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Close up of Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah Georgia
Overview
Close up of Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah Georgia
About Savannah
Travel Tips & Articles
Savannah, Culinarily Speaking
Best Scenery in Savannah
7 Fun Things to Do in Savannah Without a Car
Budget Friendly Savannah
Savannah's African-American Heritage
Free Things to do with Kids in Savannah
Savannah's AAA Four Diamond Hotels
Savannah Off the Beaten Path
Inspector Picks: Find Beauty at These Hotels with Great Art on Display
Connections to the Past
7 Haunted Places You Can Visit in the U.S.
Forsyth Park Fountain water spring summer day
What to Do in Savannah
Two people walk to Savannah's Forsyth Park fountain while artist paints landscape.
Savannah Travel with Kids
Shopping in Savannah
Savannah, Georgia, USA - December 7, 2011: Early morning on the historic cobblestoned River Street lined with pubs and restaurants.
Savannah Nightlife
Savannah Performing Arts
Locals head to Tybee Island 520271 for a day of swimming, fishing, boating, bird-watching, biking or relaxing. With restaurants, shops, lodgings and island-getaway ambience, Tybee rejuvenates the spirit, as the Victorians who flocked here to ?take the salts? discovered in the early 20th century. Attractions include Tybee Lighthouse 510517 and Tybee Museum (Fort Screven) 510516, on the grounds of former Fort Screven at the northern tip of the island, and Tybee Island Marine Science Center 510515, on the southern end near the pier and pavilion. Tip: Tybee is 18 miles east of the city, less than 30 minutes by car. For a reasonable fee, you can leave the driving to the Tybee/Savannah Beach Shuttle operated by Old Savannah Tours. There are seven pick-up locations downtown and nearly as many in convenient locations on the island.
Savannah Sports & Recreation
Savannah Sightseeing
Savannah, Georgia, USA - December 7, 2011: Early morning on the historic cobblestoned River Street lined with pubs and restaurants.
Savannah in 3 Days
Exterior shot of the front of the Mercer Williams House Museum in Savannah Georgia
Best Attractions in Savannah
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Best Restaurants in Savannah
Photo credit should be given to Savannah CVB.  Savannah?s 21 public squares are a source of civic pride. After losing three of the 24 original squares to development by the 1950s, preservationists stepped in to protect the remainder. Surrounded by lovely restored houses and dotted with monuments, statuary, fountains and relics, Savannah?s lush pocket parks serve as outdoor museums, begging your patronage. Discover some of the prettiest along Bull and Abercorn streets.     The city woos romantics to its doorstep with handsomely appointed historic inns that transport guests to another era. To complete the seduction, restaurant choices range from fine nouvelle Southern cuisine by candlelight to down-home-dining hotspots such as celebrity chef Paula Deen?s The Lady & Sons. Horse-drawn carriage rides, riverboat cruises and trolley tours offer carefree sightseeing options, while museums of art, history and maritime heritage provide hours of casual browsing through outstanding exhibits and collections. Entertainment runs the gamut from live jazz at City Market to live theater at three performance venues.
Savannah Events
Savannah Travel Planning
Places in the Vicinity

Make Yourself at Home in the Hostess City of the South
When you travel to Savannah, take along a reverence for the past and a penchant for romance. You'll also want to pack a spirit of adventure, because Georgia's first city is full of surprises. There are plenty of things for couples to do as well as fun things to do with friends.
Savannah's 22 public squares are a source of civic pride. After losing two of the 24 original squares to development by the 1950s, preservationists stepped in to protect the remainder. Surrounded by lovely restored houses and dotted with monuments, statuary, fountains and relics, Savannah's lush pocket parks serve as outdoor museums, begging your patronage. Discover some of the prettiest along Bull and Abercorn streets.
AAA/Michael L. Camarano
This destination city woos romantics to its doorstep with handsomely appointed historic inns that transport guests to another era. To complete the seduction, restaurant choices range from fine nouvelle Southern cuisine by candlelight to down-home-dining hot spots such as celebrity chef Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons. Horse-drawn carriage rides, riverboat cruises and trolley tours offer carefree sightseeing options, while museums of art, history and maritime heritage provide hours of casual browsing through outstanding exhibits and collections. Entertainment runs the gamut from live jazz at City Market to live theater at three performance venues.
If it's excitement and adventure travel you seek, nothing spikes the adrenaline like a ghost walk through a cemetery. Experts on paranormal activity rank Savannah high on their most-haunted-city lists. For history buffs, a world of discovery awaits at old forts, plantation sites and lighthouses. And those seeking outdoor activities have easy access to Tybee Island's natural resources for swimming, kayaking, fishing or ecotouring.

See What All the Festivals Are About
Gen. James E. Oglethorpe and his settlers founded Savannah, England's 13th and last colony, in February 1733. Forgoing the usual village grid system, Oglethorpe and Col. William Bull laid out their new settlement in a series of wards in which commercial and residential buildings centered on a public square. This visionary plan has survived as the city's blueprint because of Oglethorpe's choice of location.
On a bluff overlooking the Savannah River, the new settlement soon prospered as a crossroads of trade with England and the new communities of the interior. Port traffic, begun in 1744, experienced a steady increase along with the plantation economy of tobacco and cotton.
Residents eagerly embraced the revolt against England, and Savannah was garrisoned by some 900 Colonial troops under Gen. Robert Howe. British forces captured the city by surprise in December 1778 and made it a base for their operations against the Colonies until their departure in 1782.
Nineteenth-century Savannah grew and flourished with King Cotton, becoming a vital port. In 1862 Union forces closed the port to all but blockade runners when they captured Fort Pulaski. Two years later Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman blazed a trail of destruction across Georgia to the city. Confederate forces fought stubbornly, but with the fall of Fort McAllister, Gen. William J. Hardee realized further resistance was futile and withdrew his troops to prevent the city's destruction. Sherman entered Savannah on Christmas Day 1864 and offered it to President Abraham Lincoln as a present.
The collapse of the cotton market at the beginning of the 20th century left Savannah languishing until just before World War II, when other industries began to develop. Almost lost to the wrecking ball, however, was what Sherman had spared some 100 years earlier: its squares, its houses and its heritage.
In a drive to reshape the city's skyline, developers began to tear down historic structures. The proposed demolition of the Davenport House, now a museum, sparked the founding of the Historic Savannah Foundation.
Today 22 of Oglethorpe's original 24 squares survive, lined with handsome town houses, bedecked with fountains and statues and beautified by live oaks and azaleas. The success of the Historic Savannah Foundation's early efforts spawned other civic renewal projects.
The cleanup of the river and the restoration of the warehouses and cotton brokerage offices along Bay Street, Factors Walk and River Street revived the city's historic waterfront. Instead of the commerce associated with cotton trade buying and selling, these renovated 19th-century buildings now house specialty shops, restaurants and nightspots.
Top landmarks include Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Free & Accepted Masons, in the 1886 Cotton and Naval Stores Exchange at 100 E. Bay St. The Masonic lodge, organized in 1734, is the country's oldest in continuous operation; the old exchange is reputedly the first building to straddle a public street according to the legal principle of air rights.
Another historic building is Christ Church, on Johnson Square at Bull and East St. Julian streets. The congregation—the first in the Georgia colony—organized in 1733, and in 1736 established what is believed to have been the first Protestant Sunday school for children in the New World. The present structure was built in 1838; the interior was renovated following a fire in 1895. If you're looking for things to do, the church is open to the public by appointment; phone (912) 236-2500.
First African Baptist Church , at 23 Montgomery St., was established in 1775. The church is housed in a brick sanctuary built in 1859 by congregation members. It is reputedly North America's oldest African-American church and has a museum containing archives and memorabilia dating from the 18th century. Guided tours are available; phone (912) 233-6597.
Since 1839, the Georgia Historical Society Research Center library and archives has preserved state history. The collection includes more than 4 million manuscripts, 100,000 photographs, 30,000 architectural drawings, 15,000 rare books, and thousands of maps, portraits, and artifacts. Across from Forsyth Park at 501 Whitaker St., it is housed in an 1876 structure designed by American Institute of Architects founder Detlef Lienau. The library is open Wed.-Fri. noon-5, first and third Sat. 10-5; phone (912) 651-2128.
As you might imagine, Savannah has a packed events calendar, especially perfect for group travel. In mid-February the Savannah Irish Festival is celebrated with traditional folk dances, music and food. The city dons green for its festive St. Patrick's Day Festival on River Street. The 4-day Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens , during which numerous private houses are open to the public, begins the fourth Thursday in March; for more information phone (912) 234-8054.
The holidays are celebrated in festive style in November and December. Individual events include the Savannah Harbor Foundation Annual Boat Parade of Lights, Christmas on the River and the Holiday Tour of Homes ; for more information contact the visitor information center.

