What to see and do in Savannah, GA
We just returned from our 5-day, 4-night trip to Savannah, which provided a perfect respite from the colder weather and February dreariness of working with no vacations in sight. I wanted to share all the sights we saw, places we ate and things we did so that you can hopefully get some tips for planning your own trip.
This time of year Savannah remains chilly (think 40s-60s), so definitely layer up as the winds from the riverfront will hit you hard.
We stayed at The Alida, which while nicely decorated / clean and modern also featured absurd fees (think a $25/day amenity fee added on to your daily rate for amenities other hotels provide for free, and $42 valet-only parking). For these reasons, I'd actually recommend against this hotel, especially as you can get better waterfront views from hotels we walked by such as the JW Marriott or The Cotton Sail Hotel.
If your hotel also has a rip-off rate for parking, I highly recommend you look for the many public and private parking garages and lots in the downtown area that will almost certainly be better. We ended up putting our car in an open lot behind the Hilton Garden Inn (entrance on Jefferson St and W. Bay Ln) at $25/night - still pricey but a heck of a lot better and which gave us the option to enter and leave freely without dealing with the hassle of calling a valet each time (also important in these times, as the last thing I want is a stranger going in my vehicle).
Food was definitely a highlight of the trip, as what's not to like about authentic and fattening Southern cuisine. Below were some standouts:
The Olde Pink House: The most hyped of the spots in town, and rightly so. The server we had was incredibly pleasant and polite. Importantly, every bite of food we had was delicious. And the ambiance of being inside an old wooden house was very cool, even if it's been done before by places like Husk etc. I had their famed fried flounder, which was so much food that I ended up taking the other half home to eat the next day. It was rather heavy though as a downside.
We also had the pecan crusted chicken, and shared a shrimp and cornbread based appetizer (couldn't recommend more highly, so good). They also serve you complimentary hot biscuits with butter which were a perfect opening.
The Grey: A former bus depot turned restaurant, this place featured open spacing with lovely views and delicious James Beard nominated brunch foods (created by NYC-born black female executive chef, Mashama Bailey). I had their Blue Crab beignets (very good, lots of good crab meat inside and minimal filling), and we also shared their pork and egg yolk based pasta dish which was hearty and delicious with tons of black pepper.
Little Duck Diner: Probably our favorite (we went back 2x) and clearly a favorite with tourists for a reason. Reasonably priced, tasty and diverse menu option. Everything we had was good, with the bbq duck tacos and grilled cheese both delicious. Waffles were a little sweet but certainly satisfying.
Flock to the Wok: A more classic Chinese food place with a modern feel. Tasty and hit the spot.
B. Matthews Eatery: Conveniently located with classic brunch items and staples. Nothing standout but I enjoyed the veggie scramble and crab benedict we tried
The Collins Quarters: Was kind of just ok. I had the Hen of the Woods which is a mushroom dish, but unfortunately it was overly salty.
Flying Monk Noodle Bar: I liked the food (Buddha Noodles and White Elphant chicken soup were authentic/tasty) but this is by far the least COVID-equipped place I've ever been to. Tables were a mere couple feet apart, and they weren't great about having guests for pick-up wear their masks while standing. Not recommended for that reason.
Leopold's Ice Cream: Famed ice cream shop, although the flavors imo could use some work on the variety front. We tried the honey almond and liked but didn't love it.
Alley Cat Lounge: This is a must-go place if you're at all into cocktails (they also serve lower ABV and no ABV for anyone not wanting to drink). We came back here two nights in a row and together tried 9 different options from their very extensive menu, and literally everything was unique and good. I'm not normally a cocktail lover but these were truly tasty and with so many variations. Their menu is printed on newspaper, and I was so impressed by the bartenders - we got to sit in front of him one night, and the amount of skill required to memorize and quickly make all these drinks is truly amazing.
Note that the entrance is in the back (in the alleyway) - true to its speakeasy nature, the front of the shop is literally an empty space, and you have to enter back and down the steps to the basement for the true interior.
Things to do
Stroll the riverwalk / downtown area: This could definitely keep you busy for a day. The riverfront area is beautifully maintained, and there's tons of local and chain shops on W Broughton St. A few of my favorite stores included The Savannah Bee Company (you can sample their many varieties of honey or test their luxurious royal jelly creams there), Nour-ish (a Georgia local skincare / soup brand - great prices and lovely natural products, I purchased a bug cream and tinted lip balm)
Wormsloe Historic Site: Very cool entryway and really expansive ground that you can walk through, including passing by some ruins and the grave of Wormsloe (an original Georgia founder). Highly recommend, tickets are $10 each.
Oatland Island Wildlife Center: What a surprising and perfect find - for only $3/person (make sure to book online in advance) you get full access to their grounds, which is effectively an outdoor zoo. They have a large variety of animals, from farm ones such as a cow, donkey, chickens and ducks to more exotic ones including several wolves, bobcats, and cougars. Beautiful and varied grounds as well.
Tybee Island Lighthouse: Was closed at this time, but you can still park outside and stroll about and take pictures in front of the lighthouse.
Strolling on Tybee beach: The shoreline is certainly very pretty, so recommend a walk even if you don't swim
There were a number of museums and parks in the Downtown area that we didn't quite get a chance to explore. What is great is that there's a free app called the Downtowner that lets you call a free shuttle to get to and from different places in downtown - what a convenient service!