The charming city of Savannah is an easy two-hour drive from Charleston. We usually try to go once a year. The city is known for its unique historic district laid out in a series of squares. One of our favorite things to do (if it’s not too hot) is to walk around the squares and marvel at the beautiful city parks and decadent southern homes. Savannah has a more haunted, Southern Gothic feel to the city than Charleston. It’s no wonder: the city is the birthplace of writer Flannery O’Connor and the setting for the true crime book/film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Here are my favorite places to visit in Savannah:
This iconic city park is on the cover of many tourism books and visitor guides. It’s located on the southern end of the historic district and is a walkable distance from the city’s squares. The park’s main feature is the historic fountain in the center of the park.
A museum of contemporary art, the Jepson Center hosts rotating traveling exhibits. Last time we were there we saw an exhibit on Impressionism that included several Monet paintings. One ticket can be purchased for all three Telfair sites: the Telfair Museum, the Jepson Center, and the Owens-Thomas House.
This house museum is my favorite in Savannah. Our guide gave an exceptional tour that was based on history, not myth. The house is not to be missed, nor is the carriage house: it’s one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South and has rare surviving examples of haint blue paint.
The Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home
The house is a must-see for fans of Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor. The house has been restored to the Depression-era to represent a day-in-the-life of O’Connor’s childhood. Their website contains visitor information, hours, and tour prices.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Rebuilt in 1900 after a devastating fire, this cathedral is Savannah’s crown jewel. Designed in the French Gothic style, the cathedral’s interior is decadent and ornate with a ceiling reminiscent of the starry night sky. Visitors are welcome Monday through Saturday. Check out their website for more information.
Leopold’s Ice Cream
Open for almost 100 years, this is the best place to get ice cream in Savannah. Leon’s has a vintage, soda-pop shop feel to it. Expect a line, especially during the sweltering summer months.
Gryphon Tea Room
This Art Deco-themed tea room is a lovely place to have lunch. Since Charleston is sorely lacking in a tea room, we like to go for afternoon tea whenever we are in Savannah. And by afternoon tea, I mean a pot of tea and something sweet. We don’t go for the whole service, although you certain can!