Savannah is one of the most beautiful, historic and friendly cities in Georgia that has a vibrant culture. Savannah offers something for everyone along with some of the best trips to take through its picturesque streets.
This article will provide you with 17 things to do in Savannah so you can make sure your visit is well planned!
Founded in 1733, Savannah is a history buff's paradise with pirate and ghost stories, 300-year-old buildings, and more. Thankfully, Savannah was spared during Sherman's March to the Sea during the Civil War and many of its historic buildings still stand.
Where is Savannah?
Savannah is located in the eastern part of Georgia and is across the Savannah River from neighboring South Carolina. The city is less than half an hour from Tybee Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Savannah/Hilton Head Airport (SAV) is the closest airport to the city.
The Weather in Savannah
Savannah's location in the South and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean is a combination ripe for high humidity and scattered showers in the Summer.
Savannah does not stop when it rains, so be prepared by taking an umbrella and/or rain jacket when you visit.
April and May are excellent months to visit with average highs in the upper 70s to mid-80s. In June, July, and August, temperatures typically climb to the 90s.
Although it would probably take weeks to truly explore all that is Savannah, you can still hit the top attractions in a matter of days. The Hostess City has something for everyone. From history to food and drinks, Savannah has so many options to explore. Below are some of the top attractions that you might want to walk through while in town.
1. Take a Walk on Jones Street
You can live in a Greek Revival home on Jones Street - if you have $5.1 million dollars. You can purchase one that was built in 1848. The 8,696 square foot home has been fully renovated and has a pool and a pool lounge, a three-car garage, double porches, two laundry rooms, an elevator, formal gardens, a fenced yard and seven fireplaces.
One thing that is not in short supply in Savannah is live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Tip: Be careful walking down the cobblestone streets (and brick streets). Many are uneven because of the roots from the old trees.
2. Visit Forsyth Park
Forsyth Park is located in the heart of the historic district of Savannah. The wide pathways and benches make for an idyllic location to sit and relax. The green space is the perfect location for playing frisbee or practicing yoga.
If you find yourself in the park on a Saturday, look for the Farmer's Market which is open seasonally.
3. Check out the 22 Squares
James Oglethorpe designed the city before he even stepped foot in it. He designed it to protect it from the Spanish to the south and against potentially hostile Indians. In doing so, the city was initially designed with six squares. Later, city leaders followed the design and increased the number of squares to twenty-four.
Today there are 22 squares still remaining, among them Chippewa Square, named after a skirmish in the War of 1812, home to the monument of James Oglethorpe. The statue faces south as an indication of Spain’s threat to the Colony of Georgia.
Chippewa Square was one of the locations where the movie Forrest Gump was filmed. The bench where Tom Hanks sat has since been removed, thanks in part to people stealing it.
4. Explore Factors Walk
Today, Factor's Walk is the site of shops and cafes, but back in the 1800s, it was an important location for the cotton industry. It was here that cotton was baled, factored (think "brokered"), and sold.
If you are on River Street, take E Upper Factors Walk. You'll walk past the Cluskey Vaults where cotton was once stored.
Across from the vaults you will see a sign for Historic Steps (you'll see several of these around River Street) and the metal steps that lead to Factors Walk.
During the Spring, the bridge is a gorgeous place to stop and take photos.
5. Stroll River Street
River Street runs parallel with E Bay Street. Look for stairs leading down and make your way to shops, restaurants, and cool places to hang out in Savannah.
River Street was the location of the port of Savannah in the 1700s. The four and five-story buildings line the cobblestone street and used to house cotton.
You could say that River Street is the Heart of the City. There are more than 75 boutiques, galleries, artists' studios, restaurants, and pubs on the street.
It's a great place to stroll and take in the sights, see boats and freighters sail by, grab a bite and do some people-watching.
6. Shop at City Market
The City Market occupies an entire block just a few blocks away from River Street. and has restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
Like wine? You can partake in a wine tasting of 6 wines for $3 (plus tax) at The Georgia Tasting Room in City Market. Like sweets? You can sample freshly made pralines at Savannah's Candy Kitchen or sample every cookie at Byrd's Famous Cookies.
