Friday, June 23rd, 2017

How to Spend Three Days in Savannah

35

Savannah

Savannah is the perfect destination to explore over a weekend. It’s a small city, you can see most of it on foot, and just walking from place to place is just as entertaining as the sights themselves!

Itinerary blog posts are a bit of a pet peeve of mine — it seems that bloggers get them wrong so often. I can’t tell you how many bloggers write New York itineraries telling you to check out Williamsburg! Then go see Central Park! Then go shopping in SoHo! Then see the Empire State Building! No New Yorker would ever recommend that…

This one, however, I worked on to make sure it was logical and well-timed and worked perfectly. Savannah is a special place to me and I want you to love it as much as I do.

Know one thing — this three-day itinerary isn’t ironclad. The world won’t implode if you don’t follow this itinerary to the letter.

The most important part of visiting Savannah isn’t explicitly mentioned here: exploring the many squares that dot the city. That said, if you’re walking throughout the Historic District, you’ll hit the squares constantly. Take time to see what makes each square special!

Savannah

Day One: Best of Savannah

Wake up whenever you’d like — and eat light. You’re having the meal of your life for lunch, and it could be on the early side, depending on how willing you are to wait.

Savannah Mrs. Wilkes

10:30 AM-12:00 PM: Get in line at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room. The line forms from early in the day. I once got in line at 10:30 and was seated at 11:30 AM, so be sure to plan it carefully.

Kate recommends: their fried chicken is the BOMB! And those cheesy mashed potatoes are heavenly. Try everything. Everything is fantastic here.

Savannah

Afternoon: Explore Jones Street and the surrounding area. Jones Street is home to some of the most beautiful houses in Savannah. Walking around is a great way to walk off your heavy Mrs. Wilkes lunch!

Venture down to Forsyth Park. Head down through the southern squares, pausing at the Mercer-Williams House en route. (Fun fact: when a movie was being filmed in Monterey Square, in front of the house, then-resident Jim Williams was disgruntled with the film crew, so he hung a giant Nazi flag from his house to stop the filming. It worked.)

Once you hit the park, the fountain is one of the symbols of the city. Also, the houses surrounding the park are just as beautiful as those on Jones Street, if not more so!

Savannah

Head back north and explore the shops of the area. The southern part of the Historic District is home to some unique shops like One Fish Two Fish (gifts and housewares), Satchel (incredible handmade leather goods), The Book Lady (used books), and Chocolat (artisanal chocolates).

Grab an afternoon pick-me-up at Gallery Espresso. This artsy coffee shop is a good spot to take a quiet break with a beverage. They also have a gorgeous selection of cakes.

Savannah

Explore the shops on Broughton Street, if you have time. My absolute favorite is The Paris Market, which sells Paris-themed housewares and adorable things you didn’t think you’d ever need; there are many others including The Spice and Tea Exchange of Savannah.

Kate recommends: if you love to shop, consider bringing a fold-up bag in your main luggage. The Paris Market will probably test your willpower!

Dinner at Alligator Soul. Alligator Soul is one of the more whimsical restaurants in Savannah, serving exotic meats on a constantly changing Southern-influenced menu. The chic basement setting, formerly a grain storehouse, is as interesting as the menu.

Savannah Trees

Go on the Dead of Night Tour. To get a sense of Savannah’s haunted history, take a ghost tour. I’m not one for ghost tours ordinarily, but the Dead of Night Tour is one of the best tours I have ever done, anywhere. Seriously. It’s late at night, adults-only, and it’s not as scary as I feared it would be — just incredibly interesting. Most of that has to do with Skippy, who is a fantastic guide.

Savannah

Day Two: Deeper Into Savannah

Start with breakfast at your hotel or a nearby cafe. If you’re visiting on the weekend, check out the fried green tomato Benedict at B. Matthew’s Eatery.

Tour an old house of your choice — or more than one! There are plenty of historical homes to tour in Savannah. Here are some options:

The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is a must for former Girl Scouts — Juliette Gordon Low founded the organization! She also had a very interesting life and a beautiful home.

The Owens-Thomas House is the top recommendation of the Savannah Architecture Tour and admission is included as part of the Telfair Museums, including the Jepson Center for the Arts, which I mention below.

And finally, the Mercer Williams House is where the events of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil take place!

