Often regarded as one of America’s most beautiful cities, Savannah Georgia certainly has bragging rights. It truly has it all: history, architecture, museums, gardens, nightlife, and restaurants. It doesn’t hurt that it sits pretty along the river.

As a city lover, I’ve noticed over the years that every city has its own tempo. Savannah has more of a flow. I’m one of those oddballs that actually enjoys the pace of New York City and San Francisco during the holiday season. Savannah is neither, yet is still a metropolitan area. It has one of the largest ports in America, just behind New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles. Yet, with beautiful areas like Forsyth Park and the endless sitting areas throughout the city, it creates a perfect balance of city life and southern ease. 

When to go

Since Savannah is in the south, it’s best to plan around the seasons. The middle of summer, July and August, is hot and humid. It being a port city, you also have to consider hurricane season, from June to November. They don’t necessarily get the worst of the hurricanes yearly but it does make for hot, humid, weather. (Hello mosquitos!) I traveled in February and had a couple of warm days, wearing sleeveless shirts, as well as a couple of rainy days requiring a jacket. Spring and fall tend to be general favorites for those who frequent Savannah, enjoying blooming azaleas and wisteria. 

What to See

Where to start? Savannah is a small city packed with a lot of punch. Fans of the film, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” will love it as it showcases the city’s most famous landmarks. 

Parks and Squares

You could spend your entire stay just enjoying the parks and squares around Savannah.  I was told about the beauty of the city but I really had no idea. Upon my arrival at night, I went to my hotel and couldn’t see much until the next morning. Come daylight, whoa! Once you start walking through the city blocks, one after another, you notice that you’re surrounded by a combination of incredible architecture, and natural beauty. 

A couple of notable squares:

Madison Square

  • Rumored hauntings
  • Close to restaurants and shops

Monterey Square

Additional Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil sites

To be honest, I didn’t have a true appreciation of the movie until I got up close and personal with the recognizable sites you see throughout the film. The Mercer-Williams House is the beautiful brick home shown throughout the movie and it is lovely in person. Greek and Italian inspired, this 7000 square ft. home takes up a city block. It’s a beauty.

Another familiar property is the Armstrong House located across the street from Forsyth Park. This is a stunning property, in an equally stunning location. Intensive renovation efforts have been made to preserve and restore this property created in the Italian Renaissance style.

Forsyth Park and Fountain

Forsyth Park is 30 acres of park in the Historic District so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy it from every angle. The fountain was modeled after a fountain in Paris and is enjoyed daily by those hoping for a perfect photo. 

When you walk around Savannah and soak in the care given to the integrity of the historic architecture, it’s hard to imagine that many of these structures were almost torn down. The Historic Savannah Foundation saved many houses and structures from being torn down, including the Armstrong House. Seriously?

The African American Monument

African American monument in Savannah, Georgia

We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each other’s excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.

-Maya Angelou-Inscription on African American Monument

Bonaventure Cemetery

signage for Bonaventure Cemetery

As referenced earlier as appearing in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, one of the most recognized and beautiful cemeteries is the Bonaventure Cemetery. Created in a Victorian design, the paths meander through the old oak trees with Spanish moss framing the park. Since the main cemetery was getting too crowded, this private property that was once a plantation became a highly sought after resting place. 

When you start walking through the cemetery, no matter how you feel about cemeteries, this one gives a feeling of calm and beauty. Those Spanish moss trees that I fell in love with, are everywhere. It’s easy to see why so many wanted it to be their final resting place. 

Check out more of Savannah’s cemeteries!

What to do

There’s a laundry list of things to do in this small, walkable city. Of course, I’m going to start with suggesting an evening ghost tour!

Evening Ghost Tour

Haunted house on Savannah ghost tour"
Cemetery on Savannah ghost tour"

Even if you’re not into ghost tours the way I am, this is still a fun and interesting tour to take. You get to walk around the city at night and see it in a different perspective. I loved the amount of history we learned along with the fun of trying to spot orbs and all of the other stuff ghost hunting fools like me love to do. Even kids and babies participate so not to worry about it being a big scare fest. We booked our tour through Savannah GhostlyTours. Extra points from me for being pet friendly. If you’re scared, bring your puppy! 

City Tour

If you would rather see the sights during the light of day or add to your itinerary, go on a regular city tour. In this town, just go sightseeing if nothing else. It’s such a beautiful city, you can just sit back and enjoy the architecture. That said, it’s another opportunity to learn about Savannah’s history, good and bad. 

