25 Best Things to Do in Savannah, GA: Top-Rated Attractions 2022
Few southern destinations are as essentially southern as Savannah. Bursting with charm, it’s a pedestrian-friendly favorite for the whole family and one that may be a bit more affordable than Charleston and a bit tamer than New Orleans.
When most travelers imagine Savannah, the first thought that pops into their heads is visions of cobblestone streets lined with moss-laden oak trees, and for the most part, it’s not that far from the truth.
However, there is much more to Savannah than just this. Please take a look at some of our favorite sights and sounds in this city, and you, too, will yearn to return year after year.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Savannah:
1. Forsyth Park
The Savannah Historic District is beautiful enough on its own, but Forsyth Park adds to the charm. A beautiful lush green landscape is popular with tourists and locals alike, and you’ll find 30 acres of trees, flowers, and other foliage.
There is almost always something going on here, from the outdoor concerts to the farmers market, open every Saturday. Forsyth Park is also home to one of the most photographed sights in all of Savannah – the vast and beautiful fountain is Instagram-worthy.
2. Old Savannah Trolley Tours
Explore the most famous sights around the Savannah Historic District on this hop-on, hop-off trolley. This is an excellent option if you are in town for a limited number of days and want to do your best sightseeing in just one afternoon.
The carriage covers 22 squares and displays Savannah’s significant landmarks, such as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Mickve Israel Temple, Sorrel Weed House, Juliette Gordon Low Home, Forsythe Park Mansion, Mulberry Inn, and Pirate House.
There are 15 different stops, and you can get off the cart whenever you want to go exploring, and you can be sure someone else will be there to pick you up, almost whenever you want, as they come every 15 to 20 minutes.
3. City market
Easily within reach of all your Savannah sightseeing tours, the City Market is four blocks from open-air shopping, all surrounded by restored warehouses with tons of cute extras, plus restaurants and art.
There are also many open-air concerts in the square, and it can be a great stop to sit and people-watch. However, keep in mind; the market is home to a few bars, so that the afternoon crowd might get a bit rowdy.
If you are visiting the children, please stop by in the morning or early afternoon.
4. The Owens-Thomas house
You probably already know this Savannah staple if you’re an architecture guru. Still, even if you cannot appreciate a bit of luxurious life and history, you might want to stop by the Owens-Thomas House.
An excellent example of English Regency architecture, the house was built in 1819 and is large enough to fill an entire block. Designed by an English architect, the house was built by a Bermuda merchant and later bought by a congressman.
Now, it is a National Historic Landmark. The house has a bit odd hours, so you may want to check them out before heading out. Also on the block from the house are the garage, the parterre garden, and one of the first intact urban slave quarters.
5. Telfair Museum of Art
The oldest art museum in the south, the Telfair Museum, is housed within a classic Regency mansion designed by an English architect and purchased by the son of the Georgian governor.
The house was completed in 1819 and remained within the same family until 1875, when the last surviving member of the Telfair family left it and all its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society.
The structure was expanded eight years later, adding a sculpture gallery and rotunda. The grand opening was an excellent affair, attracting famous faces like Jefferson Davis.
Now when you visit, you will see lovingly restored interior rooms, paintings by German and French American Impressionists, period furniture, silver, and other items. In addition, the museum houses the most extensive public collection of paintings by Kahlil Gibran, more than 80!
6. The cathedral of st. John the Baptist
Called the most impressive building in all of Savannah, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist will undoubtedly make your jaw drop. Soaring spires and stained glass windows take your breath away, whether you’re attending a religious mass or enjoying guided or self-guided tours.
These tours are available from 9-11: 45 AM and 12:45-5 PM, Monday through Saturday, for the very affordable price of just $ 2. The cathedral was built where it now stood in 1876, but a historic fire destroyed a significant part of it in 1898. In just two years, the cathedral was rebuilt and now represents the tradition of faith within Savannah.
It calls itself one of the top 10 historical sites to visit in the United States, and it welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.
7. The Historic Savannah Theater
The oldest continuously operating theater in the United States, The Historic Savannah Theater, was built in 1818, opening in December with a comedy.
Now the plaza is located, Chippewa Plaza has become a massive part of Savannah’s nightlife and entertainment, primarily due to the theater.
While the theater offers nightly shows, it also offers something else for movie geeks. Just outside is a bench where various scenes from the movie Forrest Gump were filmed. This is a trendy spot for photos, now, as you can probably imagine.
