Savannah, a charming southern city on the coast of Georgia, about 4 hours from Atlanta, offers a fascinating blend of breathtaking architecture, a renowned global art scene, and history that weaves through the centuries. Travelers wondering what to see in Savannah will soon discover the city's numerous beauties.
This city, boasting one of the busiest ports in the United States, welcomes visitors with streets and squares surrounded by oak trees draped in moss and historic houses that seem straight out of a movie set. Savannah's enchanting architecture has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage recognition.
It's no surprise that Savannah was the backdrop for the famous novel (and film) "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." "Forrest Gump" was also filmed here: fans can relive the famous bench scene at Chippewa Square, with the original chocolates from Savannah's Candy Kitchen.
Founded in 1733, Savannah is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Among its numerous attractions, it's recommended to admire the lush Forsyth Park, capturing its iconic cast-iron fountain before embarking on an architectural tour or enjoying the colorful artworks at the Jepson Center for the Arts. The Bonaventure Cemetery, said to be still haunted by spirits, is a must-visit.
After the tour, you can stop for lunch at some of the area's best eateries, including Back In The Day Bakery (which will be discussed in a short paragraph), The Grey, Leopold's Ice Cream, The Olde Pink House, and Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room. To fully appreciate the city's architecture, staying in historic accommodations like River Street Inn, the Mansion on Forsyth Park, and the Hamilton-Turner Inn is a great idea.
What else can you see in Savannah? A great idea is to stroll along River Street, overlooking the namesake river, ideal for shopping and enjoying local culinary delicacies. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, built in 1876, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture worth visiting. Don't miss Tybee Island, the beach destination with the famous red-and-white striped lighthouse.
The local cuisine is based on typical dishes of the southern United States, with specialties including seafood (like gumbo and fried chicken). Savoring the history and gastronomy of this city is a unique experience that's not easily forgotten. Every aspect of this city tells a fascinating story, a perfect mix between past and present, art and history, capturing the very essence of southern beauty.
Here are some of Savannah's main attractions, specially selected for those who want to fully immerse themselves in local culture.
The first thing to see in Savannah is certainly the Historic District, notable for its original 18th and 19th-century architecture. The district was designed in 1733 by Gen. James E. Oglethorpe, the founder of the British colony of Georgia. Today, Savannah retains much of its original layout with divisions called "wards," squares, and "trustee lots." Many of the original blocks are still preserved, surrounded by examples of Georgian, Neoclassical, and Gothic style buildings.
Notable buildings, considered among the main attractions of Savannah, include the 1818 Owens-Thomas House (Oglethorpe Square), the 1917 Edmund Molyneux Beaux-Arts mansion (Bull Street), the 1795 Spencer Woodbridge House (Habersham Street), and the 1853 Gothic Revival Greene House (Madison Square).
Walking around, you also encounter important sites associated with the African American community, such as the city's first black school and the King-Tisdell House (East Harris Street), a 1896 dwelling of a working-class African American family.
Forsyth Park, an icon of Savannah, embraces the south of the Historic District. Along with the squares, it creates a green space in the picturesque city landscape. Bounded by Drayton Street on the east and Whitaker Street on the west, Gaston Street on the north, and Park Avenue on the south, the park enchants with its beauty. Inspired by Parisian parks, it's a place of gatherings, parades, and history.
The famous Forsyth Park Fountain, one of the main beauties to see in Savannah, is flanked by the Fragrance Garden for the Blind. Other points of interest include the Confederate Monument and the Spanish-American War Monument.
Highly recommended is a riverboat cruise on the Savannah River during your visit. As a port city, going on a cruise is a great way to learn about history while enjoying a peaceful journey on the water. The 3:30 pm tour even includes a cannon firing show at old Fort Jackson.
After a long day exploring Savannah's numerous and fascinating sights, why not stop for a sweet break? In 2002, Cheryl and her husband Griff opened Back in the Day Bakery, a warm spot in the Starland district, loved for its handmade southern sweets and open, joyful atmosphere.
The pandemic forced the bakery to close in March 2020, but Cheryl and Griff, surviving thanks to owning the building, reopened with a takeaway service and nationwide shipping of sweets. Cheryl also celebrated the history of southern baking in her new book, drawing on family roots and her own family's memory, rediscovering strength in her ancestors' heritage.