City Market is flanked by the Haitian Monument in Franklin Square on one side and Ellis Square on the other.
7. Visit the Art Galleries
Savannah is home to world-class museums, including the Telfair Academy. Telfair Academy occupies a former Neoclassical Regency-style mansion that was designed by William Jay and built in 1819 for Alexander Telfair.
When you walk inside, you will be astounded by the size and grandeur of the former home. Today, the Telfair Museum of Art houses nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European art from the museum’s permanent collection including paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts. There are still three nineteenth-century period rooms on display.
Aside from the incredible treasures inside, the Telfair is notable for a few other things, such as being the oldest public art museum in the South and the first museum in the United States founded by a woman.
In 1875, Mary Telfair, Alexander's sister, was the heir to the family fortune and she bequeathed the house and its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society to be opened as a museum.
Telfair Academy isn't the only museum that is a result of Mary's generosity. Today, there are three distinct museums that are here thanks to Mary: Telfair Academy, the Jepsen Center, and the Owens-Thomas House.
If you have read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, then you are familiar with the Bird Girl statue. Though she was originally at Bonaventure Cemetery, the Bird Girl is now part of the permanent collection at the Jepsen Center.
Like the Telfair mansion, the Owens-Thomas house was built in 1819 in the Regency style which incorporates the simple symmetrical proportions and elements of Greek and Roman architecture.
The house gives an inside glimpse to the disparities between the free and enslaved residents and workers.
The Owens-Thomas house is only a seven-minute walk from the Telfair Academy and Jepsen Center.
Tip: If you purchased a Tour Pass and are pressed for time, go ahead and visit one of these museums. You can visit one museum during your Tour Pass and visit the other two on subsequent days.
A ticket for one museum = admission for all three museums and is valid for one week.
When visiting the Owens-Thomas house, you'll want to arrive early and check-in. Due to the Pandemic, occupancy restrictions apply and you'll want to reserve a spot.
Other museums in Savannah to check out:
- Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum
- American Prohibition Museum
- Georgia State Railroad Museum
- SCAD Museum of Art
- University of Georgia's Marine Education Center and Aquarium
- Girl Scout First Headquarters
8. Eat Ice Cream
Because exploring Savannah burns a lot of calories, there's no need to worry about counting them when it comes to indulging in some of the best ice cream in the United States at Leopold's Ice Cream.
If you like chocolate, then you will probably love a scoop of Savannah Socialite made with a mixture of milk and dark chocolate ice creams bursting with roasted Georgia pecans and swirled with homemade bourbon-infused caramel.
9. Take a Segway Tour
A super fun way of seeing Savannah is via a Segway tour. Before embarking, you'll have to watch a safety video and the tour guide will help you mount the Segway and then show you how to operate it.
Once all of the tour participants are ready, you'll zoom around Savannah learning about the different homes and facts. (Many of the homes have two names. The first is the last name of the original occupant and the second name is that of the last/current occupant.)
I booked a tour with Adventure Tours in Motion. I had an option of a regular helmet or a fun one and I opted for the latter. (In case you are wondering, that's a unicorn.)
Prices for a Segway tour start at $49 per person for a 1-hour tour.
10. Take a Ghost Tour and Get Spooked
With its maritime history (read "Pirates") and lengthy history, Savannah is replete with ghost stories as well as ghost tours.
If you take two different ghost tours, there's a pretty good chance you will hear two different versions of ghost stories for the same location. Whether one of them is really true could be debatable, but nonetheless you are apt to have a good time learning about some of the sordid deeds that took place in Savannah.
Fans of Miley Cyrus who are brave enough might want to book a room at 17 Hundred 90 to see if they experience anything paranormal like Miley. It's been told that a wet handprint had been left on Miley's boot by a ghost when she stayed there.
Another haunted location is the Olde Pink House where a man in colonial dress - perhaps James Habersham, Jr. - has been spotted drinking at the bar.
Prices for the ghosts tours vary but typically range from $20 - $35 per person.
