6.27.2012

Guide to Delightful Savannah

savannah copy

NOTE: Updates to this post have moved HERE!

This post is a long time coming - every day I get more and more emails asking for what to do, shop and eat in Savannah.  While I am pretty firmly planted in Atlanta, I am soooo grateful to still spend about a week a month down in the South’s most splendid city.  So, without further ado, here’s my part native – part tourist take on the most “delightful” things to do behind the moss curtain.

Click here if you wish to view each and every post I’ve written about the city. 

River Street / Bay Street
Do
  • Catch the water taxi/tug boat across the river to the Westin hotel for breakfast/lunch or just for the fun of riding on the boat!  It's free and picks up from both ends of River Street -  near the Hyatt Hotel and down by the Waving Girl.
  • There are festivals and fireworks the first weekend of each month and other things on the rest of the weekends. Check here for a schedule.
Eat and Drink
  • Spanky's is a great little chicken finger and spuds (their yummy version of beer battered fries) joint for casual dining at lunch and dinner.  Kids are welcome. 
  • Grab a praline at River Street Sweets.  You won’t be able to walk by without going in.
  • Have a cocktail at the roof top bar at the Bohemian while watching the boats come in and marveling over the gorgeous oyster shell chandeliers.
  • Belly up to the piano bar at Vic’s on the River for a delish small plate and glass of wine.  A small balcony opens up right over the river.
 
Historic District
Do
  • Go on a guided ghost tour, trolley ride or carriage ride.  I haven’t been on one in a few years but all are pretty reputable.
  • Ellis Square (just outside of City Market) has a small sprayground open seasonally. There are benches and places to get ice cream in City Market.
  • Forsyth Park is our favorite place to take a picnic and blanket and let the kids run in the grass with a ball or play on the play ground. There is a cafe near the playground that serves light food, coffee and drinks. It's pretty good.
  • If you are into Girl Scouts, take a tour of the Juliette Gordon Low House.
  • The Georgia State Railroad Museum the world’s largest and most complete Antebellum railroad repair facility still in existence.  If you have a train lover in your midst, it’s worth a visit!
  • The Savannah Children's Museum opened in June.  Located in one of the original structures at the Georgia Railroad Museum, it’s a stunning and whimsical place where you and your littles can lose yourself for hours.
  • Stop by the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  I said my “I do’s” in this breathtaking and historic Catholic church.
Eat and Drink
  • The Olde Pink House unrivaled for Southern service and divine eats. This is a must-eat for all visiting Savannah. Start your evening with cocktails in the lounge and end it with the praline basket. If you only do one meal in Savannah, do it here!
  • a.lure Low Country Cuisine is wonderful new restaurant owned by lifelong friends. Open only for dinner, this is classic southern cuisine with a contemporary take, dished up in a stunningly gorgeous building.
  • The Lady & Son’s is Paula Deen’s infamous establishment.  You MUST make an advance reservation as it’s nearly impossible to walk up and get in.  This is traditional, home style Southern cookin’.  Think sweet tea, fried chicken, collards, mac n cheese, hoe cakes and gooey bars served all-you-can-eat cafeteria style.
  • Back in the Day Bakery is a retro, relaxed and remarkable stop for a light breakfast, quick lunch or fabulous dessert.  Very kid friendly.  I implore you to try the ‘nana puddin’ if it’s not sold out!
  • The Pirate’s House is a great place for littles.  The food is pretty good but you really go there for the experience.  Located in a mysterious building that first opened as an inn for seafarers in 1753, you can still see the tunnels that lead to the river and pirates pop by your table.
  • Leopolds Ice Cream is a retro ice cream parlor.  Their floats are divine!
  • Gryphon Tea Room is a nice little ladies lunch spot.  I had my bridal luncheon here, in fact!
  • Vinnie Van GoGo’s is downtown Savannah’s pizza spot.  Grab a slice and sit on the bricks to listen to live music.  Note that they only accept cash.
  • Express Cafe has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember and it’s barely changed a lick in twenty-five years.  It’s a great place for breakfast (all day) and lunch and you cannot leave without a heath bar cookie.
  • 700 Drayton at the Mansion on Forsyth Park is a swanky spot for after dinner cocktails overlooking the park.
  • The Crystal Beer Parlor is Savannah's second oldest restaurants and a local tradition.  The crab stew, other salad and burgers are all fabulous. Go early or expect to wait a good long while as they do not take reservations.
Shop
  • Broughton Street
    • 24e - home furnishings and accessories in eclectic contemporary style
    • Savannah Bee Company – I couldn’t decide whether to put this in Do, Eat or Shop!  You must make time to visit the honey tasting bar and learn all about the different varieties.  It’s free!  You can also grab a honey tea or hot biscuits with honey to snack on.  There is a very small beehive play area for kids.  Great place for souvenirs at all price points.
    • Paris Market – Again, a great one to shop and grab a snack.  I’ve never been in without falling in love with at least one thing and generally feel like I could leave with a car load. You must try a frozen french hot chocolate and an iced cookie.  The water du jour is also always fantastic.
    • DC2 – eclectic and over the top home furnishings and jewelry.  They always have a sale going on.
    • Sylvester & Co. – a new shop with unique accessories and a cute little cookie bar in the back.
    • The Lady & Son’s – Even if you don’t eat at Paula’s place, the gem of a gift shop is worth popping in.
  • Whitaker Street
    • One Fish Two Fish - full of eclectic and stylish furniture, lighting, bedding, art and accessories all with coastal accents
    • Number Four Eleven – gorgeous furnishings, linens and accessories and home of the custom monogram
    • Circa Lighting – gorgeous light fixtures
    • La Paperie – stationery, journals, gifts and all sorts of delightful finds
  • Habersham Antique Market – this is a traditional antique market and you never know what you’ll find.  My fave in Savannah.
  • 37th @ Abercorn Antiques – another antique market
  • The Ray Ellis Gallery is at Ellis Square.  He’s one of my favorite Savannah artists and his prints are attainable.
 
