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The Best Things to See and Do in Savannah

The oldest city in the state of Georgia, Savannah, is a major seaport and a cultural center. This charming Southern city features historic buildings and beautiful green spaces. Situated on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah is about twenty miles from the Atlantic coast and enjoys a humid subtropical climate. If you're looking for things to see and do in Savannah, don't miss these attractions.

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01 Every seat is the best seat with Old Savannah Trolley Tours

Start your trip with the Old Savannah Trolley Tour, winner of International Tripadvisor's, Travelers' Choice Award! With free, unlimited re-boarding, you can spend your time soaking in the sites instead of worrying about what time the next eligible trolley passes by. Capture your memories with unobstructed ease on the open-air trolley.

02 Forsyth Park

A cast-iron fountain in the middle of Forsyth Park in Savannah Pgiam / Getty Images

The largest park in Savannah, Forsyth Park, is a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. The park features a dazzling focal point—a cast-iron fountain dating back to 1858. Filled with paved strolling paths and shady trees, Forsyth Park is a lovely place to walk, meet with friends, picnic, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

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03 Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Gothic aesthetics inside Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah Meinzahn / Getty Images

Originally constructed in 1799, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was rebuilt during the nineteenth century. It boasts a distinctive Gothic aesthetic and is one of the city's most iconic structures. Visitors are invited to attend mass, or you can peek inside on the off-hours to witness the grand interiors. The cathedral is a feature of most historic tours of the city, and if you're interested in architecture, you don't want to miss it.

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04 Riverboat Cruise on the Savannah River

Savannah riverboat cruise on the Savannah river RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

Enjoy a vintage afternoon or evening on a Savannah River riverboat cruise. These historic boats brim with old-fashioned charm. Cruising is a great way to relax while enjoying the sights. Tour the city's port and learn how it grew to become one of the most popular cities in the American South.

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05 Owens-Thomas House

Get an eye-opening glimpse into the past at the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, one of the three Telfair Museums in town. Located adjacent to historic Oglethorpe Square, the site features a regal circa-1816 mansion and the earliest still-intact urban slave quarters in America. Guided audio tours fill up fast, so check in early to get a slot.

06 History Tours

Historic buildings in the streets of Savannah SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Savannah boasts a long and rich history that stretches back to its founding in 1733. History tours of the city will acquaint you with important landmarks scattered through the streets. Whether you opt for a trolley or walking tour, you'll discover a wealth of information about the city.

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07 City Market

Savannah's city market captured in daylight Pgiam / Getty Images

Savannah's City Market boasts a charming atmosphere. You'll find shops, vendors, cafes, artist studios, and more. Many people come to relax and listen to bands or musicians who entertain the crowds with live music. From boutiques to homemade candy stores, the City Market is a fun place to shop and hang out with family or friends.

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08 The Telfair Museum of Art

The Telfair Museum of Art is actually two separate art museums, the Jepson Center and Telfair Academy. Lucky for you, they are located across the street from each other on Telfair Square, and one ticket provides entry to both. At Telfair Academy, you'll find classical works from the masters in a converted historic mansion. The Jepson Center spotlights modern art and is home to the famous "Bird Girl" statue that graced the cover of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," relocated from Bonaventure Cemetery for preservation purposes.

09 Savannah Waterfront

Historic District waterfront of Savannah at twilight f11photo / Getty Images

There's more to the Savannah Waterfront than the shops and cafes of River Street. Head across the street to stroll the scenic riverwalk in Rousakis Riverfront Plaza and watch the boat traffic on the Savannah River. You can even take a free boat ride on the Savannah Belles Ferry across the river to Hutchison island and back. Morrell Park has a riverwalk, too, and contains the iconic Waving Girl Statue welcoming all the arriving ships.

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10 Tybee Island

The waves at the Tybee Island beach AppalachianViews / Getty Images

Located about 18 miles from Savannah, Tybee Island is a popular day trip destination. Known as "Savannah's Beach," Tybee Island boasts a resort town setting complete with sandy beaches, ocean breezes, and relaxing inns and cottages. When visiting the island, you'll want to check out the pier and the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center will teach you all about the region's marine life.

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11 Historic Squares

The green landscape at Savannah's iconic squares NicolasMcComber / Getty Images

Savannah features some of the most picturesque squares you're likely to see. When planning your tour of the city, be sure to include stops at Chippewa, Madison, Johnson, Columbia, Franklin, and Orleans. Each quaint square boasts its own flavor and special features, from fountains and gazebos to charming strolling paths and gorgeous flower beds.

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12 Wormsloe State Historic Site

oak-tree covered entrance to the Wormsloe State Historic Site in Savannah

The oldest still-standing structure in Savannah is the colonial-era tabby ruin at Wormsloe State Historic Site. You've probably seen the entrance to Wormsloe without realizing it. The long avenue lined with centuries-old live oaks has served as a backdrop in many popular film and magazine shoots, so don't forget your camera. Bring your walking shoes to explore the miles of nature trails offering views of the salt marsh, tidal creeks, and maritime forest.

