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savannah guide

by Grace Bonney

today’s second city guide holds a special place in my heart. savannah, georgia is probably my favorite city in the world, home to a fantastic art school (SCAD), and and it’s also where we’re tying the knot this spring. designer marisa avelar was kind enough to create this guide for d*s and i’m so thrilled to finally have a guide up for this amazing city. if you’ve never traveled to the south you’re in for a treat. savannah is full of southern charm, beautiful homes, great shopping and warm people. so grab yourself a glass of sweet tea and enjoy the guide. thank you, marisa!

click here for the full guide or just click “read more” below

Savannah, Georgia the “Hostess City of the South”

During the Civil War when General Sherman came tearing through the south and burned Atlanta to the ground, he arrived to a gorgeous and unique town named Savannah. The story is he fell in love with the city for its beauty and charm and gave it as a Christmas gift to Lincoln. The city comprised of 24 squares (plazas) carefully planned by the city’s founder, General James Oglethorpe, is surrounded by historic homes, churches and buildings. Another tidbit, “Over 1,600 restored structures are rated as historically and architecturally significant in a variety of styles including Federal, Georgian, Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, Italianate, Regency, Victorian, Colonial and more.” It is home to one of the biggest art colleges in America, SCAD (The Savannah College of Art and Design) who also maintain and have restored practically the whole town and was the center of John Berendt’s popular book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

I’m a romantic and it’s only natural that I would be drawn to the romanticism of the city. I moved to Savannah because I fell in love with a boy (my husband) and then I fell for the town. I couldn’t afford SCAD but I went to Georgia Southern in Statesboro, GA (40 min. outside of Savannah) and was fortunate to be taught there and major in graphic design and painting. They have an awesome art department and I suggest a visit to Statesboro to see the work they are doing. I lived in Savannah for four years and may not be a native but became an adopted one. I also most recently got married in one of my favorite places in Savannah, in front of the fountain at Forsyth Park.

When Berendt wrote Midnight, or “The Book” as it’s known to natives, he managed to paint a colorful portrait of Savannah that reveals what makes it so special: Savannah is eclectic, colorful, artistic, unique, mysterious and magical. Savannah is filled with a variety of scenes. A rich architectural, musical, and cultural history alongside a young and vibrant contemporary design and art scene. Savannah has a lot of style. Most recently it drew Marc Jacobs to open up his own store on the main downtown shopping spot Broughton Street. It is also home to the Savannah Film Festival that seems to get bigger every year, bringing in celebs like Michael Douglas, James Franco, Tommy Lee Jones and Ileana Douglas. The Savannah Music Festival also is drawing the likes of the Marsalis family and Neko Case. Being a town chock full of history, a downtown preserved since its days of the 18th century and insisting that nothing be torn down to build the modern high rise skyscrapers of most cities, they most recently had a parking lot torn down to rebuild an original park. Who has heard of such a thing? It’s a reason I call Savannah another home.

Another quality I love about Savannah is it’s a little big town. When you go to any of these famous boutiques, restaurants or cafes you will almost always see the owner working hard away behind the counter and greeting and chatting with their customers. Many are town celebrities or well respected in their industries but they can be seen bussing tables, taking orders and attentively serving their guests. It’s a quality I haven’t seen anywhere else. I hope they never lose that.


The Downtown Design District

The design district is a series of boutiques and antique shops that are a great designer resource. There are antiques, art, bath, bed, furniture, garden, gifts, interiors, kitchen, lighting and more. This is a comprehensive list of shops to visit and a group of a growing design scene in Savannah. They have also begun to host an annual holiday party for owners, design enthusiasts and designers alike.

@home vintage:

Owner Liz Demos has created a store known as a “vintage general store” for those who love beautiful unique finds that are antique or vintage inspired. Any time you visit the shop you discover something new and she has managed to fill it with all kinds of beautiful and unique pieces from such artists as Jennifer Murphy, Cody Foster, Dee Foust and many more. She has a wonderful selection of stationery, antiques, gift wrap, fine ribbons, textiles, paper, garden accessories, and neat vintage finds for crafty people and artists alike. All affordable as well, I had to make two trips while in Savannah on holiday vacation!

The Paris Market and Brocante:

This shop is gorgeous and eclectic. A love of world travel combined with a whimsical design style, the owner Paula Danyluk has a large collection of vintage and new finds from around the world. Inspired by her travels she brings beautiful pieces back to Savannah that come from her “initial forays into the Parisian ‘Marche aux Puces’ that soon led to the chaotic, intoxicating bazaars of Cairo (Khan el-Khalili), Alexandria (El Attarine), and India (fabled Rahjastan).” Sometimes if you are lucky you will see a beautiful shell sculpture or bust by local artist Cathy Jarman. She also has a wonderful collection of shells, bugs, quail eggs and natural wonders alongside blocks of French handcrafted lavender soaps, unique garden decor, home decor and books.


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has a beautiful and unique gallery store that exclusively features the artwork and designs of students, faculty, staff and alumni. They have rare collections of handmade wares and artistic creations that range from jewelry, paintings, handmade books, pins, handbags, shirts, pottery and seasonal decor. The store is located across the street from the Gryphon Tea Room and is always an inspiration to visit.

