A huge thanks to Mansion on Forsyth Park for the wonderful stay! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Last spring’s trip to Palm Beach, FL had Marissa and I craving another southern destination to travel to together — so, when we started brainstorming where we wanted to go, Marissa mentioned Savannah (since she had been once before) and I was IN! I had always wanted to travel there and was so excited to check off another Southern location off my travel bucket list!
Savannah is Georgia’s oldest city and has been named “one of the world’s friendliest cities” by Condé Nast Traveler readers — which I HAVE to agree with! In my opinion, it’s the quintessential South (amazing food, the sweetest people, hot and humid temps), but it really has a vibe of its own. It’s also one of America’s most haunted cities (in the same circle as Salem, MA and New Orleans) and has a very somber history that now lingers with a slightly spooky energy. Despite all that, it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to and I can’t recommend traveling there enough!
The entire city is covered with huge, gorgeous Spanish moss draped oak trees, cobblestone streets and stunning architecture and looks like something out of an actual movie set.
We spent 4 full days in Savannah and packed SO MUCH into the trip to be able to give the best recommendations to you guys! We were seriously going from the first thing in the morning until bedtime — checking out all the places you guys recommended and eating our way through the gorgeous southern city! I’m sharing all about where we stayed, what we did, where we ate (most importantly!) and where you can snap the perfect Instagram photo!
WHERE TO STAY
We checked into the beyond beautiful Mansion on Forsyth Park, which you guessed it, is on Forsyth Park — an easy landmark in Savannah which is smack dab in the middle. It honestly reminds me of how New York City has Central Park (on a much smaller level of course), but it helps divide the city, and is a beautiful 30-acre park right in the middle of the Historic District (more on the park below). When we pulled up to the brick and terra cotta 19th century structure, I felt instantly transported to a Victorian novel. The 1888 built former funeral home (yep) has big city vibes and amenities while also feeling quaint and tucked away. The Kessler Collection property is filled with eclectic decor, its own art gallery (as Mr. Kessler is quite the collector), a gorgeous roman-style pool, and 125 guest rooms. There’s also an onsite restaurant 700 Drayton (more on that below), a famous cooking class, and an old-world bar with some crafty cocktail selections.
Not only is the hotel absolutely breathtaking, but each and every staff member truly made us feel at home from the moment we arrived. Cold water bottles handed to us the second we walked in the door, fresh baked cookies to snack on in the lobby, and a staff we got to know so well — it seriously felt like a bed and breakfast at times! This North East gal felt instantly at ease (coming from a part of the country where you’re afraid of an eye roll for asking a basic question) — I love staying at a place that people genuinely love working at. Each and every staff member was so accommodating, filled with knowledge and recommendations — and they all knew the history down to every detail — it seriously felt like live-in tour guides!
WHAT TO DO
Trolley Tours. The best and most efficient way to bounce around the city, learn some history, and take in the sights of Savannah. We opted for the “hop on and off” tour which would let us hop on and off the trolley at any of the 15+ stops, or you could elect to stay put and the full tour is about 90 minutes. They take you by all the famous sights including City Market, along River Street, in between some of the famous Savannah Squares and stunning homes in the Historic District. It’s a great way to grab some photos as well, since you’re sitting up a little higher and a good excuse to get off your feet without feeling unproductive!
Check out The Olde Pink House. Just about every OSG reader with a Savannah recommendation told me I needed to go here! I felt like I reached the motherland when we walked up to the jasmine-filled pink house with the most gorgeous oversized porch I’d ever seen! Although we didn’t eat here, it was still so fun to walk around the block snapping photos, and checking out the inside — the decor inside is just as gorgeous as the outside.
Stroll through the Savannah Squares. There are 22 “square” parks throughout the city that break up the architecture and cobblestone streets. Each has its own history which you can find written on the plaques noted at the entrances. A few of note? I loved walking through Chippewa Square (located on Bull and McDonough Streets) which is the famous scene in Forrest Gump (where he’s sitting on the bench). I also thought Pulaski Square (Barnard and Macon Streets) was the most tranquil and photogenic of the bunch.
Shop along Broughton Street. We ducked in and out of some beautiful shops that made me wish I didn’t only pack a carry-on — I wanted to bring so many trinkets back with me! My favorite was The Paris Market (located at 36 W Broughton St) filled with the most beautiful antiques, jewelry and speciality gifts. It also has a little café on the upper level that looks straight off the streets of Paris. Get the lavender iced-tea — I’m still craving it!
