Anderson and I just celebrated our anniversary, so we decided to get away for a few days and explore Savannah, Georgia! The historic city is only about 2 hours north of us, making it the perfect place for a weekend trip. We visited with friends years ago, but haven’t been in a long time and weren’t sure what to expect. So I did one of my favorite things and researched the heck out of the place looking for the best places to stay, eat, shop, and explore. And of course, I want to share it all here in case you too find yourself trying to decide how to spend a weekend in Savannah.
WHERE TO STAY
First thing’s first! I recommend staying in the historic downtown area, so you can park your car at your hotel when you arrive and not get back in it until you leave town. Savannah is a walk-able city with everything you want to see and do within a few miles! Anderson and I love modern hotels that feel just a tad bougie when compared to our everyday lives. We like to feel fancy even though we aren’t. 🙂 And as soon as I started searching for hotels in the heart of the city, I came across Andaz Savannah – a concept by Hyatt and put it at the top of the list. The central location was perfect, just a block from City Market, and we decided since it was our 15th anniversary we’d go big and book a suite. Our upscale suite was huge, with a separate living room and balcony overlooking Ellis Square! I’m happy to report that it did indeed feel bougie, and we absolutely recommend this property. We also loved the comfortable bed, the 24-hour fitness center, and can you believe one of our favorite meals of the trip was right downstairs at 22 Square, the on-site restaurant? They serve what I’m going to call creative Southern comfort food. More on that later. The hotel also has an outdoor pool with a terrace, cabanas and a fire pit, but it was too cold to enjoy those… next time! We aren’t big B&B people, so I didn’t even research those but there are lots of those to choose from in Savannah. My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you stay in the heart of the city!
WHERE TO SHOP
Vintage stores over everything else. Y’all know this is my motto, so we tried to hit as many as we could. Some were on the main strip (Broughton Street) and others were tucked along quieter, more residential areas. House of Strut was one of our favorite shops. It’s on the pricey side, but the entire store is a curated collection of vintage clothing and accessories. Each piece I looked at felt special! And I loved that the tags displayed the decade when the pieces were originally made – from the 1910’s to the 1990’s. East & Up is also near the top of my list! I knew it was a winner when I saw the collection of brightly painted cowboy boots filled with flowers in the store window. This shop is full of locally sourced dry goods, a curated vintage collection, a working studio, rotating gallery shows, and lots of pieces influenced by Savannah’s whimsical vibe. By far my favorite store was Starland Strange and Bazaar in the Starland District (about 2 miles south of downtown Savannah). This fun and quirky place houses an ice cream shop, locally designed clothing, and quirky vintage finds. It has a vintage photo booth too, so you know I loved that. 🙂 We also enjoyed Wright Square Vintage and Retro Mall, found some fun t-shirts at Avalon Exchange, almost got lost forever inside the mammoth warehouse that is Jere’s Antiques (I’ve never seen so much stacked furniture in all my life), and loved the prices at Old Savannah Thrift Store. We walked through The Paris Market, and there’s a great selection of chain stores on Broughton street – we love H&M! – but for a truly one of a kind shopping experience in Savannah, you have to hit the vintage shops!
WHERE TO EAT
The main reason we came to Savannah was FOOD!
And I’m happy to report, we were not disappointed. Our top restaurant from this visit was Collins Quarter in Forsyth Park, known for Australian inspired cuisine and specialty coffees. Our meals were delicious, and the location with beautiful views of the park made it one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Yeah! High praise. They don’t take reservations, but you can put your name on the list and enjoy a walk through the park while you wait. For a classic Savannah dining experience, you can’t beat The Olde Pink House. You typically have to make reservations well in advance to get in. But some of the employees told us that Wednesdays are their slowest day, so you can sometimes just walk in at off-peak times. Worth a try if you’re in town on a Wednesday! We were totally surprised by the modern Southern cuisine at 22 Square, the onsite restaurant at our hotel, Andaz Savannah. It took a while to get our entrees, but we didn’t mind because we shared a charcuterie board and salad while we waited. Anderson had the short rib and I opted for the shrimp and grits – and they were the best versions of those dishes we’d ever eaten! You can’t go wrong with French food, and Cafe M is a charming bistro with French pastries, light breakfast and lunch eats such as baguette sandwiches. The little cafe smells like Heaven!
Our favorite coffee shops were The Coffee Fox, Mirabelle and Java Burrito Company. For dessert one day we ordered Dad’s Donut House. One of our friends recently opened this delivery-only donut shop, and he brought our order right to Forsyth Park for us! They’re mini buttermilk donuts with unique toppings that change each week. Check them out next time you’re in Savannah! We never made it to Leopold’s Ice Cream! The only time the line had fewer than 20 people was early one morning before it was even open – ha! We did, however, walk past it and into Ben and Jerry’s late one night. It’s hard to beat Americone Dream, so we felt like this was a solid decision.
Our most underwhelming meals were at Little Duck Diner and B.Matthew’s. Little Duck is a retro style diner with the best atmosphere, but the food wasn’t good. And we previously loved B. Matthew’s, but thought it was just meh this time. Overall, we think Savannah is definitely a foodie destination!
Next time we’re in town we’ll definitely stop by Starland Yard, a food truck park featuring rotating food truck options along with live entertainment and events.
WHERE TO EXPLORE
Savannah is such a walk-able city, and it’s a good thing because we needed to walk a lot after all that food I just told you about! It’s one of those places where rather than one main attraction, being immersed in the city itself is the reason people visit. And since most of the sights are within a few miles, you really can see everything in just a couple days.
Here are a few of the sights you don’t want to miss:
Stroll through Forsyth Park and take in all 30 acres of Savannah’s largest and oldest park. When we visited there were easels set up all throughout the park with people painting different landscapes, and of course, the famous fountain. If you want to walk around the whole park, the loop is about 1.5 miles. Make sure you take in all the beautiful old homes, especially the impressive Mansion on Forsyth. You can even walk though it! The 22 squares and parks throughout the city are some of Savannah’s most beloved icons. And if you plan to explore on foot you’ll run into many of them while you’re strolling. Chippewa Square is one of the most famous squares, partly because Forrest Gump once visited. Find Jones Street (the prettiest street in Savannah) that has been ranked among the most beautiful streets in the United States time and time again and enjoy the historic homes.
Take a walk down Broughton Street and explore the River Street area. Add your own lock to Love Lock Bridge. Explore the Plant Riverside District – a huge Marriott hotel set inside 3 historic buildings that once housed a power plant. The whole area is full of interesting art displays, and you can explore the main Generator Hall featuring a 135-foot dinosaur, fossils, and minerals. We enjoyed everything about this newer part of Savannah! Check out the gorgeous Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist then walk directly across the street to Mirabelle, grab a coffee and pastry and enjoy people watching while relaxing at one of their outdoor tables. Poetter Hall at the Savannah College of Art & Design is full of student art exhibits and has a quirky gift shop in a historic building. We loved seeing all the student work, and we didn’t have time to visit the SCAD museum but will definitely do that next time. On your way out of town (because it’s a little farther away from the main historic area) make a stop at the Starland District and check out the shops and food truck park.
I love leaving a city and feeling like we really experienced it but knowing there are a few new things we can come back and do next time. That’s how we felt on our way home from Savannah!