I’m sure many of you have visited, or plan to visit beautiful Savannah, Georgia. After all, it has been named one of the top tourist locations in the U.S. multiple times. As a resident of Savannah, I have compiled a list of the top ten tourist locations and things to do there.
1. River Street
If there is one place that residents of Savannah avoid like the plague, it is River Street. (Okay, secretly we all go down to the river but only to, “Act like tourists.”) There are tons of delicious and overpriced restaurants along the waterway. After you’re done eating you can move about 30 feet in any direction and find a candy shop. Those warm pralines and fresh saltwater taffy are worth the hordes of Hawaiian shirts alone. Scattered along the way are a few shops to buy the much-needed Savannah, Georgia t-shirts to show off to your friends when you make it back home. At the end of the street is the loyal Waving Girl Statue who waiting for her long lost lover. So many pictures to be taken. So many tourists. So. Many. Tourists.
2. Paula Deen/ Lady and Sons
Residents haven’t actually eaten at Lady and Sons since her big debut on TV. We find no reason to wait in a line for 5 hours just to get some butter-soaked country cookin’. Most people own one of her old cookbooks and can make the banana pudding and mac-n-cheese at home anyways. But by all means tourists keep going to see the Deen Family! The food is delicious, and it clears up the lines in our favorite hidden restaurant stops.
3. Tybee Island
Okay, this may be an incredibly touristy location… but it is also my favorite place in the world. Tybee looks like the worn down beach community of your dreams. There are little surf shops, where you can pick up a sweet bumper sticker that has a tie (as in for a button down shirt) and a bee (as in the insect)… get it? Tie-Bee? Tybee? Ahh. Gotta love a good pun. Anyway, if you’re touring Savannah, schedule a day to make it down to our coveted Tybee Island. The waters are murky, and we like it that way.
4. Ghosts/Graveyard Tours
Terror, and I’m not talking about the ghosts. The terror is sitting on a bus with 50 strangers sweating on top of one other for over an hour. I guess if you believe in ghosts, that part is pretty terrifying too. Regardless of whether or not you believe in it, ghost tours put on a pretty good show. Get ready to dish out some hefty change to hop on board though… I mean they have to pay for bus drivers, actors, sets, etc. BOO!
5. Ferry Ride
While you’re on River Street, hop on the ferry that runs across to Hutchinson Island all day. There are plenty of ferry tours you can pay for that include meals, but do you really want to be stuck on a ferry for a few hours? The free ferry takes about 15 minutes and you get to ride across the majestic Savannah River. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by plenty of your tourist friends pushing you to one side so they can watch the water flow! Who doesn’t want to feel someone’s fanny pack push them toward rushing water?
6. Horse Carriage Rides
Don’t. I should probably encourage this since it’s good for the visitor business, but don’t. There is a reason we built cars that drive at speeds more than 5 mph. In fact, carriage rides are the single most touristy thing you can participate in. Apparently when people come to Savannah they feel the need to experience what it was like to live in 18th Century Savannah by sitting behind a horse clacking around the squares at a snail’s pace. Residents hate to ride behind you, and you probably will hate the smell of riding behind a horse’s butt for more than 2 seconds. The horses probably hate you for hitching on to them too. But I wouldn’t know, I can’t talk to them.
7. Juliet Gordon Lowe House
Every Girl Scouts dream. The Juliet Gordon Lowe House is the birthplace of the woman who brought us Girl Scouts. Which in turn sort of means, the birthplace the woman who brought us the Thin Mint. I can assure you that almost every resident of Savannah was forced to go to this woman’s house on a field trip at some point. Tourists flock here, especially thousands of Girl Scout tourists. Even if it seems boring… go ahead and go, I would like Girl Scout Cookies for years to come.
8. Broughton Street
Get ready to shop. Broughton is the upscale River Street. There are stores lining each side of the street with a sprinkling of some delicious food. It is a beautiful mix of old-world Savannah and the funky art scene SCAD has brought in. Residents even enjoy intermingling with the tourists to go shopping. I would like to say to avoid Broughton on your visit, but that would only be to clear up more room for me. It’s the epitome of Savannah style and charm. So I guess you can head down to Broughton too, we like your tax revenue anyway.
9. Telfair-Jepson Museum
What’s a tour list without some museums? The Jepson Museum is essentially a huge piece of modern art, with art inside of it, plopped right down into the middle of historic downtown Savannah. It is a big concrete block, with huge windows. Yes, that sounds incredibly ugly… but it is gorgeous! I have been to the museum multiple times, and still love going back to see the new installments. Go be a tourist. Do it. Go look at art and get some culture. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t allow you to overcrowd the place anyway. Plus it is a nice break from the Savannah heat.
10. City Market
Somewhere in between Broughton Street and River Street you may just find yourself at City Market. No, it is not a farmer’s market in the middle of downtown Savannah. Actually, it is a cool blocked off area with outdoor seating, live music and a new interactive water area for kids. Residents like going into the bars, but tourists like it even more. City Market is a laid back area for people who want to kick their feet up and take in their entire experience of Savannah. The music brings people together. The food makes everyone happy. Residents and tourists can enjoy this area together to appreciate everything this city has to offer.
To be honest, I have participated in every single one of these things on this list. It isn’t just for the tourists. In fact, when you live in a place as amazing as Savannah, sometimes it is necessary to take a tour for yourself. So if you have ever considered visiting, or even if you’re just hearing of it, take a few days to come visit my city. Southern Hospitality is not a myth. It lives and breathes in the walls of Savannah. Residents love this place and hope that people that come will be able to see just a little bit of what it has to offer.