Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia

21 Iconic Things to Do in Savannah No Matter the Season

[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”20872686″]

Savannah has been one of my favorite destinations for cultural travel since I first started visiting 15 years ago. Whether you’re a solo traveler, vacationing with your family, or traveling with a partner or spouse, you can’t go wrong with spending a weekend—or better yet, full week—in the Hostess City of the South. And no matter if it’s your first time here or your fifth, you’ll enjoy these iconic things to do in Savannah, whether you’re visiting in the heat of summer or dead of winter.

The Ultimate Savannah Itinerary: Your Weekend Guide to Georgia's Prettiest City

1. Explore the public squares

Savannah is steeped in Civil War history, and General James Edward Oglethorpe conceptualized a plan that laid the city out in a grid pattern punctuated by 24 squares that were used for military drills and a planned community that included the necessity of a central gathering place. Today, 22 squares remain, serving not only as shady respites from the Southern heat, but as central components to Savannah’s identity. Here’s a rundown of all of Savannah’s squares and parks.

Savannah's Public Squares

Related Article: Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Weekend in Savannah, Georgia

2. Orient yourself with one of many walking tours

There’s nothing better than hitting Savannah’s historic cobblestone ways on your own two feet, and my top tip is to take a tour on your first morning in town to get acquainted with the city. I’ve taken so many different history tours of Savannah, I could probably start my own tour company! Each one has a different draw; if you love the story behind old buildings, you’ll want to take a walk with Jonathan Stalcup, SCAD grad behind architectural tours of Savannah. If you love history with a dose of the theatrics, Genteel & Bard is a must.

Genteel & Bard Walking Tour of Savannah

3. Hop aboard the trolley

Savannah has a public bus system, the DOT, that will take you around the historic district for free. But if you want to level-up your transportation game, consider buying a day pass for one of the hop-on, hop-off open-air trolley companies that offer transit around town with a commentary to boot. They have ticket booths all over downtown.

Take a trolley tour of Savannah

Take a trolley tour of Savannah
Take a trolley tour of Savannah

4. Take a day trip out to Tybee Island

One of the most attractive parts of Savannah as a vacation destination is that it has the city culture and the chill beach town scene; it truly offers the best of both worlds. Just 30 minutes from downtown Savannah, Tybee Island with its tracts of sand, wildlife-filled marshes, striking lighthouse, lazy pier and bustling boardwalk is worth a day trip—if not an entire week’s stay.

What to Do in Savannah: Tybee Island

Related Article: Beyond Savannah’s Historic District: Activities for Every Travel Taste

5. Pop into Savannah College of Arts and Design

The South’s premier art institution, SCAD, is not only responsible for much of Savannah’s growth a few decades back, but many of its alumni have had a heavy hand in the design renaissance of this fashionable town. I never visit Savannah without dropping by the shopSCAD store to see what’s on display or for sale at the moment. The buildings themselves are also worth poking around.

What to do in Savannah: Visit SCAD

6. Sample Chatham Artillery Punch

Back in the day, Chatham Artillery Punch served as the militia drink of choice as far back as the 1700s; today, it’s still known as the drink of Savannah. Where to try it? Artillery Bar never disappoints—not to mention, this packs-a-punch libation is served in a gilded pineapple.

Artillery Bar: Best Cocktail Bars in Savannah, Georgia

Related Article: The Spirit of Savannah: Best Beer and Cocktail Spots

7. Have a scoop at Leopold’s

Leopold’s Ice Cream is a Savannah institution, one that has a history that dates back more than a century and has been run by Hollywood producer Stratton Leopold for the past two decades. Step back in time at Leopold’s on Broughton Street or grab a scoop at the airport on your way out of town as there are now two outposts at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

The Ultimate Savannah Itinerary: Your Weekend Guide to Georgia's Prettiest City

8. Stroll down the riverfront

One thing that changes dramatically between each visit in Savannah is the riverfront landscape. I remember during my first visit 15 years ago, River Street was more or less a ghost town. Today, it sprawls in each direction, allowing visitors and locals alike plenty of room to enjoy the boats that pass by—and providing pretty much every dining or bar experience you could want.

Savannah's riverfront district

9. Explore the Plant Riverside District

Even if you’re not staying in the JW Marriott, I beg you to go inside and see the giant dinosaur sculpture and all the gems, jewels and baubles for yourself. It’s truly a sight to behold, as is the evolution of the Plant Riverside District.