11. Say a Prayer
Savannah is located in the Bible Belt, so you will never be far from a place of worship whether you are a Protestant, Catholic, or even Jewish. Speaking of Judaism, Savannah is home to the third-oldest Jewish congregation in the United States - Congregation Mickve Israel.
Methodists will want to visit Christ Church which was founded in 1733 with the founding of Savannah. It was here that John Wesley initiated the first Sunday School and published one of the first English hymnals in the colonies.
Savannah is also home to First African Baptist Church, the oldest continuous black church in North America. Organized in 1773, the church predates the Declaration of Independence. The church is a National Historic Landmark and is registered with the National Register of Historic Places.
12. Pay Your Respects
Death rates were high 200 and 300 years ago. Between wars, Yellow Fever, and high infant mortality, there was a significant need for places to bury the dead.
Among the 61 cemeteries in Savannah, you'll find the notable Colonial Park Cemetery where there are 700 victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1820.
Bonaventure Cemetery lies on the fringe of the city and is listed as one of the most hauntingly beautiful cemeteries in the United States by Timeout. It's the final resting place of poet Conrad Aiken and Grammy winner Johnny Mercer.
Bonaventure is open from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM daily. Admission is free.
Other Things To Do
13. Visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace
Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah in 1860 in a house on East Oglethorpe Avenue. Low, nicknamed "Daisy," was 51 when she founded the Girl Scouts.
The family home, built in the Regency style, was spared demolition when it was purchased in 1953 by the Girl Scouts and restored to its former glory. The home is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM. - 5:00 PM, the last tour is at 3:50 PM. Tickets cost $10 - $15 and can be purchased online.
14. Take a Trolley Tour
For those who don't want to spend the day walking taking a Trolley Tour is a great way to see the city from the comfort of your seat, not your feet. There are several trolley tour options, such as a Hop-On-Hop-Off, Ghosts & Gravestones, Hop-On-Hop-Off Historic, and History and Sightseeing.
Prices vary but typically range from $28 - $35 per person.
15. Soak up Some Sun at Tybee Island
Tybee Island is located 20 minutes away from Savannah and is the spot to go to soak up some rays along the 3 miles of beaches. There are other things to do there as well, such as ride a bike, take a boat excursion, take a surf lesson, and look for dolphins.
16. Step Back in Time at the Wormsloe Historic Site
Wormsloe is the sight of Savannah's oldest standing structure. Once the colonial estate of Noble Jones, today Wormsloe is a Georgia historic site and an idyllic Instagram location with its large live oak trees and wide avenue.
Wormsloe is open Monday–Sunday 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM. Admission rates are
- Adults (18–61): $10.00
- Seniors (62+): $9.00
- Youth (6–17): $4.50
- Children (under 6): $2.00.
17. Visit the National Historic Landmark Old Fort Jackson
Old Fort Jackson is one of the oldest brick fortifications on the East Coast. Constructed in 1808, the fort was built over an old earthen battery from the Revolutionary War. In 1862, the fort was quickly abandoned by soldiers as Sherman marched to the sea. The fort was officially abandoned by the War Department in 1905.
The fort is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Admission is $5 (ages 5-12) and $9 for adults.
According to TripAdvisor.com, there are 640 places/things to do in Savannah. It's my hope that this post gives you a glimpse at some of the top things to do and helps narrow down your own list of things to do in Savannah.
Savannah, Georgia is one of the most beautiful places in America. Savannah's charm and southern hospitality make it a must-see destination for anyone who visits or lives in the area. Savannah has been ranked as one of the top ten cities to visit by CNN, Travel + Leisure Magazine, and Southern Living magazine. With so many things to do in Savannah, you'll have trouble deciding what to do first!
Heading to Savannah? Be sure to check out these other posts before you go:
- What To Drink in Savannah
- The Bonaventure Cemetery
- Where To Eat in Savannah
- The DeSoto Savannah
- Food Tours in Savannah
Here are some more things to do in Savannah if you’re looking for additional activities to enjoy during your stay.