The oldest city in Georgia, Savannah is all things Southern charm. This destination doesn’t appear on travel wish lists as often as other American cities like New York or San Francisco, but once you’ve been, you’ll dream of going back every day. When you’re ready to dive into and discover this gorgeous waterside town, here’s your destination guide to Savannah and everything to eat, see and do.
Best things to eat in Savannah
Southern hospitality is alive and well here which means you’re expected to eat, and we mean EAT. There are plenty of Southern favourites you must try (most centre around seafood, given the waterside location), so grab a spoon and dig into these must-eats:
- Shrimp and grits: a local favourite in the South, you’ll find this on the menu all over town. Thought to have originated from the Native American Muskogee tribe, grits kind of looks like mashed potato but the gritty texture comes from corn or cornmeal, which is cooked to perfection with shrimp, flavour-packed sausage and peppers.
- Fried green tomatoes: ripe red tomatoes aren’t on the menu here.
- Crab: from crab stews at Narobia’s Grits & Gravy to whole crabs, crab cakes, crab soups and freshly caught crabs on Tybee Island’s Crab Shack, there isn’t a bad way to suck down on claws in Savannah.
- Savannah Red Rice: the South’s answer to pilaf, this dish is the perfect side with its smoky bacon flavours, fluffy rice and rich tomatoes.
- Praline: Savannah loves sweets and as you walk through the historic streets you’ll smell a sweet scent wafting through the air. Enter: praline! This brittle, sugary treat is everywhere, all you have to do is pick a flavour (or two).
- Georgia Peach: make sure you grab a fresh peach if you pass by any markets as the peaches in this area date back to 1571 when Franciscan monks introduced them to the region where they were cultivated and flourished as a top export until the 1920s.
- Chatham Artillery Punch: this cocktail has a history as rich as the city, and even dates back to the colonial period. The sweet, fruity punch is made with champagne, rum, bourbon AND brandy. It’s a must-try, even if you can only handle one!
Best things to see in Savannah
Savannah is a truly beautiful city. It was spared a lot of damage during the civil war, which means its old homes and parks in the Historic District are often in original condition and are true to the personality of the bygone era. Here are some sights in Savannah you can’t miss:
- The stunning mansions: there’s a home for every architectural taste in Savannah. From the Owens-Thomas House and its English Regency architecture, to the statelier Southern-style mansions that make your draw drop, there will be a gorgeous home at every turn.
- Forsyth Park: Giant trees with weeping Spanish moss create walkways that are straight from a dream in the city’s most iconic park. There’s always something happening here, from markets to live concerts, so spend some time here and explore.
- Bonaventure Cemetery: not everyone loves cemeteries, but if you’re okay with a taste of the macabre, this 100-acre graveyard is said to be one of the most beautiful in the whole world. Proof that things can be spooky and stunning.
- The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist: one of the most impressive buildings in Savannah, this church has spires that reach sky high and gorgeous stained-glass windows. The history is fascinating, and a tour will only cost you $2.
- Wormsloe Historic Site: this is the spot to snap a photo that you’ll keep forever (and maybe even put on your parents fridge). Mossy oaks create a canopy over a shady lane that goes to a colonial state that is the oldest standing structure in Savannah.
Best things to do in Savannah
Savannah is a city that makes you feel at home right away. It’s so easy to lose yourself there and start scrolling the real estate listings for a place to rent. Here’s what you should do before you leave (or stay, your choice):
- Visit a psychic: Savannah has an old feel to it that’s common in Southern American cities and that can capture your heart and mind and inspire you to try to see deeper. Go visit one of the city’s many psychics for a fun and insightful time.
- Have a picnic in one of the beautiful square parks: there are 22 squares in Savannah to choose from and the pretty parks are perfect for a long picnic lunch. Just grab your crew, hit the supermarket and dine on your spread.
- Old Town Trolley Tour: one of the best ways to explore the Historic District in Savannah is by trolley. Jump on the Old Town Trolley Tour and see all the best landmarks in town.
- Shop at the City Market: four blocks of open-air markets chock full of yummy food, great shopping and art stalls. There are a few bars here too, so it’s a great spot to hang out at night and watch a live band.
- Hearse ghost tours: if you like a little bit of dark tourism, Savannah has some rather unique ghost tours. Namely, one that takes you around the spooky sights in a hearse and shows you the darker side of the city’s history.