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Looking for a beautiful city to visit with a walkable historic district?
After visiting Charleston and enjoying my stay there, I added Savannah to my travel list. I’ve discovered that I love exploring cities with a lot of history and the colorful stories that contribute to that history. And if it’s easily walked, that’s even better, as I usually fly to my destinations and prefer not to rent a car.
Savannah did not disappoint. I spent four nights and parts of five days there as a solo traveler and created wonderful memories.
Check out these fun things to do in Savannah and plan your trip.
Ride the Hop On Hop Off Trolley
There are ample historical tours to choose from in Savannah. However, my favorite way to get to know a new to me city is to ride the hop on hop off trolley, if there is one.
My first full day in Savannah began with hopping on the green and orange trolley at stop number three, which happened to be two blocks from my hotel.
The Savannah Hop On Hop Off Trolley offers a 90 minute narrated tour of the historic district, passing by 100 points of interest and making 15 stops. I made a complete circuit before beginning the “hopping off and back on” part.
It’s a great way to get an overview of the city and learn interesting facts and historical stories about Savannah. A trolley comes by about every 15 minutes so you can get back on the next one or explore for a while and catch a later trolley.
One or two day passes are available.
In addition to a historical tour, I enjoy a ghost tour too. You hear different stories on a ghost tour and learn about the darker events that shaped the community.
For atmosphere, I like to do night time ghost tours, although many companies offer daylight times as well for families.
In the most haunted city in the US, I chose to do the Savannah Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour. It is informative and very entertaining. The tour lasts about 75 minutes and includes two stops: the Andrew Low House and River Street’s Perkins and Sons Ship Chandlery.
The guide boards the trolley in costume and shares stories with wonderful dramatic effect. Our guide, Helena, was both funny and dramatic.
Find Savannah’s Squares
One of Savannah’s unique characteristics is that the city was designed around 24 squares. Today, 22 of those squares remain, spread in a grid across the historic district.
Each square is different. Some have monuments or statues at their centers, others water features and at least two offer gazebos to sit in. All contain shady live oaks, plants, flowers and benches to people watch from. Gorgeous old homes and buildings containing businesses, shops and cafes surround the squares.
I used this illustrated map of Savannah to navigate through the city, finding and photographing each square. The hop on hop off trolleys drive by many of them as well.
Watch for a future post about the Savannah squares and their unique stories.
This 30 acre park, named for Georgia’s 33rd governor, is a beautiful spot to take a break from exploring.
The city’s most famous fountain is here, installed in 1858 and modeled after the fountains at the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Benches surround the fountain and you’ll find artists, musicians, families and dog walkers clustered around it as well.
Further into the park are children’s playgrounds, a concert and event space and a fragrant garden for the blind. Continuing south the park opens up into large grassy areas for playing, napping or sunning. Basketball and tennis courts hug the southern edge while another strip hosts the Saturday Farmer’s Market. You can also find Brighter Day Natural Foods there and the Sentient Bean, serving coffee and delicious treats.
Forsyth Park is conveniently one of the trolley stops. Or you can walk there although it is about a 20 minute walk from River Street.
River Street is Savannah’s waterfront destination for fun, food and nightlife. It runs along the broad Savannah River with shops, art galleries, cafes, bars and hotels lining the opposite side.
Musicians play along the waterfront, Artists sell their work. People sit to watch the huge barges go by, loaded with colorful containers.
In the 1700s, Savannah’s port exported cotton from River Street. The huge cotton warehouses there were eventually converted into the hotels and shops that occupy those spaces now.
I spent my first evening in Savannah wandering along River Street. My first meal was at Olympia Cafe there. And my last walk before I left for the airport was along the waterfront, watching the sea gulls circle overhead and listening to the sounds of the river.
Savannah City Market
City Market is a four block area containing 19 restored warehouses. Those buildings house unique shops, art galleries, cafes and pubs. It’s a colorful spot to have a cup of tea and a scone or a pint of ale, purchase gifts for family back home or browse through art by local artists.
From morning wake up coffee to afternoon entertainment to dinner dates, City Market has lots to offer every day.
The trolley stops here, for easy access to all the fun.
One of my favorite activities in Savannah was exploring the city. Walking along cobblestone streets, sitting in the squares, looking at gorgeous houses and buildings, fills my soul with incredible joy.
While out walking, be sure to stroll along Jones Street, considered the most beautiful street in Savannah.
Stretching a mile long, in the center of the historic district, Jones Street is lined with houses and buildings constructed in the 1850s to 1880s. Live oaks shade the homes and overhang the wide street.
It’s an idyllic street to wander down, to really appreciate Savannah’s architecture.
Visiting this old cemetery is a must, while in Savannah. It’s filled with gothic monuments and statues, towering live oaks, and stately headstones. And of course, so much history.
Bonaventure Cemetery was formed from 70 acres of the original Bonaventure Plantation when cemeteries in the city neared capacity. It was designed as a traditional Victorian cemetery with grassy areas for families of the deceased to gather for picnics.
Many notable people of Savannah are buried here including musician and singer Johnny Mercer, little Gracie Watson who died as a child, Oscar Wilde and city officials.
Scenes were shot here for the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
I enjoyed the tour with Bonaventure Cemetery Walking Tour with Transportation. The cemetery lies outside the city, making it too far to walk there. This tour company provides pickup at your hotel, which was so convenient. Plus Tim, the owner and guide, is extremely knowledgeable about Bonaventure.
More Fun Things to Do in Savannah
There are so many fun things to do in Savannah that I didn’t get to all of them.
Savannah has museums, historic houses open for tours such as the Mercer House, made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil book and film, beautiful churches to peek inside of, river cruises, Tybee Island and many other points of interest. The variety of restaurants, pubs and shops is tremendous and every building, every park has a story and usually a ghost or two haunting it.
Savannah is a fascinating city that I will certainly return to, soon.
Have you explored Savannah? What was your favorite fun thing to do?
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