25 Places You Can’t Miss if Visiting Savannah, GA
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
In 1732, Englishman James Oglethorpe settled in the city of Savannah.
From that, the state of Georgia grew, forever cementing Savannah’s colonial legacy.
One of the oldest cities in the US, Savannah is rich with history, culture, and family fun.
This city has no shortage of activities to do and sites to see on your next visit.
One of the many attractions in the Savannah Historic District, Forsyth Park stands out with its iconic, vibrant landscape. The entire 30 acres of land gives Savannah its characteristic Southern charm.
Here, you can find many events, such as concerts and farmers markets. Make sure to bring your camera because this is one for the scrapbooks.
Not staying for a long trip? The Trolly Tours are the best way to see Savannah’s greatest attractions in a day. On the Trolly, you’ll pass the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the Juliette Gordon Low Home, and the Mansion of Forsyth Park, to name a few.
The Trolly has 15 stops and comes back around every 15 to 20 minutes, so don’t be afraid to get off and explore.
For restaurants and shops, hit up the City Market, an open air market in the center of restaurants, bars, and boutiques. By day, this is a great place to take a rest from touring the city. But when the sun goes down, this is where the nightlife comes out.
Known for its architecture and homage to the life of luxury, the Owens-Thomas House is one of the classic buildings in Savannah. Built in 1819, this home gives you a glimpse into Savannah’s rich history. Make sure to plan ahead first because they’re opening hours are irregular.
If you're interested in fine art, the Telfair museum is a treat for you. The Telfair Museum is the oldest Southern art museum. It’s exhibits include works from Kahlil Gibran, German impressionism, and American French era.
The house itself, like many buildings in Savannah, has its own interesting history. Built in 1819, this was home to the Telfair family until the last surviving member donated the home in 1875. Since then, its additional gallery and rotunda was added, transforming it into the museum we know today.
Even if you aren’t religious, there is no denying this cathedral is astonishing. From it’s stained glass windows and two spires that tower above the entrance, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a marvel to behold. Come see why every year hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the country visit this beautiful place of worship.
You don’t have to be a movie buff to know the iconic “Life is like a box of chocolate” line from Forrest Gump. Right outside the Historic Savannah Theatre sits the very bench where Tom Hanks brought the character to life.
In the historic Chippewa Square, the Savannah Theatre has distinguished itself by being the oldest theater in the United States. And they still have shows to this day. After a packed itinerary of activities in the city, you can sit back and relax watching their nightly performances.
Centered on the last remains of the Wormsloe Plantation, this site is one of the oldest surviving places in Savannah. Leading up to the Wormsloe estate, you’ll find a beautiful landscape of mossy oaks canopying over a walkway. It’s perfect for pictures or a midday picnic.
Passed the walkway, there’s an onsite museum, tours, and on special occasions, costume reenactments.
Even the waterfront has a story attached to it. Before being abandoned due to a Yellow Fever outbreak, there were many cotton processing warehouses lining River Street. Now, many of these buildings are filled by restaurants, bars, candy shops, galleries, and gift shops.
Across the street, you can watch cargo ships and tour boats passing by from the expansive open seating next to the river.
The Wilkes House isn’t a historical monument, but it’s still a Savannah staple. Although it’s atmosphere is casual, family style dining, The Wilkes’ House, also called Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room, got some attention when it was visited by President Obama a few years ago.
Before that, the restaurant was known for its superb Southern cuisine, including fried chicken, buttered beans, collard greens, and other delicious Southern classics.
For a look into the creepy side of Savannah, the Bonaventure Cemetery offers a beautiful yet haunting landscape. The entry is free, and if you plan your trip right, you can catch the guided tours on every second Sunday of the month.
Built in 1808, Fort Jackson is the oldest surviving brick fort in Georgia. In the colonial era, this large structure was once one of the strongest forts in the country. 50,000 tourists each year travel to see this great complex entirely made out of dirt.
The fort allows for self guided tours, during which you might be lucky enough to hear cannons being fired.
Another famous Savannah fort is Fort Pulaski. Built on an island between Savannah and Tybee Island, this was the site of a historic battle in the Civil War that led to the advancement of Union soldiers in the South.
On the island itself, you can explore the terrain through walking trails and bike paths that run past other surviving structures around the fort.
For the beer connoisseurs, the Coastal Empire Brew Co. gives the best of local flavors, like the Savannah Brown Ale and Tybee Island Blonde. The Brewery provides 16 different beer taps with seating to sit and down a cold one.
This one’s a treat for any current or former Girl Scouts. See the life of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, in the house museum of her childhood home. The house, which is now run by the Girl Scouts of the USA, offers 40-minute tours Monday through Saturday.
But make sure to get your tickets online beforehand because it's a popular attraction.
This marine animal experience is a great place to bring kids to learn about underwater wildlife and ancient beasts from the past. The aquarium is known to feature other engaging exhibits about prehistoric creatures, like mammoths and mastodons.
Your next family aquarium adventure can be found near downtown on Skidaway Island.
Another way to experience the creepy side of historical Savannah is with the Hearse Ghost Tour. While riding in an actual hearse, you can drive around the city and discover its dark past. The best part is it comes straight to your hotel to get you.
The Mercer-Williams House is a historical double feature. Not only did it once house Johnny Mercer the lyricist, but also Jim Williams, a man put on trial 4 times for the same murder. This record is so unprecedented in the state of Georgia, it landed Williams as a character in John Berndt’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”.
Another family home of Juliette Gordon Low, this Low House focuses instead on the life of Andrew Low himself. This exquisite 1800s home was bought by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America after the death of Juliette Gordon Low and turned into a house museum, as many original Savannah homes are (as you may have noticed).
Of course, that is not the last of the museums in this ever-educating city. Tricentennial Park holds four more: the Savannah History Museum, Battlefield Memorial Park, Georgia State Railroad Museum, and the Savannah Children’s Museum. If you’re visiting with kids and they’re getting bored with old relics in random houses, the Children’s Museum may hold their attention.
Or take them out for ice cream! Leopold's’ ice cream shop was opened in 1919, and they’ve been making the same delicious, homemade ice cream ever since. While you're there, consider trying their signature Tutti Fruitt flavor.
One of Savannah’s well known restaurants, many flock to the Olde Pink House for both its food and its legendary ghost lore. See if you can spot one while eating their upscale Southern cuisine. Ghosts or not, this restaurant is sure to amaze.
In the home of William Scarbourogh, the owner of the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, this museum features a vast collection of ship memorabilia. Outside the house you’ll find the largest privately owned garden in historic Savannah decorated with quaint fountains.
In 1820, Savannah faced an epidemic of Yellow Fever. Many of their bodies were buried next to the early settlers of the area in Colonial Park Cemetery. Here, you can hunt for ghosts while learning a little more about the city’s haunting history.
25. Fort McAllister State Park (Richmond Hill)
One more for the Civil War fanatics! Fort McAllister is a Confederate stronghold that eventually fell to the Union, a defeat ushering the war another step closer to a united United States.
Now, this site can be used as a camp ground next to, you guessed it, a museum about the area.