Getting There

By Car
Access to the city is available from the interstate highways—I-95, I-16 and I-516. Jim Gillis Historic Savannah Parkway (I-16, SR 404) connects Macon with Savannah. A major freeway, Veterans Parkway, connects downtown Savannah with Georgetown. Others include the Coastal Highway (US 17), Harry S Truman Parkway and US 80. For the most updated routing information, use a detailed map of the city or consult a AAA Travel professional.

Getting Around

Street System
Savannah is a gridded city, with 22 historic public squares. Most visitors will spend time in the Savannah Historic District, which is bounded by the Savannah River, East Broad Street, Gwinnett Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Main thoroughfares include East Broughton, Bull, East Bay and River streets.

Parking
On-street parking can be scarce; group travel offers an alternative means to see Savannah. Visitors can otherwise expect to pay about $10 per day in private parking spaces. Five city-owned garages are available throughout the city, with rates $1-$2 for the first hour, with daily maximum usually $16-$20. There are six city-owned surface lots available, with rates ranging around $0.50-$2 an hour. After enforced hours and during the weekend, most lots owned by the city are free. Free on-street parking is available Sunday only, just north of Liberty Street. Parking fees may vary during the weekend and special events.
A visitor parking pass offers the most affordable way to park on vacation; visitors can buy a one-day pass for $15 or two-day pass for $24 from either the Savannah Visitor Center (301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.) or the Mobility & Parking Services (100 E. Bryan St.).

Public Transportation
Chatham Area Transit (CAT) has 15 bus routes in the city and Chatham County. One-way fare is $1.50; passes may vary.
DOT provides fare-free service in the Savannah Historic District. Shuttles run between 24 stops Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-midnight, Sat. 10 a.m.-midnight, Sun. 10-9. Savannah Belles Ferries connect downtown to Hutchinson Island daily 7 a.m.- 12:30 a.m. and 7-6 from Waving Girl Landing.

Informed Traveler

City Population
136,286

Elevation
41 ft.

Sales Tax
The sales tax rate for Savannah is 7%. The state of Georgia adds a $5 per night fee on all hotel-motel stays less than 31 days.

Emergency
911

Police (non-emergency)
(912) 652-6500

Hospitals
Candler Hospital (912) 819-6000; Memorial Health (912) 350-8000; St. Joseph’s Hospital (912) 819-4100.

Visitor Information
Savannah Visitor Information Center 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Savannah, GA 31402. Phone:(912)944-0455

Air Travel
Some major carriers serve the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), 15 miles from the historic district.

Rental Cars
Hertz, (800) 654-3080, is at the airport and offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service
The Amtrak train station, (800) 872-7245, is at 2611 Seaboard Coastline Dr.

Buses
Service is provided by Southeastern Stages, (912) 232-2135, and Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, at 610 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

Taxis
Cab companies include Yellow Cab of Savannah, (912) 224-3298 or (912) 236-1133 (base fare is $2 with a rate of $1.92 per mile), and Chatham Cab, (912) 691-4466 (base fare is $2.28 with a rate of 38c per 1/6 mile).

Public Transportation
Bus service is provided by Chatham Area Transit (CAT); phone (912) 233-5767 for information about routes and schedules.
AAA/Michael L. Camarano

What to Do in Savannah
Visit the public squares to appreciate Savannah’s setting. Founded in 1733 and laid out by Gen. James E. Oglethorpe and Col. William Bull, this historic Southern city features wards with buildings planned around public squares; some 22 out of 24 remain. A favorite is Forsyth Park (Gaston Street between Whitaker and Drayton sts.)—one of the most photographed spots in the city—where you can view live oaks draped in moss and an impressive fountain.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Elisa.rolle
Explore locations immortalized in literature and film. Fans of the classic 1994 film, “Forrest Gump,” should reflect in Chippewa Square (Bull and Hull sts.). (There used to be a replica bench on the northern corner of Bull Street, but it was removed.) The Mercer Williams House Museum (429 Bull St.) features prominently in both the 1994 book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and 1997 film of the same name, and offers guided tours.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Ebyabe
Visit Savannah’s historic homes. Highlights include the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters (124 Abercorn St.), the Davenport House (324 E. State St.) and the Sorrel-Weed House (6 W. Harris St.).
Courtesy of Davenport House Museum
Remember to pay homage at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (10 E. Oglethorpe Ave.), where you can learn about the Girl Scouts of the USA and its founder.
AAA/Phil Lopresti
Shop in the historic district. Not only is the architecture beautiful but also many of the shops offer one-of-a-kind pieces. One Fish Two Fish (401 Whitaker St.) is renowned for tasteful décor, gifts and accessories. The Savannah College of Art and Design also offers one-of-a-kind pieces at shopSCAD .
AAA/Inspector 33
Indulge in the culinary scene. Several restaurants enjoy national recognition, including The Olde Pink House (23 Abercorn St.), The Lady & Sons (102 W. Congress St.) or Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room (107 W. Jones St.), a mainstay for more than 60 years; be prepared to wait in line at the latter restaurant, as it does not accept reservations.
Jennifer Lopresti/Jennifer Lopresti
Check out the attractions by the Savannah River. One to consider is Old Fort Jackson (1 Fort Jackson Rd.), built in the early 19th century. It protected the city during the War of 1812 and the Civil War and features the oldest original brick fortification.
Try some Savannah restaurants in a historic location, such as The Cotton Exchange Seafood Grill & Tavern (201 E. River St.). A reminder of when the state was a leading cotton producer, this former warehouse along the river serves seafood, steak and Southern favorites. See our Restaurants section for more picks.
AAA/C Jennings
See the city by water, wheel or foot. Many different companies with diverse viewpoints offer Tours of Savannah and are a popular thing to do in Savannah for many visitors, especially those pressed for time. For an overview, consider Old Savannah Tours or Old Town Trolley Tours . Many tours depart the Savannah Visitor Information Center 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Savannah, GA 31402. Phone:(912)944-0455
AAA/Photo submitted by Janet Brindle Reddick
Drive out to Tybee Island . Less than a half-hour away, you’ll find amazing sandy beaches. The barrier island offers the perfect place to unwind and watch a sunset.
Learn about the lives and contributions of African-Americans to Savannah and the South from the time of slavery to the present day with The Freedom Trail Tour . You’ll visit places such as the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum (460 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) as well as First African Baptist Church (23 Montgomery St.), which is the oldest black congregation in North America.
flickr / CC BY/subherwal
Listen to otherworldly stories by taking a Savannah ghost tour after dark. Whether that’s a visit to Bonaventure Cemetery (330 Bonaventure Rd.) to take pictures of “orbs” or a guided tour on a trolley is up to you. An interesting take on the genre is the Cobblestone Tours Haunted Pub Crawl, where you can enjoy a beverage along with a story.
AAA/Sherry Mims

Savannah Travel with Kids
AAA editors suggest these activities for families looking for fun things to do in Savannah.

