For a quick tour, you can drive to see the maximum amount of things in the least amount of time. The best way to see the area is on foot or in one of the horse and carriages. Either way it is nice to have a guide who is knowledgeable about the history and the architecture. Many people enjoy walking through the cemeteries including the Old Colonial Cemetery. At night, some visitors enjoy guided haunted walks where history is mixed with heaping doses of superstition.
The area's buildings are built around large squares, an orderly design chosen by founder General James Oglethorpe in 1733. There are so many worthy homes that you will have to pick just a few to tour. A favorite is the birthplace of the founder of the Girl Scouts, the Juliette Gordon Low House. The Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex is the last remaining antebellum railroad facility in the U.S. The First African Baptist Church, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and the unique, Gothic-style Temple Mickve Israel are among the oldest surviving houses of their faith in the U.S.
Each beautifully-planted square offers statues or memorials. These include the sundial in Johnson Square and the statue of Methodism founder John Wesley in Reynolds Square. Newer monuments include a statue dedicated to Haitians who fought in the Revolutionary war in Franklin Square. The famous Forrest Gump bench scene was filmed in Chippewa Square. Monterrey Square and the adjacent Mercer House figured prominently in the movie, Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil.
The Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the earliest American museums. Encompassing the original building, the Telfair family home and a new building, the museum now houses period rooms, decorative arts, Southern art, multiple galleries of African American art, a children's gallery, two sculpture terraces, and a collection of some 4,500 American and European sculptures, paintings and other works.
Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences
The Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences was the very first public museum of the arts opened in the southern United States. Built in 1818 by Alexander Telfair, who was a son of one of Georgia's earlier governors, the Telfair Academy was built in a neoclassical style featuring statues and columns. The museum's contents include American art and manuscripts hailing from the turn of the 19th century. This museum also has a special wing dedicated to early African-American artists.
First African Baptist Church
The First African Baptist Church was one of the very first African-American Baptist churches ever built in the United States, being built in the 1832. The history of the congregation that formed the church goes back even further than that; the church has a lineage of worship that pre-dates the American Revolution! It was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and was a popular meeting place for activists during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. This church features a museum with newspapers and other church memorabilia that is open to the public.
The Savannah Terminal of the Central of Georgia railroad is the oldest pre-civil war railroad terminal in America that still stands today. It features a museum, containing information and interesting items pertaining to the early days of rail travel and transport that is open to visitors. Buildings still standing at the terminal include the train depot and a blacksmith's shop.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was built in 1799, and the first Catholic Church to be built in Savannah, making it the Mother Church of the Diocese of Savannah. Catholics were initially prevented from settling in Savannah, as it was assumed they would be more loyal to the Spanish colonists in Florida than the English colonists in the rest of Georgia; however, after the American Revolution, the ban was lifted and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was constructed. After being almost destroyed by a fire a hundred years after it was built, it was quickly rebuilt and is now a beautiful French Gothic cathedral.
Old Harbor Light
The Old Harbor Light is an interesting lighthouse designed to guide American ships to Savannah's port through British blockades during the Revolutionary War. It's very understated and clandestine for a lighthouse, appearing more like a gigantic street light than a typical lighthouse; its low visibility helped it to avoid detection by the British navy while still being useful for American sailors who knew it was there.
The Savannah Historic District is conveniently accessible using the Chatham Area Transit (CAT) public transportation network. Consisting of more than 20 bus routes, Chatham Area Transit serves the entire city of Savannah, Georgia, and some of the surrounding communities.
Many of the Chatham Area Transit bus routes stop along Broughton Street and Oglethorpe Avenue in the North Historic District of Savannah. These two busy Downtown roads are only three blocks apart. At the corner of Oglethorpe Avenue and Bull Street, passengers have access to the CAT bus routes 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 4, 10, 24, 25, 27, 28, and several others. In addition to stopping at Broughton St and Oglethrope Avenue, most of the CAT bus routes essentially make a Downtown Loop by driving through Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and Albecorn Street. Passengers riding the CAT bus system can orient themselves towards the Savannah Historic District by heading towards the Savannah Civic Center, where many of the buses stop.
The Savannah Historic District consists of a dense grid layout of streets. Driving through and parallel parking may be an issue. However, there are multiple parking garages available in that part of Downtown Savannah. Interstate 16 runs through the western part of the Savannah Historic District. Running for more than 160 miles, I-16 is a major highway through central and eastern Georgia. The western terminus of I-16 is the city of Macon while Savannah is the eastern terminal of this highway. At Macon, I-16 merges with Interstate 75, which leads straight into Atlanta, the largest city in Georgia.
Exit 167 on Interstate 16 leads directly to Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in the Savannah Historic District. Just a couple of miles west of Downtown Savannah, Interstate 16 intersects with Interstate 95. Covering nearly 2,000 miles, I-95 is the busiest interstate highway between south Florida and northern New England region.
