You and your best gal pals are getting away to beautiful Savannah for the weekend! No spouses, no kids, just some relaxed adult fun. So what to do? Here are my best suggestions as a local!
Savannah On Wheels Bike Tour + Keep Your Bike Package
Start your trip with a bike tour (better yet, a private bike tour!) with Savannah On Wheels and opt to keep your bikes for the remainder of the day afterwards. The tour will give you a fantastic overview of the history of our charming city, as well as the lay of the land to familiarize you with areas of Savannah you may wish to revisit. You’ll have the bikes until 5:00pm on the day of your tour, unless you choose to extend longer, which I highly recommend. Biking is the easiest way to navigate Savannah. It’s a very safe place to cycle and the rental bikes come with baskets, helmets (optional for those age 16+) and locks. Lights are also included with overnight rentals (note: bikes must be stored inside overnight).
After you’ve worked up an appetite, head to B. Matthew’s Eatery for brunch (or breakfast or lunch, they serve all three 8am-3pm daily). The fried green tomato & crab cake benny is the perfect option for a dish unique to Savannah and. It. Is. Good. You can’t go wrong with whatever you choose from the menu, including their Bloody Mary menu and mimosa options for the perfect libation to accompany your meal.
Next up, a little retail therapy! Hop on your bikes and ride down to Broughton Street. Here you will find our main shopping thoroughfare and my FAVORITE Savannah shop, Capital Bee Company (at the corner of Broughton and Price Streets). This is my go-to place for gifts! She has so many beautiful things to choose from; you can walk around the store three times and still not see everything! From local honeys (they provide you with samples of any you’d like to taste!) to candles, jewelry, home decor. This shop has it all.
From Capital Bee Company, head west and lock up your bikes at the corner of Broughton and Bull Streets. This is a good anchor point for the rest of your Broughton Street shopping! For some locally made items to take home with you, check out Locally Made. Another good spot for Savannah souvenirs is Aleksandra’s. If you’re after some new threads, Savannah has no shortage of cute boutiques. Some of my favorites on and near Broughton Street include Harper, Red Clover, Morgan Rae, Midge, and Terra Cotta. Don’t miss Paris Market at the corner of Broughton and Whitaker Streets, for charming home decor and a gorgeous on-site cafe.
From here, you may want to head back to your hotel or vacation rental to freshen up for a night out!
You can’t go wrong with anywhere you choose to eat in Savannah – for a small town, we have a great restaurant scene! If you’re in the mood for seafood, I highly recommend Sorry Charlie’s. All of their dishes are excellent, and they also have options for those less interested in the pescatarian items. They offer $1 oysters during happy hour, so plan accordingly!
After dinner, pop over to Savannah’s Candy Kitchen at City Market to sample their famous pralines and pick up some to take home with you.
Leaving City Market, walk a few blocks north to Bay Street, where you’ll find Arco. This stunningly decorated restaurant overlooks River Street and is appointed with the chicest decor, fantastic cocktails, and creative menu.
Make your last stop of the evening Peacock Lounge. It’s a bit hidden below Flock to the Wok restaurant, but its inventive cocktail list and Mad Men-esque ambiance make it the perfect option for your nightcap.
Hopefully you decided to keep your Savannah On Wheels rental bikes overnight and can ride them down to Bay Street. Lock up your bikes at City Hall (gold-domed building, bike racks are on the west side), and then take the steps down or the elevator down to River Street. Take a morning stroll along River Street to beat the crowds. Grab a coffee from Veteran-owned Black Rifle Coffee Company and enjoy the breeze as you watch ships large and small come into port.
Head a few blocks south on Drayton Street to find Quinn’s, a no-frills but terrific spot for breakfast bites. Everything here is good, including the service. Quinn is usually at the front door to greet you and her dedication to customer service is evident in her demeanor.
After breakfast, head over to view the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) Story. This (in my opinion) Disney-level production of the history of SCAD will trace you back to their modest roots in the Hostess City of the South. This immersive experience is FREE (a $5 donation is suggested) and runs every thirty minutes between 10:00am-5:00pm (12:00pm-5:00pm on Sundays). At the conclusion of the tour, you will find yourself in the gift shop, which features locally made items, and many items made by SCAD students. This is a great opportunity if you’re looking for something unique to take home with you, and maybe something by a future famous artist!
No trip to Savannah would be complete without a tour of the Mercer-Williams House. Featured in the novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (which stayed on the New York Times Bestseller List for over four years) and later in the movie, this story really put Savannah on the map to where we are today. Touring this impeccably restored home transports you back to the 1860s and makes you feel as if guests might arrive at any time for you to host on the veranda with mint juleps. Tours run every 20 minutes 10:00am-5:00pm (Sundays 11:30am-5:00pm). Tickets may be purchased in the carriage house (behind the main house) at 430 Whitaker Street.
