There's something about Savannah. Maybe it's the cobblestone streets, the dripping Spanish moss; or maybe it's the old wealth or deep-rooted history of ghosts. Whatever it is, the small city—founded in 1733—is full of rich culture, kind people, absolutely delicious food and a focus on beauty. You can see it in the manicured gardens and stunning mansions of the 22 city squares, which are crammed into 2.5 square miles of Southern charm. Here's how to make the most of your stay.
A recently opened Kimpton spot, The Brice hotel mixes neutral colors like slate and white with bright pops of color, incredibly cool art and very comfortable beds. An evening happy hour includes heavy pours of red, white and sparkling wines as well as hors d’oeuvres like tomato-Bocconcini skewers. For pre- or post-wine hour, try grabbing a drink at the in-house restaurant Pacci’s bar, like a refreshing Cucumber Collins—a mix of Hendrick’s gin, muddled cucumber, lemon and soda.
The Lobby at The Brice, Photo © Kimpton Hotels
Skip the touristy Riverfront and walk a few blocks up to have brunch at B. Matthew’s Eatery, which offers a bustling patio and massive waffles topped with apple, walnut and bourbon chutney with a spicy Bloody Mary. If you’re more of a meat eater, head down Bull Street to Collins Quarter for the braised pork cheeks with an herbed popover and thick-cut bacon. Or try the smashed avocado and one of their epic coffees like a flat white or lavender latte.
Waffles at B. Matthew’s Eatery, Photo © Brian McLaren
A Georgian Mansion built in 1771 and repainted a garish Pepto pink, The Olde Pink House attracts tourists for its excellent crab cakes and fried green tomatoes. Insiders grab a stool at bar downstairs for the same menu, a wood-burning fireplace and surprisingly excellent margaritas (as well as other classics). Another benefit: bartenders who creep you out with tales the former owner who hung himself and still haunts the basement.
Margaritas at The Olde Pink House, Photo © Brian McLaren
Another must-try Savannah dish is the crispy whole flounder at Garibaldi. The perfectly cooked fish is scored into diamond cuts and dressed in a spicy apricot glaze, then quickly fried so that the skin is crispy while the fish stays tender.
Downtown Savannah makes drinking easy with its open-container law—or rather, its lack of one. That's right, you can take your drink outside in a plastic cup and roam the streets. You will start seeing people with full plastic cups while you are having your morning coffee. If you want to sit with your cocktail, try Jen’s and Friends, where martinis are taken to a whole new level with the addition of actual cookies, chocolate bars, rice krispies and other sweets. If you are trying to avoid an alcohol-fueled sugar rush, grab a vodka martini at the rooftop bar of the Bohemian Hotel.
On Saturdays, Forsyth Park—which you may recognize from the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—is home to Savannah’s farmers' markets, with some of the freshest produce and samples of almost everything. Grab a fresh green juice at the neighboring Brighter Day Natural Foods Market before you peruse.
Forsyth Park, Photo © Brian McLaren
You can spend hours wandering through the oldest bookstore in Savannah, E. Shaver, Bookseller, which has an impressive collection of historical books and local cookbooks. Stroll up and down Broughton Street for a mix of local boutiques and larger stores. Anthropologie lovers should step into The Paris Market, which has a similar vibe with a Savannah slant.
Head over to the Savannah College of Art and Design gift shop to pick up handmade jewelry, super-chic leather satchels or a stunning print from their impressive collection.