Savannah is a city so steeped in history and Southern lore that you can sense it oozing from every brick in each historical home, and from every Spanish moss-draped oak branch. With inspiringly gorgeous antebellum architecture everywhere, it's no wonder that the city has a reputation for being artsy...and for being super haunted. The ghosts of pirates, Civil War soldiers, Southern belles and more allegedly prowl the streets of the city. If that's a little too spooky for you, eat and drink your fears away: parts of the city lack open container laws, making it a fun place for a late night. End your 48 hour adventure in Savannah with a big Southern-style brunch.
The restaurant that introduced Paula Deen and her decadent Southern style of cooking to the world is Lady and Sons. Located in an old, historic building and serving up down-home classics like fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, fried okra (okay, not everything is fried here, but you get the idea). Go all in and get the Southern buffet so you can load up on mashed potatoes, collards, chicken, and banana pudding and cobbler for dessert.
There's no place where the city's charm is more apparent than at Forsyth Park, the city's historic community green space. It dates back to the 1840's, and since Savannah was one of America's first planned cities, the park benefitted from the decision to design the city's layout. It's remained one of Savannah's most-visited spots ever since...no surprise, since it's 30 acres of pure old-school beauty, and it's put to good use with farmer's markets and other awesome community events.
The park is so iconic to Savannah and it really exemplifies the charm and beauty of the city, and it's even been featured in movies that are set in the city. Two big ones are "Cape Fear" and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." BONUS: Fans of the movie "Forrest Gump" can head to Chippewa Square, a few short blocks away, to see where our hero sat as he told his incredible life story. The bench was just a movie prop and isn't actually located in the park...but you can see it at the Savannah History Museum!
Before coming to Savannah, it helps to watch or read "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," which tells the story of the murder of Danny Hansford, a local male prostitute by his lover, antiques dealer Jim Williams. The shooting took place in the 1980's in this very building, the Mercer-Williams House which was originally built in the 1860's. The house itself is a beautiful example of the antebellum style of architecture you see throughout the city, and it houses an impressive art collection as well.
Make sure to snag a reservation at this iconic Savannah eatery. Located in an old Colonial home (which is, of course, very pink colored and hard to miss). The inventive Southern cuisine here (sweet potato ravioli with pecan cream sauce, black vinegar BBQ glazed duck, cornbread fried oysters, etc.) is just as elegant and quirky as the building itself.
Head to the Green Truck Pub to enjoy the impressive beer and wine list at this neighborhood bar. They feature beers from smaller breweries across the country; try and find something from Georgia to keep it local!
Weird decor, retro video games set into the tables, and lots of live shows and rocking music make The Jinx a popular spot for the college crowd from SCAD. Enjoy a drink and the people-watching!
With its central location, one wouldn't expect to find gardens and pools at the Azalea Inn, but it does an excellent job of providing the comforts of seclusion in a convenient spot downtown. They also offer cottage rentals for a different kind of experience, but either way, expect Southern hospitality and charm!
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that makes brunch pretty important, too. Fill up at Huey's, a Cajun eatery, with great eggs Benedicts, N'awlins-style French toast, Creole omelettes, parmesan garlic grits, and tons of other mouthwatering meals.
The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is one of the top art schools in the country, and since the contemporary and modern Scad Museum of Art is run by the institution, you can be sure that the exhibits, which rotate quarterly, are well-curated and pretty inspiring.
The William Scarborough House and Gardens might seem like *another* beautiful old Savannah home, but the fact that it's home to the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum makes it extra-worth visiting. It's a collection of meticulously-detailed model ships, unlike any you've ever seen before. There's no better way to immerse yourself in the city's interesting seafaring history than here!
Zunzi's is a South African-fusion sandwich shop that's a local favorite, and once you take a bite of The Godfather (chicken, South African sausage, and three kinds of sauce) you'll know why. They also make sweet South African tea to wash it all down while you enjoy your food on the patio.
Thanks to its history as one of America's first "planned cities," plus the generally good weather and gorgeous scenery, Savannah is a super walkable town, and because it's so loaded with interesting things to see, walking tours are a popular tourist activity. The Savannah Walks is a company that offers a walking tour for pretty much everyone. Daytime strolls cover topics ranging from a basic beginners' guide to the city to a Civil War history tour to landscaping and garden or an historic home-focused experience, and they also do nighttime walking tours of haunted pubs and other spooky spots.
If you weren't a Girl Scout (or maybe even if you were) then you might not be too familiar with Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America, but even if you aren't a girl (or weren't a scout) it's still worth it to visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. The amount of guts it took to be so progressive as to start an outdoor/education-focused program for young girls back in 1912 (before women could even vote) was pretty admirable, especially in the conservative South. From hiking and swimming to learning new languages and astronomy (they even played basketball...shocking!) the first Girl Scouts were pretty cool.
Yes, taking a stroll through a cemetery might seem morbid, but the graveyards in Savannah are also exceptionally pretty, with the Spanish moss and ornate statuary. Colonial Park is one of the city's oldest, and is the final resting place of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, victims of a yellow fever epidemic, duelers and more.
Savannah does more than just good Southern cookin'. Case in point: the novel Italian-inspired cuisine at Garibaldi Cafe. Located in a restored firehouse, the menu features lots of seafood, lots of pasta, and lots of wine. Go for the clams and linguine!
Jen's and Friends is a martini bar, but if you're not used to martinis, don't write this place off. Their "thing" is that they offer hundreds of different flavors, from fruity to spicy. Name your favorite candy bar or dessert: yep, they have a martini for that. From Heath bars to Rice Krispie treats and everything in between, there's a martini for everyone.
And just so you don't leave thinking that Savannah doesn't know how to hang loose, follow up that nice dinner and those martinis with a $5 Forty Ounce of beer served in a paper bag, it's the specialty drink of beloved dive bar, The Rail Pub. The drinks are cheap, the snacks are appropriately divey. Add in a chill crowd, great bartenders, and live music, and you've got a recipe for a fun night.
The best time of a year for a 48-hour Savannah adventure: Springs and summers in Savannah are hot and humid, but because it's conveniently located on the shore, it's not hard to find a beach where you can cool off. Early fall is the sweet spot for great prices, less crowds, and good weather. Savannah is a gorgeous place to spend the holidays as well, with its mild weather, and it happens to be one of the more festive places to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.