The grande dame of the South, Savannah is an elegant, traditional city made up of stylish townhouses interspersed by verdant parks. A vacation here can feel a bit like stepping back in time, especially if you're staying in a classy Stay Alfred Savannah travel apartment.
With so many interesting historic sites, eclectic boutique shops and stylish bars, it's hard to know how to choose. We've put together a list of our favorite things to do in Savannah, both historic and modern, so whether it's your first time in the city or you're practically a resident you'll find something fun to do during your stay.
Savannah is full of eerily beautiful cemeteries, but if you only see one, go to Bonaventure. This is the cemetery made famous by John Berendt in his book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and a must-see Savannah activity. The 100-acre site is the burial place for many of the city's most famous residents, including songwriter Johnny Mercer, poet Conrad Aiken and civil war general Charles Wilson. The cemetery has a number of attractive statues and is planted with live oaks and azaleas that make a walk around the cemetery beautiful as well as fascinating.
Sitting on the charming Isle of Hope just outside downtown, Wormsloe Historic Site features an antebellum mansion, the ruins of a previous colonial building and a museum where you can learn about the founding history of Savannah. Take a walk down the Avenue of Oaks, a spectacular mile-long path lined with ancient trees. There are also plenty of walks around the woods and fields of the 500-acre former plantation, and an annual roster of Savannah events where guides in period dress reenact dances and military drills and demonstrate traditional crafts.
Go shopping on River Street
What used to be row upon row of cotton warehouses on the edge of the Savannah river is now a vibrant shopping street full of boutiques, galleries, studios, restaurants and bars. Check out the famous Bob's Your Uncle, Fannie's Your Aunt, which has been selling Savannah-themed merchandise and souvenirs here since 1972, and grab a tasty ice-cream from the Cinnamon Bear Store. Even if you're not shopping, it's worth a wander to see the African-American Monument, with an inscription by Maya Angelou, and the Waving Girl Statue, which greets ships as they come in.
If the heat is getting to you, check out the Telfair Museums, one of the best indoor activities in Savannah. The museum complex houses more than 4,500 paintings, sculptures and other artworks spread across three locations. Telfair Academy has an impressive collection of 19th century European and American paintings and sculpture, while Owens-Thomas House mainly contains decorative furnishings and objets d'art. The Jepson Center mainly displays contemporary pieces and is also the location of the famous Bird Girl statue, originally in Bonaventure Cemetery. Whichever your favorite era, you're sure to find something to admire.
Forsyth Park is 30 beautiful acres of shaded lawns and mossy oaks in the center of the historic district, featuring a fragrant garden full of lemon trees, Florida anise and ginger lily, playgrounds, a cafe, and an amphitheater which hosts concerts during the warmer months. A farmer's market takes place here every Saturday, where you can buy fresh produce and blooming flowers. The central fountain, installed in 1858, is a famous and much-photographed landmark, so don't forget to grab a selfie.
Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage
If you're coming to the city with your sweetie, take note – these tours are our favorite romantic thing to do in Savannah. The horse-drawn carriage will take you around the most beautiful parts of the city at a leisurely pace, so you can do some tranquil sightseeing or cozy up together on the plush seats. There are ghost tours in the evenings if you're feeling spooky, and customized tours that include a picnic and a bottle of wine. Everything you need for the perfect date.
The city isn't the only attraction in these parts – there are plenty of things to do outside Savannah. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, hop on a boat to Ossabaw Island. This 26,000-acre nature preserve features maritime forest, tidal wetlands and wild beaches. Although the interior of the island has been sectioned off for the sole use of Georgia's four-legged inhabitants, 13 miles of beach is open to the public. In nesting season, you might spot endangered wood storks and loggerhead sea turtles, and Savannah's wild boar and alligators roam free here.
The only prohibition museum in the United States is a roller coaster ride of gangsters, rum runners and flappers that made up the Savannah party scene in the 1920s. Learn about the origins of the ban and see moonshine stills, restored Prohibition-era vehicles, and some of the swag confiscated from mobsters who made a killing with bootlegged liquor. And you can't visit without having a drink in the atmospheric speakeasy, which feels like you've stepped back to the Jazz Age with its authentic cocktails and well-dressed patrons.
If you're looking for things to do in Savannah at night, the Historic Savannah Theater should be right up your alley. First opened in 1818, it's one of the oldest continually-operating theaters in the United States. Unfortunately, several fires mean little of the old structure remains, but the current venue is a beautiful Art Deco building from 1948. There are live shows every night, the most popular being Savannah Live, a two-hour high-octane variety show. Like many buildings in Savannah, the theater is rumored to be haunted, and many of the city's ghost tours make a stop here.