Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just looking to have a good time, Savannah is brimming with all sorts of unique attractions. The city is best known for its picture-perfect Historic District, beautiful cobblestone squares, and bustling waterfront. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll encounter all sorts of innovative eateries, buzzing art galleries, and unique museums.
Explore the Historic District, and you’ll find 22 beautiful city squares, incredible 18th- and 19th-century mansions, and some of Savannah’s most iconic attractions. Be sure to snap a selfie at the popular Forsyth Park Fountain, learn about the city’s past at the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and catch a show at the historic Savannah Theatre.
Plus, no trip to Savannah is complete without spending a day exploring the city’s spectacular waterfront. You can easily while away the hours going shopping on River Street, taking a cruise along the Savannah River, or sipping cocktails with a view at a swanky rooftop bar.
And when it comes to dining options, head over to Starland Yard to sample creative eats from a trendy food truck. Or, if you want to class it up, put on your Sunday best and dine on classic Southern dishes at the iconic The Olde Pink House.
With so many things to see and do, you might not know where to begin. So we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Savannah, Georgia for you. Stick to these fun and unique Savannah bucket list recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time exploring this gorgeous corner of the world!
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15 cool and unique things to do in Savannah
1. Photograph the Moss-Laden Spanish Oak Trees in Forsyth Park
Set right in the heart of the Historic District, Forsythe Park is a must on your Savannah bucket list. You can easily spend hours meandering around the lush grounds and taking in the picture-perfect views of the Spanish moss-draped oaks.
If you only have time for a quick visit, you’ll definitely want to take photos of the Forsyth Park Fountain. Located at the north end of the park, the 1858 fountain is one of the most photographed spots in Savannah – and that’s saying something!
Explore the park, and you’ll find a series of walking paths, a children’s play area, a Fragrant Garden for the blind, and tennis and basketball courts. If you’re feeling peckish, go brunching at the popular Collins Quarter at Forsyth. Or, if you’re visiting on a Saturday afternoon from 9 am to 1 pm, pick up picnic supplies at the Forsythe Farmers’ Market.
The park is surrounded by some of Savannah’s best attractions, including the Mercer-Williams House Museum and the Savannah College of Art and Design. So it’s a great jumping-off point if you plan to explore all of the hidden gems in the Historic District.
2. Shop Till You Drop at City Market
The bustling City Market is easily one of the top things to do in Savannah. The market dates back to the 1700s. And although the original structure was destroyed, the restored public space remains one of the most popular spots to mix and mingle in the city.
The open-air market spans four blocks and offers all sorts of cool shops, art galleries, restaurants, and nightlife venues. Whether you’re looking to do some early morning shopping or party the night away, City Market has something for everyone!
Peruse City Market’s eclectic shops, and you’ll find all sorts of handmade jewelry, homemade desserts, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Plus, art lovers will definitely want to spend some time at the Savannah City Market’s Art Center, where you’ll find a variety of works by local artists and a range of artists’ studios.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can dine on award-winning steaks and seafood at Belford’s Savannah, sample traditional homemade British pies at Pie Society, or grab a slice of pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go’s.
3. Learn About Savannah’s Storied History at the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters
Architecture and history buffs will be spoiled for choice in historic Savannah. But you’ll definitely want to take the time to visit the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.
Built in 1819, the home was built by a Bermuda merchant and still stands proud as a beautiful example of English Regency architecture. The home is so incredible it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Take the time to explore the rooms, and you’ll find beautiful English Georgian and American Federal period furniture, 18th- and 19th-century works of art, early Savannah textiles, and so much more.
While the main house has all sorts of incredible historical and architectural details, be sure to pay a visit to the carriage house. The structure is home to one of the oldest and best-preserved urban slave quarters in the South. In addition to a pantry lined with ingredients used to make Gullah cuisine, you’ll find a haint blue ceiling used by the Gullah people to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.
4. Catch a Show at the Historic Savannah Theatre
Dating back to 1818, the Savannah Theatre is the oldest continually operating theater in the United States. Over the years, the theater has acted as a live performance venue as well as a movie theater.
Some of the biggest celebrities from the 19th and 20th centuries have graced the stage here, including Fanny Davenport, Oscar Wilde, and Lillian Russell. Today, the theater offers nightly shows, including film screenings and musical performances.
The theater is now part of the Savannah Theater District, which is home to the Savannah College of Art and Design and hosts the Savannah Music Festival and the Savannah Film Festival. The Savannah Theater District hosts a range of Broadway productions, concerts, and comedy acts throughout the year, some of which you can attend at the Savannah Theatre!
The theater is also rumored to be haunted by three ghosts. Over the years, numerous sightings and spooky occurrences have been reported. So, if paranormal activities are your thing, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to this art deco gem.
As an added perk, the famous bench where Forrest Gump was shot is right outside the theater. So be sure to bring your gear to take photos!
5. Eat Your Way Through Starland Yard
Foodies will want to beeline it straight to Starland Yard. At first glance, you’ll think the attraction is simply a collection of colorfully-painted shipping containers.