One Fish, Two Fish:

Located in the Downtown Design District (a row of shops on Whitaker) One Fish, Two Fish is a fun and inspiring shop to visit. Filled with fanciful and unique home decor, office, lighting, jewelry and furniture as well as stationery. If you happen to go eat at Mrs. Wilkes and are waiting in line, ask someone to hold your place and go walk over to the boutique! It’s right at the corner.


A home and lifestyles store that is contemporary and cool has been featured in the New York Times and Elle Décor Magazine. Has been around in Savannah for a long time and one of the first stores that has always been forward thinking in design. It was a former family furniture business that was given a swift kick and edgy re-do by the founder’s son, Ruel Joyner, Jr. and his wife, Delaine. My favorite thing is the ceramic penguins they sell every year for the holidays. Make sure to visit the second floor to see the furniture and more inspiring designs.


Based in Los Angeles, the partners of DC2 – Dean Caldarelli, Dimitri Chami and Barbara Rose – were on a weekend getaway before being captivated by the beauty of Savannah and decided to open a showroom on the historic main shopping spot Broughton Street. The space is filled with furniture, lighting and accessories that you can’t find anywhere else and are the most current in contemporary design. They also feature a large jewelry and handbag collection and a coffee/dessert bar.

La Paperie:

I always make sure to stop by here! Another shop on Whitaker, right around One Fish, Two Fish. A wonderful collection of all things stationery and paper. Sure to make any home office hip and cool and get a unique greeting card that isn’t the cheesy kind you find at a local drug store. They also offer custom wedding invite and monogram services and carry a variety of fine papers.


Arcanum is an antiques and interior design shop known for a masterful mix of antiques, fine art and home furnishings. It is an important design resource for the “low country” Georgia and South Carolina. Arcanum has been featured in Southern Accents, Elle Décor, Vanity Fair, Traditional Home, and Better Homes and Gardens. A great shop to visit and to be inspired.


Owner Heidi and Joe Berkeley run this beautiful shop filled with tin art, hand blown and etched glassware, iconography, pottery, textiles, folk and indigenous crafts and jewelry as well as several pieces that are culturally unique. It’s always great to have shop like this that puts artists and shoppers in touch with other cultures and their unique art.

No. Four Eleven:

Another stop on Whitaker next to La Paperie is No. Four Eleven filled with a great taste in modern design. The shop sells everyday decor for the bed, bath and home and are known for their custom monogramming service. Each monogram is custom designed for each customer and they have a variety of items you can have done that you wouldn’t even think of.

Madame Chrysanthemum:

This is a colorful and wonderful shop. A floral design studio and boutique, they are located on West Taylor and Whitaker Street. You don’t get to see many floral design studios and this is an inspiring and great one to visit. Owner Michele Mikulec has really created a unique and fun shop. I also just love her logo!

Greenware Design:

” Greenware Design is a two woman team that combines the talents of two longtime friends, Irene McCollam and Leslie Geer. Irene, the potter, creates original ceramics on her pottery wheel. Leslie, the planter, fills them up with unique succulent plantings. Together they design each planter with loving care—getting their hands dirty so you won’t have to.” You can order these lovely creations on their etsy shop. Succulents are really popular lately and these ladies do a beautiful job with them.

-E. Shaver Bookseller:

An old bookseller that has been around a while has 12 rooms of books, rare maps and gifts. They also carry a lot of local southern history and Savannah books. If you ever want a recommendation they are more than happy to give you one and are a great source for local information of any kind, historical or whimsical.

Clipper Trading:

A large store and importer of Asian antiques, artifacts, furniture and crafts this place has an immense selection and you are sure to find something that will peek your interest. The owners have great knowledge of Asian culture and have many different imports from allover Asia including Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma) China and Tibet. They also publish a printed catalog of their inventory.

V&J Duncan:

Located in historic Monterey Square they specialize in antique maps and prints. They are very respected collectors and carry a variety of old engravings, mezzotints, lithographs, photographs, old books and new Savannah books. They have prints of architectural interest, birds, animals, botanicals, fashion, sporting scenes and tens of thousands of portraits. A beautiful collection and worth a trip!

Jere’s Antiques:

A large old warehouse by River Street filled with antique imports from Europe and row after row of Victorian furniture.

Cobblestone Lane Antique Mall:

Right next to Jere’s by River Street this great place has all kinds of knick-knacks and antiques to peek your interest.

Alex Raskin Antiques:

The historic district’s largest house and has a lot of inspiring antiques and furniture in every room.


Civvies, a boutique founded by Primary Arts founder Robyn Reeder, is new and recycled clothing store that has an awesome selection of vintage finds as well as new designer pieces. It’s not only a place to shop but also a cool place to hang out and have fun. Civvies buys clothes as well that can be used for store credit or cash. They also carry local music scene memorabilia.

Blue Belle Boutique:

Starting out as a small boutique, Bleu Belle has grown and gets a lot of traffic and has moved to a larger space on Broughton. The hot spot for contemporary fashion in Savannah they have many brands of designer clothing. They are also carrying a new line of clothing called “vintage belle” that is vintage pieces from the 1940s through the 80s. With a keen eye for fashion I am sure these vintage pieces will be great finds.