From there, head to Forsyth Park to view the beautiful fountain and local entertainers and artists. This 30-acre park has become the crown jewel of Savannah, adored by locals and visitors alike. On Saturdays, the park hosts a farmer’s market from 9:00am-1:00pm, where you will find fresh produce, locally made and prepared foods, and local artists showcasing their works. On Sundays, the Park often hosts intramural sporting events.
Next, make your way to Crystal Beer Parlor for lunch. Their menu has a lot to offer and everything is good. I highly suggest the fried green tomatoes and creamy crab stew for starters, but you can’t go wrong with anything you choose. You can sit inside or outside. The outside seating is plentiful but not very scenic. Also, be sure to pop into Crystal Trading Company while you’re there. They have a great selection of items to choose from for yourself and for gifts.
Culture & Arts
After your delicious lunch, make your way to the Telfair Academy on Telfair Square. This oldest public art museum in the South exists because of Mary Telfair, the last surviving member of the family. She bequeathed her family home to the Georgia Historical Society to be operated as a museum, thus becoming the first museum in the United States founded by a woman. Inside you’ll find beautiful 19th and 20th Century American and European Art. You’ll also find the original “Bird Girl” Statue, which is featured in the aforementioned movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and is also featured on the book’s cover.
With your $25 admission to the Telfair Academy, you’ll also gain entrance to the Jepson Center and the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, so hop across the street to check out the former first. This exhibit-based art institution offers classic European pieces to up-and-coming artists. It is also home to Wildflower Cafe, a delightful place to grab a delicious bite to eat and a refreshing beverage. The gift shop onsite is also not to be missed.
From the Jepson Center, head about a half mile east to the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters. This 1819 neoclassical mansion helps visitors navigate the complex history of the wealthy residents of Savannah’s past, as well as that of the enslaved people who also resided here. This beautifully restored home will have you marveling at its amenities, attention to detail, and exquisitely manicured gardens.
All three sites are open daily 10:00am-5:00pm.
To find the best Low Country Boil in Savannah, look no further than Savannah Seafood Shack. This is a no-frills, order-at-the-counter eatery, but of ALL of the LCBs I’ve sampled in and around Savannah, this one remains my favorite. Your food will come to you in a plastic bag, tied up and placed inside a bowl. When you untie the bag, the steam will rise up but your food will remain piping hot and delicious. If there’s a wait for a table, put your name on the list and pop next door to Common, or across the street to Tap House, for a cocktail.
From Savannah Seafood Shack, go two blocks east and two blocks south to 17Hundred90. Grab a seat in the tavern for a beer, wine, or speciality cocktail. Check out the menus for stories of lost souls who haunt this inn, tavern, and restaurant. Be prepared for guests on ghost tours to meander in along their journey.
Last but not least, make your way to Lulu’s Chocolate Bar for decadent sweets and martinis. Grab seats at the bar or at a table and soak in the rich chocolate and southern hospitality.
Have another day, or extra time? Here are some additional recommendations!
- Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, this High Victorian Gothic structure is stunning inside and out. Stop in anytime outside of morning and midday Mass to view the ornate fixtures and beautiful stained glass and take a self-guided tour. Monday-Saturday 9:00am-11:30am, 12:45pm-4:30pm, Sunday 1:00pm-4:30pm. Suggested contribution $3.
- Olympia Cafe, fantastic Greek restaurant located in the heart of River Street. Fresh, authentic food and good service.
- Six Pence Pub, a British-inspired pub with a good beer selection and good food.
- Georgia Tasting Room, fantastic fruity frozen adult beverages of every concoction you can imagine.
- B&D Burgers, good fruity libations. Great place to watch college football in season.
- Bar Bubbly, a cozy champagne bar with imaginative cocktails and a variety of bubbles to choose from.
- Mint to Be Mojito, a mojito-lovers paradise! Choose from their extensive menu of ingredients and latin-inspired light bites. Get the secret code from the bartender to enter La Aparación Speakeasy Lounge by the bathrooms.
- Little Duck Diner, a quaint cafe which will transport you to the streets of Paris. Excellent food and milkshakes. Speciality cocktails come with a miniature rubber ducky floating in them. Best tomato soup on earth.
- If you want a quick and healthy dining option, I highly recommend Kayak Kafe. Fresh food, excellent salads.
- Repeal 33 for dinner or great happy hour specials including $1 oysters and other specials (must sit at the bar for special pricing)