The Savannah Amtrak Station is located only 4 miles away from the Savannah Historic District. The train station is served by the Amtrak Palmetto, Silver Meteor, and Silver Star. These trains go through multiple states throughout the southern, Atlantic, and northeastern regions of the United States. Amtrak offers memorable long distance journeys that allow passengers to explore the beautiful landscape along the way. Unfortunately, no Chatham Area Transit buses serve the Savannah Amtrak Station. However, taxis can be used for transportation between the train station and the Savannah Historic District.
Lowcountry Gourmet Foods
Stop into Lowcountry Gourmet Foods in the Historic District of Savannah to taste test some of the most exquisite, hand-bottled aged balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils made from different areas around the world. Lowcountry Gourmet Foods makes it their job to provide these delicious products for an everyday low price. Other specialty items found at this store include gourmet coffee, pasta, seasonings, fruit preserves, and barbecue sauce. Purchase individual products or entire gift basket full of your favorite goodies.
The Peanut Shop of Savannah
Head to The Peanut Shop of Savannah to try some of the best peanuts in the area. Boiled peanuts, peanut brittle, chocolate covered peanuts and seasoned nuts are just a few treats that you will find among many. Treat yourself to a tin of peanuts or shop for a special occasion. Products and gift baskets are available in all price ranges, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy quality nuts at an affordable price for them.
Saints and Shamrocks
Saints and Shamrocks carries the very best in Irish collectible items and gifts for special occasions such as Sacraments. Religious books and Celtic crosses make the perfect gift for a loved one that is celebrating their First Communion, Confirmation or simply as a present to show how much you care. In addition to religious gifts, Saints and Shamrocks carries a variety of quality Irish imports such as glassware sets, imported jewelry, and wall crosses. This shop is located directly along the St. Patrick's Day Parade route in Savannah, putting it in a prime and convenient location for visitors to find.
There's no better way to travel around Savannah and see all of the sights than on bike. Step into the Sekka Bicycles store for one of the area's largest selections of name-brand bicycles from companies such as Sekka, Fuji, Bianchi, and Breezer. If you'd rather not purchase your own bike, rentals are available for specific periods of time. Rent a bike anywhere from a few hours to an entire week. Sekka Bicycles can also make repairs on all bicycle brands.
Serendipity Gift Boutique
The Serendipity Gift Boutique carries fine gifts for women. Browse through a selection of classic and contemporary jewelry pieces, try on the latest fashion styles, and purchase gifts that your loved one will forever cherish. From bracelets and necklaces to tops and dresses, this premier boutique carries it all.
February of 1733 saw a fabulous festivity taking place in the city of Savannah. The Colony of Georgia received official recognition on February 12th of that year. An annual celebration started the very next year in 1734 and has continued ever since. The Georgia History Festival Colonial Faire and Muster in Savannah includes re-enactments by costumed actors and various activities common in those early days. For example, visitors can witness musket and cannon firings, music from the time period, cooking demonstrations and interpretations of slave life. All of the festivities happen at Wormsloe State Historic Site.
Boasting itself to have the largest urban landmark Historic District in the entire U.S., Savannah welcomes visitors to enjoy the NOGS Tour of Hidden Gardens that is provided by the Garden Club of Savannah. The month of April is particularly beautiful in the city, and this walking tour will weave guests through eight walled gardens and the Massie School Garden. The event is held annually rain or shine. Casual clothing is recommended, and cameras are welcomed.
In an effort to help showcase the beauty of the city, the Historic Savannah Foundation yearly promotes the SEACREST Race for Preservation. The race was first started in 2006 to help enlighten people to the purpose of the foundation and its ongoing efforts to ensure the preservation of historic neighborhoods of the city. About 200 people took part the first year. At last count, the number has continued to grow, reaching nearly 500. The course takes runners on a breathtaking route through historic Savannah neighborhoods, and participants can choose either 10K or 5K distances.
Children and adults find Christmas On The River to be one of the year's most cherished festivities. The first Saturday in December gives way to a full day of live holiday entertainment, shopping in a charming historical setting, and Santa Claus' arrival.
The Tour of Homes and Gardens, hosted for more than 75 years, gives travelers and residents the chance to view some of the most beautiful homes in Savannah. The historic district contains magnificent colonial residences as remaining masterpieces of the old South. The walking tour allows participants to enter homes and admire furnishings that have been passed down from generation to generation. Additionally, guests can take part in and enjoy seminars, evening events, trolley tours, and fabulous food.
FAQs about hotels near Historic Downtown
How much does a cheap hotel near Historic Downtown cost per night?
In the last year, a 2 star hotel near Historic Downtown can be as cheap as $72.38 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a 3 star hotel near Historic Downtown cost per night?
In the last year, the average 3 star hotel near Historic Downtown has been $117.63 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a high-end hotel near Historic Downtown cost?
In the last year, the average 4 star hotel near Historic Downtown has been $172.15 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)