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13 Fort James Jackson

Fort James Jackson historic landmark in Savannah

The oldest standing fort in the state, Fort James Jackson, is a National Historic Landmark and is now operated by the Coastal Heritage Society. The brick-construction fort was active during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. You can take a walking tour of the area and its many military exhibits.

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14 Historic Savannah Theater

The entrance to Savannah Theater, America's oldest operating theater

Constructed in 1818, the Savannah Theatre is the nation's oldest continuously operating theatre, and it's worth a visit for that reason alone. Of course, the Art Deco interior installed after the theater suffered a fire in 1948 is another good reason to peek into this grand old space. In recent decades, the city has updated the theater with modern sound and lighting systems that enhance the movie-going experience.

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15 River Street

Savannah's River Street, captured in sunset

Running along the Savannah River, the aptly named River Street is a wonderful place to stroll and shop the many galleries and stores. Cobblestoned walkways harken back to bygone eras and add to the classic charm. River Street also brims with cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a wide range of cuisines and, of course, good old-fashioned Southern favorites.

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16 Bonaventure Cemetery

Springtime in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia JZHunt / Getty Images

One of the quintessential stops in Savannah is Bonaventure Cemetery. This is no ordinary graveyard. Spreading out over 150 acres on a river bluff three miles from downtown, Bonaventure dates to 1846 and has even older oak trees draped with Spanish moss lining its many pathways. It's an idyllic and spooky escape from the bustle of the city.

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17 Experience the unrivaled delicacies of Savannah

Savannah Taste Experience is one of the best ways to experience the culinary crafts of the city. Take the Southern Fried Expectations Tour with the whole family or the Walktails & Bar Bites Happy Hour Tour with your best pals. For the fans of the irreverent, Savannah for Morons will entertain and enlighten!

18 Up close and personal with native species at the University of Georgia Aquarium

With the state's first saltwater tank, the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium offers a unique opportunity to view many native species of marine life. Every few years, in conjunction with a few other wildlife projects, the aquarium will accept a turtle hatchling that was abandoned on the shore. The turtle will live at the aquarium for 3-4 years before either being released into the wild or going to another, larger location to live.

19 Not your average art gallery

The Roots Up Gallery claims to be a place that is "Celebrating Artists Bringing Their Passions to Life," and that couldn't be a better description for the small gallery in Savannah. Exhibits and artists range from local self-taught folk artists to classically-trained national artists. While backgrounds differ among the artists, they all share a soulful style, and their passion is evident in each lovingly-created piece.

20 Modern navy ships, colonial vessels, and the Titanic

Explore commissioned models of various sea-going vessels at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. With each model built to the same scale, you can easily compare ships of different ages. Step back in time with the steamship Savannah which was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, or the merchant ship Anne, who carried the first visitors to what would become the colony of Georgia.

21 Where the history of military science and invention comes alive

Fort Pulaski National Monument Hal Beral / Getty Images

The Fort Pulaski National Monument, located 20 minutes outside of Savannah, stands as a testament to the strength and power of the modernization of the military. Part of the National Park Service, Fort Pulaski invites visitors to step inside its walls and back into history to learn about the battle to control this massive fort.

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22 Take a tour in a hearse; no coffin required

If riding in an actual hearse while learning about local haunts sounds like your idea of fun, look no further than Hearse Ghost Tours. This tour offers a fun way to see the beautiful architecture and learn about the ghosts of historic downtown Savannah. The Hostess City of the South has more than her share of old secrets.

23 Pre-Civil War construction and Johnny Mercer

Mercer Williams House Museum - Savannah, Georgia Marje / Getty Images

A guided tour of the Mercer-Williams House Museum allows visitors to step into a scene from the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Construction began in 1860 but was interrupted by the Civil War. Before the mansion and carriage house were complete, General Hugh Mercer, great grandfather of musician Johnny Mercer, sold the home without ever having lived there.

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24 Drink your way around the world

World of Beer is truly global, with over 500 beers available on tap or in the cooler. Everyone is sure to find a new favorite brew! Looking to try something new? Create your own beer flight and taste several options at once. World of Beer has indoor and outdoor seating, a dozen televisions to watch sports from around the world, and live music on the weekends.

25 Where the Girl Scouts began

The Andrew Low House in Savannah, GA

The historical Andrew Low House, built in the mid-19th century, was home to Andrew Low II and later his daughter-in-law, Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low. Daisy founded the Girl Scouts in 1912, modeling the group after the Girl Guiding Association in the U.K., and used the carriage house as the group's first headquarters.

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