When I was living in Columbia, South Carolina, I took every opportunity to make weekend trips to the surrounding cities. I love the road trip options near central South Carolina, and one of my very favorites is Charleston. I always though no city could ever top Charleston, but after visiting Savannah, I had a change of heart. Savannah may be small, but it certainly doesn't feel small. It has a top notch restaurant scene, interesting tours, and friendly people. An extended weekend in Savannah is hardly enough (seriously! Paul was so in love he said he could easily live there) but if it's all you have, here are the top things to experience.
BRING [travel essentials]
A TRAVEL CAMERA
I use this camera for videos, photography, everything and I love it. It’s small enough to fit into any bag or purse and takes excellent RAW or JPEG photos. I use a memory card reader to upload the RAW photos to lightroom on my iPad or iPhone to edit while on go. I personally love editing photos and enjoy hours of editing on plane rides home. After a long day of walking around the historic district, you’ll love netflixing, chilling, and editing photos with a glass of wine.
Savannah is definitely a walking city and you’re going to be walking a lot no matter where you go. I assure you this. If you want to be able to freely explore Savannah without complaints of your feet hurting, get yourself some stylish, comfy shoes. I recently bought these from Amazon and I LOVE them. They’re super comfy and versatile and pretty cute for sneakers [I’m not a huge sneaker person].
I bought this stylish Longchamp inspired bag on Amazon to carry my laptop, Ipad, chargers, etc and I have it in black, super chic. Seriously, I love it.
These aren’t just for Goop fans, although I’ll admit the first time I ever heard the term “Turkish Towel” was in relation to being one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite items. The ones she liked were a few thousand dollars, but “totally worth it.” This is the one I have, and it’s perfect for the budget conscious traveler. They are super soft, packable thin towels that can be used as beach towels, shower towels, picnic blankets, even a scarf. It’s the perfect multi-purpose item for saavy travelers.
Depending on when you go, you may encounter some rain in this glorious city. The weather at times is unpredictable, so it’s best to always plan for potential rain and chilly nights. A light sweater or jacket will work just fine and a small, purse sized umbrella will be a lifesaver.
Packing cubes are my favorite. They make packing a breeze and allow you to fit sooo many more things that you thoughht you could. Light packing is the best, especaially for shorter weekend trips and these will truly change your packing experience. I also recently ordered some in this size for the smaller nooks and crannies so I can fully maximize all my space. I wouldn’t recommend going any bigger than medium if you’re trying to pack light and have limited space to work with
PHONE BATTERY CASE
This is super helpful for those of us that always forget to charge our phone or are too lazy to search for outlets when we need to charge or interrupt our fun activities during the day. This will charge up after your phone charges and extend your battery life by sooo many extra hours. I’ve gone two days without plugging my phone in using this, which is a gamechanger for me. I love external batteries as well, but sometimes I forget to charge it and/or bring it with me. Having a built in extra battery that’s attached and essentailly always with you is very helpful when spending long days out and you need to map your way home or find a dinner spot.
Stay in the historic district of Savannah
During our weekend trip to Savannah, we stayed downtown right in the heart of the historic district. We were close to all the monuments, tours, and restaurants we wanted to visit. In fact, our hotel was right next to the Olde Pink House, my absolute favorite restaurant in Savannah. Our location was so convenient, that we could walk to nearly everything we did in Savannah.
We found a parking spot (parking downtown is notoriously annoying) and left the car there all weekend. Uber rides are an easy, affordable option for getting around, but we mainly walked unless it was late or we were tired. We stayed here and loved the location, the wine and cheese happy hour, and friendly staff. I found our Inn last minute on Hotel Tonight and it turned out to be the perfect choice for our weekend getaway.
Brunch at Collins Quarter
Collins Quarter was our first activity and the very first meal we had in Savannah. The brunch there was my favorite. I had the Eggs Benedict (which I don't even usually like) and it was amazing! The food was so, so good. Collins Quarter is extremely busy and popular so just expect to wait for a while. It is totally worth the wait! Have a coffee cocktail at the walk-up window outside or stroll the pretty surrounding street while you wait. At the walk up bar window outside, I ordered a Lavendar Mocha and it was one of the best coffee drinks I've ever had!
Explore River Street
River Street is like the Bourbon Street of Savannah. Rowdy, bustling and extremely fun!! It's also very touristy. I'm cool with touristy though. We had so much fun stopping in the various shops, buying some souveneirs and T-shirts (we bought matching ones!) and listening to the plethora of live music. I'm all about the vibes at River Street. Definitely a must visit in Savannah, especially on a short trip! We were only a few blocks away from here so we walked to River Street, drank street beer (you can walk around with open containers in certain parts of the historic district) and just soaked it all up. The whole River Street experience is a bit comical too, just be prepared for it.
We did a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour of downtown Savannah. It goes everywhere and was highly entertaining. It's a good way to see the entire historic district, just don't expect to use it as effective transportation. The entire tour is LONG so definitely hop off if you come to an area that you are hoping to explore. We did an Olde Town Trolley Tour and it was great, there are tons of companies available though. We hopped off to stop for Brunch, then hopped back on near River Street to finish up the tour.
A Ghost Tour
Definitely book a ghost tour while you're in town. Savannah is known as the most haunted city in America, for goodness sake! We did the Patrick Burns ghost tour. Paul thought some of the "ghost hunting" equipment was cheesy, but the stories will shake you to your very core (I'm not kidding you guys, I got VERY scared and freaked our during one of the stops on our tour. I almost grabbed Paul and insisted we leave).
I cannot properly exress to you just how CREEPY Savannah's ghosts are. At one of the houses, Patrick told us a story about a man who died in the house, was said to haunt it and watch people from the window. He explained how previous ghost hunters had seen a creepy face staring out the window, at times. During the entire time that we were in front of that house, I kept getting a feeling I was being watched. I could NOT get away from that house quick enough and this was the stop (one of the first ones on the tour!) where I nearly quit the tour. I persevered, and it was awesome and creepy AF. Totally recommend.
Explore Paris Market
I love this boutique/specialty coffee shop fusion. I made multiple trips to the Paris Market while in town. I bought a bag of lavender (because, doesn't that seem Parisian and luxurious), a pretty scarf, and some gorgeous postcards that I intend to frame. The coffee is delicious and interesting. I had a white Chocolate Rasberry drink and Paul had coffee from a French Press. Read more about the Paris Market and other coffee shops to try in Savannah here.
Dinner at Olde Pink House
Enjoy cocktails, appetizers and entrees at this amazing restaurant downtown. This is my favorite restaurant in Savannah and best overall dining experience too. From start to finish, the meal was award-winning. Go down to the basement, (its sort of like a chic, beautiful, dungeon) and have your meal down there, or sit at the bar. This is just one of the coolest, most romantic restaurants I've ever been to. It would also be perfect for drinks with the girls!! They have really unique menu items, too. I recommend skipping Yelp and asking the bartenders for recommendations. Everything our bartender suggested to us was mind-blowingly on point. I am totally obsessed with this place. Loved the Fried Green Tomatoes, BLT salad, and Shrimp and Grits. We even got dessert.
Have you been to Savannah? Do you love it there? What did you do while in Savannah??