But step inside, and you’ll find a collection of local food trucks, a play area for kids and dogs, and a bunch of yard games. Time your visit right, and you may stumble across a pop-up event, a rotating art show, or a live concert.
If you came to eat, you’ll love sampling the international and local dishes at the rotating selection of food trucks. Think creative grilled cheese sandwiches at The Big Cheese, C-port shrimp po’ boys at Dark Shark Taco Attack, and jerk chicken and curried goat at SweetSpice. From Japanese fare to Southern classics, foodies will love all of the innovative eats at Starland Yard!
Starland Yard is also home to two brick-and-mortar venues. Pizzeria Vittoria serves up seriously good wood-fired pizzas. And if you want to imbibe, you can sip cocktails and a range of local brews at the bustling Yard Bar.
6. Photograph the Wormsloe Historic Site
Located 10 minutes from the heart of the Historic District, the Wormsloe Historic Site is a must on your Savannah bucket list. The Wormsloe Plantation is a sprawling estate dating back to 1733 and just happens to be the oldest standing structure in Savannah!
The estate is best known for its picture-perfect driveway, which is covered by an archway of live oak trees draped in Spanish moss. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera to capture this highly Insta-grammable Savannah attraction.
Once you’ve got the perfect shot, explore the estate’s tabby ruins, gravesites, seven miles of nature trails, and Colonial Life Area. There’s also an onsite museum, theater, and gift shop.
Many people believe that the iconic “run, Forrest, run” scene was filmed here, but it was actually filmed in South Carolina. While Forrest Gump was not filmed here, many famous films have been shot at Wormsloe Historic Site, including Roots, The General’s Daughter, and Savannah.
7. Take a Tour of Bonaventure Cemetery
Located an easy 15-minute drive from the heart of town, touring Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the coolest things to do in Savannah. The cemetery shot to fame as a top Savannah attraction after it was featured in the bestselling novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. And its popularity has never waned.
If you’re interested in seeing all of the cemetery’s most famous gravesites and getting some in-depth knowledge of the city’s history, it’s well worth taking one of the many guided tours on offer. Or, if you just want to explore the grounds and see what you can find, that’s fine too!
The graves of Little Gracie Watson, John Herndon “Johnny” Mercer, and Conrad Potter Aiken are among the most-visited in the cemetery. Although the Bird Girl statue is one of the cemetery’s most-famous artifacts, it is actually housed in the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center for the Arts.
You’ll definitely want to take some time to take in the spectacular views of the cemetery’s moss-covered oaks, beautiful bluff side setting on the Wilmington River, and the many beautiful sculptures.
8. Get Your Art Fix at Savannah’s Museums
Savannah is chock full of vibrant galleries and world-class art museums. You can start your art-filled day at the SCAD Museum of Art, which serves as a resource and teaching museum for the Savannah College of Art and Design. But you don’t have to be a student to explore all of the museum’s exhibitions, permanent collections, and vast collections!
One of the standout features of SCAD is the Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, which is one of the largest collections of African American art in the US. You’ll also want to peruse the Modern and Contemporary Art Collection and the 20th-century Photography Collection, among others.
Next, stroll over to the nearby Jepson Center for the Arts. Part of the Telfair Museums, the building was designed by famed architect Moshe Safdie and is an attraction in its own right.
The museum celebrates art and architecture and offers educational programs, traveling exhibitions, and an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. Plus, there’s a fun interactive gallery for kids if you happen to be traveling with your little ones.
9. Go Kayaking on Tybee Island
If you want to have some fun in the sun, spending a day on Tybee Island is one of the coolest things to do in Savannah. The barrier island is located an easy 30-minute drive from the heart of town. Make the journey, and you’ll be rewarded with sandy beaches, a charming city, a functioning 18th-century lighthouse, and so much more.
One of the best ways to explore Tybee Island is to paddle through the waterways with a kayak. If you don’t have your own gear, there are plenty of rental shops in town. Plus, you can opt to paddle around on your own or join a variety of eco-friendly tours.
Either way, you’ll love getting up-close views of the marsh, local wildlife, and other natural attractions. Be sure to make your way to the Savannah River to enjoy the views of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse and Fort Pulaski. This is also a prime spot for dolphin viewing!
Once you work up an appetite, make your way to The Crab Shack for a fresh seafood platter. But be sure to make reservations beforehand, since this popular place can get crowded!
10. Wine and Dine at The Olde Pink House
The Olde Pink House is an institution in Savannah. With its iconic pink façade, it’s an extremely popular fine-dining spot for both locals and tourists. The Colonial-era mansion was built in 1771 and was turned into an upscale tavern and restaurant in the 1920s.
As the legend goes, the home’s original red brick kept bleeding through the white plaster, creating a shade of pink. When it was sold in the 1920s, the new owner decided to just own it, and she slathered the mansion in a lovely shade of pink.