Fabrika is a custom sewing and fabric boutique owned by Kendrah White, a Savannah College of Art and Design alumni. A fun place to visit for crafters and seamsters alike they have a wonderful selection of fine apparel fabrics, vintage buttons and supplies. There also several handmade gifts and sewing lessons!

Primary Art:

A fabulous art supply store. Dare I say I once found something cheaper there then Michael’s. They have a wonderful selection of supplies, paper, canvases, brushes as well as magazines, gifts and cards. They are SCAD alumni owned and operated.

Savannah Bee Company:

A must see place in Savannah. A local beekeeper, Ted Dennard opened this wonderful local store and educational spot about honey. You will be delighted to learn all of the different ways honey can be used and the range of organic products. Honey tastings, honey-inspired lattes, an interactive children’s in house hive theater, as well as several different flavors of honey are some highlights of the many things there. My favorite is the Tupelo, but try them all! A great souvenir to bring home from Savannah.


A new shop that has all natural bath products made locally. They also have soy candles that are hand poured in the store and a variety of lotions, body scrubs, bath fizzies and any other pampering products. All organic and relaxing…

Polk’s Produce and Floral:

I had to put Polk’s because it’s a Savannah family tradition. My husband’s family has been going to Polk’s for years. We love to buy fresh vegetables and produce and when I say fresh, I mean fresh. Anything you bring home from there to cook is sure to please and they also have a wonderful selection of floral items. Also if you are looking for boiled and roasted peanuts (a southern tradition) look no further!


Mrs. Wilkes:

Mrs. Wilkes only gets her publicity by word of mouth and it does well because people love her food. A line gathers each morning and the lunch crowd is ushered in to sit family style with family, friends and strangers. Immediately everyone gets acquainted because you find yourself passing the bowls of food around from person to person as you serve yourself. The tabletops are filled with her AMAZING fried chicken, cornbread dressing, black-eyed peas, snap beans, squash, corn muffins and all the trimmings. When you are done, make sure you walk your plate to the kitchen. This isn’t any regular restaurant; it’s a boarding house!

Lady & Sons:

This place is famous for a reason. The lines are long, it’s hard to get in, but if you do, it’s worth it! She has a wonderful buffet where you can try everything from my favorite fried chicken, macaroni and cheese (the best I have ever had), old 57 yams, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes, green beans, collard greens, etc. plus dessert! Everything she touches has a ton of flavor and be sure to enjoy your hoe cakes and cheese bread alongside a tall glass of yummy sweet tea!

Vinnie VanGoGos:

The closest to good New York style pizza you will find anywhere. A favorite spot to hang out and one of the places we have to go to every time I come to Savannah.


Zunzi’s has some realllyyy good food. Fresh and quick, it’s another hot spot in Savannah to pick up lunch or dinner. They bake their own breads and my favorite sandwich “The Conquistador” that is baked chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, special sauce and French bread. They also have soups, baked potatoes, salads and other really good sandwiches with their signature baked bread. Make sure you also try the African Sweet Tea!


Skyler’s is a great little hidden gem of a restaurant in Savannah that is a fusion of east and west. My favorite thing and a signature of theirs is the Teriyaki Chicken, which is fried chicken fingers glazed in a teriyaki sauce. Their crab cakes and other dishes are wonderful as well.

Gryphon Tea Room:

The Gryphon Tea Room, housed in an adapted turn-of-the-century pharmacy, is another spot I love to visit for a relaxing and fun afternoon tea. They have a wonderful range of international teas and offer a pot of tea, afternoon tea 4 to 6 pm (with tea sandwiches, scones, sweet delights and choice of tea) or a recommended tea set (scones, fruit salad and pot of tea). Make sure to walk across the street and browse shopSCAD while you are there.

Gallery Espresso:

A great spot to see art and enjoy a nice cup of coffee, Gallery Espresso is always having a revolving show of artists’ works on its walls. It’s a nice place to relax and visit with friends.

Sentient Bean:

A great selection of fair trade coffees and baked goods. Also they have live music, film screenings and poetry readings.

Soho South Cafe:

Another great little lunch spot and cafe that serves paninis, soups, and sandwiches. Everyone raves over the tomato soup, so next time I go I will definitely try that out.

Back in the Day Bakery:

Owners Cheryl and Griffith Day own a very friendly and cute shop that make delicious artisan baked goods with a down home feel. They also have a nice selection of old world loaves of bread that range from French baguettes to Italian breads. Their cupcakes are to die for and are cute as can be.


Delicious ice cream made on the spot and a family tradition, owner Stratton Leopold was the youngest child who learned the ways of ice cream business from his father and two uncles who founded Leopold’s in 1919. My husband’s grandparents used to get their sherbet when the kids were sick to help “cure” them. It worked. Also Stratton is successful movie producer who has all kinds of movie memorabilia of the movies he’s produced. One of my faves is “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” The old ice cream shop next to the SCAD Theater is designed by Academy Award nominated designer Dan Lomino and he used many of the original fixtures and applied his Hollywood magic to create the old timey looking ice cream shop. Stratton is also always friendly and a nice man. Try their signature chocolate malt shakes and a Johnny Mercer favorite, the Tutti Frutti!


