A 1-Day Sprint Through The Spirit Of The South
You may notice during your marathon run that Savannah is an ideal place to travel on two feet. When you downshift a couple of gears, the peaceful aesthetic appeal of this southern jewel comes into even greater relief. Shady canopies of trees draped in Spanish Moss and all the great public squares and green spaces are a delight to walk or gallop through on a light jog. The inherent beauty of Georgia’s First City is fascinating and it’s reflected in nearly everything you can explore here. From Forsyth Park’s magnificent and iconic fountain to the city’s rustic, cobblestone streets, Savannah has the charm to burn as one of the most beguiling cities in the United States. For those of you on a time crunch but still want to make the most of this great city, we’ve made some solid recommendations below on how best to maximize your time and make your visit something you’ll cherish forever!
FUEL FOR THE DAY
The early bird gets the worm. Rest is for the weary. You get the point. Grab some brew at one of Savannah’s can’t-miss coffeehouses. Foxy Loxy Café, Gallery Espresso, The Coffee Fox and The Sentient Bean are all excellent options.
BOARD THE TROLLEY
Easily the best way to take in “The Hostess City of the South” as the locals do is via an Old Town Trolley sightseeing tour. With 15 stops and more than 100 points of interest, the trolley is an experience not to be missed. Service begins at 9 a.m. and includes hop-on and hop-off service at each stop.
So where should you go? Keep reading for a step-by-step rundown of the top Savannah attractions to hit in one day.
STROLL THROUGH THE PARK
Enjoy the rest of your coffee and pastry in Forsyth Park, a 30-acre historic city park located in the Victorian District. Home to Georgia Historical Society, Forsyth Fountain, the Victorian District, and Confederate and Spanish-American War Memorials, Forsyth Park is the perfect way to reflect on the colorful history of the South’s past and the fun-filled day you have ahead of you.
TAKE IN A HISTORY LESSON
Continue on your endeavor towards cultural enlightenment with a stop at the Massie Heritage Museum, Mercer House and Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church. Just a few trolley stops from your initial descent, Massie Heritage Museum features kid-friendly exhibits highlighting Savannah’s architecture, public education system, and culture as well as the only exhibit considering our significant Native American Heritage in the city. In addition, be sure you don’t miss the one and only American Prohibition Museum where you can learn all about the famous era in a fun, interactive way!
SAMPLE THE LOCAL FARE
It’s no doubt nearing lunchtime and the crew is getting restless for some proper Southern fare. Head over to Broughton Street, a quaint section of town chock-full of boutiques and restaurants. Venture just off of Broughton Street to find many more places to shop and dine, including Paula Deen’s World Famous “The Lady and Sons” and the Goose Feathers Café.
Defying expectations is something Savannah does every single day and that extends to its culinary scene. Dining options in this city are constantly expanding to accommodate a wide variety of flavors and palettes. In addition to the great New Southern movement, gastropubs, traditional comfort food, and all the ethnic offerings, Savannah’s health-conscious/vegan game is not to be overlooked. Delicious, healthy, fresh plates with vegetarian options, the Kayak Kafe is sure to please. Tofu scrambles for breakfast and black bean, mushroom and spinach tacos or roasted chicken and goat cheese quesadillas for lunch and dinner, this lighter but full-flavored menu hits all the right spots. For, arguably, the best veggie burger in town, head over to the Green Truck Pub. They’ve also got several, hearty salads to choose from and their spin on regional classics like a pimento cheese plate with pickles and crostini and pecans & walnuts w/ a hint of rosemary is a must-try.
WANDER THE SQUARE
Now that everyone has food in their bellies, it’s time to hop back on the trolley for a little exploration. A few stops over is Ellis Square, located on Barnard between Bryan and Congress Streets. Ellis Square was named after Henry Ellis, second Royal Governor of the Georgia colony. Once known as Marketplace Square, this unique section of Savannah boasts hours of consideration including, within walking distance, Telfair Museum of Art, First African Baptist Church and Ships of the Sea Museum.
UNWIND FROM THE DAY
After hours of exploring, it’s time to sit down and recharge. Backtrack a bit to City Market, one of the first stops on the trolley tour. Since the early 1700s, City Market has been the commercial and social center of historic Savannah. It’s also a great place to end the day with a glass of wine, craft beer or farm-to-bottle cocktail. Check out great restaurants like Belford’s, a seafood and steak institution, and Vinnie Van Go-Go’s featuring hearty crust pizza called “Neapolitan.” Also be sure to visit the newest attraction in the city, The American Prohibition Museum Experience and Speakeasy. After all, you deserve it.
AMERICAN PROHIBITION MUSEUM:
Located in Savannah's popular City Market, the American Prohibition Museum is the first and only museum in the United States dedicated to the history of Prohibition. Highlighting an era of gangsters, rum runners, and flappers, the museum brings the roaring twenties to life with over 20 intoxicating exhibits and an authentic speakeasy. Featuring 21st-century technology and immersive displays, the museum takes guests on a journey through the past to the early 1900s when anti-alcohol rallies swept the nation and America’s struggle with alcohol was brought to light. This one-of-a-kind museum also has a genuine speakeasy adjacent to it where the drinking isn’t necessarily meant to hydrate you. This is a great spot to meet with your fellow runners and reminisce about the race over some premium, period-accurate cocktails.
A nice way to limber up for the big race would be to take a brisk walk down the 80,000 square feet of colorful shops, restaurants and art galleries in this lively district. Today, more than 70 businesses, shops, and restaurants call River Street home. Casual and upscale restaurants sit alongside quaint specialty shops and art galleries. You can also stroll along the lovely landscaped river walk that runs between River Street and the Savannah River, where you’ll find Savannah’s Waving Girl and the Olympic Cauldron Monument. Then explore the bluffs along the river on the old passageway of alleys, cobblestone walkways, and bridges known as Factors Walk.
GHOSTS & GRAVESTONES TOUR:
You might want to keep your running shoes on for this one in case a spirit wants to chase you into the afterlife. Widely considered by ghost hunters and paranormal investigators as being America’s Most Haunted City and seen on The Today Show and the Travel Channel, Savannah’s dark past is unveiled on this spooky tour! Learn about the city’s origins with its founding in 1733 when it was built upon native American burial grounds. Will you encounter the ghost of Civil War General Robert E. Lee at the famous Andrew Low House? Take the Trolley of the Doomed to the burial grounds in Wright Square and try to contact the spirits at the Perkins & Sons Ship Chandlery!
PAUL DEEN TOUR:
Hear the story of this famous TV chef’s rags to riches rise to stardom and see what the latest culinary creations are coming out of her kitchen! Tour includes a narrated history of Paula Deen through the Savannah Historic District and Victorian District, pointing out specific points of interest related to Paula and her family and story including her original home in Savannah. On your cheat day, when your not busy stoking your metabolism with kale smoothies, this lady’s cooking is unadulterated comfort food goodness!
Click here to learn more about this Old Town Trolley tour, and buy tickets here.