Stroll through the Plant Riverside District of Savannah
Stroll through the Plant Riverside District of Savannah

10. Set sail on the Georgia Queen

Want to see the riverfront—and the rest of Savannah for that matter—from a different viewpoint? The Georgia Queen offers several different riverboat cruises depending on the time of year.

Sail on the Georgia Queen in Savannah

11. Sip a horchata latte

While this may not be specific to Savannah, I’ve never seen this on any other menu, and two of my favorite coffee shops offer such a novelty: the Coffee Fox and Franklin’s. Try it iced or hot and grab a fresh pastry at either of these must-try Savannah cafes.

Franklins Coffee Shop in Savannah

12. Dine at the Olde Pink House

Savannah has such a booming food scene that I rarely revisit some of the older restaurants—a few of my favorite restaurants in Savannah are Common Thread and Cotton & Rye—but if you’re a first-timer to Savannah, you have to experience the Olde Pink House in person, if for nothing else, the haunted legacy of the 1771 home it occupies.

13. Grab an adult beverage on the go

If you’re of age and enjoy imbibing from time to time, you’ll love Savannah’s open-cup policy that allows you to take a drink to go throughout the Historic District, so long as it’s in a 16-ounce plastic cup. Skip out on the more touristy bars and try a mojito on the run from Mint to Be instead.

Open Cup Policy in Savannah

14. See where the Girl Scouts got their start

There’s no shortage of historic homes to tour in Savannah. My personal favorite? The birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of none other than the Girl Scouts of America. Where are my former Brownies at? If you’re a fan of old houses, you should also visit the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home while you’re at it.

Girl Scouts in Savannah
Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home

15. Check out the artsy Starland District

While it’s home to the famed Back in the Day Bakery, the Starland District is quickly becoming the hip ‘hood in Savannah, and I can’t get enough of everything cropping up just south of downtown, like a permanent food truck park with containers for seating.

Visit the Starland District in Savannah

16. Get an education from Sista Patt

Do you know about Savannah’s slave history? It was a very prominent stop on the transatlantic slave trade route and funneled hundreds of thousands of enslaved human beings that were then sold and traded all around the United States. This story is one that needs to be told, and who better to do so than a preservationist and retired ACLU lawyer with a passion for making sure the history of her people, the Gullah Geechee, is not erased. Book an Underground Tour of Savannah through their Facebook page.

Things to Do in Savannah: an Underground Railroad tour

17. Build your own progressive dining tour

My biggest problem visiting Savannah is that there are always too many delicious places to eat and not enough meals in the day. My solution? Plan out your own restaurant hop where you try small dishes at several different restaurants in the same neighborhood (example: an appetizer at a rooftop bar like Myrtle & Rose, followed by dinner at Rhett, topped off by dessert at the Drayton. Use my Savannah restaurant guide as your road map.

Plan your own progressive dinner tour in Savannah

18. Kick it in Forsyth Park

Savannah’s own Central Park of sorts, the 30-acre Forsyth Park has roots that date back to the 1840s. It’s a great place to cool down by the fountain or in the kids’ area or to grab brunch at the new location of Collins Quarter.

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia

19. Peek inside the cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is one of Savannah’s most iconic monuments, and so long as you don’t drop by during mass, you can peek inside this 1800s beauty for free most hours of the day.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Savannah
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Savannah
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Savannah

20. Get spooked at Bonaventure Cemetery

Much of Savannah is built upon graves, and there’s an unmistakably spooky vibe about wandering among the centuries-old tombstones of this 100-acre Victorian cemetery.

21. Drop everything for the sunset

There’s nothing like a Savannah sunset, and whether you have to head to upward to one of the city’s many rooftop bars or catch an Uber to the riverfront, it’s worth clearing your schedule each night when the sun goes down.

Things to Do in Savannah: Watch a Sunset

There are plenty of other things to do in Savannah, but that’s your starter pack. Bookmark this post and use it on your next vacation—and let me know how it goes!

A List of All the Things to Do in Savannah on Your Next Vacation

Have you been to this slice of coastal Georgia paradise? What would you add to my ever-growing list of things to do in Savannah?



The Best Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia
The Best Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia
The Best Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia

Leave a Comment