Belly dancing and delicious Moroccan food. It’s always a treat to come here and have dinner. When you walk inside you are not in Savannah anymore and it feels like you are in a large Moroccan tent. The food is unbelievable and I also loved having my hands washed with rosemary after the meal.


I love chicken fingers and these are the best ones in Savannah. Get a chicken finger basket and their famous spuds, both soaked and fried in their secret recipe beer batter. Yes its bad for you but it’s soooo goood.

Toucan Cafe:

Located on Savannah’s southside (further down towards the malls) this exotic restaurant offers delicious gourmet dishes and has just a wonderful spin to anything they make. Some favorites are the Jamaican Jerk Tilapia with black beans, rice and mango salsa and the Havana black bean soup with Cuban spices and red onion.

The Crab Shack:

A fun outdoors place to eat seafood and on the way to the nearby beach getaway Tybee Island, you can enjoy boiled blue crabs, alaskan snow crab legs or a regional “low country shrimp boil.” With a great view of the water and a little park where you can see the baby alligators, this is always a fun stop.

Belford’s Savannah:

Located in an old brick building in City Market Belford’s is a classic Savannah restaurant that has wonderful seafood and steak.

Rancho Alegre:

Also located on the southside of Savannah this Cuban restaurant is just delicious! It’s a small hidden gem and the hospitality and food are excellent. The roasted pork is to die for and anything they cook is full of flavor along with the beans, fried yuca and plantains. I miss it already!

Johnny Harris:

Started in the 1920s, Johnny Harris is a Savannah tradition and is famous for its dining in particular the bar-b-cue sauce and pork barbecue. This restaurant is one of Savannah’s longest standing traditions and is still the same on the inside since the time they first opened. For generations people would dance and dine there and have receptions.

-Carey Hilliard’s

Has the best Brunswick stew, another low country recipe that is a tomato based stew that contains beans, vegetables or meat. This is usually a wonderful side with the shredded pork bar-b-cue. Also they have awesome deviled crabs and seafood platters.

Sushi Zen:

Not sure if they still are but they would stay open until 4 a.m., one of the few places downtown to do that. It’s always a favorite place in Savannah to have the best sushi and hear some good new wave music!

Starfish Cafe:

Starfish is a cafe that serves lunch daily that is prepared by students being trained by the local Union Mission and Savannah Technical College to enter the workforce. Many have been homeless or helped by Union’s mission programs and each day there is a featured entree prepared by them. Eat well and support a good cause!


A famous little cafe featured in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this cafe is a must visit just to remember the stories of the eccentric Luther Driggers that would come through there. Around since 1903, they serve breakfast all day and can whip up sandwiches and any down home southern food your heart desires.

Lulu’s Chocolate Bar:

Lulu’s is a wonderful local spot for chocolate and any sweets imaginable, all made from scratch on site. This is a quality that makes all of these Savannah spots so special.

Ye Olde Pink House

A fashionable Savannah gathering place, Ye Olde Pink House is a beautiful little building with a lot of history. They are notable for their seafood, she crab soup and dessert and keep on the lookout for the ghost of James Habersham, the wealthy Savannahian who built the house; it is said he makes appearances. The house on the interior still has the traditional southern decor and style from the 1700s and is yet another example of historical homes that we are privileged to still have around.

River Street Sweets:

Founded by a mother daughter team, this wonderful candy shop located on Savannah’s historic tourist spot River Street (along the Savannah River), they specialize in local candies, chocolates, and nuts. If you are curious about some traditional southern treats this is the right place. They also are always giving free samples of the famous pralines and don’t forget to try the saltwater taffy made from scratch and stretched by their 80-year old taffy machine.

Local 11 Ten: delicious local food, New American.

Elizabeth on 37th: this is one of Grace’s favorite spots in Savannah. Enjoy delicious local, seasonal fine dining in a gorgeous old home.

Sweet Leaf Smokery and Eatery: great sweet tea and BBQ.


Jepson Center for the Arts:

The Telfair Museum of Art opened this new 64,000-sq. ft., state-of-the-art building to the public in March 2006. This is a wonderful museum for modern and contemporary art from Georgia and internationally. “Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the Jepson Center for the Arts features two large galleries for major traveling exhibitions; galleries for African American art, Southern art, photography and works-on-paper; a community gallery; a 3,500-sq. ft. hands-on gallery for young people; two outdoor sculpture terraces, education studios, a 200-seat auditorium, café, and museum store.”

Telfair Museum

Mary Telfair of the Telfair family was a patron of the arts and since 1886 donated the family mansion to the Georgia Historical Society to make it a museum. The museum has many exhibitions and original artwork and the original “Bird Girl” sculpture from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Its other two buildings are the Jepson and Owens Thomas House are staples of Savannah and give Savannah venues to see famous and contemporary art up close.

Lucas Theatre for the Arts:

The Lucas is an old theater that has been around since the 1920s. Supported by donations from Savannahians and celebrities, it took 13 years to restore. It’s charming and beautiful, and a great venue to see musicians and theatre productions.