8. Wormsloe Historic Site
If you’re looking for that quintessential southern photo with mossy oaks hanging over a beautiful lane, this is where you’ll find it. This historic site includes a beautiful avenue with all the oak trees and Spanish moss you could wish for and leads to the ruins of Wormsloe, a colonial estate that is the oldest structure in Savannah at this time.
If you visit during an event, you may see one or two reenactors in costume, but on a typical day, you can still visit the museum (with colonial artifacts) and walk the nature trail, which runs through the ruins a swamp, and the surrounding area. The lands Guided tours start at 9:30, 11, 1:30, and 3.
9. The Savannah Boardwalk
Did you know that Savannah had a boardwalk ?? People are sometimes surprised to hear that Savannah has its river. River Street was historically significant as a warehouse row, highly supporting the cotton industry.
However, River Street was abandoned for decades after the yellow fever epidemic, only to be rediscovered and put back into use after the 1960s.
Now, guests can walk the cobblestone streets and see centuries of history laid out before them as they pass the dozens of businesses within previously abandoned warehouses right on the river. Whether you’re looking for shopping, dining, drinks, or galleries, it’s all here.
10. Wilkes house
It is not another architectural marvel to tour, but rather a place to fill your senses with all the tradition of fine Southern cuisine. The Wilkes House has been feeding Southerners for decades, and you can eat the same fried chicken, sweet potatoes, okra, gumbo, cornbread, cookies, and more that appear regularly on the menu.
The menu changes daily, and the atmosphere is decidedly casual and informal. Seating is family-style, everyone pays a fixed price for dinner, and cash is the only type of currency accepted here.
11. Buenaventura Cemetery
For more moss-laden oak goodness and a sample of southern ghosts (the south has its fair share of gothic flair, by the way), head to Buenaventura Cemetery.
One of the most beautiful cemeteries globally, it is on the wish list of many visitors. Free to enter, the property is over 100 acres. If you feel like taking a tour, instead of just rambling on your own, you can get a free guided tour on the weekends of the second Sunday of each month.
12. Old Fort Jackson Historic Site
Old Fort Jackson is Georgia’s oldest brick fort, built-in 1808. It draws 50,000 visitors each year, and for a good reason. The fort is named after a Georgian governor who liberated Savannah from British rule and was one of the strongest fortifications in the entire United States. It was built entirely of earth, then faced with brick, and then topped off with a wooden platform.
Additions to the fort were made during the War of 1812, and it looks great today as it did then. Self-guided tours are available, and you can enjoy views of the Savannah River from the top. Stay long enough to hear the cannons fired!
13. Fort Pulaski National Monument
Built-in the 1800s, Fort Pulaski sits on an island in the river between Savannah and Tybee Island. It was the first Confederate masonry fort to come under Union cannon fire, marking a turning point in military history.
However, there is much to do and see beyond the royal monument and fort. There are trails, such as the North Pier Trail, that run through the original construction building and past a 19th-century battery. A lighthouse, a historic levee system, bike paths, and more.
14. Coastal Empire Brew Co.
Opening in 2011, Coastal Empire Beer Co. has quickly taken awards and names as it becomes a favorite with Savannah locals.
Tours are only $10, and you can try them out during the occasion. You can also head to the faucet room for 16 different faucets and seating options.
One of the most popular beers they make is the Savannah Brown Ale, but you can also try other offerings throughout the year, such as Tybee Island Blonde, Southern Delight Praline Amber Ale, and Coco Pina Gose.
15. Juliette Gordon Low birthplace
Have a girl in your travel group? Then you might want to make a point to stop by Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, a house museum explicitly created for girls, and celebrate the woman who founded the American Girl Scouts.
Juliette was born in the house, now owned by the Girl Scouts of the USA, in 1860, and it was there, in 1912, that she began the creation of the Girl Scouts.
Forty-minute guided tours are available Monday through Saturday and advance online ticket purchases are recommended.
16. The University of Georgia Aquarium
This marine education center and aquarium is located on Skidaway Island, near downtown Savannah. There are many exhibits about the marine animals that live closer to the state, but many other exhibits show exciting things,t even marine animals.
There are also displays of woolly mammoths and mastodons, as both ancient creatures once lived within the area.
17. Hearse Ghost Tours
If a regular trolley tour isn’t your style, maybe a ghost tour is more your alley? Maybe even a ghost tour that takes place in a hearse? That’s right; this ghost tour begins by picking you up and your fellow travelers from your hotel in a real hearse that was used for royal funerals for over 15 years.
You’ll see much of the city’s history, but you’ll also hear about its darker side as you take it all in. Not your average outing.
