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Savannah, Georgia City Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat, and More

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Similar to Charleston, Georgia’s Low Country city is an iconic Southern destination. Those dreaming of a city dotted with lush green parks under a canopy of Spanish moss won’t be disappointed nor will they barely have to scratch the surface of the city to enjoy its charms. Founded in 1733, the Hostess City is among the oldest in the United States. Thanks to the creative and artistic communities that inhabit the city today, Savannah is a surprisingly complex and layered city once you reach beyond the horse-drawn carriages and River Street. Whether you seek a restful retreat in a romantic city filled with wonderful food and culture or a comfortable stay between charter fishing trips, Savannah is just as charming and hospitable as you would expect.

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Where To Stay

Airbnb: The Rose Cottage

The Rose Cottage

Located between the eastside and the Victorian district, The Rose Cottage is an entire two-bedroom, two-bathroom home that can sleep up to three guests. The little red historic house with a white picket fence features a lush courtyard and airy porch perfect for sultry Savannah nights. Furnished with antiques and eye-catching touches, this rental certainly gives guests a sense of place. Naturally, the living room has a television, and there’s also a full kitchen, Wi-Fi, and free parking on site so you won’t have to worry about parking in a deck for the weekend.

  • Nearest Airport: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
  • Time: 23 minutes via car
  • Distance: 12.2 miles

Airbnb: Carriage House

Carriage House Savannah GA

Another common way to overnight in the South is by renting a carriage house. This one is located in the heart of the historic district providing easy access to most major attractions. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom guest house is outfitted with a smart lock so you can check yourself in. The airy, modern space includes all of the necessary amenities you would expect from a rental home such as a washer and a dryer, a kitchen, Wi-Fi, and cable television. It also includes a hot tub, so pack your bathing suit.

  • Nearest Airport: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
  • Time: 24 minutes via car
  • Distance: 10.7 miles

Budget: Aloft Savannah Downtown Historic District

Aloft Savannah GA

Savannah’s Aloft historic district hotel offers a great location and all of the amenities such as an indoor pool, snack bar, loaner bikes, and even a dog park for those with furry friends in tow. The rooms are crisp and minimalist with pops of color in the carpet and seating. Thanks to the spacious rooms and bathrooms, you can unwind and relax after a hectic day of sightseeing. There’s also a social hour that you might want to drop by and enjoy. However, there are also plenty of trendy bars nearby that locals and students of Savannah College of Art and Design frequent.

  • Nearest Airport: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
  • Time: 22 minutes via car
  • Distance: 10.6 miles

Budget: River Street Inn

River Street Inn Savannah GA
River Street Inn

The River Street Inn is set in an 1817 cotton warehouse that lends its old-world charm and features to its rooms. Though modern touches such as light fixtures and seating bring an updated air to the hotel, exposed brick walls and fireplaces remind guests of the hotel’s historic flair. Located on E Bay Street near City Market, the River Street Inn offers a wonderful location for those hoping to see the city by foot or by bike using the hotel’s free loaner bikes. Apart from the large rooms and comfortable beds, this hotel makes guests feel at home with free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a daily social hour.

  • Nearest Airport: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
  • Time: 23 minutes via car
  • Distance: 10.7 miles

Mid-Range: The Gastonian

The Gastonian Savannah GA
The Gastonian

Few hotels lend themselves to the destination better than The Gastonian. This charming hotel is actually nestled inside two historic mansions built in 1868. The elegant rooms are filled with antiques, chandeliers and even clawfoot bathtubs too. Of course, amenities like Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and a business center are provided. Located on the south side of the historic district, the hotel is removed enough from the riverside to offer guests a quiet, restful night’s sleep while still being within walking distance of the biggest attractions. Don’t forget to enjoy the lush courtyard at the hotel either.

  • Nearest Airport: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
  • Time: 24 minutes via car
  • Distance: 12.5 miles

Mid-Range: Andaz Savannah

Hyatt's Andaz Hotel in Savannah GA

Andaz Savannah is a hotel by Hyatt which naturally provides the sleek and modern atmosphere that guests know and appreciate from the hotel group. Located just off Ellis Square in the historic district, the hotel offers superb access to the heart of the city. This pet-friendly hotel includes amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a fitness room and coffee makers inside the rooms. Take breakfast at the hotel’s light and airy restaurant or enjoy a nightcap at the bar. Guests will also enjoy the outdoor pool and terrace. Retire to spacious and comfortable rooms with historic touches such as fireplaces, French door balconies, and standalone bathtubs in some rooms.