The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum:

The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is a must visit. Named after the pastor at the historic First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square in Savannah, this museum has many ongoing exhibitions and has three floors and contains exhibits, archives, and a research center.

First African Baptist Church:

The oldest African American Church in North America, this is a historic church was a survivor of the Revolutionary War and a center during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. It was one of the first places Martin Luther King Jr. preached segments of his “I Have A Dream” sermon before he preached it famously at the March on Washington.

Savannah History Museum:

Located in the old Central of Georgia Railway passenger shed, this showcases the city’s history from its founding to present day. A good hub to start for Savannah visitors and tourists. There are a couple of nice exhibits on Georgia’s history and a video that is interesting to learn about the founding of Savannah. Its also home to the famous Forrest Gump bench and Johnny Mercer’s Oscars.

Chroma Gallery:

My favorite art gallery in Savannah, the Chroma Gallery always has vibrant and beautiful work by artists of the southeast. They are always friendly and more than happy to answer any questions about the artists. Some favorites that are usually exhibited are Loja, Siddharth Parasnis, Laura Dinello, Jan Clayton-Pagratis and Ikeda Lowe.

Kobo Gallery:

A wonderful little gallery, an artist’s cooperative that has an eclectic mix of jewelry and fine art.

Dimensions Gallery:

A new gallery and becoming a hit in Savannah, Dimensions always has new and exciting openings and is very open to new and upcoming artists in every genre.

Red Gallery:

A contemporary gallery space that is one of SCAD’s main galleries located on Broughton street. There is always something new and interesting there, they feature art by the alumni of SCAD and prominent contemporary artists.

Alexander Hall Gallery:

Tucked away under the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah, Alexander Hall serves as a space for the graduate painting studios. The bottom floor has access to the public where they have a gallery that shows the art of the painters and graduate program students but If you get a chance to go upstairs and walk around it is truly inspiring. Its a large space of studio after studio of graduate student and all over the walls is there work.

At Hun Art Gallery:

At Hun is a fun gallery space located in the popular City Market. Every year there is an Art Crawl and At Hun is always hopping. Filled to the brim with several different artists you are sure to find some new work that is beautiful and new. Also the artists are sometimes there and are accessible and love to talk about their work.

2Car Garage Contemporary Art Gallery:

2CarGarage Contemporary Art Gallery another gallery for contemporary art, featuring over 3,000 square feet of exhibition space in downtown historic Savannah. They also feature a lot of wonderful local artists and have some beautiful work there.

Whitney Gallery:

Representing national and regional artists the Whitney Gallery offers yet another place to view modern and contemporary art as well as a lot of figurative and landscape art that isn’t tacky and has a fresh artistic touch.

Jack Leigh Gallery:

The original physical gallery has closed but it is worth visiting his site and noting the photography and work Jack Leigh has contributed to Savannah. He has managed to capture through his photography the heart of Georgia and the south and the work is simply gorgeous. He passed away of cancer in May of 2004 but his legacy and work live on. He has many pieces in numerous private and museum collections and his famous bird girl photograph (on the cover of John Berendt’s book is a famous and widely recognized image.

Alix Babtiste:

Alix Babtiste has a studio in City Market among many artist studios. His is one that I have always remembered and has stood out. He has gorgeous very detailed and colorful paintings. They are very unique and unlike most of the art there. He grew up in Haiti in great poverty and sold mangos to go to school. He later immigrated to Savannah and stayed with his father and stepmother. His stepmother bought him some art supplies and he began to sell paintings soon after that. He has no formal training and took the local art scene by storm. It’s always a delight to go by his studio when perusing through City Market.

Desoto Row:

A great place to see what young local and contemporary artists are up to in Savannah. They usually have really fun art openings with good music. They host weekly art exhibitions as well as artist talks, open critiques, and sidewalk art events.


Forsyth Park (Bull St between Gaston St & Park Ave):

Forsyth Park is the large city park in downtown Savannah that occupies 30 acres. Sometimes there are concerts and annually they have a SCAD Sidewalk art event where all of the sidewalks of Forsyth are covered in colorful chalk art. The highlight of the park is the gorgeous park fountain that is perfectly surrounded by the large oak trees and Spanish moss and when the sun shines down on it, its stark white antique design glow through them.

Mercer Williams House:

At the center of the book Midnight in the Garden and Good and Evil is the Mercer Williams House. Recently opened to the public for tours and a great shop in the carriage house, this historic home was a popular and classy place for the late Jim Williams’ exclusive parties. It was designed by New York architect John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer, great grandfather of the famous Savannah composer Johnny Mercer. In 1969, Jim Williams, one of Savannah’s earliest preservationists bought the vacant home and completely restored it.

Owens Thomas House:

This home is marvel in architecture; it was designed by a young English architect William Jay who really got creative with the design of the home. Owned and operated by the Telfair Museum of Art, it’s a must visit.

Flannery O’Connor Home:

The childhood home of Flannery O’Connor who was born in Savannah and lived there until 1938.

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace:

If you are visiting Savannah you will be sure to see a lot of Girl Scouts running about. It’s because their founder Juliette Gordon Low was born and raised in Savannah. The historic home of her family was saved from demolition by the Girl Scouts and is authentically preserved and furnished.

