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Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia: 2024 Local’s Guide

a close up of a busy city street

Savannah, Georgia, often referred to as the “Hostess City of the South,” is a charming blend of historic allure and contemporary vibrance. As a Savannah local with a passion for showcasing hidden gems, I’ve compiled a guide to the most interesting activities and locales in Savannah’s diverse neighborhoods. From the cobblestone streets of the Downtown Historic District to the artistic enclave of Starland, and the serene beauty of the Islands, Savannah promises a memorable adventure for every traveler.

a close up of a busy city street

Photo credit: G. Caleb Jones

Downtown Historic District: A Culinary and Cultural Odyssey

The Downtown Historic District is the heart and soul of Savannah, where history and modernity coexist in perfect harmony. Start your journey with a leisurely stroll through Forsyth Park, a 30-acre oasis adorned with Spanish moss-draped oaks and a stunning fountain. Designed by the same renowned landscape architect that gave us Central Park in New York City, this iconic community greenspace is the perfect spot for a morning coffee or a peaceful picnic.

Savannah’s food scene is a highlight of any visit, and there’s no better way to experience it than with a Savannah Taste Experience® Food Tour. These expertly guided tours offer a delectable journey through the city’s culinary landscape, introducing you to local favorites and hidden gems. From classic Southern comfort food to innovative gastronomic creations, you’ll savor the essence of Savannah’s rich culinary heritage.

To continue your culinary experience, you can stop by The Olde Pink House, a historic mansion turned restaurant, for a taste of refined Southern cuisine. While you have to have a reservation for a chance to sit in the upstairs dining room, the more casual downstairs tavern level doesn’t take reservations. So even if you don’t have a reservation for The Pink House, you might still be able to sample the same famous menu downstairs. 

Photo credit: Starland Stays

Starland District: The Artistic Heartbeat

The Starland District, just south of the Downtown Historic District, is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood that has become a hub for Savannah’s creative community. This area is brimming with art galleries, thrift shops, and local restaurants and watering holes, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts and culture seekers. 

Begin your exploration at the Starland Yard, a lively outdoor space featuring rotating food trucks, live music, and a welcoming atmosphere. Grab a drink from Water Witch Tiki Bar, known for its tropical atmosphere and gorgeous cocktails and mocktails. Wander through galleries like the Sulfur Studios, where local artists showcase their latest works, and perhaps pick up a unique piece as a souvenir.

For a taste of the local craft beer scene, head to Two Tides Brewing Company. This neighborhood brewery offers a rotating selection of innovative brews, perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring. Don’t miss out on Starlandia Art Supplies, a beloved spot for reclaimed art supplies and funky finds!

Baldwin Park

Photo credit:
Historic Savannah Foundation

Ardsley Park: Historic Charm and Scenic Beauty

Ardsley Park, with its tree-lined streets and stately homes, offers a glimpse into Savannah’s residential elegance. This neighborhood is perfect for a leisurely bike ride or a serene walk, with its picturesque squares and well-maintained gardens.

Stop by Cafe Taureau, a cozy coffeehouse known for its organic coffee and European-style menu. It’s a great spot to relax and soak in the local atmosphere. The parks sprinkled throughout the neighborhood provide a tranquil escape with beautiful landscaping and peaceful places to sit or have a picnic.

For dinner, make your way to Ardsley Station, a farm-to-table restaurant housed in a renovated mid-century service station. The neighborhood wine bar, Late Air, offers a rotating list of natural wines by the glass and bottle, as well as an à la carte menu of seasonally evolving small dishes.

a tree in a forest

Photo credit: Visit Savannah

The Islands: Coastal Beauty and Outdoor Adventures

A short drive from downtown Savannah, the Islands area, including Wilmington Island and Tybee Island, offers a different kind of charm with its coastal beauty and outdoor activities. On Wilmington Island, visit the serene Oatland Island Wildlife Center, a 100-acre nature preserve run by the public school system. It’s a fantastic spot for families and nature lovers alike. End your day with a delicious meal at Lili’s, a local hotspot where you can dine on the patio with friends.

Tybee Island, known for its sandy beaches and laid-back vibe, is an ideal destination for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. Explore the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum, where you can climb to the top for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and navigate the tranquil waters of the Back River, or take a guided dolphin tour to see these playful creatures in their natural habitat.

Photo credit: Picker Joe’s

Hidden Gems and Local Haunts

Savannah is a city of secrets, with hidden gems and local haunts waiting to be discovered. In the Downtown Historic District, find The Book Lady Bookstore, an independent bookstore brimming with rare finds and literary treasures. To learn something you didn’t know about cocktail culture, visit The American Prohibition Museum, the only museum in the U.S. fully dedicated to the era of Prohibition.

In Starland, seek out Superbloom, a charming artisan cafe offering colorful lattes, coffee, kombucha, natural wines, Auspicious Bakery pastries, and gluten-free crepes (vegan options). Plus they have a local maker shop with products by more than 30 local makers and artists. 

For another unique shopping experience, stop by Picker Joe’s Antique Mall, where you’ll find tons of vendor booths with an eclectic mix of vintage items and antiques.

Final Thoughts

Savannah, Georgia, is a city that captivates the heart with its blend of historic charm and modern allure. Whether you’re indulging in the culinary delights of the Downtown Historic District, immersing yourself in the artistic vibe of Starland, or exploring the natural beauty of the Islands, Savannah promises an unforgettable journey. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, Savannah invites you to discover its many treasures and create lasting memories.