Savannah’s Landmark Historic District is one of the biggest national landmark districts in the U.S. Covering a 2-square mile area between the Savannah River and MLK Boulevard, it’s the hub of our city.

Don’t let the 2-mile radius fool you, though! There’s always something new to try in the historic district, from shopping and nightlife to guided tours and over 100 restaurants.

In this list, we’ll share our favorites to help you plan your next trip to Savannah’s downtown historic district. 

City Guide: Strolling Through Savannah’s Historic District 

Savannah’s historic district is a mixed-use neighborhood just off the Savannah River, known for its historic scenery, vibrant restaurants, and laid-back bars. Here are the places and activities we find ourselves returning to again and again—many within a 10-minute walk of the House on Taylor Square.

1. Step back in time 

Image: Taylor Square
Taylor Square (formerly known as Calhoun Square) in Historic Savannah.

To experience the past here, all you need to do is step outside. Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, founded in 1733. Impressively, it still retains a lot of its old charm, from its original gridded street layout to the 22 squares that embody the soul of the historic landmark district. 

Each year, millions of people visit the iconic squares. These 22 town squares hold monuments, centuries-old live oak trees, iconic park benches, and scenic areas like Forsyth Park–the town’s oldest park. Today, it’s the centerpiece of Savannah’s big events from food festivals to parades. 

2. Stay somewhere unforgettable

Image: a photograph of the primary bedroom in the House on Taylor Square
Interior of The House on Taylor Square.

From historic Airbnbs to 4-star hotels, the landmark historic district has it all.  North Historic District is home to River Street and the surrounding area, with hotels like the River Street Inn and the Hilton Garden Inn Savannah. This area of town can be fun, loud, and boisterous. 

In contrast, the South Historic District is a cozy haven in a more residential area. It’s much quieter at night while still being within walking distance of all the best attractions. Here, you can stay in a fully-stocked garden apartment or reserve a room at a boutique historic inn with a view of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist peeking out over the treeline.

3. Take a guided tour of the Savannah attractions 

Image: a photograph of the Lawrence McNeil Mansion in Savannah's Forsyth Park
The Lawrence McNeil House in the Historic District.

If you want to see a lot of sights in a little time, a guided tour is the way to go. From the ghostly to the historic, Savannah has a wealth of tour options so you can cruise through the city’s best attractions. 

For architecture buffs, try The Architectural Savannah Tour to experience the breadth of the city’s built environment. To get the best views of the city, try an Old Town Trolley Tour or a Savannah Riverboat Cruise at sunset.

4. Enjoy the scenery and gardens

The beautiful plants and trees in Savannah have been a feature of its urban landscape since the early 1800s. For hundreds of years, trees were planted alongside the streets, parks, cathedrals, and squares to add natural beauty and shade to the city.

Live oaks and a gazebo in Forsyth Park

You’ll see the city’s trademark live oak trees draped with Spanish moss in streets and cemeteries, along with dogwoods, crepe myrtles, and magnolia. These all lend the “Forest City” a beautiful backdrop in any season. Pro tip: many consider Jones Street to be one of the most scenic spots in the city.

5. Shop local

Image: a photograph of the Books on Bay store.
The interior of the Books on Bay vintage bookstore.

Love to shop? Better leave some space in your suitcase! Savannah has some of the best local shops in the South.

Locals and visitors rave about the old-school bookshops here, from the E. Shaver, Bookseller on Bull Street to Book Lady’s extensive used book collection on East River Street, and the incredible antique and vintage collections at Books on Bay (now located on Abercorn Street near Taylor Square). 

For eco-friendly clothes and accessories, check out Custard Boutique and then head over to Satchel for handcrafted, locally made leather goods. And if you’re searching for the perfect decorative piece to take back home, save a spot on your itinerary for Jones & Bull.

6. Experience the waterfront on River Street

Image: An aerial photograph of the waterfront area of downtown Savannah, Georgia.
Savannah’s waterfront on River Street.

No visit to the city is complete without a stroll along Savannah’s River Street. Here, you’ll enjoy scenic river vistas, historic warehouses, and cobblestone streets. 

All year round, the atmosphere is full of people, music, and entertainment. This waterfront spot is the prime spot for holiday celebrations and parties throughout the year, from the legendary St. Patrick’s Day Parade to the Fourth of July fireworks.  

If you’re just here for the day, we recommend grabbing a to-go beverage and walking down River Street from end to end. You can pick up local souvenirs at the open-air River Street Market Place, then indulge your sweet tooth at River Street Sweets or Savannah Bee Company

7. Stop by a classic Savannah museum

Image: a photograph of the iconic Mercer Williams House in Savannah, Georgia.
The Mercer-Williams House in the Savannah Historic District.

With nearly 300 years of history, Savannah has a strong culture of museums that help explore the different eras and events of the past. 

No matter what era you’re interested in, there’s something for everybody. Take a 1920s cocktail class in a speakeasy at the Prohibition Museum, stroll through the Maritime Museum, or tour an immaculately restored historic house museum. 

Speaking of house museum tours, we recommend the Davenport House (circa 1820), The Owens-Thomas House (circa 1819),  The Andrew Low House (circa 1848), and the Armstrong Kessler Mansion (circa 1918). Plus, no trip to Savannah is complete for literature and film fans than a stop in the Mercer-Williams House, the restored 1860s mansion where the events of the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil took place.

8. Grab a bite

Image: a meal at the Common Thread restaurant in Savannah's historic district.
An appetizer from Common Thread in the Savannah Historic District.

In Savannah, Georgia, you’ll find a wide selection of restaurants for every taste and budget. As of 2024, the city has over 200 restaurants in its thriving food scene.  

Here, you can get Belgian waffles, Thai street eats, luxe Southern dishes, and everything in between. If you need some help making your next dinner pick, check out our favorites: Top 20 Restaurants in Savannah: Exploring the Local Food Scene.

9. Raise a glass

Sixpence Pub in Savannah's Historic District
The Six Pence Pub, a famous Savannah watering hole in the historic district.

When it comes to Savannah’s bar scene, history, and cocktails blend in a truly unforgettable way. From quaint taverns with a long-standing legacy to trendy speakeasies that pay homage to the past, Savannah offers a bar experience like no other.

Step into the historic district and you’ll discover a world of hidden gems like the Artillery Bar. Or sip a meticulously crafted cocktail at Peregrin, the best rooftop bar in the city. Best of all, you can order your drinks to go (as long as you’re in the Historic District).

10. Experience the Savannah art scene 

Image: photo of the Greek Revival structure housing the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah's historic district.
The SCAD Museum of Art.

For such a small metropolitan area, the Savannah historic district has a big-city art scene. The Telfair Museum of the Art is the oldest art museum in the South, featuring unique modern and contemporary exhibits. You should also check out the SCAD Museum of Art, featuring high fashion exhibits, an impressive African American art collection, and more in a historic Greek-Revival building. 

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