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Lucky’s Top 10 ‘Must-Dos’ For First-Time Visitors

3 Apr 2017
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Things to Do

1. Ditch the Car

Savannah is an extremely walkable city. If you don’t stop for anything, you can walk from Bay Street to the edge of Forsyth Park in 30 minutes. But why wouldn’t you want to stop? Each of Savannah’s 22 squares has a unique characteristic worth seeing, including tabby concrete (concrete made with oyster shells), monuments, fountains, and, often quirky, historic homes.

Parking in Savannah can be challenging. There’s lots of metered parking (you don’t have to pay on Saturday and Sunday or after 5p.m.), several parking garages, and there are some areas with free parking. Several of our vacation homes include a private parking space. You can easily filter rentals by amenities, including private parking and pet friendly. 

2. Take a Tour

If you’re not up for walking around downtown, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to see the Historic District – including Segway tours! Enjoy a 50-minute narrated carriage ride, where you’ll get to see several points of interest and hear some of Savannah’s (sometimes scandalous) history. Trolley tours offer the ability to get on and off at stops around town, making it easy to explore a museum, have lunch, or just relax in one of the squares.

We’ve partnered with Old Town Trolley Tours to offer discounted tour and attraction tickets. If you'd like to pay through your existing reservation, when checking out, please be sure the email and name you use are the ones we have on file for your reservation.

3. Walk Along River Street

There are many ways to get down to River Street, the iconic cobblestone street that runs along the waterfront. If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of the steeper staircases. If you’d prefer a safer, more knee friendly decent, there’s a public elevator next to the Hyatt toward the middle of Bay Street at Bull.

The century old building that line River Street were once cotton warehouses. Restored and renovated, they now house antique shops, boutiques, galleries, pubs, restaurants, and inns. Stop in Wet Willies for an alcoholic (or not) slushy before continuing your jaunt down River Street. Make your way down to the River Street Marketplace, where you’ll find handmade items that make great souvenirs from your stay in Savannah.

4. Eat Local

With something to offer everyone, Savannah has become a foodie’s paradise. Have afternoon tea, complete with tea sandwiches and an assortment of pastries and petit fours, at the  Gryphon Tea Room on Madison Square. The pizza at Vinny Van GoGo’s in City Market will satisfy even the toughest critic. If you’re in the mood for Asian food, venture over to the Flying Monk Noodle Bar on Broughton Street, located on the ground floor of the same building as The Grant Collection.

It doesn’t get fresher, better, or more local than picking up ingredients for dinner at the Forsyth Farmers Market. Every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., vendors set up their wares at the south end of Forsyth Park. You’ll find everything from locally made chocolate by Adam Turoni, fresh produce, peaches, and even baked goods.

5. Shop at Fancy Parkers

Parker’s Market Urban Gourmet is so much more than just a convenience store. Known as Fancy Parkers to locals, a quick trip will provide you with everything from fresh flowers to a three-course meal complete with dessert (try their Tiramisu!). Once you’ve experience Fancy Parker’s, you’ll wish there was one in your town.

You can have all the convenience of Fancy Parkers, including their central downtown location, by staying in the Parker’s Collection. These beautifully renovated apartments above Parker’s Market provide a serene oasis just steps from Savannah’s shopping and nightlife.

6. Picnic in Forsyth Park

Savannah's largest green-space, Forsyth Park is home to a café, a bandshell, and, of course, the famous Forsyth Park fountain. Nestled in the Historic District, this 30-acre park is a popular spot for festivals and weddings. Locals enjoy the Forsyth Park Farmer's Market that takes place each Saturday morning, and there is always plenty of activity - and great people-watching - in the large grassy areas on the East and West sides.

Grab something from the café in the center of the park, or wander to the south end where you’ll find the Sentient Bean and Brighter Day Natural Foods. Lunch in hand, settle in for an afternoon of sunbathing. If you’re visiting with a furbaby, you’ll find lots of other pups out and about playing and enjoying the weather.

7. Eat Real Southern Food

If you’re looking for a true Southern food experience, head over to Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. They’re only open Monday through Friday, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and there is always a line, so you’ll want to get there early. The wait is worth it, and you’ll get to enjoy beautiful Jones Street until the doors open. Share stories with travelers and locals alike as you eat family style, enjoying some of the best fried chicken in town.

All guests staying at any of our three historic Wilkes homes receive two complimentary lunch certificates to use at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. Please inquire at time of booking or ahead of arrival for special lunch arrangements.

8. Enjoy Live Music in City Market

Live music, local artists at work, a selection of culinary delights, and plenty of nightlife – City Market has it all. Snuggly situated between Franklin and Ellis Squares, City Market is a constant hub of activity in Savannah. By day you can browse galleries and watch artists at work in their studios, and by night you can dance to live music and dine at some of Savannah’s best restaurants.

Congress Street, which runs parallel to City Market, is known for its variety of pubs and restaurants, and is a popular stretch for pub crawls. City Market is a popular spot to spend special events like New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.

9. Tour a Historic Home

While many of the beautiful, historic homes throughout the city aren’t open to the public, there are several that are begging to be explored. The birthplace of legendary southern writer Flannery O’Connor is one of only a few museum homes in the country that have been restored to the Depression-era. You’ll find The Mercer-Williams House, made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (known to locals as, “The Book”), on Monterey Square. The real fun is at the Owens-Thomas House. Designed by William Hay in 1816, the house is full of optical illusions.

Telfair Academy, the Owens-Thomas House, and Jepson Center are all part of Telfair Museums, and the ticket includes admission to all three sites, valid for one week. While Telfair Academy and the Jepson Center are both located on Telfair Square, the Owens-Thomas House is a short walk away. Not up from a stroll? Just flag down a pedicab to bike you to your destination.

10. Go Beyond the Historic District 

Just outside of the Historic District limits are several points of interest worth venturing out to. A “breathtaking avenue sheltered by live oaks and Spanish moss leads to the tabby ruins of Wormsloe,” the oldest standing structure in Savannah. You can take a free guided tour of Bonaventure Cemetery, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, and the final resting place of Johnny Mercer.

The road to Tybee Island, Savannah’s beach, winds its way through a vibrant green marsh that stretches out for miles. The surrounding waterways and marshland are teeming with life, and you’ll soon find that spending a day at Tybee is so much more than spending the day at the beach.

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