A Day in Savannah, Georgia
Nestled in the low country between the South Carolina border and the Ogeechee River, the city of Savannah is the municipal hostess with the mostess. A unique combination of European architecture and southern hospitality, this city presents a vibrant opportunity for exploration by visitors and residents alike.
Unfortunately, most folks focus solely on the north half of the city with the historic district and the area along River Street. This is not a knock against that area. By all means, take a look. It’ll be a good time with lots of great sightseeing, shopping, and food. But if you have a single day and want to see a bit of Savannah that doesn’t often get the spotlight, this article is for you.
Now, twenty four hours is nowhere near enough time to uncover all that Savannah, Georgia has to offer. With that in mind, what you’ll find below are recommendations for tackling the city when you’re on a limited schedule. Ideally, this will wet your appetite for a return (much longer) trip in the future. Until then, choose a catered adventure using the notes below.
Option #1 | Walkabout with the Ghosts
Start the Day
- The Sentient Bean | 13 E Park Avenue
There’s not better way to start the morning than with a fair-trade, local, and organic meal. Right at the south end of Forsyth Park, this vegetarian cafe offers good coffee and healthy eats.
A Morning Stroll
First up, don’t skip the sprawling 30-acre park facing you as you leave breakfast. Named for Georgia’s 33rd governor, Forsyth Park features historic statues, elegant fountains and sprawling live oaks. Plus, something is always happening. Whether is a music performance, a pick-up game of frisbee, or local artisans and musicians hawking their wares.
- The Future on Forsyth | 106 W Gwinnett St #1A
An eclectic example of Savannah’s cultural scene, The Future is a boutique that specializes in new, used, vintage, and retro clothing for both men and women. Located on the west side of Forsyth park and across the street, it’s an easy stop as you explore the area.
- Mercer-Williams House Museum | 429 Bull Street
There’s a disagreement in the south as to which city is truly the most haunted. Currently, the dispute is between New Orleans, St. Augustine, and Savannah. Charleston might be aiming for the title as well. All that to say, the chances are good you might encounter otherworldly entities in Savannah, especially at the Mercer House. In 1981, Danny Hansford was shot in the home by its owner, Jim Williams— one of many tragedies on the property. That particular story was later made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. But take a tour and see for yourself which spirits you encounter.
Lunch in the Park
Before you get too far from the park, head back past the famous fountain (modeled after the fountains at the Place de la Concorde in Paris) for a quick lunch.
- Collins Quarter at Forsyth | 621 Drayton Street
Sitting in the heart of Forsyth Park beneath spreading live oaks is a beautiful cafe with fantastic views of the surrounding park. Enjoy all-day brunch with an Australian flair, along with fresh to-go sandwiches and a full espresso bar.
At this point, you’ll need a car to continue. But the drive is worth it.
- Bonaventure Cemetery | 330 Bonaventure Road
East of the city next to the Wilmington River is a Southern Victorian cemetery over 100 acres large and arguably one of the world’s most beautiful. Beneath the Spanish moss and huge azaleas you’ll find beautiful monuments and grave markers honoring the life of those who have passed.
Dinner & Drinks
Seeking out the spirits can be exhausting. So let’s switch to a different type of spirit.
- Cotton & Rye | 1801 Habersham Street
A modern take on southern classics, this local favorite is an excellent place to end the day. Order one of their delightful cocktails, maybe a few plates to share, and then compare notes on which ghosts you encountered.
Option #2 | To the Stars
Savannah is most well known for the areas and neighborhoods in the downtown district and areas along the river. But head a bit south, just past Forsyth Park, and you’ll find the Starland District. This artsy neighborhood features unique local businesses, fun restaurants, and more.
Start the Day
- Foxy Loxy | 1919 Bull Street
Surround yourself with good vibes and local art at this cafe that’s self-described equal parts coffee shop, bakery, and Tex-Mex cantina. This is the perfect entry point into the quirky world that is the Starland District.
Now it’s time to hit the pavement. No worries, there’s lots of shade and beautiful places to stop for a quick break as you explore some of the architecture and history of the area.
- Bull Street Library | 2002 Bull Street
Right in front of Foxy Loxy, you’ll see a large white building with magnificent columns. Designed in a Neoclassical style featuring grand Ionic columns and originally called the Savannah Public Library, The Bull Street Library opened in 1916.
- The Gingerbread House | 1921 Bull Street
Also next to Foxy Loxy is the Gingerbread House. Built in 1899 by Cord Asendorf, it’s an amazing example of Steamboat Gothic architecture. (You could also get married there if you’re interested in that sort of thing.)
- Savannah African Art Museum | 201 E 37th Street
Explore over 1000 pieces from West and Central Africa as part of this non-profit institution’s effort to share and explore the diversity of African culture and art.
- Starland Yard | 2411 De Soto Avenue
This will be the easiest lunch experience for a group traveling together. Home to the Yard Bar and Pizzeria Vittoria, this outdoor food court features a rotating schedule of amazing food trucks. Check their website to see who will be there and when. Expect local music, special events, and a family-friendly venue that’s fun for all.
After lunch, the walk continues. There are so many great shops and local businesses to explore. Check the websites below for hours and news specific to each.
- Back in the Day Bakery | 2403 Bull Street
- The Cottage Shop | 2422 Abercorn Street
- Starlandia Art Supply | 2438 Bull Street
- Graveface Records & Curiosities | 5 West 40th Street
- Starland Strange and Bazaar | 17 West 41st Street
- Common Thread | 122 East 37th Street
Prepare to elevate your senses. Located in the restored Krouskoff House, Common Thread is founded on the commitment to serve, support, and provide locally-sourced food for and to their guests. Maybe you’ve heard this too many times, but the menu is an assortment of reimagined southern staples with a modern twist. But it’s good. And you shouldn’t miss it.
An Evening Stroll
Remember, drink responsibly. You don’t have to visit all of the recommendations below. Maybe save some for a second trip.
- Two Tides Brewing Company | 12 West 41st Street
Situated in a two-story historic home, you’ll find Two Tides Brewing Co. Upstairs is the taproom, open to the public and featuring beers that bring together intriguing flavors inspired by the coast and the low country.
- Moodright’s/Over Yonder | 2424 Abercorn Street
First up, the food here is better than it should be. So maybe this is the very last stop of the day and you grab a few late-night bites. It’s low-key, full of art students, and worth it just to see the old school bowling lanes.
- Water Witch | 2220 Bull Street
Inspired by the sea and all things tiki, this cozy hideaway will make you forget you’re in South Georgia. The decor here is full tilt and so are the drinks. Hint, maybe ask for something smooth, delicious, and featuring a bit of Rabbit Hole.
Savannah is a wonderful city with so much to offer. Whether you follow the routes listed above or forge your own adventure, it will be worth it. Each corner (and square) features something worth a stop, be it cutting-edge art, or historical monuments, an exciting food scene, local boutiques, and more.