Savannah was founded in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe when he sailed up the Savannah River and landed his ship, The Anne. Today there is history around every corner, rumors of ghosts in every bar, and enough Southern hospitality to earn this town the nickname of Hostess City.
If you’re in town for just one day, make the most of it with this itinerary.
Approximately one square mile, Savannah’s Historic District is a walkable must-see. If you prefer not to walk, there are a variety of tours that will take you around by horse-drawn carriage, trolley, segway, or pedicab. If you wish to walk, check out Genteel and Bard, the absolute best walking tour in Savannah.
Begin with a visit to Forsyth Park where you can take iconic photos with its famous fountain. A popular site for various festivals, the park has benches, open spaces, beautiful pathways, playgrounds for the little ones, and a cafe.
Venture into some of Savannah’s historic squares on foot independently or with a tour. General Oglethorpe planned the city around 24 squares that served as public meeting places and business centers. Twenty-two squares remain, brimming with history, charm, and shops nearby.
Take time to read the historical markers, and visit a historic building or two. Some noteworthy places include the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (East Harris Street), Juliette Gordon Low House (Oglethorpe Street), and the Owens-Thomas and Davenport Houses, both on State Street.
For lunch, you can walk to Vinnie VanGoGo’s in City Market for delicious New York style pizza and calzones. Or hop in your car and grab an exceptional locally-sourced burger at Green Truck Pub (Habersham Street), or treat yourself to tasty Cuban cuisine at Rancho Alegre (M.L.King, Jr. Boulevard).
In the afternoon, spend some time exploring Broughton Street’s distinctive shops, like the flagship Savannah Bee Company store with its honey bar, mead bar, and children’s area. Or The Paris Market and Brocante that features unique gifts from around the world. For a cold treat on a hot day, stop by award-winning Leopold’s Ice Cream, but be prepared to wait in a long line!
Next, head over to City Market where you’ll find more shops, galleries, and restaurants. If time allows, visit the American Prohibition Museum (Congress Street) or nearby Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum (M.L.King, Jr. Boulevard), both of which are fascinating.
Dinner choices abound! Jazz’d Tapas Bar in City Market (Barnard Street) is within easy walking distance. Other notable choices in the area include Vic’s on the River (Bay Street) or Spanky’s on River Street, “Home of the Original Chicken Finger.” A little farther away on East Broad Street, you can dine at the world-famous Pirates’ House Restaurant, first opened in 1753, and rumored to be haunted, of course.
Wrap up your whirlwind tour of Savannah with a stroll along historic River Street, enjoying the unique shops, galleries, and sights. Visit the Plant Riverside District at the west end of River Street where you can shop, catch a riverside fountain show, and admire fossils and rocks from around the world.
At the end of the day, there will still be plenty you didn’t do or see, but no worries. The Hostess City is gracious, happy to welcome you back next time!
Bonus: If time allows don’t forget about visiting Savannah’s Beach, Tybee Island. A short 15-minute drive from historic downtown Savannah, Tybee Island is a quaint coastal beach community that offers plenty of beach access from its sidestreets and fun places to eat and drink!
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