Savannah

Have lunch at Collins Quarter. This funky cafe is modern, bright, and has lots of outdoor seating overlooking Oglethorpe Ave.

Kate recommends: the avocado toast is fabulous, but the true standout here is the lavender spiced mocha. My new favorite coffee in the world!

In the afternoon, explore the Riverfront and the City Market area. Both areas are good for shopping. If you feel like a treat in the afternoon, head back to Broughton Street for an ice cream at Leopold’s.

Savannah

Dinner at the Olde Pink House. The Olde Pink House has a reputation for being Savannah’s top restaurant. And people aren’t wrong! I definitely recommend experiencing the finer side of dining in Savannah, along with some unique southern fusion dishes.

I recommend making a reservation here in advance if possible. If you’re traveling solo, head to the bar. I met two fellow solo female travelers there and we shared our dishes!

Kate recommends: the shrimp and grits and the BLT salad. Both are appetizer-sized portions. Best option? Get a few appetizer dishes.

Drinks at Jen’s & Friends. Jen’s & Friends is just a few blocks from the Olde Pink House. It looks like a nondescript dive bar, but then you realize that they have 300 crazy martinis on the menu! Perfect place to close out an evening.

Kate recommends: the birthday cake martini if you’re celebrating something, or a watermelon lemon drop if you love all things super-sweet and super-sour!

Savannah

Day Three: Beyond the City

Start with breakfast at your hotel, or a quick bite nearby. You’ll need to be ready for a 9:30 AM tour start.

Take an Architectural Tour of Savannah. An architecture tour is a great way to get an overview of Savannah’s history and learning about the city’s unique layout and buildings. You’ll also learn tidbits that you wouldn’t have heard when exploring on your own.

Check out the Jepson Center for the Arts. The architecture tour finishes right in front of the Jepsen Center, and by then, you’ll probably be eager for air conditioning! This museum has a surprisingly good selection of art for its size, along with some rotating exhibits.

Savannah Bonaventure Cemetery

Lunch at the Back in the Day Bakery. This little place is south of the Historic District and will be worth taking a taxi, as you’ll be taking another taxi to your next destination. You’ll love the vintage decor and the Rosie the Riveter outfits the staff wear!

Kate recommends: the Earl Grey cookies and lavender cookies are both delicious! Also, if you have time, you might want to stop here on the way to the airport to bring goodies home.

Savannah Bonaventure Cemetery

Afternoon, Option 1: Visit Bonaventure Cemetery. This is the big, famous cemetery outside the city. Several graves of prominent residents are located here, and the area is great for getting spooky Southern photos.

Note: the famous Bird Girl statue on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is no longer located here; she’s been moved to the Jepson Center for the Arts.

Kate recommends: go see Little Gracie’s grave, stand slightly on the left side of the gate, and look into her eyes. It will give you chills.

Bonaventure Cemetery is a shorter trip; you definitely won’t need more than two hours here. If you head back afterward, explore more of the squares in the Historic District.

Tybee Island

Image: Ryan McKee

Afternoon, Option 2: Visit Tybee Island. Savannah is home to a beautiful stretch of sand just outside town. Tybee Island is a beach destination in its own right, but it’s equally satisfying as just an afternoon trip. (And even though it’s an island, don’t worry — the road goes straight there and you won’t need to take a ferry!)

However much time you decide to spend here, get back to Savannah in time for dinner.

Dinner at Vinnie Van Go Go’s. Honestly, by this time you’ll probably be in the mood for something a little different from Southern fare. Vinnie Van Go Go’s is home to pizzas that are as ENORMOUS as they are delicious.

Savannah Andaz Hotel

Where to Stay

On my most recent trip, I stayed at the Andaz Savannah and not only loved it, but also thought it was ideal for solo female travelers.

Why solo female travelers? I always recommend women on their own choose accommodation that is in a bright, open, well-traversed, easy-to-get-to place. Andaz is located on Ellis Square, a busy area in the Historic District. The elevator requires guests to swipe a key card, which adds an extra level of safety.

And I appreciated the leg-shaving stand in the shower, as well as the sleek, feminine decor.

If not the Andaz, I recommend staying anywhere within the Historic District. Here are other hotel options.

