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Savannah, GA Travel Guide

It's no secret that I'm in love with New England, but I will tell you, Savannah gave it a run for its money. We immediately fell in love with it after a few minutes of walking around. Everything from the architecture, the Spanish moss trees, the little parks everywhere, the cobblestones, the restaurants, the vibe - it all amazed us so much, and we always had a smile on our faces. Our time in Savannah was nothing short of perfect, which is saying a lot because we had just come from the Bahamas!

Since we had to take connecting flights from the Bahamas through Southern airports, we decided a while ago that we wanted to rent a car and drive to Savannah and Charleston. We chose to spend most of our time in Savannah because we both had wanted to see it for longer than Charleston had piqued our interest. While meandering the streets of the historical district, we both just felt like it was the perfect Spring getaway destination when we needed a break from the gloomy Northeast weather but didn't necessarily need a beach destination (although, you can get that here, too!). The temperatures were wonderful most days in the high 70s, so many trees everywhere meant lots of shade, the streets weren't as crowded as I imagined and it's small enough that it feel completely manageable for a quick long weekend escape. It has great restaurants, beautiful shops and because it's not overwhelmingly large, we had lots of time to just spend going for casual walks and seeing beautiful things. It's an absolutely perfect destination for a weekend escape without feeling rushed, and I'm so excited to share everything we loved about this timeless and amazing little city.

Mid-late April/2019. We knew when we visited the South, we wanted to go in the Spring season because I don't tolerate super hot weather very well. March and April had perfect leisurely-stroll weather without feeling too warm or chilly. While it was definitely warmer than average when we visited, it never got higher than the low to mid 80s.

We spent three nights in Savannah and had no real plans other than strolling through the historic district, eating as much as possible and enjoying all the parks and sites.

We stayed at the Cotton Sail Hotel because we found a great deal on Priceline for only $125 a night. Normally, it usually runs for over $200 a night, so we considered ourselves super lucky and jumped on the deal. Our room was amazing. We walked in and we were both like, "We're not leaving this room!" It had super high ceilings with beautiful molding, and the room was really spacious - it was the biggest hotel room we've ever stayed in. The bathroom was also so nice with a tiled walk-in shower and marble sink. The building of the hotel was an old cotton warehouse from the 1800's, and the hardwood floors in the rooms were salvaged from the original roofing. When we checked in, the front desk staff gave us a bag with two bottles of water and they were so friendly and welcoming. It was just overall, a great experience.

The location was also wonderful. Adjacent to River Street, it was within walking distance to all the sites. The rooftop bar overlooked the river, and we enjoyed a cocktail or two there while being so happy our room was just an elevator ride back down. I can't recommend the hotel enough - it was one of our favorites we've ever stayed in and would consider staying here again even at their higher average price.

View from the rooftop bar a=of the Cotton Sail Hotel.

When we were getting close to leaving on our trip, I actually was concerned that maybe we should have reversed our Southern destinations, and just did Savannah as a day trip, and planned on staying in Charleston for a few nights because I wasn't finding a ton to do. Now that we're back, I'm so glad we did it the way we planned. I loved the fact that in Savannah, we didn't have a crammed schedule. We saw everything we wanted to see, but also had a lot of time to just wander, go for relaxing walks and enjoy our time together. It was my favorite thing about this trip. But, in case you're curious, here are our suggestions on things to do and see.

River Street
I loved that our hotel was pretty much right on River Street so we had plenty to do just outside our front door, but it also wasn't as loud as I thought it would be. There are quite a few little shops and eateries here, as well as the river, obviously. Keep in mind that the river is very, very industrial. While you do have some great views of the tour boats and such, there are quite a few views of industrial buildings and warehouses. That was one thing that surprised me, is that it wasn't as picturesque as I thought it would be. But we still very much enjoyed our time on River Street.

Between River and Bay Streets (where our hotel was), you'll also see so many pretty little walkway bridges, which made for some great photo opps (they also screamed Savannah to me).

Forsyth Park
You have to see the fountain at Forsyth Park when visiting Savannah. I mean, if you don't, did you even go? The park really is beautiful. I wanted to spend a lot of time walking down all the paths, looking at the fountain and admiring all the trees and beautiful benches. The park is also bigger than I thought it was, and continues well beyond the fountain. Be sure to walk around and see as much of it as you can if you enjoy spending a beautiful day in beautiful surroundings.

All The Other Little Parks
One of my favorite things about the historic district was that every few blocks you run into a small little park that's equally as pretty as the previous one you just saw. They all have old-style lamp posts, benches, Spanish moss trees and probably some kind of monument. I just loved them all. And as I mentioned before, I love that there were so many trees everywhere because it meant that even on the warmest days, we never really felt uncomfortable in the heat because there was a lot of shade. It was as if Southern hospitality was at its best by providing it for us.

Seeing Spanish moss trees for the first time.

Jones Street
Some call in the most beautiful street in Georgia, some call it the most beautiful street in all of the South, or the entire country. Either way, you have to stroll down. It really is awfully perfect. And the houses! Oh my gosh, the houses are incredible. I wanted to peek inside all of them and just soak in as much of the architecture and style as possible. People suggested prioritizing East Jones street over West Jones, and we found that to be accurate (but walked a good chunk of all of it and it's all beautiful).