Ghost tours. I touched on the somber history of Savannah above, making it a perfect city for a little paranormal activity. Due to the wars and bloody battles that have taken place throughout the streets, deadly disease outbreaks like Yellow Fever, the fire of 1796 and the even bigger fire of 1820 which destroyed over 500 buildings, and slavery which occurred until the Civil War — there are plenty of ghost stories to be told and tours you can take to learn all about it — if that’s your thing.
*GLAM Travel Tip: Wear your most comfortable walking shoes — Savannah is very walkable and an absolutely beautiful city to take in by foot. Also, make sure to be VERY careful and look both ways before crossing the street. We had an Uber driver tell us to be extra careful of cars and Trolleys and he was 100% right!
WHERE TO EAT (& DRINK)
700 Drayton. Attached to Mansion on Forsyth Park (where we stayed), we decided to check out brunch there our first full day in Savannah. We sat in the sunroom portion of the restaurant overlooking Forsyth Park (with trolleys going by — it was something out of a movie set) and I ate my weight in chicken and waffles and sipped on the most delicious iced coffee ever. We also had the sweetest waitstaff who listed off so many “underground” recommendations!
Collin’s Quarter. One of the most popular recommendations, we ate here twice for brunch. It was THAT good. I went with the shakshuka the first day and the short rib hash the second day. It’s also the most Instagram-friendly looking restaurant in town.
The Bohemian Hotel. We went for rooftop drinks overlooking the Savannah River for a little happy hour sunset and then went to eat dinner downstairs at Rocks on the River.
The Vault Kitchen & Market. One of my personal favorite spots of the entire trip, this is a newer Asian-fusion spot in the old Bank of America building. The menu was so unique and every single dish was delicious — still dreaming of that tuna tartare and those fun fusion rolls.
The Atlantic. A Mediterranean spot a little drive away from the Historic District — but worth it! I can be preeeeetttyyyy picky eating Mediterranean food (my Lebanese husband can be to blame for that — I’m used to the best of the best), but this place hit the spot! Marissa and I sat outside on the back patio and split a bunch of plates including fattoush salad, lots of roasted veggies and harissa chicken. YUM.
Savannah Square Pops. Since we all know I don’t eat ice cream, this little spot that includes vegan and gluten free options was like music to my (dairy free) ears. This recommendation came from our waitress at 700 Drayton and is a little under the radar — for now! They named each pop after a square in Savannah and there was every flavor and combo imaginable — including real fruit in the middle!
*GLAM Travel Tip: Most of these restaurants were on Open Table, making it super quick and easy to book a reservation. Most places in Savannah on are on the smaller side, so if you’re going at a peak time (or want to sit outside), make sure to book prior to traveling!
WHERE TO SNAP THE PERFECT INSTAGRAM PHOTO
The Olde Pink House Porch. (Located: 23 Abercorn St). One of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen in person — there’s just so much character, it looks straight out of a painting with huge jasmine lining the staircase, American and British flags up top and of course, the bright pink exterior that’s been that color since the 1920’s. It’s so photogenic and an iconic Savannah staple.
Rainbow Row. (Located: 508 East Bryan Street). Close to the Savannah River, just a few blocks away, is an adorable (but small) row of pastel houses with blue, pink and green shutters. It feels like a (much smaller) Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC, but it’s a quaint little pop of color that stands out in a sea of brick and ivy architecture.
The famous bench in Chippewa Square. (Located: Bull and McDonough Streets). If you’re a movie buff, you should probably snap a photo to honor Forrest Gump — the bench scene in Chippewa Square (where he narrates the film from). There are actually multiple benches within the square and the actual bench used in the movie is in one of the museums for being a famous prop, but you can still recreate the scene like I did below!
Fountain at Forsyth Park. (Located: on the northern end of the park, you can enter through W. Gaston St). Another iconic Savannah landmark, the fountain is absolutely gorgeous and is a popular backdrop for proposals, engagement and wedding photos.
*GLAM Travel Tip: The best time for photo opps is first thing in the morning (prior to 7:30am) or around golden hour — right before the sun sets. You never want the sun blasting on anything you are trying to take a picture of. I get so many photo questions, and that’s the number one rule!
If you missed my WHAT I WORE in Savannah post, make sure to check it out for all outfit details to everything I wore on my trip! You can also check out past TRAVEL GUIDES for Palm Beach, FL HERE and Charleston, SC HERE and HERE.