Andrew Low House:

The Andrew Low House is another special place in the hearts of many Girl Scouts because it was the home of Juliette Gordon Low after she married Andrew Low’s son.

Davenport House Museum:

Threatened with demolition in 1955, the saving of the Davenport House was the first effort of the Historic Savannah Foundation and the beginning of the historic preservation renaissance in this port city.

-Green-Meldrim House:

The house is well known for the fact that General Sherman used it as his headquarters during the Savannah occupation in the Civil War. In the bedroom is where he wrote the famous telegram to Lincoln giving Savannah as a Christmas gift.

Asendorf House (Known as the Gingerbread House):

Beautiful and elegant home from 1899.

Historic Wormsloe Plantation:

The mile long Live Oak Tree entrance is amazing and is yet another wonder of Savannah’s beauty.

The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist:

A gorgeous cathedral and with the highest spires it stands tall and beautiful and on a plot on Liberty Square. The cathedral is especially beautiful on the inside and has a gorgeous nativity scene during the holidays. It has been renovated several times and even survived a fire in 1898.

Magnolia Place Inn:

Located on Forsyth Park, it’s a Bed and Breakfast and birthplace of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Conrad Aiken.

The King-Tisdell Cottage:

African-American heritage museum named for its owners, Eugene and Sarah King, and Sarah King and Robert Tisdell.

Ships of the Maritime Museum:

A beautiful museum that exhibits ship models, paintings and maritime antiques from the 18th and 19th century. A beautiful garden and spot for weddings, this place is a must visit.

Ft. Pulaski:

The Battle of Fort Pulaski in April 1862 marked a turning point in military history. This is a major historic site and there are daily interpretive programs with musket firings, trails, picnic areas, a visitor center with lots of info and a park film about the battle.

Isle of Hope:

The Isle of Hope National Historic District is a sandy peninsula with a high bluff looking over to Skidaway Island across the Intracoastal Waterway at Skidaway Narrows and the Isle of Hope River. Along the river if you get to drive to the Isle of Hope Marina, the neighborhood there has some gorgeous homes that face the river. Some of the residents and their homes have been featured in magazines such as Martha Stewart Magazine. I would love to buy a home there and its always nice to drive by and dream.

Bonaventure Cemetery:

Many of Savannah’s famous inhabitants are buried there such as Johnny Mercer, Conrad Aiken, and Jack Leigh. The whole cemetery is filled with old oaks and Spanish moss overlooking a scenic bluff of the Wilmington River. It’s a beautiful, unique and haunting place to visit.

Night Life/Pubs

Club One:

Famous for the Lady Chablis, from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” this is a three level dance and show bar. They have regular drag shows and are notable for being one of the most eclectic gay bars in Savannah with patrons that are famous and straight as well! It’s all entertainment and a good time to be had.

Pinkie Masters: One of Grace and AC’s favorite bars. A little rough around the edges but full of character and history.

Jazz’d Tapas Bar:

This bar has been featured all over the place and is a classy joint, known for their tapas food, drinks, art and music. This is a great place to hang out in style.

Six Pence Pub:

A famous spot in downtown Savannah, this cute British pub has been in several movies and has tasty bangers and mash, French onion soup and shepherd’s pie. They have nice outdoor seating and an array of beers and ciders on tap from the U.K. and Ireland.

Kevin Barry’s:

A favorite spot on River Street, this Irish pub has wonderful live Celtic and Irish music and when Savannah’s favorite Irish folk singer Harry O’Donoghue comes to town, its always a treat to catch him there.

Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub & Grill:

Largest single malt selection in Savannah and offers single malt tasting classes as well.

The Jinx:

The Jinx is the local dive that hosts cutting edge local bands and is a great hangout for the young indie crowd, freaks, geeks, and tattooed heroes of the local underground. They have different nights of dance offs like 80’s night and a fabulous local DJ (who also DJed our wedding) Keith Kozel who does a “Kaleidoscope of Music and Madness” night.

Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos:

A notable fun hangout in Savannah, the talented piano players always make the audience interact and the drinks always seem to be strong. If you want to dance, sing and get loud this is the best place to go.. or just watch the piano players entertain you!


They carry 20 different draught beers, mostly European imports, and a large selection of American and European bottled beer. This is another pub that has been around a while and is a popular Savannah spot.

Moon River Brewery:

Savannah’s local brewery creates six varieties from bitter to light. The Captains Porter has hints of caramel and chocolate and they have the Road Trip Hard Cider that is fresh pressed from apples from the Mercier Orchards in the North Georgia Mountains.


Savannah Film Festival:

Every year the festival gets bigger and better and draws all kinds of celebrities and guests to see the best upcoming independent and emerging films. This is movie buff heaven and gives local Savannahians a sneak peek at the future big movies of the year as well as bringing some talented and famous celebrities up close.

Savannah Music Festival:

Celebrating the musical arts, over 100 programs for adults and children are brought to theatres, schools, and historic venues. Past artists have included: Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Les Ballets Africaines, Buddy Guy, Eddie Palmieri, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Joshua Redman & the San Francisco Jazz Collective, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and many others. This year they will have Neko Case, The Ellis Marsalis Quartet, and Bonnie Raitt among others.