Fun Things to Do for Kids Under 13
Get to know the walkable streets, interesting public squares and laidback atmosphere of Savannah, a remarkable city that charms all ages. Stop first at Forsyth Park (Gaston Street between Whitaker and Drayton sts.). The historic fountain beckons, for sure, but save a visit for later, especially if the kids are restless. Towers, swings, slides, seesaws and other popular structures make the on-site playground a good place for them to blow off steam. After a play session, prepare to ooh and aah at the fountain, one of the most popular places in the city to take photos.
Head toward Tricentennial Park (655 Louisville Rd.), which features a Revolutionary War site and museum complex. It’s sprawling, but railcars out front hint at what’s inside the Georgia State Railroad Museum —a former depot with restored locomotives and machinery.
Georgia Department of Economic Development
The adjacent Savannah Children’s Museum takes up the former Central of Georgia Railway’s Carpentry Shop. Art, music and a costume area are among the activities available on the upper and lower levels. If you’re searching for “free” fun things to do in Savannah, however, plan a picnic in front of the museum, where there’s a grassy area with picnic tables and a wooden train for kids to explore.

Fun Places to Go for Teens
Savannah CVB/Savannah CVB
Create your own art walk. From the Savannah River to the Savannah Historic District, there’s a good chance to come across public art and restored buildings. Many of these have ties to Savannah College of Art and Design, a private university that started in the city but now has locations around the city—and the world. The African-American Monument, which was designed by SCAD’s Dorothy Spradley with assistance by student Dan Koster, can be found between the tunnel of the Hyatt Regency Savannah (2 W. Bay St.) and Savannah River and depicts a family freed from bondage.
AAA/Sherry Mims
Deepen your art appreciation at SCAD Museum (601 Turner Blvd.), a building that’s part contemporary art museum and part instructional space in a restored antebellum train depot. In addition to classrooms in the depot, the museum presents avant-garde and thought-provoking pieces within its 19,943 square feet of gallery space.
Are you interested in the paranormal? Try one of the many ghostly Savannah tours. The history of the Sorrel-Weed House (6 W. Harris St.) provides fodder for aspiring paranormal investigators. Although a more subdued architectural and historical tour can be taken during the day, you’ll want to come at night for the Ghosts of Sorrel Weed Presented by the Savannah Storyteller.

What to Do for All Ages
Girl Scouts of the USA started in Savannah more than 100 years ago. Learn more about the organization’s history and its founder at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (10 E. Oglethorpe Ave.). The 40-minute tour covers the first two floors of the house. (Don’t forget to buy a Birthplace pin if you’re a current Girl Scout!)
AAA/Sherry Mims
Y’all ready to eat? Savannah restaurants offer a variety of choices, but consider trying some hearty Southern food for lunch. Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room (107 W. Jones St.) serves fried chicken, beef stew, macaroni and cheese, biscuits and dozens of other dishes—meaning there is something for everyone, but get there early to avoid the crowd. Alternatively, dine at Clary’s Café , where you can order from a real soda fountain.
AAA/Photo submitted by Janet Brindle Reddick
Plan a Savannah beach day at nearby Tybee Island . One of the best spots to go is North Beach, where you'll find colorful facilities next to the walkway. Then relax and build sandcastles in the shadow of the scenic lighthouse.
AAA/Michael L. Camarano

Shopping in Savannah
Unless your heart is set on a classic mall, outlet mall or shopping center experience, you’ll be more than content exercising your purchasing power within the boundaries of Savannah’s walkable downtown historic district. While great places to swipe your credit card are found on nearly every street, there are a few areas you should definitely zero in on.
Shop Along the Riverfront
Sure, River Street is a tourist trap, but for good reason: This bustling waterfront promenade is easily navigable and has plenty of fun things to do. Formerly cotton warehouses, the multilevel 19th-century buildings lining the famed cobblestone street have been transformed into restaurants, bars, galleries, specialty stores and, as you’d expect, souvenir emporiums cluttered with T-shirts and pirate tchotchkes. Art aficionados should stop by Gallery 209 for a look at two floors’ worth of local photography, sculpture, woodcrafts and other pieces as well as the chance to meet one of the artists. Suckers for sweets, take note: The aroma of fresh pralines and saltwater taffy wafting from the doors of confectioneries River Street Sweets and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen makes it nearly impossible to pop in just for the free samples.
Nataliiap/iStockphoto.com
River Street Market Place, at the east end of the street, is an open-air bazaar of booths hawking everything from wind spinners to handcrafted jewelry. Situated on the level between River and Bay streets is Factors Walk, with its alleyways and network of cobblestone, iron and concrete walkways leading to antiques dealers, specialty shops, places to eat and other businesses.
Take a Trip to a Historic City Market
alantobey/iStockphoto.com
You’ll notice the shopping scene gets less touristy the farther south from the Savannah River you go—that is, until you set foot in City Market . This four-block conglomeration of refurbished warehouses and storefronts between Ellis and Franklin squares has been a gathering place ever since the mid-18th century. Walking through the courtyard amid info kiosks and wooden planters, you’ll see galleries, gift shops, sweets shops and local restaurants on each side. In the two-story Art Center, you can view and buy the works of more than 50 local artists, many of whom are on-site to chat with visitors.
Buy from a Local Celebrity
At the Paula Deen Store , just south of City Market at 108 W. Congress St., fans of the local celebrity chef scope out her line of cookbooks, kitchen essentials and signature “Hey Y’all” mugs.
Elegant Home Furnishings
Those seeking to spruce up their homes and wardrobes with one-of-a-kind finds head to Whitaker Street, which runs parallel to Barnard. Known as the Downtown Design District, the segment between Charlton and Gaston streets is home to 20 or so indie retailers specializing in everything from antiques, folk art and vintage clothing to painted furniture, trendy lighting fixtures and fine linens. The exclusive boutiques, showrooms and galleries are definitely worth a peek inside, even if you’ve vowed to keep the credit card holstered during your trip.
Take Time for Antiquing
mediaphotos/iStockphoto.com
Going back north on Bull Street toward Liberty Street, you’ll come across two fun places to go for discerning antique hounds: Alex Raskin Antiques , housed in a 12,000-square-foot 1860s Italianate mansion, and George Davis Antiques & Interiors . Another Bull Street highlight is the 1892 brick Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory building, which shopSCAD —a funky, colorful co-op gallery selling all sorts of items made by talented Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students, faculty, staff and alumni—calls home. Nearby, bibliophiles can easily spend hours in two thoughtfully stocked independent bookstores: E. Shaver, Bookseller , 326 Bull St., and The Book Lady Bookstore , 6 E. Liberty St. Occupying the ground floor of a Greek Revival mansion on Madison Square, the former is beloved for its cheery atmosphere and excellent selection of local, regional, Civil War and children’s reads. The latter, a cozy nook packed with 50,000-plus new, used and out-of-print texts, encourages customers to linger in its Wi-Fi café and reading garden.
Get Creative Supplies
flickr/Joseph Brent
Just a hop, skip and jump away from The Book Lady Bookstore is Fabrika Fine Fabrics , a true DIY fashion/interior designer’s delight. This bright, fun little gem of a space offers sewing tools and equipment in addition to unique, high-quality textiles running the gamut from bridal silks to wools to cutesy-print cottons. Budget-minded fashionistas desiring the finished product procure super-chic looks for less at Red Clover , 244 Bull St. If you’re searching for the perfect gift, Magnolia’s of Savannah , 137 Bull St., carries holiday merch, old-school toys, candles, stationery and the like.
Browse Upscale Boutiques
For more than a century, Levy Jewelers has dazzled Savannahians with its diamonds, watches, sterling silver and other precious pieces. In 2012 the family-owned retailer opened a new flagship location in a 20,000-square-foot midcentury modern building at the corner of Bull and E. Broughton streets. Also on E. Broughton is the exclusive Globe Shoe Company , which has helped hipsters complete their outfits since 1892. If you have a few bucks left after exploring the retail offerings on this side of Broughton, go ahead and indulge in an old-fashioned soda fountain fave at Leopold’s Ice Cream, next to SCAD’s Trustees Theater.
adisa/iStockphoto.com
More shopportunities—from gourmet food stores to independent boutiques and interior design galleries to clothiers like GAP, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Palm Avenue, Kate Spade and Free People—await you on W. Broughton Street. French flair and Southern charm come together at The Paris Market , a two-story emporium/coffee bar filled with tons of old and new treasures—bedding, estate jewelry, antique Egyptian chandeliers, English candles, baby items, you name it—inspired by the owner’s travels. At Savannah Bee Company ’s flagship store, you can peruse the selection of honey, body care products and bee-themed gifts; watch videos about bees; and let the kids play inside a giant faux hive.
Destinations for Mall Shopping
Malls outside Savannah’s downtown historic district offer the usual mix of nationally recognized department, clothing and specialty stores. Oglethorpe Mall , 7804 Abercorn Ext., is anchored by Belk, JCPenney, Macy’s and Sears; Savannah Mall , 14045 Abercorn St., includes Dillard’s, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Burlington Coat Factory. One of the city’s newer shopping complexes, Abercorn Walk (5525 Abercorn St.) counts Jos. A. Bank and J.Jill among its retailers. Bargain hunters bag discounted name-brand items at The Shoppes of Savannah , 11 Gateway Blvd.
Denis Tangney Jr/iStockphoto.com