Prohibition Museum

Let’s start with this: you get a cocktail at the end. Have I already convinced you? Good! Let’s get into what you’ll see at the Prohibition Museum!

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. A museum dedicated to a part of our history that I just don’t get? (Oh-there’s so much.) But my buddy and I had a blast!

This fun and informative tour starts off with the history of prohibition and how it came about. The visuals in the museum consist of historical facts and wall-sized photos of protestors throwing out barrels of whiskey (sacrilege!)

At every turn, we found ourselves more enthralled at how this time in our history created unintended consequences like the jazz and flapper era, and good ‘ol Al Capone and the like. At the end of the tour, you get an old-timey cocktail reflective of what you would have found in a speakeasy. I had Cameron’s Kick with Irish whiskey, White Horse Scotch, Orgeat Almond syrup, and lemon. I highly recommend it. Here’s to the end of prohibition! 

City Market

scene of the city market in Savannah

The Savannah City Market is four blocks of open-air marketplace in the city’s historic district. It feels like you stepped back in time when walking through the market. I love when you can find a blend of walking through history combined with today’s artisans, restaurateurs, and vendors. 

River Street

Once cotton warehouses, the waterfront is now a flourishing hub with hotels, restaurants, shopping, vendors, and galleries. This is an area you can spend a lot of time in. My group and I enjoyed strolling by the water and ducking in and out of shops and galleries. One gallery in particular I really enjoyed was Gallery 209. I’m a big supporter of shopping locally when I travel and encourage my like-minded wanderers to do the same. Gallery 209 has provided a venue to local artists since 1975 and now promotes over 30 artists. I love that!

*You can also catch a paddle-driven riverboat cruise from River Street. 

Also Consider for shopping:

As I’ve mentioned before, I love to buy something from local artists when I travel. I’ve never been big on mass-produced souvenirs, opting to support the local economy if possible. Not to mention, it’s more special to me and to those I give goodies to as a keepsake. 

Savannah is home to SCAD-Savannah College of Art and Design. They have a wonderful corner storefront called ShopSCAD where you can purchase designs made by students, professors, and those who are a part of the SCAD world. I purchased some pottery for a friend and loved that I could give her something truly unique and one of a kind. 

Where to Eat

There’s no lack of restaurants in Savannah but I’m going to make a suggestion: once you plan your trip, make your reservation to a restaurant known as The Grey. I promise, you won’t regret it. I love everything about this restaurant, starting of course with the food. Having heard so much about this restaurant, my foodie friends and I enjoyed so many dishes on the menu. Some of my favorites were the scallops with cauliflower, curry, and raisin, red rice balls with green goddess dressing, and sweet potato pie with fresh cream. That doesn’t even scratch the surface with the menu. 

Once a segregated Greyhound bus terminal, the space was reimagined to become a restaurant, maintaining the aesthetic of the bus depot. The owners, Johno Morisano and Mashama Bailey created a space and vibe showcasing traditional southern food with a modern changing menu. Their description of The Grey is serving up port city southern food. Mashama Bailey won the James Beard award for outstanding chef in 2022 and the New York Times included her in their “16 Black Chefs Changing Food in America” article. I seriously can’t wait to go back with my honey and enjoy!

Where to Stay

I really enjoyed my stay at Planters Inn. Located on Reynolds Square in Savannah’s Historic District, I liked the location, and my room. I was traveling solo on this leg of my trip and felt totally at ease in this location. The staff was friendly and accommodating and I wished I had another couple of nights to stick around. If you’d like to check it for your stay in Savannah, make your reservation!

Getting Around

Savannah is an incredibly walkable city, making it easy to forego a car rental. I used Uber and Lyft to get from and to the airport. It was also a snap to get Uber and Lyft for various excursions outside of the city center such as our trip to the Bonaventure Cemetery. 

Savannah, Georgia has many layers to it, deserving of a deep dive. I always heard it was a “pretty city” but was pleasantly surprised at how it truly is a destination for anyone and everyone. I saw groups of ladies on “girls’ trip”, bachelors living it up at one of the corner bars, gay and straight couples enjoying rooftop dinners at one of the restaurant along the river, and students, living the good life. It’s diverse, friendly, and I can’t wait to go back!

Are you ready to plan your trip to Savannah?