The Holiday Tour of Homes:

Every year the historic and lovely homes of Savannah open their doors and allow the public to have a sneak peek of their beautiful holiday and interior decor. Always inspiring and a treat this is a great thing to do while in Savannah for the holidays. They also have a tour of homes in May for those who won’t be there for the holidays.

The Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens:

A different neighborhood is featured each day and guests are delighted to visit gorgeous private homes and gardens where they would normally not get such an opportunity.

SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival:

The Savannah College of Art and Design puts on this annual festival that is always a ton of fun and inspiring. A chalk drawing competition is made on the sidewalks of the beautiful Forsyth Park and the winners are awarded prizes. Admission is free and open to the public.

Annual Club Mud Sale at Georgia Southern University:

Every year at Georgia Southern in Statesboro the ceramics department, under the name of Club Mud, puts on their annual sale in May and December. It gets more popular every year and it features the work of undergraduate and graduate students. They sell ceramics, porcelain, stoneware, jewelry, small metals, prints and handmade books. It’s a bit of a drive from Savannah but worth the trip and you are sure to find some beautiful work from emerging artists and grads like myself. ;)

Annual Armstrong Atlantic University Christmas Pottery Sale:

Have fun perusing one-of-a-kind, hand crafted pottery and ceramic gifts from Armstrong’s students, faculty and staff.

St. Patrick’s Day:

Savannah has been celebrating St Patrick’s Day since 1813 and every year its gets wilder and rowdier. Its worth noting though because its a huge event in Savannah and more than 300,000 people come to visit. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the highlight followed by a crowded River Street. It began with a private procession by the oldest Irish society in America, the Hibernian Society, and then in 1824 the first public procession was lead by James Hunter, the local Hibernian president who invited all local Irishman to meet for mass and parade through the streets of Savannah. Since then it has become a parade and a huge annual party.


Tybee Island:

Head 20 minutes east of Savannah and you will find a beautiful little island community and beach. Tybee is a fun get away and has great food, beaches and shopping.

Statesboro (click here for an alternate site)

Statesboro is a small town but it has a lot of history as well, good food and is my college town. I really can’t stress enough that you should visit the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art. The faculty and students have a lot of talent and usually aren’t seen because the town is a little further away and small. Be sure to visit their new state of the art gallery and exhibitions and stop by the department to greet the friendly faculty and staff who would be delighted to give you a tour.

**A few additions from Grace**

Where to Stay/Lodging:

Savannah is home to some beautiful B&Bs, and for my money, they’re the best places to stay in Savannah. They have character and are full of great history. I love:

Dresser Palmer House– great rooms (ask for the Mercer Suite and enjoy the gorgeous porch) and a great porch you can have wine and cheese on at night.

The Gastonian– lovely b&b near Forsyth Park

Forsyth Park Inn– ditto

Eliza Thompson House– you can’t ask for a more picturesque location.

Regular Hotels- if you want something more modern try these spots:

The Mansion– a modern hotel on the side of Forsyth Park- we’ve had iffy service here but the rooms are nice.

The Avia– a newly opened modern hotel by the river.

Suggested For You


  • Oh my gosh, I fell in love with Savannah the moment I stepped foot into that incredible city! I’m so in love with it I even love it’s cemetaries!! :) The Daughters of the Revolution Cemetary was my favorite! The parks and the fountains are just heavenly as are the shops, people, the food…the art! I could go on forever!! What an incredible piece you did here! THANK YOU!!!

  • I just got back from Savannah last night, and this guide was SO helpful! We loved The Paris Market (stopped by 3 times) and Soho South Cafe. Beautiful city, would definitely consider moving there.

    • holly

      how fun! hope it wasn’t too hot down there yet- savannah in the summer can be brutal. but lemonade from the paris market certainly helps ;)

      hope you got lunch or a cupcake at cheryl’s bakery!

      g :)

  • Grace, Just got back from our first trip to Savannah…we adore this charming city!! Thanks so much for your guide…we loved The Pink House and I got a gorgeous little ceramic souvenir at One Fish, Two Fish. We stopped at several shops you recommended so thanks :)

  • I’m so happy to see that you featured Desotorow Gallery in this article! It is truly one of the most unique galleries featuring up-and-coming artists. I had the pleasure of being involved with this organization- a wonderful and memorable experience! Also, just to add one more restaurant/bar to the list- Bar.Food located in midtown, or Ardsley Park. It has a great neighborhood feel with some AMAZING southern fusion cuisine- created by the one and only Johnny Baker (of Queeny’s). Check it out!

  • Wow, thanks for the very very very in-depth guide! This
    will come in handy this summer for me. I am going to my friends
    wedding in Savannah and spending a few extra days there with my
    husband after the ceremony. I am planning the trip now, and I am
    getting more excited after reading more about this lovely

  • Grace! Thank you so much for that fantastic guide. My
    boyfriend and I used it ALOT when we went for a unplanned trip! I
    just posted about Rancho Allegre on my blog, we found it thanks to
    YOU!!! and Happy New Year!

  • My husband and I are planning to drive up to Savannah, GA and we are beyond excited about it! I definitely will be visiting the restaurants and stores listed in this guide – cannot wait!