Savannah Nightlife
Running the gamut from restaurant bars to cozy little neighborhood pubs to martini and dessert lounges to hot dance clubs, many of Savannah’s fun places to go at night are primarily concentrated in the downtown historic district. The district’s walkability makes barhopping easy, and for many, the lax open-container regulations make it more fun. Two pieces of safety-related advice for those who plan to hoof it after dusk while on vacation: wear comfortable shoes (cobblestones, bricks and 4-inch stilettos just don’t mesh well) and stay within the district’s boundaries.
Enjoy Craft Beer
Inside The Distillery , (912) 236-1772, a sign above the front door explains in four simple words what this casual W. Liberty Street restaurant/bar is all about: “No Crap Just Craft.” While you can’t order a Bud at the long mahogany bar (which is usually jam-packed on weekends), you can take your pick of 100-plus craft beers, about two dozen of which are on tap. Almost as diverse as the suds selection is the clientele—artsy types, preppies, T-shirted twenty-somethings and everyone in between come here to bond over Fat Tires and Golden Monkeys.
If you're wondering where to eat while also grabbing a local beer, look no further than Moon River Brewing Company , (912) 447-0943. Occupying a W. Bay Street space that originally served as a hotel, Savannah’s only brewery attracts a multifarious crowd—and not just of the townie and tourist variety. Rumor has it that there’s paranormal activity (and lots of it) here. Don’t let that scare you away, though—the drinks and grub are definitely worth a try, and the 5,400-square-foot attached beer garden is a fun place to unwind if the weather’s nice. A Moon River tradition since the 1990s, a weekend-welcoming toast takes place every Friday at 6 p.m.
Quaff a Proper Pint
Named for the first Irish Republican Army volunteer executed by the British during the War of Independence, Kevin Barry’s Pub is a happening W. River Street hangout serving up not only Guinness, bangers and mash and other traditional Irish faves, but also nightly live Celtic tunes. Upstairs, a nicely done display of military memorabilia pays homage to members of the armed forces; phone (912) 233-9626.
Other good spots to grab a stout are Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub & Grill , 311 W. Congress St., where you’ll find kilted waiters and an outstanding selection of single malt whiskeys; and Six Pence Pub , a small, laid-back British tavern on Bull Street (you can’t miss the old-school red telephone booth outside). Phone (912) 239-9600 for Molly MacPherson’s and (912) 233-3151 for Six Pence.
Satisfy Your Sweet Cravings
If you're looking for a fun thing for couples to do in Savannah, try a bar experience that’s sweet in every sense of the word at Lulu’s Chocolate Bar , 42 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The comfy, retro-chic joint also entices all sorts of night owls looking for a slice or sip of heaven in the form of a dangerously delectable martini or homemade dessert. The prices can be on the steep side, but there are some great daily specials; phone (912) 480-4564.
You can also satiate your sweet tooth at Jen’s and Friends , (912) 238-5367, which has more than 300 specialty martinis to choose from. This reasonably priced, eclectic Bull Street bar is a popular girls’-night-out travel destination, but take one glance at the extensive craft beer list and it’s plenty obvious that the guys, too, are welcome here. Jen’s and Friends’ “Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends” motto rings true, thanks not only to the glasses of strong, sugary goodness, but also to the friendly bartenders and the maximum seating capacity of 37.
Wet Willie’s , (912) 233-5650, is the popular destination on sultry summer nights when ice cream just won’t do the trick. The main draw of the brick-walled E. River Street location (there’s a second location in City Market) is the rainbow of machines dispensing curiously named frozen drinks—from Attitude Improvement to CALL A CAB®. Be forewarned: these “adult Slurpees” are potent! (If you want something frosty but nonalcoholic, ask for a Weak Willie®.)
Have a Classy Night Out While on Vacation
Gorgeous views of the Savannah River can be enjoyed during your trip at Rocks on the Roof , The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Autograph Collection 's sexy rooftop lounge located at 102 W. Bay St. and accessible from River Street. You can sit inside at the bar or a table or sink into a cushioned wicker couch or chair on the deck amid potted trees ablaze with Christmas lights. When it’s warm outside, the lively lounge’s transparent roll-up doors stay open; on nippy nights, a fire pit takes the chill out of the air. Along with beer, wine and some killer cocktails, appetizers are served; phone (912) 721-3800.
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Super-sexy nightlife options can also be found below street level, as Jazz’d Tapas Bar , 52 Barnard St., proves. After descending an outdoor staircase, you’ll find yourself in a modern, colorfully lit and painted bar and dining area. Live blues, jazz and swing melodies fill the place 5 days a week, and dancing is always encouraged. You can order a variety of wines, martinis and other specialty drinks in addition to, of course, tapas; phone (912) 236-7777.
Party Like a College Student
If doing JELL-O shots and bumping and grinding to Latin, Top 40 and house music under strobe lights sound like fun things to do, then get dolled up, make sure you have some cash (there’s a cover charge most nights) and head to Club 51 Degrees on W. Congress Street. Open Thursday through Saturday, this loud, raucous and usually packed dance club caters to an under-30 (but over-21) crowd and is split into three levels, each with its own DJ; phone (912) 234-7265.
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Savannah Performing Arts
The Savannah Ballet Theatre and the Savannah Philharmonic reside at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts (32 Abercorn St.). With no shortage of fun things to do, the theater also presents traveling shows and annual events, such as the Savannah Music Festival; phone (912) 525-5040. Plan your trip ahead of time, and make reservations for a performance and dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Vacation Destination for the Live Arts
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In search of things for couples to do? Historic Savannah Theatre , the circa 1818 theater at 222 Bull St. on Chippewa Square, is easy to find in the Savannah Historic District and offers seasonal shows, such as “A Christmas Tradition” and “Savannah Live!” For schedule information during your trip, phone the box office at (912) 233-7764.
Another well-known Savannah destination is Club One, 1 Jefferson St., famed for being the venue of the late Lady Chablis, who appeared in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and died in 2016. These days the multilevel complex hosts the Bay Street Theatre and other live entertainment, including karaoke and drag shows. Phone (912) 232-0200.
The Savannah Repertory Theatre, a professional equity regional theater company at 980 Industry Dr., offers theatrical performances, musicals and seasonal productions, such as “The Rocky Horror Show Live!” Phone (912) 436-3629.
Tybee Island Marine Science Center/Tybee Island Marine Science Center