Rainbow Houses
I had to do it! I had to see the rainbow houses with my own eyes. What a happy little part of the world, this was. The shutters were all painted in different pastel shades, and it's definitely something to walk over to just to see for a few minutes.

Ghost Coast Distillery
I opted for a nap (no regrets) while Josh went over to visit this distillery, and he had a really nice time. Josh reported back that the vibe was really casual. They have a bar which offered tastings of their liquors. The base tasting was $10 for 4 shots, but you can also mix and match some tasting shots with a cocktail and the price goes up from there. They had quite a few choices of liquors, and offer a bottle of water to stay hydrated during your tasting. If you had interest in doing a tour of the facility, they have those as well. There's also a small gift shop with merchandise and bottles of the liquor. Josh said he really enjoyed it and would recommend a stop in, even if just for a cocktail.

Trolley Tours
We didn't do any of the trolley tours, but they did look fun. I'm not typically a fan of organized tours, and both of us tend to want to explore things on our own. But I will say, I was tempted by these. It's about $36 per adult to do a hop-on/hop-off tour for the day, and there are lots of stops all around the city. We would often be within earshot of the trolleys while sitting in parks or walking on the sidewalks, and the stories and anecdotes the guides on the trollies offered seemed really informative and interesting. Definitely something to look into!

River Boat Cruise
Again, not something we did, but the boats for the river cruises were so, so beautiful. They were like floating Americana gingerbread houses. Prices vary based on the type of cruise you select, but all information can be found here. When we visit again, I would actually consider doing one of them.

Just Go For a Walk
Savannah is a very, very walkable city, especially the historic area. Every house you see will be prettier than the last, and the brick and cobblestone streets are idyllic. You'll see mansions, spiral staircases, perfect little Southern porches with rockers and pendant lights - it's like a set of a movie in the best possible way. We couldn't help but be so excited just to go for walks.

A lot of the pavement sidewalks had seashells imbedded into them. 

Tybee Island
We ventured to Tybee for an afternoon excursion and absolutely loved it. I'll be doing a whole post dedicated to it, so stay tuned.

The restaurant scene in Savannah is on point, guys. There are so many options to choose from and it seemed hard to find places to eat that weren't well-rated. Because Josh is a vegetarian, we had more limited options because we definitely found that while in the South, vegetarian options were few and far between. Thankfully, because I eat seafood, I always had something I could order. But, we had to be more selective.

17hundred90 Inn & Restaurant
We wanted to do one fancier meal out and chose the 17hundred90 Inn & Restaurant because the menu was great for Josh and we loved the old-world tavern feel from the photos we saw online. And we were not disappointed. We loved our dinners, and the ambience in here was so wonderful. I didn't get a chance to take any photos because we were just living in the moment for a special date night, but the oversized fireplace, old ceiling beams and brick walls made for such a cozy meal. They even had a live piano player there. It was just such a great experience and we loved it.

Treylor Park
We needed a super casual dinner one night after wandering all over and stumbled upon Treylor Park. We wandered in and had a really nice time. We both loved our drinks, and Josh especially loved the fact that he could add on a shot for $2 with his beer order (we both sipped on the pecan whiskey, and it was so good!). Our food was also good, but we just got boring things like salad and a flatbread because we weren't feeling super adventurous. But we'd definitely come back.

Goosefeathers Cafe
This seems to be one of the most popular cafes in Savannah, so we tried to time our visit to avoid lines. That did not happen. Even at around 9:30a on a weekday, there was a line out the door, and I'll admit, it did not move fast. The cafe, though, is a well-oiled machine with staff clearing tables quickly, bringing out food as quickly as possible, and being super friendly on top of how busy they are all the time. We both got croissant breakfast sandwiches and loved them, so it was worth the wait. I loved mine so much I got a croissant to go and nibbled at it while we strolled through the parks.

Pie Society
We came here for breakfast and enjoyed it, but I would probably slightly prefer Goosefeathers. Pie Society serves up British pies, and we decided to stop in for a spinach, mushroom and feta one as breakfast one day. It was really good, but just a little too oniony for me (like, it was a pool of onions in the middle). So, I kind of preferred Goosefeathers. I will say, though, the gentleman working behind the counter was really, really nice and we enjoyed chatting with him.

Coffee Fox
I'm not a coffee drinker, but Josh loved it here (and I loved the interior). He said the coffee was excellent, and the local vibe of the whole cafe was really nice (and definitely super hipstery). He highly recommends it for a good cup of coffee (and it's only a block from Goosefeathers).

Guys, I was daydreaming of Leopold's for months before we got there. I'm not even ashamed to admit that. And the ice cream lived up to the hype. We went three times while there (once each day!), and there was a line out the door every single time. The wait was always about 20-30 minutes, and again, it didn't move very fast, but the ice cream was so, so good. I loved their waffle cones, and their flavors were delicious. Inside, it felt very much like stepping back into time, too. We just loved everything about it (except the lines, of course). I especially loved the Chocolate Chewies and Cream (but also got the Coconut, which was awesome). Josh loved the Tutti Frutti (which they invented back in 1919) and the Savannah Socialite (milk and dark chocolate ice creams mixed with roasted Georgia pecans and bourbon infused caramel). I don't think you'll regret waiting in line.

