Eating and sightseeing in Savannah

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Savannah is one of my favorite foodie cities in the world. The quaint coastal city in Georgia has some of the best food in the United States. There are plenty of sights that dazzle with their traditional charm and Southern hospitality.

Things to do

Forsyth Park

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Covering 30 acres, this is the largest park of the historic district of Savannah. The park is full of beautiful old oak trees covered in Spanish moss, which cast a lot of shade. A lot of locals come to Forsyth to read on the benches or enjoy a nice walk. The park’s famous fountain is dyed green every year for St. Patrick’s Day, which is a great time to visit. Savannah has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world. The area around the park is also great for checking out Victorian mansions.

Owens-Thomas House

Part of the Telfair Museum, the Owens-Thomas House became Savannah’s first house museum in 1951. The mansion and lush gardens are a contrast to the slave quarters also featured on the property, the only ones of their kind open to the public in Savannah. The tour provides historical context about the lives of the owners, the wealthy Owens family, and the slaves that maintained the property. Like pretty much all attractions in the South, you never really know whether to feel like it’s glorifying the 19th century a little bit as opposed to condemning the idea of owning people. And you know some visitors are definitely there to do the former. But you can’t erase history so you might as well enjoy the architecture.

Ghost tours

Known as one of the most haunted cities in America due to its bloody history, Savannah capitalizes on the folklore by being saturated with ghost tours. You’d probably enjoy a ghost tour if you’re the kind of person that would like any historical walking tour. The only difference between a regular walking tour and a ghost tour is that it’s at night and the subject matter is a little more macabre. As with all tours, the enjoyment of it depends highly on the skill of the guide, and that’s what TripAdvisor is for. Rated highest in the city is Ghost City Tours, led by Skippy Spiral. If listening to spooky stories isn’t your cup of tea, try the boozy version, the Haunted Pub Crawl. The more drunk or easily suggestible you are, the more likely you are to believe that the dust particles caught by the flash in your camera are ghost orbs.

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Boo!

Bonaventure Cemetery

Keeping with the creepy theme, one of Savannah’s most popular attractions is Bonaventure Cemetery. The site was made famous by the Bird Girl sculpture that was featured on the cover of the non-fiction novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The statue no longer resides at the cemetery. It’s been relocated to Telfair Museum’s Jepson Center for the Arts. Nonetheless, the cemetery still has plenty of beautiful tombs, sculptures, and plots worth seeing. If nothing else, the place is peaceful and nice to walk around in.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

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I never miss an opportunity to see a beautiful church. And Savanna’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist certainly fits the bill. It sits on the edge of Lafayette Square and is just as impressive from the outside as it is inside. The French Gothic cathedral is all marble columns and vaulted arches, adorned with elaborate stained glass. It’s free to enter though a small donation is recommended.

River Street

As the name suggests, River Street faces the Savannah River. The cobbled street is lined with inns, restaurants, bars, and boutique shops, making it a perfect place to do some shopping with a view. My personal favorite stop is Savannah Bee Company where you can buy artisanal honey, beauty products, and even edible honeycomb. Then pick your poison. You can get whiskey wasted at Kevin Barry’s while you enjoy some live Irish music. Or enjoy a craft cocktail with a view at Top Deck.

Bonus stop for Forrest Gump fans

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The park where Forrest Gump is enjoying his box of chocolates is Chippewa Square. Though the bench resides at the Savannah History Museum, you can still visit the park and the nearby Independent Presbyterian Church, also seen in the movie.

Where to eat

Honestly, where not to eat? Savannah has an incredible variety of food. It’s hard to find a bad meal. But there are some worth going back for.

Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room

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This is not only a meal, it’s an experience. This Southern lunch spot is at the Wilkes House. Each morning, hopeful diners line up outside on West Jones St. hoping to get a spot at the communal tables where you sit with strangers and say grace before digging into the already-served platters of chicken, gumbo, corn bread, and black-eyed peas. Get in line by 10 am. Doors open at 11 am.

The Lady & Sons

Forget the Bellagio. There’s never been a buffet more decadent and unbelievable than this. Paula Deen’s Savannah restaurant lives up to her Food Network hype. Fried chicken, ribs, collard greens, mac and cheese… this buffet has all the Southern comfort food you could ever want. They also have an a la carte menu.

J. Christopher’s

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There’s nothing like a proper breakfast to start your day. And when a place closes at 2 pm, you know their breakfast game is on point. Don’t believe me? I have two words for you: bacon waffle. Aside from the standard eggs and pancakes fare, you’ll find all sorts of inventive breakfast creations at this classic diner.

Lulu’s Chocolate Bar

I’m a sucker for decadent desserts and sugary drinks. And Lulu’s has got more pies, cakes, and dessert martinis than you can safely enjoy in one sitting. If that’s too much sugar for you, they also have a cheese board and charcuterie plate to enjoy with your salted caramel martini.

Now can someone ship me some honeycomb?


Get the GPS-guided version of this and other Savannah guides on GPSmyCity here.