Savannah Sports & Recreation
There are numerous recreational things to do in and around Savannah. Visitors can go fishing in or rafting at Tybee Island during their trip. For fishing license and regulation information phone (800) 366-2661.
Visit Daffin Park (1500 E. Victory Dr.) by the historic district for the paved walking trail and rubberized jogging and biking surface; in the center of the park are fields used for rugby and soccer. For a small fee, you can walk the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal on Jenkes Toll Road, 2.3 mi. w. of I-95, where you’ll pass a historic canal circa 1831.
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Golf around the destination is excellent. Several courses have daily fees, with play governed by local regulations. Some hotels may offer agreements allowing guests to play on certain courses; check with your hotel manager.
Municipal parks provide softball fields, tennis courts and swimming pools. Allen E. Paulson Softball Complex provides a five-field complex; phone (912) 351-3852.
The Coastal Plain League’s Savannah Bananas play baseball from May to July or early August at Grayson Stadium; phone (912) 712-2482 for more information.
Football games are played in the Theodore A. Wright Stadium where the Savannah State University Tigers of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference take the field; phone the ticket office at (912) 358-3429.
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Savannah Sightseeing

Self-guiding Tours
Information about Savannah’s scenic tour route is available at the visitor information centers at 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and 1 W. River St. Audio tours from Savannah Story Tours can be purchased on CD at 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. for $18.95.
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Savannah in 3 Days
Three days is barely enough time to get to know any major destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these activities to make the most of your trip to Savannah.

Day 1: Morning Travel Destinations
Start your vacation at the Savannah Visitor Information Center in the massive brick building that used to be the Central of Georgia Railroad passenger depot. This tourist hub has a large souvenir shop and the Savannah History Museum . For a good historical overview and to be introduced to the city's founder, Gen. James Oglethorpe, watch the film, “Savannah the Survivor.” The museum has an array of artifacts, including an 1830s cotton gin, 19th- and 20th-century ladies' fashions, and a carriage belonging to the family of U.S. Girl Scout founder and Savannah native Juliette Gordon Low.
Take a trolley tour around the city; Old Savannah Tours and Old Town Trolley Tours ) depart from the information center. These companies offer themed tours, but if this is your first time in the city, go with a basic narrated tour that offers unlimited hop on/off service throughout the day. It's a great introduction to the city's history and helps you get a feel for what to do during your stay.
Depending on the trolley's route, you might be able to see some of the nearby historic railroad structures occupied by the Georgia State Railroad Museum and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) when you pull out of the visitor center parking lot. The college has a large presence in the city. It operates from dozens of buildings, giving the entire historic district the feel of a beautiful college campus.

Day 1: Afternoon
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No matter which company you've selected, there are likely to be several stops along Bay Street, where there are some interesting places to eat. Hop off somewhere around Habersham or Lincoln streets and have lunch at B. Matthew's Eatery , a popular lunch spot thanks to its signature sandwiches. Soups and salads round out the menu at this historic tavern.
Davenport House Museum/Davenport House Museum
After lunch walk east on Bay to the first intersection, Habersham Street, and head south to Columbia Square's north side to tour the circa 1820 brick Federal-style Davenport House . Isaiah Davenport was a builder from New England, and this house served as the family household as well as his office. You'll learn what life was like for the Davenport family, including how they dealt with such inconveniences as dirt streets and hot coastal weather without modern conveniences.
Courtesy of The Kehoe House
Before you leave Columbia Square, take a few minutes to admire the exterior of the adjacent 1892 Kehoe House , now a bed-and-breakfast. Any similarity between this and the Davenport house ends at their brick exteriors. This large Renaissance Revival mansion boasts Corinthian columns, balconies and several dozen windows beautifully fitted with cast-iron embellishments.
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Head west a very short distance to Oglethorpe Square to tour the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters . It was completed at nearly the same time as Davenport House, but there's no confusing the two. You'll be amazed over and over as you go from room to room, and keep in mind that English architect William Jay was only 24 when he designed the house. Highlights include a bridge above the staircase, an amber-colored glass window in the dining room innovatively serving as a skylight, and the use of trompe l'oeil painting in the drawing room to create the illusion of a domed ceiling.
If you didn't get to experience the majority of the trolley tour in the morning, hop back on at the nearest stop to catch what you missed.

Day 1: Evening
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Try Garibaldi's Cafe on W. Congress Street for dinner. It features a generous variety of Italian and seafood fare served in a former 1870s German firehouse; the second-floor ballroom décor features chandeliers and a pressed tin ceiling.
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Many claim that Savannah is a very haunted city, but even if you're not a believer, you should still take a ghost tour. It's one of the many fun things to do while you're in town. (Plus it gives you a chance to tour the district after dark.) Be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot; these haunted jaunts are popular. There are a lot of companies to choose from, so take your pick based on the area you want to cover, the theme you're most interested in (some visit pubs along the way), and whether you want to walk or ride. Cobblestone Tours , Old Savannah Tours and Old Town Trolley Tours are options.

Day 2: Morning
Chances are you heard stories about Colonial Park Cemetery during your ghost tour the previous evening and are anxious to inspect this destination up close in daylight. Enter through the large granite archway at Abercorn Street and Oglethorpe Avenue. The age of the cemetery, which was open to interments 1750-1853, is readily apparent from the abundance of cracked and weathered grave markers. Although there are more than 9,200 graves, only about 550 are marked. Like all cemeteries, this one has many stories to tell. As you investigate the markings on some of the stones, you might notice that dates on several have been inaccurately re-carved as pranks. Although there is no proof, a lingering tale blames British soldiers during the Revolutionary War and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's troops during the Civil War. Also of interest are the headstones attached to and propped up against the only remaining portion of the 1796 wall. They probably ended up here because no one knew where they belonged or because they were moved to make room when paths were cut through the grounds. Either way, they're certainly a conversation piece.
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Just west down Oglethorpe Avenue is the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace . The exquisitely furnished dining room and parlor are two highlights. Not only will you get to tour a lovely house and garden, you'll get to hear the remarkable story of how she founded the Girl Scouts of the USA. The 1821 Regency house has seen several modifications over the years. In 1886 the house underwent major renovations, including the addition of a piazza and a third floor. During World War I it became a Red Cross office, and in World War II it was converted into apartments.
Walk west and travel up to Telfair Square on Barnard Street to explore the Telfair Academy . William Jay designed this mansion for Alexander Telfair, Gov. Edward Telfair's son, shortly after he designed the Owens-Thomas House. The home was eventually left to Alexander's sister Mary, who intended for it to become a museum after her death. Alterations and expansions were implemented 1883-85 so it could better function as a museum. Statues of Michelangelo, Phidias, Raphael, Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens grace the entrance.
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When you leave the museum, take Jefferson Street north to City Market. The market's origins lie in the mid-18th century when farmers, fishermen and tradespeople congregated at this commercial and social hub. City Market is still a gathering place, but now you'll find art galleries and specialty shops as well as places to stop for gelato, ice cream and handmade candy. The demolition of the 1872 market building in 1954 escalated local preservationists' frustrations and led seven women to form the Historic Savannah Foundation. The first of the many houses the organization has been able to save was the Davenport House you toured yesterday.

