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You’ll likely love Savannah, Georgia. The beautiful, historic and walkable city has attractions for almost everyone.
During our one-day visit, we visited seven sights—and enjoyed them all.
Chippewa Square. This little park is not famous for the native people it was named for; rather, this is the delightful place where Forrest Gump famously sat on a bench waiting for a bus chatting with those who happened to plunk down on the bench with him. The bench he sat on is a prop that has been moved to the Savannah History Museum.
Savannah History Museum. If you’re a fan of Tom Hanks, the price of admission is likely justified just by seeing the movie prop. Sadly, it is protected, so folks don’t sit on it—the temptation is obvious. The museum does a passable job of highlighting the history of Europeans in Savannah, with some meaningful but, we’d argue, inadequate discussion of Africans and their descendants. The museum provides virtually nothing about the Native Americans who lived in the area before Europeans arrived.
Forsyth Park. This 30-acre park is the largest in town and features a 19th-century fountain that, thanks to good maintenance and restoration, still works in the 21st. Ordered from a catalog, you can find similar fountains ordered from the same catalog in several cities.
Congregation Mickve Israel Synagog. This synagog traces its roots back to 1733. Its significance was apparent in 1789, such that President George Washington wrote a letter saying, “May the same wonder-working Deity who long since delivering the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, planted them in the promised land - whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation - still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.” Conde Nast named the synagog one of the 15 most beautiful in the world.
City Market. This shopping mall dates back to the 1700s and is now a celebration of the city’s vibrant present, with trendy shops and restaurants.
River Street. The waterfront area along River Street in downtown Savannah began a restoration process in the 1970s that helped revitalize the entire city. The street was home primarily to cotton exporters for centuries, including the 1800s when Savannah, leveraging the free labor of enslaved people, led the world in cotton exports. The last cotton exporter here closed in 1956.
The Savannah Belles Ferry. This free ride is another great way to see the waterfront. The route features three stops, two on the south side of the Savannah River and one stop at the Convention Center on the north side. If you’re not attending a convention, there may not be much attracting you to the north side, but the view of the south side from the north justifies the trip. The light is best in the morning. The captain does not require anyone to disembark, so feel free to ride the 30-minute loop, hopping off where you boarded.
Savannah is a delightful place to visit. It is extraordinarily walkable in that the historic district is small enough for you to comfortably cover the distance, but the little parks and squares around town—featuring lots of benches—make for comfy resting points, making long walks pleasant.
If you don’t want to walk, there are all manner of tours to choose from in almost any imaginable vehicle, from busses to trollies, carriages and even a hearse. If you don’t find our notes helpful, you can get Fodor’s guide.
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