    • have fun, jenna! you’ll love it :)

      have a ham sandwich and cupcake at back in the day bakery for me and tell cheryl hi ;)


  • this needs a bit of an update, girl! After two years, sadly, several of these places are no longer open (Sweet Leaf, @Home), and happily some have opened new locations (Bleu Belle, Rancho Alegre).

  • hello! i’m planning a short trip to savannah right now with my boyfriend, a SCAD alum. I came across this website that rents beautiful, renovated historic homes for very reasonable prices. they seem to vary in size (sleeping anywhere from 2 to 22). I see that you’re updating this guide and this site might be a place to consider including in the lodging section.
    otherwise, many thanks for this super nice, thorough guide. i can’t WAIT for my trip in a couple of weeks.

  • Just wanted to say thanks for this guide! My husband and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary in Savannah this weekend. We enjoyed the Olde Pink House and Back in the Day Bakery. I’d also recommend The Distillery for craft beer lovers.

  • What a great site! My husband and I are looking into a possible relocation to Savannah. We have two boys, 1 and 5. Any suggestions as to areas to live? We would like to rent initially until we are familiar with the area. Schools are a consideration. Thanks!

  • I was married in Savannah in 2009. We found a old dairy plantation really close to the historic district. The venue was called the mackey house. It was perfect. The city was so beautiful. I can’t wait to return.

  • I am going to Savannah soon & wanted to know if anyone knew of any gluten-free restaurants – dinner is often easy because you can go to a steak restaurant but lunch seems to be challenging here unless you stick to salads. I know its a tall order in the city of southern cooking, but thought it would be worth asking! Thank you for such an amazing guide!

  • more places to visit that were left off / are new to savannah:

    ARC – a boutique on broughton street, one of my newest favorites. it’s extremely well designed and is surprisingly not that expensive for a boutique. has men’s and women’s.
    Fabrik – not to be confused with Fabrika (which I don’t think exists anymore), this is a women’s boutique right next to ARC
    Red Clover – women’s boutique on Bull Street
    See Jane – a make up and small clothing boutique on broughton. I think they moved to another location in southside abercorn but supposedly intend to move back downtown in the future.
    Measure – a fabric shop near the design district on whitaker

    Wasabi’s – great sushi, not very fond of some of the other food, on MLK
    Cupcake Emporium on Bull at Wright Square
    Wright Square Cafe
    The Distillery – on MLK and liberty, American food and craft beer
    Kayak Cafe – broughton street, delicious sandwiches
    Foxy Loxy – a cafe on bull street out near 35th?, great local coffee and mexican cuisine.

    Jen’s and Friends- On Bull, just north of broughton in the BB&T Building, almost a hole in the wall. 100 different crazy martinis and 100 different drafts.
    Seed- “little miami”, on montgomery just north of broughton.
    Social club – great indoor/outdoor bar in city market on congress st near mlk.
    Dosha – only been around for a few months, is a frequent for SCAD students – has hiphop, salsa, and house nights
    Crypt – haven’t been here yet but I hear it is mostly a bar full of Savannah’s military men.

    SAVANNAH SLOW RIDE – wasn’t sure where to put this one. It’s a tour of savannah in which you sit at a table and peddle, while the guide steers. If everyone is 21+ (which is usually the case because the next part is why people go..) you drink! and its a peddling bar.

    Bike shops
    Perry Rubber
    Bicycle Link

    DO: walk or bike. Savannah is an easy city to get around by any method, and it’s made even better if that method isn’t enveloped in metal and glass
    DO: visit for saint patrick’s day! this year it was the largest celebration in the world.

  • Wow! Thanks for the great guide. My only visit to Savannah was when I was about 10 years old. I remember really liking the city, but from this guide, I see we didn’t see near all there is to see. Reading this and seeing a lot of pictures of the city lately has me really wanting to take a second trip there. Hopefully next summer!

  • Hi there,
    I was in Savannah this week and used this guide – thanks! A couple points for you:
    – We stayed at the Mansion on Forsyth and had fantastic service so looks like they’ve stepped up their game. The room was great, beds comfy and location excellent.
    – Had dinner at ‘The lady and sons” and it was excellent but don’t go for anything healthy! The service here was very iffy if not outright bad but the food was worth it. The content of her shop is outright tacky so I would pass there.
    – Visited many of the shops and found all to be excellent especially the Paris Market
    A fantastic trip and a beautiful, walkable town full of history design and friendly people.
    Thanks for the guide!!

  • I love coming to Savannah and staying in the historic district. My favorite restaurant is for sure Leoci’s over on Abercorn. You can never go wrong getting a nice cold beer from either Beer Growler at Drayton Towers or World of Beer on Broughton St. .

    Mike Backlund
    Calypso Rentals

  • I can’t believe that no one has mentioned one of my favorite restaurants, Tequila’s Town. Amazing food, lunch and dinner. It can be pretty crowded for dinner, but usually the wait isn’t long.

  • You definitely need to add The Rail to the nightlife/pubs area and The Tea Room (inside of E Shavers Bookstore) to the tea/food section.

    Honestly I would take The Lady and Sons out completely. It’s a complete tourist trap of garbage.

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