This might be a little unusual, but Savannah is my favorite city in the South. Yes, New Orleans is fun and Charleston is lovely, but for me neither of them has quite the romance of Savannah. Here, you can find so many of my favorite things in one place: a perfectly walkable city center with plenty of trees and green space, beautiful architecture and charming doorways, plenty of good food, wonderful shops, and excellent art. You can take it all in over three or four days, and today I’m sharing the best places to explore, shop, eat, and stay.
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As your first introduction to Savannah, take a stroll through the famous squares of the historic district. Make your way to the northern end of Bull Street, near the river, and then head south. Wind through the squares and side streets all the way down to the fountain at Forsyth Park.
On a rainy day, hide out in one of Savannah’s best museums. A ticket to the Jepson Center for the Arts is good for a full week, and will also let you tour Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters. The Savannah College of Art and Design has its own SCAD Museum of Art with a more contemporary, ever-changing collection – as one of the top art schools in the country, it’s absolutely worth a visit.
You can travel like a local anywhere, and one of my favorite ways to do this is to keep up some of my everyday-at-home habits. I personally love yoga, and on this trip to Savannah I spent an hour each evening unwinding at the new Ōtium studio on Liberty Street. The owner Meg is so welcoming and the space is beautiful – you won’t regret going in for a class!
Savannah is full of wonderfully unique shops, but I have no problem playing favorites – I first visited The Paris Market in 2012 and loved it so much that I went back two days in a row. The store keeps growing its carefully curated collection of homewares, furniture, decor, and gifts that are sourced from all over the world. It’s now also home to a wonderful little cafe that serves up light lunch fare and some very delicious macarons. Shop to your heart’s content and then settle in for a snack at one of the outdoor tables on Broughton Street.
Continue down Broughton Street for plenty of shops to pop into – there’s everything from chain stores to local boutiques like The Salt Table and Savannah Bee Company. The first location of Chocolat by Adam Turoni is here, designed as a whimsical dining room that’s hosting a chocolate banquet.
Adam Turoni also has a location on Bull Street that’s designed as a library – the shelves are lined with books and truffles, and it’s my favorite of the two. Just around the corner is Satchel, a studio and shop that turns out handmade and custom leather goods. Also on Bull Street, don’t miss Shop SCAD, where you can buy products and artwork created by SCAD students and alumni.
Nearby on Whitaker Street you’ll find everything from monogrammed linens to vintage furniture at Number Four Eleven and One Fish Two Fish – if only it could all fit in a suitcase! Admire the chandeliers at Circa Lighting across the street, and walk over to Measure, a cozy fabric parlour that’s worth a visit whether or not you’re interested in threading a needle.
You can see the influence of SCAD all over Savannah, but don’t miss their Gryphon Tea Room. Originally a pharmacy in the 1920s, it’s now transformed into an elegant cafe serving brunch, lunch, and afternoon tea. Most of the staff are current or former SCAD students who can tell you all about the building’s history and what’s new on the menu.
Rent a bicycle or take a car out to Back in the Day Bakery – it’s the most popular restaurant in Georgia and serves biscuits and cookies so delicious that they’ve earned quite a lot of national attention. The breakfast biscuit sandwich and the chocolate chip cookies are easily some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
I’ve already waxed poetic about the cafe at The Paris Market, but for a bit more table space head to Café M for breakfast or lunch. It’s right along the river and has the trifecta of tall windows, delicious croissants, and Parisian bistro tables. The plant-based Fox & Fig Café is a perfect place to stop for a healthy meal or an oat-milk cappuccino. Head to Artillery for a drink at the end of the day, and for an especially nice dinner book a table at The Grey.
There are plenty of historic bed & breakfasts in Savannah, but on this trip I discovered a new favorite in the Mirabelle Suites. It’s wonderfully private, with two balconies for coffee-sipping and four suites inspired by the owners’ travels in France. Downstairs, there’s a pretty cafe serving Belgian liege waffles and coffee during the day, so there’s no uncomfortable group breakfast. I was lucky enough to book Suite 4, which has a lovely view and an even lovelier soaking tub.
For a more traditional hotel stay, try the new Perry Lane Hotel with its year-round rooftop pool and complimentary bicycle rentals for exploring the city. Or, go all-in with a luxury stay out at Montage Palmetto Bluff across the river – you’ll need a car to explore Savannah and the coastline, but the enthusiastic reviews suggest it’s worth the cost.
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