfast provided, indoor heated pool. 90-150.
- 2 Comfort Suites Historic District (Comfort Suites Savannah Historic District Hotel), 630 W Bay St (Driving north or south from I-95, take Exit 99A, I-16 East which dead ends to Montgomery Street. At 4th light, make left onto Bay Street. Hotel is 3 blocks on right.), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Every room is a suite, pet-friendly hotel, non-smoking. 79-199.
- Desoto Hilton, 15 E Liberty St (between Bull and Drayton Sts), ☏ . The Desoto, as locals still call it (the original magnificent Queen Anne Victorian Desoto hotel burned down in the early 20th century) offers underground and valet parking, pool, restaurant and lounge.
- Econo Lodge Midtown, 7500 Abercorn St (I-95 Exit 94 (SR204), 11 miles to hotel on right. I-16 Exit 164A (Lynes Parkway South), turn right on Abercorn, 1/2 mile on left.), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. AAA and AARP rates offered. 60-80.
- Econo Lodge Savannah South, 3 Gateway Blvd SI-95 & 204 ex. 94” directions=, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. On-site restaurant, area golf course packages, pet-friendly. $50.
- Green Palm Inn. A four-bedroom Victorian B&B near the Riverfront in the historic district.
- Hamilton-Turner Inn, 330 Abercorn St, toll-free: . Historically the talk of the town for its Savannah 400 social status, eclector doctor's early 1900s eco-friendly electric car, and its role in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. A family-friendly bed and breakfast mansion inn.
- Kehoe House Bed and Breakfast, 123 Habersham St, toll-free: . A historic bed and breakfast that features rooms named for prominent members of the Savannah area's history.
- Mansion on Forsyth Park, 700 Drayton St. The Mansion on Forsyth Park is a 126-room property, with views of Forsyth Park, was built onto an existing 1888 mansion.
- Courtyard Savannah Midtown, 6703 Abercorn Street, Savannah GA 31405, ☏ . Features a state-of-the-art lobby and stylish rooms.
- Ocean Plaza Beach Resort, Oceanfront at 15th St, ☏ . Spacious hotel rooms with private balconies, and many feature direct views of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Planters Inn on Reynolds Square, 29 Abercorn St, toll-free: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. A historic upscale hotel downtown, with free continental breakfast, and internet. $139 and up.
- 3 The Presidents' Quarters Inn (Presidents' Quarters Bed and Breakfast), 225 E President St (I-16 to Liberty St, right on Liberty, Left on Abercorn, Right on York), ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A prominent Oglethorpe Square historic inn (circa 1855), with 16 large rooms. Private off-street parking, nightly turn-down, afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres, bedtime cordial, and delightful breakfast.
- Quality Inn Heart of Savannah, 300 W Bay St (From I95 take exit 99A (I-16) East towards Savannah to Montgomery Street. Continue on Montgomery Street to Bay Street. Hotel is on the left side), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Non-smoking hotel, pet-friendly. 120-140.
- Quality Inn Midtown, 7100 Abercorn St (From I-95 north, take exit 94 and make a right turn ontoGA-204. Drive 11.6 miles, go past Eisenhower Drive for .1 mile and the Quality Inn will be on the right side. From I-95 south, take exit 99 to I-16 East. Follow I-16 East to Exit 64A GA-21/Lyns Pkwy/I-516/US 17/US 80. Follow GA-21 S to Abercorn St. Turn right on Abercorn. Make a U-Turn at Eisenhower Dr. Hotel will be on right), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Hotel with business center, lounge/bar on-site, pet-friendly. $70-90.
- River Street Inn, 124 E. Bay St, ☏ . A very intimate hotel overlooking Savannah River with 86 rooms and 4 on-site restaurants. 100% non-smoking.
- Sans Boutique Hotel, 480 Al Henderson Blvd, ☏ . Free wifi, plasma TVs, and continental breakfast.
- Savannah International Pensione, 304 E Hall St, ☏ . Check-in: 5PM-11PM, check-out: 7AM-11AM. Victorian house with a carriage houise in the back. Free wireless internet, bike rentals offered. Main house closed noon-5PM for cleaning, carriage house has 24-hour access. Shared rooms $23 per person (group of 3 or more people; hostel-style dormitories not offered), private rooms $45-65 (1-2 people), carriage house rooms $60-85 (1-3 people).
- Sleep Inn, 17013 Abercorn St (I-95 Exit 94. Hotel is located behind Cracker Barrell Restaurant. This used to be exit 16 off I-95. Now it is exit 94), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Breakfast and internet provided, outdoor pool, daily guided tour buses of Savannah pick-up/drop off at hotel. 60-70.
- Suburban Extended Stay Abercorn, 10614 Abercorn Extension, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. Free wireless high-speed Internet access in all rooms.
- Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn, 117 West Gordon St (at Chatham Square near Forsyth Park), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Dating from 1853, the Inn offers air conditioning, ceiling fans, cable TV, free wi-fi and free parking. $119-249.
- Hyatt Regency Savannah, 2 W. Bay Street. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Enjoy views of the Savannah River, free Wi-Fi, and newly renovated rooms, all in the heart of Downtown Savannah.
- Holiday Inn Express Savannah-Historic District, 199 East Bay St, ☏ . The hotel features a full service fireside lobby bar and a rooftop pool and gazebo. Rates include a Continental breakfast and high speed Internet access. Starting at $119.
- 4 Courtyard Savannah Downtown/Historic District, 415 West Liberty Street, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. The hotel offers free Internet in the lobby and all guest rooms.
- 5 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Savannah Historic District, 411 West Bay Street, ☏ .
- Galloway House Inn, 107 E 35th St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4 to 7 pm, check-out: 10 am.
- The Inn on West Liberty, 109 West Liberty Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Full complimentary breakfast and complimentary wine and cheese hour at night.
- 6 The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, 1 Resort Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM.
Savannah's Historic District is perfectly safe for exploring the area during the day and at night with at least one other person - a normal safety precaution. Outside the historic district crime is more prevalent. While exploring the Historic District please do remember this is a tourist area and there will always be those who prey on tourists - be cautious but more so at night. Savannah-Chatham County Police patrol the downtown area frequently on horseback and in patrol cruisers. The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is prominent throughout the downtown area and SCAD's Security detail frequently patrols areas near their buildings on bike and vehicle.
River Street area is good for drinking and fun but watch your back on a busy weekend. Anything and everything goes.
- Tybee Island - 18 mi (29 km) east of Savannah, Tybee has a long sand beach, and various beachfront bars, restaurants, and hotels. Finding a hotel or parking can be difficult in the high summer season.
- Hilton Head - A lush seaside paradise across the Savannah river in South Carolina.
- Charleston - 105 mi (169 km) north of Savannah, Charleston is a historic port city with 17th century homes and numerous beaches.
|Routes through Savannah|
|Fayetteville ← Charleston ←||N S||→ END|
|Fayetteville ← Charleston ←||N S||→ Jacksonville → Orlando|
|Raleigh ← Columbia ←||N S||→ Jacksonville → Orlando|
|Fayetteville ← Port Wentworth ←||N S||→ Midway → Jacksonville|
|Charleston ← Ridgeland ←||N S||→ Midway → Jacksonville|
|Columbus ← Macon ←||W E||→ Tybee Island → END|