  • Nearest Airport: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
  • Time: 23 minutes via car
  • Distance: 10.6 miles

Mid-Range: The Alida

The Alida Savannah GA
The Alida

Among the newest hotels in Savannah, The Alida is set in a red-brick cotton warehouse that has been transformed into a design-forward hotel. With strategic partnerships throughout the Savannah community, The Alida has brought stylish local culture and energy into the fabric of the hotel, offering guests a clear sense of the city. This trendy hotel includes sleek and modern rooms with an airy atmosphere. Guests can listen to the record player in their room while relaxing on the plush bed or getting dressed in the spacious bathrooms. Other amenities include morning coffee in the hotel’s Rhett restaurant, still and sparkling water stations, complimentary loaner bikes, and a fitness center.

  • Nearest Airport: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
  • Time: 21 minutes via car
  • Distance: 10.4 miles

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Where To Eat

Whether you are rediscovering your own town or visiting Savannah for the first, third, or tenth time, these charming restaurants should definitely be on your list. Many offer to-go orders for pick-up or no-contact delivery to accommodate safe practices under COVID-19 restrictions, but dine-in with a reservation is also an option at other establishments. Below is a guide to the restaurant’s prices.

  • “$” = budget-friendly or cheap
  • “$$”= average
  • “$$$”= expensive

Classic: The Olde Pink House

Olde Pink House restaurant
Olde Pink House

This tried-and-true Savannah classic is set in a pink Colonial mansion built in 1771, making this an atmospheric dining local. The elegant multi-story restaurant is a popular option and is often easy to dine at with a quick reservation. It also holds a wine cellar where you can enjoy a tasting or a bottle instead. As for the restaurant’s menu, it is quite extensive and includes many delicious seafood and southern options. Opt for the pan-seared crab cakes with fried green tomatoes to start and order the crispy flounder with Geechie Boy grits and apricot shallot sauce for the main. Outdoor dining, dine-in, and takeout are all available options.

  • $$$

Browse Menu

Modern: The Grey

The Grey restaurant Savannah
The Grey

Fans of Netflix’s Chef’s Table will undoubtedly recognize The Grey. This sleek and stylish restaurant is set in a 1938 art deco Greyhound bus terminal where Chef Bailey reconnected with her roots. Her southern dishes are delightfully fresh and representative. The beautiful plates include mains like foie and grits, which is a signature, though the menu changes often. Don’t forget to arrive early so you have time to enjoy a drink at one of the restaurant’s two bars. So splurge on the highly acclaimed restaurant and reserve a socially distanced table or order it for pick-up.

  • $$$

Browse Menu

Vegan: Fox and Fig Cafe

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Finding great vegan food in the South can be challenging, but the Fox and Fig Cafe does not disappoint. The extensive menu offers plenty of options ranging from salads and burgers to vegan mac and cheese or even their take on chicken and waffles. The menu also includes vegan wines, too. Fox and Fig Cafe is a great stop to shake up the type of food you’ve been eating during your visit to Savannah as well as for lighter fare. Of course, vegans will also appreciate their take on Southern fare, allowing them not to miss out while in the region. The airy and modern café has outdoor seating as well as a take-out menu.

  • $$

Browse Menu

Lunch: Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room to-go food
Mrs. Wilkes

Mrs. Wilkes has been a mainstay of Savannah for many years now as the restaurant has been family-owned and run since 1943. Not to mention the dining room serves up old-school Southern classics like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, boiled peanuts and so much more. That’s reason enough to add this restaurant to your list of must-visit places to eat while in the Hostess City. Set in a historic home, the exterior is much more inviting than the interior which spares no luxuries, but that’s part of its charm. Though the restaurant was originally designed with communal tables that seat 10 each, social distancing is accommodated. Limited outdoor seating is also available as are to-go orders for pick-up.