The Olde Pink House
We didn't eat here because their vegetarian options were severely limited, but if you don't have any dietary restrictions, this would be the place I'd suggest you visit. It has amazing reviews online and to me, it seems to be the quintessential Savannah dining experience. Just because we din't eat here doesn't mean I didn't snap a few photos, though! Also, it's overlooking a small park, which makes it even more charming.

Savannah had a lot of opportunities for shopping, but at the same time, it didn't strike me as a huge destination for it. Since we did carry-on bags, we actually didn't make it a point to pop into a lot of stores so as not to tempt ourselves and end up with checked baggage. But here's what we have to report back on for shops.

Broughton & River Streets
River Street is fun to just walk around, but it also has some stores to pop into. Most of it is very touristy (nothing wrong with that though!). So if you're looking for a small, inexpensive souvenir, this is the place to go. Broughton Street was more upscale with a few chain stores like Anthropologie, Kate Spade and J.Crew and also some independent stores. I really wish we had popped into The Paris Market and Brocante, but for some reason we just never stumbled upon it, apparently. Now that we're home and I'm reading about it, it'll be on our list to not miss for our next visit. Broughton is also where Leopold's is, so if you get tired from shopping, you could always pop in for a scoop (or two).

Savannah Bee Company
We actually both enjoyed walking around Savannah Bee Company. A lot of little boutiques we've visited while traveling over the years sell their body care products, so we had an awareness of the company, but being in one of their flagship stores was really fun. It was so beautifully merchandised, and the honeycomb door on the entrance is such a creative touch.

I was really tempted by bath and body products at Nourish, especially because they were all small-batch made down the road from the shop. But you know, we were limited by those 3.4 oz, so I passed on buying anything. The store is so welcoming and beautiful to walk around, and I suggest checking out their bar soaps and scrubs. They also have an online shop in case you regret not getting anything during your visit.

Parker's Urban Market
It's a gas station. It's also a chain. But this particular location is actually really cool. It's also a convenience store and a general store all in one, and my go-to location to grab a quick cold drink for walking around (it has great varieties of lemonade on tap!). They have a lot of regular gas station-type things (snacks and such), but they also have some more unique items, and it's merchandised so well. The little home decor shop at the front was also so adorable - I wanted a few things from it, but they didn't fit in my suitcase. 

Savannah Candy Kitchen
This girl loves her candy, and I was dying to try Gophers, which are Georgia pecans, caramel and chocolate. They had plenty of these, and tons, tons more to cure your sweet tooth. We stocked up on a few things and nibbled on them in our hotel room at night.

- Savannah is very, very walkable - you do not need a car at all, unless you venture outside the city, or the historical district. Some people were on bikes provided by their hotel, and I found most of them walking with their bikes versus riding them.

- There's no open container law in the historical district, meaning you can walk around with drinks if you'd like. Josh loved this, and grabbed a beer for the road (walk).

- Southern hospitality is real. Everyone at shops, restaurants and businesses were so friendly and kind. I wasn't expecting it as much because we were in a city, but it was something I noticed right away.

Have you been to Savannah? Is there anything I need to check out for our next visit? 

Gingham Ruffle DressJ.Crew Factory
Striped Sneakers: No longer available, but they're by the brand SeaVees, and I bought them at Anthropologie.

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  1. I am so glad you love Savannah. I was in love with it from the moment I met my husband and visited his hometown in 1975. As my husband says, the Savannah he grew up in was nothing like the present day Savannah. The houses were there but in disrepair and NO ONE ventured to River Street, not a tourist destination back then. Ok, the next time you go to Savannah you have to visit Byrds Cookie Company. ( You will need Uber or a car to go there.) It is a Savannah institution. Another local breakfast spot that is great is Sunny Side Up...again it is out from downtown. This is a definite Local favorite. Also we love the Carey Hilliards Restaurants...the one on Skidaway Drive is our favorite and Krispy Kreme donut shop near by for Desert. Check out Back in the Day Bakery on Bull Street. But go early...the goodies sell out quickly. Tybee Island might be a good place for you to stay next time as you have done the Downtown adventure...or divide up your time between the two. Tybee is an old time beach...not a lot of development there. Three Sisters shop is one of my favorites there. The Southern Chick Lit author, Mary Kay Andrews is one of the owners. She also rents out her retro cottages on Tybee so you might be interested in checking that out.

    1. Oh my gosh, it's crazy to think that even as recent as the 70s the homes weren't the same! Oh, we so wanted to visit Back In The Day Bakery, but when we were in the area, they were closed since we were there on weekdays. Definitely next time! Thank you so much for your suggestions! We really loved Tybee, too (post coming soon!), and I think we visited the shop you suggested! There was a huge book section with her books there :) I can't wait to get back and see it all again, such a great trip.