Day 2: Afternoon
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On nearby Congress Street to the east, look for the sign for The Lady & Sons . This is celebrity chef Paula Deen's restaurant with sons Jamie and Bobby, who are also known for their cookbooks and television show. The menu features ultimate Southern comfort food with staples like baked or fried chicken, chicken potpie, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, seafood dishes, peach cobbler and pecan pie. You can opt for the daily buffet or order from the menu Mon.-Sat. The restaurant highly recommends reservations which can be made up to a year in advance.
Walk south to Lafayette Square, which is surrounded by fun places to go on all sides. Work your way around the square clockwise, beginning on the south side where a large historical marker points out the simple and modest four-story Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home . Acclaimed author Mary Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah in 1925 and lived in this house until 1938. She attended Catholic school and St. John the Baptist Cathedral, both across Lafayette Square. The house reopened in October 2007 after a renovation to return the two main floors to their appearance when the family lived here.
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On the west side of the square is the Andrew Low House , which features cast-iron filigree on the balconies, a dry moat, a garden in front and a wrought-iron fence. The five bedrooms are furnished and laid out beautifully, most with reproduced wallpapers of designs that would have been used during that era. One of the rooms includes the desk that English author William Makepeace Thackeray used when he was a guest here.
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Around the corner stands the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist . The parish was established in the late 1700s but the current cathedral dates to the late 19th century. Steps front the entire facade of this French Gothic edifice, and inside are many religious works of art. Walk down the wall aisles to see the Stations of the Cross, large multicolored figural wood carvings from Bavaria displayed against detailed American woodwork. Other highlights are the Italian marble altar and baptismal font.
Courtesy of Hamilton Turner Inn
Completing the quartet is Hamilton-Turner Inn . Admire this elegant 1873 Second Empire mansion and its beautiful wrought-iron fence from the sidewalk or the square. With the installation of salon lights in 1883, it became the first residence in Savannah with electricity.

Day 2: Evening
Spend the evening along the Savannah River in the northernmost section of the city, but put on flats before you set out to make walking on the cobbled sidewalks there a bit easier. Begin at Bay and Drayton streets (on Yamacraw Bluff) at the Savannah Cotton Exchange. The impressive size of this late 1880s building gives you a clue just how important cotton was to the city. Head one block west to City Hall. On your way you'll pass a small memorial with two cannons captured at Yorktown during the American Revolution; both date to the late 1750s and were a gift to the Chatham Artillery after President George Washington's visit to the city in 1791. City Hall , which opened in 1906, has sported a shiny gold-leaf dome since 1987.
flickr / CC BY SA/Ken Lund
Stairs, an outdoor elevator and ramps off Bay Street—including one at City Hall—lead down to Factors Walk , which lies on the middle level between Bay and River streets. In the 1800s cotton was a major export for the city, and Factors Walk developed when warehouses and offices for cotton brokers (factors) and other merchants were built. Iron and concrete pedestrian bridges connect the historic buildings to the bluff. Paths were cobbled from heavy stones used as ballast that were unloaded from ships coming into port.
Head down to the final level, which puts you on the lively and touristy River Street paralleling the Savannah River. This area hosts many of the city's special events, but it usually has a street festival feel on its own anyway. Local restaurants, shops and galleries occupy the magnificent multistory 19th-century buildings, which are actually just the other sides of the ones lining Factors Walk, but now you can see all the stories at once instead of just the two in view from Bay Street. River Street Market Place on the east end of River Street features open-air shopping with vendors selling jewelry, art, Savannah souvenirs and items from other countries.
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For dinner, try River House Seafood & Bakery . You'll find a variety of seafood dishes on the menu, but you can also choose from filet mignon, sirloin, chicken Marsala and pork or veal chops. Take the hint in the restaurant's name and order a homemade dessert; the bakery menu is nearly as long as the dinner one!

Day 3: Morning
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Forsyth Park , on Gaston Street between Whitaker and Drayton streets, originated in the 1850s and remains an important part of the community. Joggers make good use of the walkways, and the vast fields attract picnickers and athletes alike. It's also where you'll finally find that extravagant two-tiered fountain you keep seeing on all the Savannah brochures. Water sprays outward from multiple points on the lower tier into a large pool, which is surrounded by a decorative wrought-iron fence.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Elisa.rolle
Head north up Bull Street to Monterey Square, which boasts the nearly 55-foot-tall Italian marble monument honoring Gen. Count Casimir Pulaski's dedication to America's fight for freedom during the Revolutionary War. Across the square is Mercer Williams House Museum . The Civil War temporarily halted its construction, which had begun in 1860 for Gen. Hugh Mercer; it was finished around 1868, but by this time Mercer had sold it. A century later antique dealer and noted house restorer Jim Williams bought the vacant house and began to restore it. Most of the home's furnishings, which include furniture from the 18th- and 19th centuries, belonged to Williams.
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You probably have time to only tour one more place in the morning, so if you're interested in religious history, tour Temple Mickve Israel on the other side of the square. If you prefer historic homes, head north on Bull Street to Madison Square. Although the Jewish congregation dates back to the founding of Savannah, the current structure was built in the late 19th century. A docent will walk you through the sanctuary and museum.
Walk north up Bull Street a few blocks and just south of Madison Square you can't miss the 1892 brick Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory with its corner towers and multitude of arches and wrought-iron balconies. It now serves as SCAD's welcome center and houses the popular shopSCAD boutique that sells works and designs by students, faculty, staff and alumni.
The eye-catching early 1850s Green-Meldrim House —with its sandstone parapet, oriel windows and extensive iron filigree—coupled with the fact that it was Sherman's headquarters during the Union's occupation of Savannah makes this an ideal stop on your itinerary. Sherman telegraphed President Abraham Lincoln: “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah….” Unlike Atlanta, Savannah was spared from great destruction during the war.

Day 3: Afternoon
Venture toward the coast on your last afternoon to visit Bonaventure Cemetery and Fort Pulaski National Monument. You can stop for barbecue at Barnes Restaurant ; the restaurant has been serving it up for 40 years.
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Bonaventure Cemetery occupies the bluff above the Wilmington River. The long, Spanish moss-draped branches of live oaks rest above the old graves, many embellished with marble and granite statues. Stroll through the grounds to see the intricate carvings, engravings and statues up close. Angels, crosses and female figures are frequently represented in the artwork. Author Conrad Aiken's grave is one of the more unusual markers—his is an engraved bench instead of a headstone.
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About 12 miles east stands Fort Pulaski National Monument . It was widely believed that this Confederate fort—surrounded by water and marsh and outfitted with extremely thick walls—was indestructible, which is why its 1862 surrender within only 30 hours after being attacked was so shocking. Thanks to the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the fort has been restored. The visitor center displays recovered objects, including uniforms, flags, bottles and personal items from the soldiers. As you tour the grounds, you might get to see a resident alligator in the moat.