  • $$

Browse Menu

Local Favorite: Rancho Alegre

Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant Savannah GA
Rancho Alegre

This Cuban restaurant is a local favorite for good reason. The laid-back, casual haunt plates some spectacular dishes. The restaurant’s traditional fare includes menu items like seafood paella, seafood-stuffed pineapple, croquetas, empanadas, and fried yuca bites. If the most popular dishes don’t already have your mouth watering, then the photos will. The space is large and the staff follows safety measures well. Dine-in is available, though curbside pick-up and no-contact delivery are also options.

  • $$

Browse Menu

Occasion: Nobel Fare

Noble Fare interior
Noble Fare

This fine-dining restaurant sets a sultry tone for the evening thanks to its black and white interior. The magenta curtains and patterned wallpaper accents provide a lift to the historic 1879 building’s atmosphere without distracting from the real reason you go to this restaurant, the beautifully plated dishes. With a focus on new American fare and a curated wine list, this restaurant is great for special occasions. The diver scallops are perfectly seared while the Duck-Duck-No Goose dish is also a prime pick for the main course. Safe dine-in procedures are in place, though curbside pick-up and no-contact delivery are also available. Pick-up and delivery are available while dine-in is not.

  • $$$

Browse Menu

Dessert: Lulu’s Chocolate Bar

chocolate cake from Lulu's Chocolate Bar
Lulu's Chocolate Bar

Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is a beloved dessert shop for tourists and locals alike. The shop has even been voted the best dessert in Savannah for 12 consecutive years, and it continues to live up to its famed name. Set in a no-frills industrial-chic shop, the chocolate bar serves up wonderful cakes and pies. There are also other sweet treats like cookies, brownies, mousse, Creme Brule, cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberries and even alcoholic dessert drinks. Whatever you crave, it is likely here. And if it isn’t, another dessert is bound to call to you.

  • $$

Browse Menu

What To Do

Explore more of the city

historic square of Savannah, GA

There is so much to see and explore in the heart of Savannah. Though a stroll along the riverfront and a trip to the sweet shops along its banks for pralines is a must-do for anyone in Savannah, do not forget to explore farther. You will have to step away from River Street and move towards the edges of the historic district to escape the caricature of the city. However, the outlying districts have so much to offer. As you walk through the city, be sure to cross paths with at least a few of the 22 historic squares which are very much like beautifully planned gardens. Continue to stroll through the city, both to the eastside or the Victorian district to the west, where you will find tons of locally-owned shops and art galleries that are well worth visiting.

Those who enjoy collecting furniture or pieces for their home as they travel to add character and memories to their living space will find plenty of antique stores to browse through. These shops are also interesting stops for history buffs, and Bonaventure Cemetery is also an interesting and quiet stop. Cool off with an afternoon tour of the Ghost Coast Distillery and an ice-cold, stiff drink there too.

Get outside and experience the local landscape

Georgia marshes

Outdoor enthusiasts also have tons of ways to pass the time in and around Savannah. Cyclists can enjoy a ride around town or even cycle to Savannah from the legendary college town of Athens, Georgia. It’s a 235-mile ride over two days that can be quite challenging if the heat is beating down, but it is an eye-opening way to see the countryside and city.

Of course, if you would rather focus on the beaches and the ocean, there are amazing activities to consider. You can book a charter fishing trip for a day or two. Companies like Savannah Pro Guides Inshore Fishing Charters focus on trolling the riverway and marshes while others such as Tightlines Charters offer saltwater trips that go farther out to sea for catches such as red drum and striped bass. You can even try your hand at oyster harvesting if you visit approved recreational harvest areas by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources during the season. You can, however, organize an oyster roast to be catered by companies like Barnes Restaurant or Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp if you want to enjoy the fare without the challenge of catching it yourself.

Tybee Island is also an easy escape from the bustling city. Its wide, white-sand beaches make for the perfect place to enjoy a beach day. You can even easily walk from the beach to local restaurants on the island to cool off with a drink or to order lunch. Just don’t forget to pack a towel and a beach chair.

Molly Harris
Molly Harris is a freelance journalist, cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Lonely…
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