1. It’s Like Living In a Fairy Tale
The streets of the Historic District are covered by natural archways made by the long branches of live oak trees, dripping with Spanish moss. They hang over the street creating an ethereal, romantic feeling. But don’t touch the moss. Ever. Chiggers live in it. True story.
2. …A Dark Fairy Tale
USA Today named Savannah one of America’s 10 most haunted cities. Since it’s built right over Indian burial grounds and old cemeteries, almost everyone has their own account of a haunted experience.
3. More Fun Than Fear
To make use of this reputation, there are tons of ghost tours throughout the city—trolley, hearse, or walking. If you really do get scared by these things, Creepy Crawl Haunted Pub Tour is the way to go. Liquid courage always beats ghosts.
4. Speaking of Drinking, Because We Always Are
Moon River Brewery (also haunted) and the Distillery are craft beer heaven. Moon River brews its own while the Distillery has an extensive list of American crafts and imports.
5. Always Order Another—To Go
The bars on Congress Street and City Market turn into one inebriated blur of live DJs, to-go cups (open container law FTW), and the most over-the-top outfits—it’s an art town.
6. Party Like It’s 1773
Source: flickr user Me and My Photos
With much of the original cobblestone roads and buildings intact, River Street is the best place to envision Savannah of old. Bars, restaurants, and shopping line the street, so we put on our white powdered wigs and get wild. We don’t actually, but you’d definitely get a free drink for it.
7. Even Our Stairs Have History
We restore everything, down to the stairs leading to River Street made of that same cobblestone. In theory it’s great, but in practice it’s always a triumph not to fall down them head first.
8. Slowing Down Isn’t Just a Way of Life, It’s a Necessity
It’s hot. And humid. When you step outside in the summer you wade through thick, sticky air. If you move faster than a turtle, you die. At least that’s the general consensus. On the flip side, every building is air-conditioned to the point of icicles and the other three seasons are, dare I say it, perfect.
9. Drowned Rat Syndrome
The only saving grace to the heat is the rain. More aptly: flash floods. The sun is out one second and then, before you can say “Mamma’s biscuits and gravy,” the temperature drops and your clothes are soaked right through. Buy an umbrella. Carry it with you at all times.
10. Restore, Restore, Restore
Source: Tanner Marshall
River street is lined with buildings dating back to the mid-1800s, while the rest of the opulent and intricate historic district homes can only be described as “old money.” Savannahians take pride in the southern charm of their city, which is why there are ongoing projects to preserve the remarkable architecture.
11. The Infamous Mercer House
Unless you want to try knocking on one of the other mansion doors downtown, a tour through this one is as close as you’ll get. Plus, the other homes don’t have a dirty little secret and a scandalous book sharing all the details.
12. The Actual Garden Of Good And Evil
Bonaventure Cemetery, made famous by the cover art for the book, is actually a really beautiful place to walk around. If you’re only there to see The Bird Girl statue, you’ll have to go downtown to the Telfair Museum of Art—a must-see as well. They also have the Bonaventure After Hours program where you can get a private tour of the grounds.
13. Forsyth Park
On the edge of the historic district sits a magnificent fountain, constructed in 1858, surrounded by 30 acres of the most peaceful place in Savannah, Georgia. On a Sunday afternoon, take a blanket to sit on the massive grassy lawn or under the trees and watch the world go by. That is, after all, a truly southern thing to do.
14. We Like All Things Local
Saturday mornings at Forsyth you can find a small, but substantial farmers’s market, complete with fresh produce, a singing farmer, and a tight-knit community feel.
15. Beers, Brats, and Baseball
Monday nights mandate attendance at the historic Grayson Stadium, partly to see our minor league Sand Gnats team play baseball, but mostly for the dollar hot dogs and beers. We’re not too committed to the whole sports thing, but we sure do like tailgating.
16. The Biggie: SCAD
Savannah College of Art and Design started in the late ‘70s, did huge work restoring old buildings and creating jobs, and now boasts a student body of about 8,000. So that’s roughly 8,000 pairs of thick black glasses, 4,000 mustaches (assuming its halvsies), and an overall hipster appearance sighted all around town. But! Savannah loves SCADies. Their diversity creates this unusual mash-up of slow, old south mixed with young, creative energy and it just works.
17. Adults Get To Play With Chalk
Every spring, SCAD hosts the Sidewalk Arts Festival in Forsyth Park. Each student or alumni gets a sidewalk square and some chalk to show passersby what their imagination looks like.
18. Your Le Snoot Is Sicky Nar Nar
With an art school comes art galleries. Lots of them. But these aren’t your stuffy, sterile type. SCAD grads have reinvented the gallery concept by creating hip spaces, like Le Snoot and Sicky Nar Nar, replete with loud graphics and exceptional branding.
19. Movie Stars Love Savannah
Every fall, dozens of actors get into the southern groove at the Savannah Film Festival. SCAD runs the show, of course, and features workshops, lectures, and eight days of nonstop films—student and award-winning. The best part? The celebs choose to hang at bars and eat (like normal people) at restaurants because we let them be. Our mammas taught us not to stare.
20. Whether She’s Talking About Butter or Bobby…
You have to love Paula Deen—or at least love to hate her. You also have to go to The Lady & Sons at least once just so you understand why tourists wait in line for hours to experience the warm buttery goodness that is southern-style cooking.
21. The True Southern Woman
The locals know the real line is for Mrs. Wilkes. Southern style cooking, open only three hours a day, and served family style. But try to keep it hush hush.
22. It’s Already Been Broughton (Street)
Dress appropriately, because this is not the mall. Locally owned boutiques and big name retailers inhabit the restored historic buildings on Broughton Street, giving it an air of old fashioned sophistication.
23. Zunzi’s. The Original Location.
The Godfather. The Conquistador. The Rising Sun. Savannahians start drooling at the mention of any of these sandwiches from Zunzi’s. It’s a hole-in-the-wall, for sure, with a line going down the block, but when you get your enormous sandwich with extra “Shit Yeah!” sauce? Well, you’ve just died and gone to heaven.
24. The After-The-Theater Hangout
Whether you order their famous Tutti-Frutti or a local favorite, Thin Mint, Leopold’s is the best place to get ice cream and wind down for the night.
25. We’ve Got More Than Just Thin Mint
Savannah is the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low and, consequently, the Girl Scouts. Thanks to Ms. Low, we get our fair share of Girl Scout Cookies. And that is a glorious, glorious thing.
26. We’ve Got The Second-Largest St. Paddy’s Day Parade in the World
It’s three hours long and if you’re sober by the end of it, then you’re doing something wrong. The fountain is dyed green, the beer is dyed green, and most people’s complete green ensembles are planned months in advance. We take drinking holidays very seriously.
27. In 20 Minutes You’re At The Beach
Source: Tanner Marshall
Sand. Ocean. A little corn hole action. Tybee Island is the only reason to drive anywhere in Savannah.
28. A-J’s Dockside
Don’t listen to anyone unless they say this is the best seafood in town. Because it is. Hands down.
29. Who Doesn’t Love a Good Drawbridge?
Source: Tanner Marshall
Heading back from the Island is a detour filled with old cannons, trails to hidden bunkers, a walkway to the abandoned lighthouse, and an impressive fort—drawbridge still included. Fort Pulaski drew interest enough to be chosen as one of the locations in Robert Redford’s film “The Conspirator”.
30. Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates
Tom Hanks said that while waiting on a bench in Chippewa Square. And Jenn-aay’s waitressing gig? It’s Debi’s Restaurant on State Street—still proudly displaying signs in the window letting everyone know they helped Forrest Gump run.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
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