A Weekend in Savannah
A first-timer's guide to Savannah
Spanish moss covering the buildings, a humid southern breeze and the smell of pecan pralines in the air. Savannah was as dreamy as we expected. We spent just one day in this city, but by the end of it, I felt like I completely knew my way around.
The lay of the land
I knew absolutely nothing about Savannah when we arrived, so I was completely surprised to find that there are different sectors of the city - the river and the topside. The river is the hub for souvenir shops, seafood and lots of tourists. The topside, however, is where we preferred to be.
Pro tip: It is most definitely worth checking out, but if you plan on eating by the river, consider getting reservations ahead of time.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses
When we first arrived in the city, we stumbled upon Cool Savannah Tours & Gifts, located near the river. We bought tickets for a tour bus and eagerly started our route around the city. If it is your first time to Savannah, I highly recommend doing the $30 hop-on hop-off bus tour. Not only were the guides entertaining, but it gave us a nice breeze as our sweaty bodies started imprinting the seats. TMI.
Our favorite stops along the way were the 22 squares (basically parks) with lots of beautiful trees and statues of Civil War figures. Since the city was so walkable, we found ourselves popping in and out of boutiques and window-shopping the many art galleries along the streets.
Along with this tour, there are all sorts of haunted tours throughout the city. Peter really wanted to do one where you ride in a hearse around town and listen to stories, but I was a little too scared! Haha!
Per the recommendation of our tour guide, we tried Zunzi’s which apparently has the best chicken sandwich in the world. We waited in line for at least 20 minutes before getting our hands on one of their Conquistador sandwiches. I would be lying if I said we weren’t disappointed... the sandwich was massive but the chicken wasn’t something we died over - especially with it’s expensive pricetag! I say skip this and try out Collins Quarter instead, it looked amazing & had lots of people in line. It’s a hoppin’ cafe with a cute vibe and good food, just make sure to make a reservation!
One place that everyone does have to go is Byrd’s Cookies. They offer samples of their lil’ baby cookies which are my absolute favorite (honestly, maybe I will have to order some now… that’s a thought). Peter was a key lime fan but I am personally a peach gal.
And, if you are looking for the most iconic Savannah treat, you have to go to Leopold’s Ice Cream. You will know you’re there when you see the long line along the street. It’s ridiculous, but Peter and I waited an entire hour for this ice cream, and I’ll say it was pretty darn good. Definitely super creamy and flavorful!! I would recommend if you are an ice cream enthusiast and appreciate a good scoop, but if you’re no aficionado, there’s a Ben & Jerry’s down the street instead.
Another great spot for food and drinks is Montgomery Street. This are is full of wine shops, pizza joints and lots of fun venues for drinks. The really cool thing about the city is ‘to-go drinks’ that are sold almost everywhere. I don’t know why but I thought that was SO cool! Do yourself a favor and indulge in a peach sangria or wine slushie as you make your way through the city, you won’t regret it!
Other honorable mentions that I’ve heard are good: Mirabelle (waffles), Cafe M (coffee & sandwiches), Treylor Park (sandwiches & cocktails), Lulu’s Chocolate Bar (desserts).
Where to shop
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering towards the River where tourists enjoyed endless restaurants and souvenir shops. Perfect for any Savannah garb you could possibly need. I also really enjoyed Broughton Street, where there was virtually any store I could think of.
There are TONS of boutiques throughout the city that are definitely worth a stop, but I really enjoyed Red Clover, DressUp and Harper Boutique.
Tips & Tricks
Bring lots and lots of water. Just when you think you have enough, bring more. Seriously, we are pretty certain Peter had heat exhaustion by mid-afternoon because that super humid air and hot sun are a lethal combo.
Make reservations. If you are trying to go to one of the best spots in town, you are most definitely going to be spending some time waiting if you don’t have a reservation.
Wear comfortable shoes because the roads are cobblestone and uneven at times.
A lot of the parking garages are $5/day.
Hilton Head is not far away, so if you are planning a weekend getaway, stay the night in Savannah on Saturday then wake up early & head to Hilton Head for the day on Sunday!
xoxo - Katie