The Islands
Do
  • Oatland Island Wildlife Center is a very natural, very low key place to walk trails and see animals.  There are all sorts of things from wolves to alligators.  We do camp here each summer but it is also open to the public.
Shop
  • Polka Dots - coastal accents, Lilly Pulitzer home and gift items and unique jewelry.
 
Thunderbolt
Do
  • See a show at the Puppet People. The children’s shows include a tour of the workshop and a craft.  There are also shows geared towards adults.
Shop
  • River Services – this is really a store for boating gear but I’ve found plenty of things to be used for coastal craft projects – ropes, cleats, maps and nautical flags abound
 
Tybee
Do
  • Go to the beach!
  • Fort Pulaski - explore the fort, walk the trails and have a picnic.  Littles can become a Junior Park Ranger!
  • Marine Science Center offers guided beach walks and they have a very small aquarium type exhibit.  We do camp here each summer and if you are staying at Tybee you might consider this for your kids.  They run Mon-Thu and have a morning and afternoon session.
  • Pirate Playground (for lack of a better word) is fun for the kids.  Right there is also the Tybee Memorial Cemetery, beach volleyball and picnic tables.
Eat / Drink
  • Tybee Social - One of my all time Savannah favorites! I always get fish tacos and a margarita.  Very kid friendly.
  • AJ’s Dockside – river front dining and delish seafood
  • Sugar Shack – I’ve been getting a cone here for as long as I can remember.
  • Spanky's - You can eat in your swim suit and a t-shirt!  Get the fingers and spuds with honey to dip!!
  • Huc A Poos - The best pizza on the island.  Cornhole on the deck while you laze away the day.  Anything goes here!
Shop
  • Seaside Sisters – lovely home furnishings and accessories.  Mary Kay Andrews stocks a booth here!
  • The Shops at Tybee
  • Christy’s Department Store – all sorts of beach gear
 
In Town
Do
  • Savannah Sand Gnats – get up close and personal with baseball at one of our minor league games
  • Daffin Park – nice, fenced playground
Eat
  • Byrd’s Cookie Company has a newish bar with yummy sandwiches.  A nice lunch spot. While you’re there, load up on gourmet cookies and southern foods.
  • Two Smart Cookies is a scrumptious cookie bar with a side of lovely home decor.  A great place for an afternoon snack!
  • Maison de Macarons brings a sweet taste of France to the South!  Freshly made macarons are to die for.
Shop
  • Sweet Tea in Sandfly is a new addition to my must-shop list.  Gorgeous, gorgeous home furnishings and accessories. Loads of pieces from local artists.
  • Clutter off of Eisenhower is home to all sorts of fabulous finds - antiques, art and accessories.
 
Seasonal Favorites
  • St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 in the historic district and the previous Saturday at Tybee
  • Pirate Fest – October at Tybee
  • Tour of Homes – March in the historic district

Note that this is by no means an exhaustive or expert list of all there is to do in Savannah – this is simply a list of what my family enjoys. I hope you do too!  Have a GREAT time down South and let me know if y’all have any favorites!! 

With that, I’m off to start my own day in Savannah :-)
xoxo

12 comments:

Donna T said...

Thanks, Amanda. I will let you know how it went!

Calypso In The Country said...

It's always nice to get advice from someone who has lived there rather than from some guide book. I will definitely put some of those places on my list for my next trip back! It's been way too long!
-Shelley

micki @ ADD housewife said...

Awesome! I've always wanted to visit savannah!

Sara said...

Thank you! I'm hoping a kidless trip is in my future so I can shop and eat and do all things adult in Savannah!

RV Roof Repair said...

I was browsing from since morning in search of music notes in that search sudden i got your post its really nice and interesting also.

Anonymous said...

This is PERFECT timing!!! We are headed to Savannah/Tybee with our three children (ages 2, 6, 9) the first week of August and this helps SO MUCH! We've never been before, but I just know we're going to fall in love and not want to come home!!! Any tips on places in town to stay, or even on Tybee, for that matter? Thanks again for sharing your helpful insight!

All the Best,
Kristin

Holly said...

Thanks so much! My BFFs and I aare heading to savannah in about 74 days. 3 days with the girls shopping and eating, and now I have a natives recommendations!

Julie said...

We also like Clary's cafe for breakfast. It's a fun little dive for good eggs, grits and pancakes!

SavannahGranny said...

I have been perusing your neat blog, trying to figure out where you live. I am guessing from this post you live in the Atlanta area.
I live on Skidaway Island, 26 years and in Savh 42 yrs.
I am guessing you grew up here. So great that you get to come back each month.
Your list was spot on.
The Driftaway restaurant at Sandfly is great too. Try their Grouper sandwich. Just know ahead of time, It is NOY just a sandwich...whole meal.
Blessings, Ginger

Erin {House of Turquoise} said...

I am bookmarking this pronto!!! I wish I had a whole week to stay in Savannah, it sounds like a total dream!!! Thanks for putting together such a great post!

Edgardo Berones said...

The ideas are so insightful, glad to have visited your site.Please continue posting more delightful articles, can't wait to see more posts from you.


Melbourne Roof Restoration

The enchanted home said...

This is AMAZING!! I am bookmarking it and keep it on my phone..this is all the travel guide I need. MANY THANKS...cannot wait to go!

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