Savannah

Keep in Mind

I want to reemphasize that this is just a rough itinerary — feel free to customize it to your preferences!

Beyond that, Savannah is the kind of city that lends itself to wandering. My favorite thing to do in Savannah is just wander and explore the squares and beautiful homes. It might not be official “sightseeing,” but it certainly isn’t a waste of time in my book!

Spend your days the way you want to and I’m sure that you, too, will fall in love with Savannah.

Savannah

Essential Info: Unless you plan on doing a lot of driving, I recommend getting around Savannah on foot and using Uber or Lyft when you need them. A 20-minute Uber to the airport cost me $18; a trip from my hotel to the Back in the Day Bakery, a few miles away, cost $6.

Rates at the Andaz Savannah start at $249.

The hotel I stayed in on my first visit two years ago has since closed, but check out other Savannah properties here. Just make sure you stay in or adjacent to the Historic District.

Tours of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace cost $15 for adults, $12 for students, and $10 for Girl Scouts (call ahead on the latter).

Tours of the Mercer Williams House cost $12.50 for adults and $8 for children.

Tickets to the Jepson Center for the Arts cost $20, last one week, and also include weeklong admission to Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House.

The Dead of Night Ghost Tour costs $29.95 (get 10% off when you sign up for the newsletter) and is a late-night adults-only tour.

Architectural Tours of Savannah cost $30 and are held daily at 10:00 AM.

Always purchase travel insurance before a trip. I never travel without it and always use World Nomads.

My top recommendation is to read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil before your trip! Even if you aren’t planning a trip yet, this nonfiction novel will have you booking a flight to Savannah before you know it.

Have you been to Savannah? What would you add to this list?

This campaign is brought to you by Visit Savannah. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Adventurous Kate contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!

Comments

35 Responses to “How to Spend Three Days in Savannah”
  1. Emilye says:

    I’ve never been to Savannah. This all sounds really fun!

  2. Noelle says:

    Savannah is not somewhere I had thought much about going before, but it sounds like a fun trip (and reminds me somewhat of Charleston, SC)! Definitely somewhere to add to the list in the future.

  3. Becky says:

    You hit on the highlights! I lived in Savannah for three years back in the late 90s. It’s an amazing and magical city which I miss A LOT!! Lived a block off Forsyth…ah, those were the days. One note though- Mrs. Wilkes’ is only open Monday through Friday. Had totally forgotten that until I sent some friends in that direction over a weekend… The food there is so damn good!!! So thankful you didn’t recommend Lady & Sons…a great restaurant back in the 90s but forgettable now.

  4. Becky says:

    I was a little surprised to see that you didn’t recommend eating at The Grey! It was the highlight of a recent trip to Savannah. The food is incredible and the setting is maybe even more interesting — the restaurant’s located in an old renovated Greyhound station. I believe Esquire magazine named it one of the best new restaurants in America when it opened last year. I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

  5. Nona Townsend says:

    I’ve never been always wanted to go, passed by going to & from Florida so many times but after reading Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil & reading up on the history, seeing photos, this would be my dream vacation

  6. Vicky says:

    Breakfast, brunch or lunch at Goose Feathers. Love this place!

  7. Your beautiful photographs and suggestions make Savannah quite intriguing. Sounds like a lovely three days! Thanks for the suggestions.

  8. This is such a great guide! I had only a few hours to spend in Savannah last time I visited, but I have to agree with a lot of your recommendations. I really loved Bonaventure Cemetery & The Book Lady Bookstore. We spent our time there just walking through the city and it was gorgeous. I’d love to go back.

  9. Jessica says:

    We visited Savannah back in February just for a day, and absolutely loved it! Even though we’re currently living in Charleston SC and can walk around the historic downtown area any day, we thought the historic district of Savannah was very unique and enjoyable. We always appreciate the older architecture, but all the squares made for such pleasant, peaceful breaks in our walk and we stopped to enjoy each one. The one thing I’d add to this list is Fort Pulaski, especially if you’re into history – it’s an awesome fort that you can basically walk through on your own, and take a trail to see a lighthouse if you wish. Great post!!

  10. James says:

    Favorite place to eat in Savannah is Zunzi’s, a tiny eatery run by a Dutch and a South African couple . . . very intriguing and tasty !