Day 3: Evening
Catch the 8 o'clock performance at the Savannah Theatre . Several productions headline each year and often feature popular music, including oldies and rock 'n' roll. The 1818 building is one more of William Jay's contributions to Savannah, but since its remodeling after a 1948 fire, it has had an Art Deco style.
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After the show, stroll north up Drayton Street and over to Reynolds Square for dinner at The Olde Pink House . The late 1700s mansion boasts an elegant interior, but some diners prefer to take the stairs around the side of the building down to the cozier, darker and more intimate Planters Tavern, where a piano player performs nightly. Both spots offer the same menu.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Elisa.rolle

Best Attractions in Savannah
In an area with dozens of attractions and points of interest, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your limited vacation time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors. GEMs are “Great Experiences for Members.
Enjoy Public Spaces
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Everyone knows about Savannah's beautiful public squares. But did you know that there are 22 of them laid out in a uniform grid pattern and spaced two blocks apart within the historic district? Founder Gen. James E. Oglethorpe conceived the unique city plan, one that has stood the test of time. Now, as then, Savannah's squares are common ground, places where residents come together to celebrate, socialize or just sit for a spell under shade trees. Through monuments and historical markers, these lush green spaces highlight important people and events in Savannah's history, allowing one to learn so much during a trip.
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Make it a priority to pick up a walking-tour map at the Savannah Visitor Information Center in the historic Central of Georgia Railway station. Here you will find cordial service and free brochures and sightseeing information on what to do during your stay. The center is a stop on the dot Express Shuttle, a free minivan connecting downtown points of interest, including nearby restaurants and stores, and it serves as a departure point for several interesting guided tours.
Travel Through History
Savannah History Museum next to the visitors center surveys the events that shaped Georgia's first city. In keeping with its historical context, the museum occupies a renovated 1850s railroad shed. With exhibits of rolling stock, a working turntable and 13 original buildings, nearby Georgia State Railroad Museum chronicles more than a century of Georgia railroad history. Organized in 1833, the Central of Georgia played a vital role in establishing Savannah as a cotton port.
flickr / CC BY SA/Ken Lund
Cotton dealers brokered Savannah's most important export in the offices of Factors Walk , beside a bluff overlooking the Savannah River. The 19th-century multistory brick buildings feature shops, restaurants and pubs accessible from iron walkways at street level, atop the bluff, and from lower levels—formerly the cotton warehouses—facing River Street. Of interest in this area is the imposing 1886 Cotton Exchange, now a Masonic hall.
Tour Historic Homes
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Ebyabe
Many of Savannah's loveliest historic houses were built with fortunes made from King Cotton, and a visit should be on any architectural buff's or historical enthusiast's list of things to do. Chief among these is the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters , a AAA GEM attraction facing Oglethorpe Square. Built in 1819 for a cotton merchant, the mansion was a model of sophisticated living in its day and is hailed as one of the nation's finest examples of Regency architecture. Distinctive design features include a central stairwell with dual, brass-inlaid staircases connected on the upper level by a bridge. The carriage house, serving as the visitors' entrance, contains a rare example of intact urban slave quarters. Margaret Thomas, granddaughter of Savannah mayor and later U.S. Rep. George W. Owens, left the house and its furnishings to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1951.
Davenport House Museum/Davenport House Museum
Davenport House on Columbia Square was tapped for preservation in the mid-1950s by seven concerned women who eventually formed the Historical Savannah Foundation. Through faithful restoration, the Federal-style house featuring columns, ornate plasterwork, Italian marble fireplace mantles and a cantilever staircase appears as it did in the 1820s, when it was constructed by master builder Isaiah Davenport; period furnishings present an accurate depiction of daily life.
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The Wayne-Gordon House, better known as the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace , was the childhood home of the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Built 1818-21 for then Mayor James M. Wayne, the house and its furnishings reflect the Victorian-era occupancy of the second generation of the affluent Gordon family—William Gordon II, a cotton factor and brigadier general in the Spanish-American War, and Eleanor Gordon, Juliette's mother and founder of the Colonial Dames in Georgia. Juliette's grandfather William Gordon I, who acquired the house from Mayor Wayne, was the first president of the Central of Georgia Railway; look for a monument honoring him in Wright Square, across the street from the house.
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Andrew Low House , facing Lafayette Square, was the home of another successful cotton merchant said to be the richest man in Savannah at the time this three-story Italianate residence was built in 1849. English author William Makepeace Thackeray and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee were among Low's distinguished houseguests. On Low's death, his son William inherited the house and shortly thereafter married Juliette Gordon. It was from this residence that widowed Juliette later organized the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Charles Green, another of Savannah's wealthy cotton merchants, was the first resident of the 1850 Green-Meldrim House on Madison Square. During the Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman set up headquarters in the house and penned a famous missive to President Abraham Lincoln, formally presenting the city to him as a Christmas gift. Details about the general's occupancy complement a tour of the neo-Gothic mansion.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Elisa.rolle
Mercer Williams House Museum on Monterey Square has a storied past. In 1981, antiques dealer, socialite and restoration expert Jim Williams shot a male assistant here; he was tried four times and acquitted. Bestselling novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” later a blockbuster film directed by Clint Eastwood, traces the events while introducing the world to a few of Savannah's colorful characters. Docents will show you around the richly appointed first floor of the mansion, but you will have to read the book or see the movie to learn more about the unsavory incident. The house was built in 1860 for Gen. Hugh W. Mercer, great-grandfather of singer and songwriter Johnny Mercer.
Telfair Academy is on Telfair Square. Mary Telfair, daughter of a former Georgia governor, established the museum through her will, bequeathing the 1819 family mansion in which the art collections now reside to the Georgia Historical Society. Handsome Regency architecture and elegant period rooms show off outstanding decorative arts, rare furniture and paintings by American impressionists and artists of the Ashcan school, to name a few. Opened in 1886, the Telfair ranks among the South's oldest art museums. Jepson Center for the Arts, the Telfair's newest addition, provides exhibit space for contemporary art and features ArtZeum, an interactive children's gallery.
Learn About a Seafaring Society
Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is a natural fit for the port city. In addition to seeing artifacts and more than 150 ship models, visitors will learn about the S.S. Savannah, which sailed from Savannah to Liverpool, England, to become the first steam-powered vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Exhibits are housed in a mansion designed for S.S. Savannah owner William Scarbrough.
Take a Ride Around Town
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Guided tours add structure to your itinerary and are particularly valuable if your visit will be short-lived. Options include Carriage Tours of Savannah ; trolley excursions by Old Savannah Tours and Old Town Trolley Tours ; and a waterfront perspective offered by Savannah Riverboat Cruises . More focused tours, such as The Freedom Trail Tour , also are available.
Another option is CAT Bike, Savannah's bicycle-sharing system. Two-wheelers may be rented at two self-service kiosks downtown. A 24-hour rental, 7-day rental and other options are available; phone (912) 233-5767. A free passenger ferry also is available to Hutchinson Island.
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Locals travel to Tybee Island for a day of swimming, fishing, boating, bird-watching, biking or other fun things to do. With restaurants, shops, lodgings and island-getaway ambience, Tybee rejuvenates the spirit, as the Victorians who flocked here to “take the salts” discovered in the early 20th century. Attractions include the Tybee Lighthouse and Museum , on the grounds of former Fort Screven at the northern tip of the island, and Tybee Island Marine Science Center , on the southern end near the pier and pavilion. Tip: Tybee is 18 miles east of the city, less than 30 minutes by car. For a reasonable fee, you can ride a shuttle that leaves from the Visitor Information Center and from two convenient locations on the island Friday through Sunday; phone (912) 388-3380.
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AAA GEM Fort Pulaski National Monument encompasses two islands and preserves Fort Pulaski, a massive Civil War fortress. Skidaway Island, south of Tybee, is home to The University of Georgia Marine Education Center & Aquarium .
See all the AAA recommended attractions for this destination.
Courtesy of Hamilton Turner Inn

