48 Hours In Savannah, Georgia: Your guide to enjoying one of the world’s friendliest cities
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A sense of place permeates everything you see and do in Savannah, Georgia. You can’t picnic in Forsyth Park or take a boat to Tybee Island without recognizing that you’re experiencing something special, something different, something so uniquely Savannian. It’s been called one of the world’s friendliest cities and it’s arguably one of the most enjoyable, you just have to relax, slow your step, and see firsthand what this enchanting enclave is all about.

The front of the charming Kehoe House.

Book a Room

You’ll find all the typical chain hotels and motels in Savannah, but why go for the cookie-cutter choice when you snuggle into historic charm? Kehoe House is on the National Register of Historic Places, but this 13-room inn deftly combines antique furnishings with a slew of modern amenities. At Eliza Thompson House, it’s bed, breakfast, and things that go bump in the night. The B&B is rumored to be haunted, but that shouldn’t bother the kiddos; this romantic spot doesn’t allow anyone under 21 years of age.

Speaking of ghosts, there are a few wandering in and around the lovingly restored 17Hundred90, the oldest hotel in Savannah. Guests report seeing the apparition of a young girl and some have seen their wallets, jewelry, and clothes moved about their rooms.

Tybee Island

Dine & Drink

Food and booze are major commodities in Savannah, and the city has a reputation – both locally and nationally – for some seriously good eats.

Transport yourself back to Grandma’s kitchen at Back in the Day Bakery, a breakfast joint that displays vintage cookware and serves up some of the best biscuits you’ll ever taste. For a quick lunch, grab a slice of New York-style pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go and enjoy piping-hot, mozzarella-strewn magic at this simple, cash-only eatery.

See what a James Beard finalist looks like at The Grey. This former Greyhound Bus Terminal has been restored to its art deco glory, but even the stunning décor can’t detract from Executive Chef Mashama Bailey’s inspired take on staples like Foie & Grits and Quail Madeira.

After dinner – or before, we won’t tell – indulge in a sweet treat at Leopold’s Ice Cream. The walls are lined with film memorabilia Stratton Leopold’s expansive Hollywood film career but it’s the recipes dating back to the original location’s 1921 debut that steals the show. Try a scoop of Chocolate Chewies & Cream (studded with Georgia pecans, of course) or Rum Bisque with house-baked almond macaroons.

Pub culture is alive and well in Savannah, anchored by British-inspired spots like Churchill’s and the Six Pence Pub. Craft beers and classic cocktails happily coexist at The Alley Cat Lounge; feed your belly a French 75 while your eyes feast on the Prohibition-style décor.

See the Sights

The Historic District is the center of activity, culture, and sightseeing in Savannah. From the 18th-century architecture to the twenty-two park squares to the boutiques and eateries that line the area’s cobblestone streets, there’s an endless array of things to see and do. Landlubbers should book a ghost tour, but anyone with some semblance of sea legs should board the ferry for a ride up the Savannah River.

A shot of the AlleyCat Bar

Support the arts at the Lucas Theatre. The venue was originally built in 1921 and almost lost to developers in 1986, but public outcry and celebrity support led to a $14 million, 14-year restoration project with jaw-dropping results. Today, the Lucas shows both classic and current films as well as hosting life performances, and the SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

Savannah is home to the American Prohibition Museum, the only facility of its kind in the United States.

Savannah is home to the American Prohibition Museum, the only facility of its kind in the United States. There’s a speakeasy, four vintage cars, and nearly 6000 square feet of exhibits showcasing the underground booze movement of the 1920s.

Stop & Shop

Savannah’s Broughton Street is like the Rodeo Drive of the South, but with more warmth and kitsch. The Paris Market and Brocante is French flair with an international twist. Grab a macaron and browse a carefully curated collection of one-of-a-kind items, art, home goods, perfume, and more. Ladies who value smart clothes and upscale accessories shop at Spartina 449, a boutique that proudly stocks locally designed goods that epitomize Lowcountry fashion. For more mainstream buys, zigzag between big-brand retailers like Banana Republic, Free People, J. Crew, and H&M.

For foodies, there’s The Salt Table. Loose leaf tea, salt blocks, seasoning blends, and gourmet oil and vinegar abound, and there are wine tastings and demos on the calendar too. Aching for good art? The shops tucked into City Market’s picturesque courtyard include a bevy of galleries with offerings running the gamut from dreamy impressionist paintings to functional-yet-fascinating wall hangings.

Savannah is known for it's colorful architecture.

What to Know Before You Go

The Best Way to Travel: Fly into Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and it’s just a 15-minute jaunt to the heart of the city. There’s also train and bus service courtesy of Amtrak and Greyhound.

When to Go: To avoid crowds, hit Savannah in January and February when chilly temps keep most tourists away. Summer is crowded and hot, but fall brings reasonable prices for accommodations and more pleasant weather.

Local Currency: US Dollar (and good old Southern hospitality, of course)

Native Language: English

How to Get Around: Savannah’s designation as a Bronze Level Bicycle-Friendly Community makes two-wheeling a stellar choice, especially if you use the CAT Bike take-and-return system. Public transportation is convenient, with service to and from the airport and shuttles covering the downtown area. Use the ferries to hit Hutchinson Island or tour the harbor and consider leaving the car at home — parking can get pricey.

Plan To: Be surrounded by history. This is a city that’s proud of its heritage, and locals take great pains to preserve the past in all its forms. Everywhere you look, there’s a brilliant juxtaposition of past and present, and it’s fascinating to see.

Here’s a Hint: If you want to see what the second-biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States looks like, head to Savannah. Local pipe bands, Irish dancers, and Celtic societies have been hitting the streets in honor of Ireland’s patron saint since 1824, only skipping the festivities during the Civil War and World War I.