  11. Looks wonderful place for fun!! I have never been thought about this place. Thank you for inspiring me.

  12. Adam says:

    Sounds great! And the pictures are very good! The scary house tour I have to visit! Love that kind of stuff. It seems like you can spend time there for a few months!

  13. David says:

    Wow, you certainly do pack it in Kate. Is it really possible to get it all done in just 3 days. I think I would have a hard time doing it all in a week. I agree with you though, just wandering around the streets checking out all the Savannah architecture is a nice relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

  14. Expat Trip says:

    Love your post! It has motivated me to visit Savannah once in my lifetime… the ghost tour must be exciting!

  15. Thomas says:

    Not the most famous city of the US obviously, but it looks very interesting! Working in an events promotion company in London, I have attended many travel events about lot of different countries. Of course some were about the United States, and visiting this kind of cities in the US offers a better way of discovering American culture.

    Thomas @ jorlio.com

  16. Stephanie Be says:

    Savannah is such a great spot- I love your take on it!

  17. Chris says:

    I’ll be spending my 3 day weekend in Savannah. Thanks for the advice.

  18. Isabel says:

    Here’s some stuff to add: (I live here)

    *Be sure to ask your hotel staff where NOT to venture after dark and listen to them. The main tourist areas are generally fine but wandering too far from those spots could get you into serious trouble…

    *There is no bus out to Tybee. It’s only accessible by car. Lots of movies have been filmed out there though like The Last Song and Baywatch.

    *The line at Leopold’s is often long but moves fairly quickly unless it’s reached the corner at the end of the street. Once you’ve paid for your stuff, you want to go through the partition and out the second door if its busy because it’s quicker than fighting the scrim at the main entrance.

    *I personally like or know somebody that loves most of the eateries you mentioned. (I agree with the person who said that Zunzi’s is also good) 🙂 But, I’ll definitely have to try out the others!

  19. Justin says:

    I live in Beaufort not too far up the coast (worth visiting!) and go to Sav every once and a while. There’s so much stuff down there that I have checked out and really need to because it’s such a photogenic city.

  20. Joao says:

    What a beatiful place…nice post

  21. What a fascinating place! How wonderful!

  22. Liz says:

    We really enjoyed Tybee. My husband and I climbed to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy the incredible views.

  23. KEN says:

    Went to Charlestion from 9/4 to 9/6 and then Savannah from 9/7 to 9/10.
    Savannah is indeed a beautiful place…if you can bear the hot weather!
    We went through all 22 squares in one day and then visit what’s left of Elbert and Liberty the next.A weird thing happened. On 9/8, we accidentally stumbled upon Clary’s Cafe while visiting the squares and we took advantage of the situation and had lunch there; and there was a picture of The Lady Chablis on the wall. along with the rest of the central cast members from Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil. Later, we parked on Bay Street, and we happened to park just a block across the street from Club One. That night we heard that she passed away that very morning.

  24. Jess says:

    I’m planning a trip to Savannah in early March (not St Patrick’s Day!) for my 40th birthday. Your list has me even more excited 🙂 I’m doing 5 days and staying with friends at an airbnb. I can’t wait!

  25. I’m actually headed there on this Wednesday. It’s city I’ve been wanting to visit for a few years now. Thank you so much for this post!

    I’m a new blogger and am hoping to do a Guide to Savannah for next week!

  26. Sam says:

    This helped me plan my trip for May – I can’t wait to visit now! THANK YOU!

  27. Karen says:

    Savannah has become an obsession of mine! We live about 5 hours away and have been 4 times in the past year! We still haven’t seen and done everything it has to offer. Our favorite places so far are Savannah candy kitchen located in city market and river street we love the salt water taffy and pralines, Savannah bee company on river st and broghton st they have the best honey in the world, Leopold’s ice cream, The Salt table off broughton st on Barnard and at the outlet mall off I 95 in pooler they have the best flavored salts and spices and offer specialty wines. I think trip 5 is coming up soon!

  28. Catherine says:

    Thank you so much for this itinerary Kate! My mom and I went to Savannah over Memorial Day weekend and I pretty much used your recommendations entirely and it was wonderful! It was a perfectly paced selection of things to do and every restaurant and tour was a hit with both me and my mom! Thank you again, and I look forward to more of your itineraries in the future!

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