Best Restaurants in Savannah
Our favorite places to eat include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.
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Southern comfort food. A Lowcountry boil. Seafood plucked daily from coastal waters. These are the staples on Savannah's restaurant tables, which is why a gourmet meal should be on your list of things to do during your trip. Whether you prefer the old favorites or exciting new classics being created in Savannah's premiere local restaurants, deciding where to dine out while on vacation is as simple as letting your taste buds pick for you.
Dine Near Your Hotel
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Many downtown restaurants are within walking distance of Savannah's most popular historic hotels and inns, so you won't have trouble finding where to eat. Fireplaces, antiques and artwork lend to the warm, homey ambience of The Olde Pink House , in an 18th-century mansion. Some say the ghost of the original owner even roams the premises. Southern-inspired cuisine and seafood specialties with regional ingredients come together with professional, personable service for a relaxed, fine-dining experience.
HLC Hotels, Inc./HLC Hotels, Inc.
A menu of Continental cuisine offers enough variety to tantalize even the most discriminating patron of 45 Bistro at the Marshall House , which was constructed in 1851 and was the first hotel in Savannah. The restaurant's upscale décor blends with the building's historic aesthetic, providing comfortable, relaxing surroundings in which to enjoy distinctive food preparations.
A Major Dining Destination
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The Lady & Sons owes its popularity as a travel hot spot with out-of-towners to charismatic owner, cookbook author and celebrity chef Paula Deen. Buffets of Southern home-style cooking—shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and chicken potpie, for example—await diners on two floors of the restaurant. Menu service also is available Mon.-Sat. The atmosphere is bustling and the service attentive. Reservations are recommended.
A Historic Eatery
The intriguing history of The Pirates' House is intertwined with the settlement and growth of Savannah. On the site of founder James E. Oglethorpe's experimental garden, the original tavern opened in 1753 and became a gathering place for sailors and pirates. Each of the 15 dining rooms is decorated in period. A menu centered on seafood and Southern cuisine includes she-crab soup, fried green tomatoes and honey pecan fried chicken.
Garibaldi's Cafe , a stylish restaurant with hand-painted murals, offers a varied menu of Italian and seafood dishes. Imaginative plate presentations complement the well-prepared cuisine.
Dine on the Riverfront
An 1850s cotton warehouse overlooking the river houses River House Seafood & Bakery , known for Lowcountry cuisine and a variety of breads and desserts made on the premises. Pecan-encrusted tilapia, shrimp and grits, and chocolate cheesecake are signature dishes that keep customers coming back for more. Original ceiling timbers and brick-and-mortar walls accent the restaurant's nautical theme.
Expect long lines during lunchtime at bustling B. Matthew's Eatery . Worth the wait are the restaurant's signature deli sandwiches—black-eyed pea cake, fried green tomatoes and a ham-blueberry-brie combination, to name a few—and an array of fresh breads, cookies and assorted treats from the bakery. Like many of Savannah's downtown eating establishments, this one is in a historic property.
Good eats and eateries ranging from casual to classic abound in neighborhoods just south of downtown, too. Elizabeth on 37th is an excellent choice for nouvelle Southern cuisine, the chef's health-conscious take on classic dishes and cooking methods. The décor of the elegant mansion evokes early Savannah.
At Sweet Potatoes Kitchen , its namesake vegetable, a Southern staple, finds its way into soup, salad and entrée menu selections. If you're not fond of sweet potatoes, try Jamaican jerk pork served with a black-eyed pea relish or a plate of peach-glazed barbecued chicken. Like its sister, this restaurant's décor is whimsical and colorful.
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Love's Seafood Restaurant , overlooking the scenic Ogeechee River southwest of Savannah, has been family owned and operated since 1949. As the name suggests, fresh seafood is the specialty here, and you can get it fried, broiled or grilled, or in soups and stews, as an appetizer, in a cocktail, or piled up on a giant platter. You can even pair your favorite seafood with steak. Rustic décor and optional patio seating add to the casual atmosphere. Love's was a filming location for the movie “Forrest Gump.”
See all the AAA Diamond-rated restaurants for this destination.
Savannah CVB/Savannah CVB

Savannah Events
In addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this destination hosts a number of exceptional festivals and events that may coincide with your trip.
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Savannah's robust Irish contingent and enthusiasts attend the St. Patrick's Day Festival , which features a parade, music, Celtic dancing, mischievous “greenings” and a reverence for Irish values and customs. This mid-March event is one of Savannah's most-attended, so those on vacation are encouraged to reserve hotel accommodations well in advance. According to tourism officials, the population doubles. There is also the Savannah Irish Festival in mid-February that features live Irish music and dancing.
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“The Hostess City” is especially hospitable with plenty of fun things to do in the spring. Besides the big Irish bash, March brings the annual Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens , one of only a few opportunities a year to enter private residences in the historic district. In April, The Garden Club of Savannah NOGS Tour of Hidden Gardens takes you behind a selection of eight walled gardens, the award-winning Massie Heritage Center Garden and the historical Green-Meldrim House where a Southern tea may be enjoyed. If you miss the spring tours, return in December for the Holiday Tour of Homes .
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Savannah's cultural calendar keeps the arts in the spotlight throughout the year, and there's sure to be something going on during your trip to this destination. World-class musicians perform jazz, blues, gospel, pop and more during the 15-day run from mid-March through early April at the Savannah Music Festival . In September the Savannah Jazz Festival focuses on jazz disciplines. Each year in late October or early November the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) hosts the Savannah Film Festival , bringing in films and filmmakers from around the world for screenings, discussion groups and artists' presentations.
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With chalk for a medium, SCAD students transform the concrete walkways in Forsyth Park into colorful canvases during SCAD's Savannah Sidewalk Art Festival in April. You might see Picassoesque self-portraits, trompe l'oeil scenery or even a 3-D human body relief. The Telfair Academy salutes the arts in November with the Telfair Art Fair .
October offers an international gastronomic feast with plenty of options for places to eat. Sample the flavors of Savannah's multiethnic community at Oktoberfest on the River in early October, the Savannah Greek Festival on the second weekend of the month and the Shalom Y'all Jewish Food Festival in late October.
Savannah celebrates the holidays November through December, an all-encompassing holiday fête. Boat parades, tree lightings, fireworks, music and other things to do evoke the spirit of the season.
See all the AAA recommended events for this destination.
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The First Girl Scout
Juliette Gordon was born in 1860, one of six children of wealthy Savannah lawyer, mayor and statesman William Washington Gordon II and Eleanor Kinzie, of a prominent Chicago family. A daughter of privilege, Juliette—or Daisy, as she preferred to be called—completed her education in Eastern boarding schools. At age 20, she was formally presented to Savannah society.
In 1886 Daisy married William Mackay Low, the son of a Georgia-born mother and a successful British merchant with significant Savannah holdings. The couple would travel to England within a year, and Daisy discharged her list of things to do as lady of the manor with great ease and aplomb. She was even presented at court. The Lows separated in 1902, and William died before divorce proceedings could be finalized, leaving the bulk of his estate to a mistress and just a token pension to his lawful wife. The rightful Mrs. Low, however, sued and won her inheritance, which included the Low family house in Savannah.
Single and independently wealthy, Daisy traveled the world for several years. While in England in 1911 she became friends with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, a British military hero and founder of the Boy Scouts, and quickly got involved with the group's female counterpart, the Girl Guides. Convinced that she had found what to do with her life, Daisy returned to Savannah the next year and—at age 51—assembled the first troop of Girl Guides in the United States. The name was changed to Girl Scouts the following year.
Even before her marriage failed, Daisy was well acquainted with adversity. In her early 20s she suffered permanent hearing damage in one ear after receiving poor treatment for an infection. Then, on her wedding day, a grain of rice thrown by a well-wisher lodged in her good ear, resulting in more injury. Daisy went through the rest of her life with diminished hearing. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1923, she continued to work tirelessly for the cause dearest to her heart—the Girl Scouts. Her closest associates were not even aware of her illness until very near the end. Daisy died on January 17, 1927. Ever the scout, she was buried in uniform.
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Although Juliette Gordon Low had no children, she nurtured thousands—168,000 in fact, at the time of her death. She left her wealth and an enduring legacy to her beloved family, the Girl Scouts of the USA. To learn more, take a trip to both the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and the Andrew Low House during a vacation to this vibrant destination.
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