Last year, when I visited Charleston, I remember several people telling me, "you have to go to Savannah while you're there." The two cities are often compared to one another for a few reasons: proximity (they're roughly 1.5-2 hours apart by car), slave history pasts, charming historic districts and great food, among other things.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do both Charleston and Savannah at the same time, but more than a year after visiting the former, I was finally able to make it to the latter this past weekend for a friend's beautiful wedding. And though the temperatures were incredibly hot (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity), I still really enjoyed wandering around Savannah, eating all the southern food and catching up with friends.
After spending a long weekend in both places, I dare say I prefer Savannah. Charleston often gets all the media love, and I found the colorful homes of Charleston's historic district to be truly lovely, but the live oaks and Spanish moss that frequent the many streets and squares of Savannah are, for me, even more captivating. The food is also excellent and the charm is just as southern as Charleston, though with its own unique atmosphere and comfortable vibe.
I didn't spend a lot of time in Savannah, but I did get to discover some great things to do for anyone passing through:
1. Visit Forsyth Park - Forsyth Park is to Savannah what Central Park is to New York. This is the perfect place to relax, run around or visit a farmer's market like I did!
2. Stroll down Jones Street - My absolute favorite street in Savannah, Jones Street literally has you saying "I want to live here" approximately every five seconds.
3. Take a trolley tour - My friend arranged a historical trolley tour before her wedding (such a great idea), and it was a nice way to explore Savannah on a hot day (our trolley was air conditioned, thank goodness!).
4. Eat all the southern food at Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room - This southern hot spot is only open Monday to Friday, 11 am to 2 pm, and they don't take reservations. Go, line up, sit down at a table with food served family style and eat your heart out.
5. Walk down River Street and watch the ships and cruises go by - River Street has a lot of cute touristy shops to browse, and it's a great place to see the humongous port ships and river cruises go by.
6. Do a haunted tour - I didn't get to do a haunted tour while in Savannah, but I've heard they're great. The Sorrel-Weed House is apparently one of the most haunted places in Savannah!
7. Enjoy some fine dining or a cocktail at The Olde Pink House - This restaurant is on every single must-try list for Savannah, and it's certainly worth it. Get the BLT salad, and if you go at night, enjoy a cocktail downstairs.
8. Visit City Market - Similar to River Street, City Market has a collection of cute tourist shops for people to browse and enjoy. There are also several restaurants to choose from in case you get tired of eating praline samples from the candy store.
9. Eat some ice cream at Leopold's - The line is serious but so is the ice cream. I admit, I didn't wait in this line (way too hot), but I did try Leopold's ice cream at the airport where they have a mini stand, and I can see what all the hype is about.
10. Head to the beach - Sadly, I had to leave Savannah earlier than anticipated and didn't get to visit Tybee Island, which is about 20-25 minutes' drive from downtown, but it's absolutely at the top of my list for my return visit!
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what to do in Savannah. I look forward to returning one day and continuing to explore more of this charming and beautiful city.
Have you ever been to Savannah?