<“If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, ‘What’s your business?’ In Macon they ask, ‘Where do you go to church?’ In Augusta they ask your grandmother’s maiden name. But in Savannah the first question people ask you is ‘What would you like to drink?’” –John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil>
Undoubtedly one of my favorite cities in the entire world, Savannah, Ga. is rich in historical sights, beautiful architecture, and good ole’ fashioned Southern charm. Savannah is a great city for walking, so strap on your walking boots and go exploring in this beautiful city. Here’s a quick list of 11 places you should definitely visit when you’re in Savannah, Ga.
This is definitely a big draw for tourists in Savannah, but it is a must see for everybody who visits Savannah. Boasting spacious green lawns, a gorgeous main fountain, and breath taking scenery, Forsyth Park acts as the Central Park of Downtown Historical Savannah. You can visit the café within the park, play with your kids at the children’s playground, go on a romantic walk, or just sit and enjoy your picturesque surroundings.
I know what you might find cemeteries eerie, but bear with me. When gorgeous dogwood and camellias flower in the springtime, Bonaventure becomes a garden of tranquility. Beautiful blooms surround the angels watching over those peacefully at rest in this quiet oasis. You can walk the paths throughout the cemetery and visit the resting places of some of Savannah’s most famous residents, including Johnny Mercer, the famous singer/song writer of the 1950s. See? Cemeteries aren’t so scary when you visit the dead in the daylight.
Leopold’s Ice Cream
A legendary family business, Leopold’s Ice Cream has been a beloved part of Savannah since 1919. All the creamy goodness is made on the premises and it tastes so good, you’ll think twice before calling the frosty stuff they sell at 7–11 “ice cream”. There’s an old-timey, soda shoppe atmosphere with photos of beloved celebrities who have enjoyed the frozen dairy delights at Leopold’s over the years.
The Pirate’s House
Being a port city, Savannah used to be a hotbed for pirates back in the day. There is one house in particular that scalawags gathered to divide their booty, drink rum, and swashbuckle all night long; now it’s a restaurant. The Pirate’s House is a tourist favorite; the atmosphere and the delicious seafood will have you singing “yo-ho yo-ho a pirate’s life for me” in no time. According to legend, Robert Louis Stevenson got the inspiration for Treasure Island’s main character, Captain Flint, from a pirate captain who frequently visited Savannah. This pirate captain is said to haunt the restaurant still. You can still hear the cries of those drunken pirates who met their untimely end in the tunnels leading from the Rum Cellar in the basement all the way River Street... Try the coconut shrimp, it’s to DIE for!
All the best shopping in Savannah is done along this street! Take a romantic walk along the Savannah River. Dine at The River House, one of the best restaurants in Savannah with beautiful river view. Or book one of many ghost tours, including a tour where you can ride in a converted funeral hearse! River Street lights up at night and it’s definitely a sight to see!
Goose Feathers Café
You’ve got to eat, right? Goose Feathers Café is a charming restaurant/bakery near Ellis Square. Recharge from your tours and site-seeing and grab some grub. But get there early; the line can go out the door and they close at 2:15pm!
St. John’s Cathedral
Gorgeous Catholic churches should speak for themselves. But does this steeple look familiar? During the opening scene of Forrest Gump, you see a feather is flying through the air and pass by this exact church steeple before landing at Forrest’s feet, while he sits a bus stop. This church is an active worship center, but is open to the public for self-guided tours.
Clary’s Café has delicious breakfast, wonderful staff, and a warm ambiance. The décor makes you feel right at home with family photos and knick-knacks. It’s local places like these that reinforce Savannah’s title as the “Hostess City of the South.” Try the sticky buns, they’re to die for.
E. Shaver Bookstore
I love quaint, independent bookstores and E Shaver’s is one of my favorites! Twelve rooms of any kind of book you can think of, as well as regional works and guides books, so you can learn all there is to know about Savannah. Tip: If you haven’t read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, that is a MUST before you visit Savannah. The woman I bought my copy from called it the local Savannahian “bible”.
Mercer House/Monterey Square
Monterey Square is said to be the loveliest square in Savannah; the flowers bloom the brightest and the surrounding houses are the prettiest in the neighborhood. One of the homes that sits on Monterey Square is the Mercer House. Famous Savannah resident Jim Williams lived in this house; a controversial figure in his time, he used his wealth and influence to help restore historical buildings in danger of being bought and destroyed. He is the main character in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and after you read that book there is no way you could resist taking a tour of that house.
A hot spot for Savannah College of Art and Design students, Gallery Espresso is a bohemian coffee café. It sits on Chippewa Square and it’s cozy, quiet, and a great place to take a load off whilst exploring the neighborhood.
Visit any of these great spots and create some lasting memories in one of the oldest cities in the country. Savannah is the perfect town to wander around with your loved ones. Stroll into a café and chat with the locals; they’d love to talk to you about their town.