48 hours in Savannah

Savannah / Hilton Head

Savannah is one of the oldest cities in the country, and it has a lot to offer on top of St. Patrick’s Day and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. You’ll likely arrive later in the day on Friday, so hit the ground running to get as much out of your weekend as possible.

Forsyth Park, photo by Ashley Knedler
Forsyth Park, photo by Ashley Knedler

Friday

1:30 PM—Drop your bags off at your hotel and get your bearings by going on a free walking tour, which leaves from Johnson Square daily. It lasts 90 minutes and hits historic points and the square where the famous scene in Forrest Gump was filmed.

3:00 PM—Check into your accommodation for the weekend. Inns and bed-and-breakfasts line the historic district, including River Street Inn. For a taste of luxury, check out the famous Mansion on Forsyth Park, which has its own cooking school. Budget-conscious travelers can try Thunderbird Inn, a kitschy throwback to the 1950s near the SCAD campus.

5:30 PM—Head for happy hour at one of Savannah’s rooftop bars, like Cotton Sail’s Top Deckbar, which overlooks the Savannah Harbor, or Rocks on the Roof at The Bohemian Hotel. Try their alcoholic take on classic Southern sweet tea and enjoy the bar’s views of the river. For something different, visit the Perch rooftop bar, which overlooks Forsyth Park and its magnificent fountains.

7:30 PM—For dinner, head to The Florence, an Italian eatery run by celebrity chef Hugh Acheson or Cotton & Rye, serving up “New American” with Southern influences like hanger steak and fried chicken.

9:30 PM—You can experience the St. Patrick’s Day festivities year-round at at one of Savannah’s English and Irish pubs, like Kevin Barry’s Pub and O’Connell’s. Head over to Congress Street Social Club, open until 3:00 AM, for last call.

Saturday

9:00 AM—If you had a late night out, you may not make it out of bed until later, but earlier risers can grab breakfast at B. Matthew’s, serving ham and cheese omelettes and hair of the dog until 3:00 PM on weekends, or Clary’s Cafe for corned beef hash and cheesy grits.

10:00 AM—Make time for a tour of one of the many historic homes, like the Mercer-Williams House, the birthplace of Flannery O’Connor and site of the founding of Girl Scouts of America.

12:00 PM—Grab a casual lunch at Walls BBQ, an under-the-radar restaurant in a back alley downtown with pulled pork, collard greens and Southern essentials. For something on the go, grab a sandwich from Parker’s Market Urban Gourmet to enjoy in one of the many squares.

1:00 PM—The art museums at Telfair Academy (site of the Bird Girl statue from Midnight in the Garden’s cover) and Savannah College of Art and Design are worth a trip, both featuring classic European art alongside modern works by local students and well-known artists. follow your tours with much-needed sugar boost from Leopold’s ice cream.

7:30 PM—Visit one of the city’s more traditional eateries, including tourist favorites like The Pirates HouseLady and Sons or the Olde Pink House.

8:30 PM—Fans of Midnight in the Garden should head to Club One, the official home of performer Lady Chablis. She only performs once per month, but you can also catch other great performers every weekend, starting at 10:30 PM. If nightclubs aren’t your scene, head to the sexy courtyard bar at Treylor Park.

Sunday

11:00 AM—Go for one last meal, the all-important Sunday brunch. Choose from The Collins Quarter, an Australian-inspired restaurant and coffee shop, or Ampersand, which offers live blues music.

12:30 PM—Make the drive to Wormsloe Historic Site, known for majestic oaks that drape the drive in. The plantation was owned by one of Georgia’s founding fathers, Noble Jones. Visit the colonial ruins before taking a walk through the winding marsh paths, then explore the famous graves, including Johnny Mercer, at Bonaventure Cemetery on your way back into town.

3:00 PM—Head to the airport and say your goodbyes to Savannah.