If you’re looking for an excuse to get all dolled up or are celebrating a special occasion, The Olde Pink House is the perfect dinner spot. The chefs dish out some seriously impressive Southern classics with a modern twist. Plus, the Southern hospitality is second to none.
The menu boasts grilled pork tenderloin with bourbon molasses, goat cheese stuffed artichoke fritters, and cornbread fried oysters, to name a few. For pre- or post-dinner drinks, the onsite The Arches bar mixes up stiff cocktails, including their signature Planter’s Punch, Jalapeño Margarita, and Green Chile Bloody Mary.
Do note that this is one of the top things to do in Savannah, so it’s best to make your reservations well in advance.
11. Take a Stroll Down River Street
One of the more endearing things about Savannah is its riverside setting. No trip to the city is complete without spending some time shopping, dining, and drinking along River Street. Not only is it picturesque, but there are endless things to do on Savannah’s waterfront!
Shopaholics will definitely want to go shopping at the bustling River Street Market Place and the nearly 100 boutique shops housed in former cotton warehouses. Time your visit right and you might just come across live music, pop-up events, and annual festivals.
When it comes to food and drink, River Street is a must-do Savannah activity. Be sure to sample the seriously good beignets from Huey’s, indulge with pecan pralines at River Street Sweets, and enjoy fine dining at Vic’s on the River.
12. Visit Savannah’s Most Haunted Places
With its storied history, it’s no secret that Savannah is known as one of the most haunted cities in America. So why not pay a visit to the city’s most haunted places?
The trendy Moon River Brewing Company is housed in the former City Hotel and is widely regarded as one of the most haunted buildings in Savannah. If you want to give yourself a scare, head into the basement or to the upper floors, and you might just hear the ghostly children playing in the basement or spot the famous “Lady in White.”
You can also dine with spirits at The Pirate’s House, go ghost hunting at Factor’s Walk, or test your limits after dark at Colonial Park Cemetery. But if you really want to give yourself a scare, stay the night in one of Savannah’s many haunted hotels.
The Hamilton-Turner Inn is rumored to be one of the best places for paranormal encounters. Guests have reported hearing footsteps in their rooms and spotting a ghostly man smoking a cigar, so staying here isn’t for the faint of heart!
13. Get Up Close With Sea Creatures at the University of Georgia Aquarium
If you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in Savannah, then the University of Georgia Aquarium should be at the top of your Savannah bucket list. Tucked away on Skidaway Island, the aquarium is a scenic 20 minutes from the heart of town.
Explore the aquarium, and you’ll discover 16 tanks that are home to a variety of fish and reptiles, including turtles and alligators. You’ll also find all sorts of information and exhibits dedicated to the local sea creatures that are found along the coast of Georgia. Kids will especially love the touch tanks, which house knobbed whelks, horseshoe crabs, and spider crabs!
The museum also boasts fossils from the last Ice Age and a 3D interactive diorama of the nearby Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Head outside, and you can observe wildlife from the observation platforms at the Saltmarsh Boardwalk, learn about native plant life at the Skidaway Learning Garden, and commune with nature on one of the scenic nature trails.
14. Cruise Along the Savannah River
One of the most unique things to do in Savannah is to go for a cruise along the Savannah River. It’s a great way to experience a different side of Savannah while learning all about the city’s intriguing history.
You can choose from a range of fun river cruises. But if you’re looking for a romantic night out, the two-hour Dinner Cruise or the Sunset Cruise is your best bet.
If you’re in town on a family vacation or a weekend getaway with the girls, the Sunday Brunch Cruise is bound to be a good time. You can enjoy the river views while dining on a lavish buffet of Savannah-style staples, including some of the best fried chicken in the South and the cruise line’s signature Savannah shrimp and grits.
There’s also a Gospel Dinner Cruise, where you can dine on Southern fare while listening to Gospel music, as well as a Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise, perfect for first-time visitors looking to learn about the city’s history.
15. Sample the Original Tutti Frutti Ice Cream at Leopold’s
There’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer day than with a scoop or two from Leopold’s Ice Cream. Not only is this one of the oldest ice cream parlors in the US, but it was named one of the “Top 10 Ice Cream Parlors in the World!”
This adorable retro ice cream parlor was opened by three Greek brothers in 1919. Over the years, the brothers perfected their ice cream recipes to create what is now a longstanding Savannah institution. Today, Leopold’s still uses the same recipes handed down by the Leopold brothers.
Leopold’s always has a rotating selection of 30 ice cream flavors for you to choose from. You can try the Butter Pecan with roasted Georgia pecans, Honey Almond Cream with honey from the Savannah Bee Company, or the original rum-infused Tuttie Frutti!
In line with its retro vibe, there’s also an old-fashioned soda fountain with ultra-friendly soda jerks who will whip up decadent banana splits, hot fudge sundaes, and hand-crafted fountain sodas. It’s the perfect way to cap off the perfect day in Savannah.
There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Savannah. What’s your favorite thing to do in Savannah?
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