Oh, Savannah. You’re my favorite. I know a lot of people who are super obsessed with Charleston, SC because of its southern charm and overall picturesque adorableness. I don’t blame them, but I love Savannah like those people love Charleston.
We went for the first time very briefly about two years ago with my family. We were there for a few hours, and I instantly knew I would need to come back longer- without kids.
So why this particular city? I find it’s hard to put into words without sounding crazy, so we’ll start with the obvious. There’s a park literally every two blocks. A perfect square park with hanging trees and benches and statues. We saw artists painting landscapes in the park. It’s just out of a movie. The huge trees with their branches dripping of Spanish moss hanging over the streets. A coffee shop every few feet. Literal heaven.
Listen, I know Savannah is a touristy city. I saw the horse carriage and trolley tours, the rented bikes, the tourist dinner cruises. But for some reason, walking around, it doesn’t have the same feel as a mega touristy city. Everything seems spread out. There are main streets centers, but it feels much more spread out as a whole, which I loved. I felt like no matter where we walked we would find something amazing.
Dan and I took a trip- KID FREE- to Savannah for 2.5 days at the beginning of May. Savannah is in the south, y’all, and it gets hot. May helped us beat a little bit of the heat of summer. While I’m not an expert, while I’d love to go to this city so many more times, I definitely feel like we had some great experiences that I’d encourage y’all to try if you are down in the area!
Sidenote- no help on where to stay. When Dan and I travel, we usually stay at cheap places because we don’t spend time there. I’d rather spend more money on food and drinks and shopping rather than a hotel for 9-10 hours a night. I’ve heard great things about The Marshall House, and it was gorgeous, but we stayed at a Days Inn, haha!
Let’s start the with the most important things, shall we? COFFEE.
Dan and I had (semi)joked about doing a coffee tour of Savannah, but with how many coffee shops they had, we decided that might be bad for our health. We did stay well caffeinated throughout the whole trip, though, and it was all pretty phenomenal!
This place is super cool. It’s a full scale restaurant, but we just popped in for coffee. A heads up this place gets CRAZY, so be prepared for a wait. They have a coffee bar, so Dan and I got lucky and found two seats there. Otherwise, it’s a smaller restaurant, more well known, and it gets insane. They have some really fun and unique drinks, and it was SO good. I had a madagascar vanilla latte and ugh. SO GOOD.
I just. No words. I LOVE this place. It’s a shop, it’s a small cafe, it’s coffee…it’s the best of everything. We went here “early” one morning (they don’t open til 10), because I was having an instamoment. They have adorable chairs and tables outside, and I wanted a photo without anyone else in them, ha! But I could have just spent time here. I got a lavender latte here (and a quiche, that was good), and I will say it was a bit tooo lavender-y. But the espresso was good, Dan got an Americano he really liked. And the ambiance and atmosphere was just so good. We sat outside people watching and coffee sipping. It made me actually feel like I was in Paris. Go here.
We really liked this place! A cool atmosphere, baked goods available (plenty of vegan options if you’re into that). I got an iced latte here, and just a heads up that they don’t have many (if any) flavor options. They brew locally roasted coffee and also offer cheeseboards, so it’s definitely a trendy and cool place. Limited seating, but we got ours to-go, and they did have a bar where you could sit!
We stopped here on my first trip to Savannah with my family, and it is SO good. Just a traditional iced latte hit the spot, especially as we were there in the heat of summer. Another super cool spot, lots of seating, trendy and minimal. They sold different artwork as well that was really cool. Definitely a cool spot to stop in!
There are tons more on our list for when we go back – The Foundry Coffee Pub, Blends a Coffee Boutique, and Foxy Loxy Cafe, to name a few!
The second best part. I feel like the problem with places like Savannah is that they’re just created for you to eat. The whole time. So I’m not saying that these are the best places to eat- there are so many places we didn’t get chance to even go to! But these are some of the places we went and loved!
Arguably the most well known restaurant in Savannah. Seriously, you can’t Google Savannah without this place coming up. So a few things. It is adorable. It’s so cute and picturesque. It’s also super busy always. I advice making reservations well in advance of your trip. Dan and I are n00bs and didn’t do this. They do have 2 areas of the restaurants for
peasants walk ins, so we did that one afternoon for lunch. We waited about 20 minutes which is honestly not that bad.
This place is famous for the fried green tomato blt salad (it was on food network or something). And y’all- it was PHENOMENAL. I have dreams about that salad. It was light but so filling, and not even at all overhyped. I also had their strawberry lemonade and gosh was it delicious. The service was great, the place was cute, the food was amazing- 10/10 worth the buzz. But make reservations.
If you take a single suggestion from this post, make it this restaurant. One of my wedding couples used to live in Savannah and recommended this place. It’s a little outside of the main part of town, but we loved that. It made it feel more local and less touristy. AND THOSE TACOS. I have been on the hunt for a fish taco as good as the one I had there. And I haven’t found one. Go here, get the fish tacos, and thank me later.
