A city resurrected from neglect, Savannah is now America’s largest historically restored urban area, retaining all of its antebellum flair. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern metroplexes, Georgia’s fourth-largest city has plenty to offer for a civilised weekend break.
It’s like New Orleans but with more of the beautiful historic districts and less of the drunk tourists. Famous buildings like the Sorrel Weed House, the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex, the Wormsloe plantation and the Mercer-Williams House, which you might remember from the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, are the main draws in the area. Atmospheric cemeteries such as the Laurel Grove, Colonial Park and Bonaventure Cemetery, world-renown for its Victorian funerary statuary are favourite tourist attractions too.
It’s not the first thing you’d think of when you hear “urban city centre,” but Savannah is absolutely chock full of greenery. The historic district itself has 22 squares hosting everything from formal fountains and monuments to playgrounds, along with the 30-acre Forsyth Park. For horticulture on an even grander scale, visit Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens, a botanical garden and experimental research station home to 140 varieties of bamboo. Feel like catching some Georgia sun and sand? The beaches on Tybee Island are perfect for an East Coast-style day out. Featuring the Tybee Island Light Station, the first lighthouse on the southern Atlantic coast.
No surprise given its wealthy history as a port town, but Savannah has a rich arts scene. In music alone, the city hosts two orchestras, a jazz association and plenty of amateur performers to go around. If it’s fine art you’re looking for, then the Telfair Museum of Art, dating back to 1886, should be able to scratch that itch. Don’t miss out on exhibitions by the talented students of the Savannah College of Art and Design either. There’s a reason the institution has a reputation of being one of the best art schools in the United States!
Savannah was at one point was known as the “Hostess of the South,” and it lives up to its nickname in its quirky nightlife. Pinkie Masters Bar, a favourite of visiting presidents, has the distinction of being the best dive bar in town. On a more family friendly note, the Pirates’ House restaurant and tavern, est. 1753, is thought to be the oldest building in the state of Georgia; it contains the entrance to one of the mysterious underground tunnels that crisscross Savannah for that extra bit of intrigue. Today, the restaurant hosts murder mystery dinner theatre nights put on by the Savannah Community Theatre. Looking for a show of a slightly different variety? Then get yourself over to Club One’s drag nights over the weekend, when The Lady Chablis holds court. She’s another Midnight alum, and if you’ve ever seen the movie, that’s exactly what you can expect out of a stage show.