18. The Mercer-Williams house
Fans of literature will want to add this particular tour to their itinerary. The stately mansion was the home of lyricist Johnny Mercer and Jim Williams, straight from the pages of John Berendt’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
Williams is known as the only individual in the state to have been Tried four times for the same crime, a gruesome murder right inside the house.
While you can’t see the alleged murder site, you can explore the rest of the house, including furniture dating back to 1700.
19. The Andrew Low House
You probably think that Savannah is the city of home tours, and you’re probably right. Here’s another one worth stopping by! The Andrew Low House was built in 1848 and featured an Italian exterior and plenty of luxury and elegance.
If the name sounds familiar, you should! This house is another that was in the Juliette Gordon Low family. After her death, this particular home was purchased by the National Society of Colonial Ladies of America in the State of Georgia, finally opening to the public about 75 years ago.
20. Tricentennial Park
If you’re looking for a fun and convenient way to spend a day with the kids but still fit in a bit of education and some excellent spots for mom and dad, head over to Parque Tricentenario.
Here you will find three different museums: the Savannah Museum of History and Battlefield Memorial Park, the Georgia State Railroad Museum, and the Savannah Children’s Museum.
The latter is one that you will want to visit with kids in tow, but then choose between the other two at your discretion and depending on what your kids might love.
No matter your age, a great way to end a day in Savannah is to stop at Leopold $0027s. The little ice cream parlor had stayed the same since 1919 when Hollywood producer Stratton Leopold opened it.
There is always a line, but it will be worth it. The ice cream is made on-site with excellent ingredients and uses ancient recipes passed down through the generations. The characteristic flavor is the Tutti-Fruit.
22. The Olde Pink House Restaurant
Combine romance and ghosts? Why not?! That is precisely what Olde Pink House does. The beautiful setting is super elegant, with chandeliers, 18th-century architecture, and a charming dining room fireplace.
The kitchen is southern but elevated, so you won’t have to worry about too much butter touching the buttons on your dress.
But, beyond the shiny exterior, there are some ghostly visitors.
23. Ships of the Maritime Museum of the Sea
So maybe your kids don’t like trains… maybe they like boats? If that’s the case, head over to this museum, where you can see all kinds of memorabilia revolving around ships from the 1700s and 1800s.
The house where the museum is located? It was once the home of the same man who owned the first steamboat to cross the Atlantic Ocean successfully.
Even if you’re not prepared for all the ship’s staff, the museum is also unique in that it has one of the most extensive gardens in the Savannah Historic District.
24. Colonial Park Cemetery
If you can’t get to Buenaventura, stop by Colonial Park Cemetery, which is also old and super creepy.
It has been in business since 1750, and you can see graves of some of the early settlers and many of those who died during the yellow fever epidemic of 1820. It is pretty famous for hunting ghosts after dark.
25. Fort McAllister State Park
Famous for suffering many attacks during the Civil War, Fort McAllister would eventually fall under the command of General Sherman.
How cool? You can camp on the site! During your stay, enjoy the museum, which has many artifacts from the Civil War and all the wildlife in the nearby wetlands.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Savannah
What is Savannah best known for?
Savannah is a long-standing city known throughout the country for its beautiful coastal landscapes, its well-preserved architecture and its rich, vibrant history. And while some tenets of Savannah’s history are famous – like the life of Juliette Gordon Low and the famous Forrest Gump scene – others are lesser known.
Is Savannah or Charleston better?
Charleston and Savannah are both friendly cities with a lot of history and southern hospitality! Savannah is slightly more laid-back, so if you want to visit a busier city, Charleston is probably the place to go. For more relaxed vibes, visit Savannah.
How many days should you spend in Savannah Ga?
Savannah is the perfect destination to explore over a long weekend, and three days in Savannah is just perfect. It’s a small city, you can see most of it on foot, and just walking from place to place is just as entertaining as the sights themselves!
What is the prettiest street in Savannah?
Jones Street is said to be the prettiest street in Savannah. It has a claim to be among the most appealing in the United States too, a reputation that rests upon the picture presented by Jones Street’s characteristically high-stooped mid-19th century homes and its impressively arching live oaks.
Is Savannah a walkable city?
Savannah is an extremely walkable city that is perfect for strolling, but sometimes it’s nice to give your feet a rest and take a ride through the city. Make the most of your vacation with these fabulous ways to get around Savannah.
Is it safe to walk around Savannah at night?
Savannah is generally safe during the day, especially in tourist areas and in the city center. However, it is not recommended for walking alone in the city late at night. Always watch your things. Park your car in secure parking lots and always lock it.
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