This is a pizza place, and we went here because it was raining and we were hungry and pizza sounded good. It was pretty good, but if I’m honest- nothing special. We enjoyed it, it tasted good, but not a place we feel like we would have to go back to again.
I. Do. Not. Have. Words. So this place is known for their waffles. They’re called liége waffles, and something with pearlized sugar throughout and I don’t even care, they’re amazing. This is the first place Dan and I went after getting to Savannah. They have so many amazing waffles, it was really hard to pick. I ended up getting one with nutella and strawberries (because #duh), and it was actually like eating a slice of heaven. Dan got a lemon curd and raspberry and that was also delicious. Just so good. It’s also an absolutely adorable place. The floors are even cute, and they have precious chairs and tables outside. There is a small hotel above it, but it’s such a charming building. It’s also right across the street from the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist which is truly a breathtaking building.
I feel like the fact that this place has rolled ice cream, frozen yogurt, and crepes just speaks for itself. No words are needed. We found this on our last night and wish we had found it the first so we could have gone everyday, all day.
Another semi-famous place in Savannah. The line was crazy when we went at night, so maybe going in the daytime would cut down on that, but it was great! They had so many flavors, you could tell it was made extra special, and it just has the old ice cream parlor feel that is so fun. The son of one of the founders is a producer in Hollywood, so they a bunch of his movie posters all over the walls which is cool. Also, they had someone handing out cups of water as we were waiting in line, so 5 stars for service.
things to do
One of my favorite parts of this city is that you can do nothing. I loved sitting outside of The Paris Market and just talking with my husband, drinking coffee. Going for a walk along the cute streets and coming up on a square and just hanging out. It’s so relaxing. But there are so many amazing things to do in and around the city. (I’m not including any scripted tours. Mainly because we didn’t do those, but also because I don’t enjoy those. I’d rather do my own thing.)
So. This place is like 20 minutes outside of Savannah. And I’ll be real. The only major draw is this driveway. It’s magical and 100% worth it to see that. There are “ruins” I guess, but nothing exciting. They do have hiking trails, so that’s an option. We weren’t dressed for that, so we went, we saw, we looked around, we left. Again, this driveway is totally magical and totally worth it, so still recommend. Just know what you’re going for.
This is when Savannah felt touristy to me. STILL WORTH IT. This is such a cool street. It’s a cute cobblestone street all along the river (thus the name). There are tons of restaurants and bars and stores and candy shops all along the other side of the street. It’s so beautiful looking over the water. They also do dinner cruises out of here that looked gorgeous. The best part- you can get drinks to go. I got a glass of wine and was able to take it walking down the street before we just sat and hung out. This is a great spot to just hang out and relax, especially if the weather is nice!
This is another one that’s about 20-25 minutes from Savannah. But I am a beach person, so if I’m within 30 minutes of a beach- we’re going. We got lucky in May and found easy parking, and we just hung out for a little bit. We didn’t take our swimsuits or anything, but we went as is and just enjoyed a change of scenery. (If you do want to spend more time here, make sure you eat at The Original Crab Shack. Such a cool place.)
Another popular destination (they all are, at this point). I had mentioned Savannah has a ton of parks. Forsyth is like the mother of the parks. Just a huge park in the middle of the city, an iconic tree line leading up to a fountain, lots of trees and benches with tables. If you do go with kids, it would be a great place to take them to run off some energy!
I am a sucker for a bookstore. The ambiance, the smell, the quietness and stillness, the way the floorboards always creak the same no matter what store. I love them. This one was so cute and cozy. They had so many genres, a mix of new and used books, and just a really inviting atmosphere. It was pretty tight quarters, but so worth going in if you like that kind of thing.
So this place is cute. It’s near a lot in the city so it’s worth walking through it, but don’t expect to spend much time here. Lots of restaurants and candy stores, a few shops that are fun to see, a cool courtyard type place to hang out, and this is where you’ll go for all the tours. So a cute place to see, there’s a pretty famous cookie place (they give free samples) so that was fun to try. We didn’t spend much time here but I’m glad we saw it!
This is supposedly the prettiest street in Savannah. From my limited experience, I’d have to agree. The trees, and the buildings, and the flower boxes, and the colors- it is beautiful. It was quiet, too, so it was nice just walking down and seeing it all. My photographer heart could have spent hours photographing this place, but I didn’t make my husband suffer through that. Definitely worth grabbing a coffee and taking a walk!
O M GOODness this is a long post. This city is so beautiful and charming, and I hope you plan to go! If you’ve been, I’d love to know your favorite places! Already making a list for our next trip ;).
If you’re looking for another southern travel guide, make sure to check out our trip to Hilton Head here!