With its cobblestone streets, historic squares, opulent mansions, and spreading dripping with Spanish moss, Savannah is one of the most distinctive cities in the United States, ranking with New Orleans, San Francisco, and Charleston, South Carolina. The town has a lazy, genteel feel, accentuated by the humid southern climate and laid-back nature of its citizens. There is much to see and do in Savannah, and it serves as a good home base for excursions to other, wilder areas of the Georgia coast.
Officially, the district is defined by the Savannah River and Gaston Street (Forsyth Park) and bordered by East Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Victorian Historic District, which stretches south from Forsyth Park for approximately 1 square mile, is undergoing renovation and development that has already swept through the neighborhoods to the north. Some beautiful lodging and delicious dining are found in this area as well.
It is recommended that visitors start their sojourn in Savannah at the Savannah Visitors Center. From here, tourists can get oriented to the town's charms by taking a tour or picking up maps and helpful information. Annual events to be aware of start with St. Patrick's Day. For more than 160 years, this riotous event has celebrated the Irish heritage of the city. The St. Patrick's Day parade is the second largest in the U.S., behind New York, and the celebration is the third oldest, behind New York and Boston. Other events to look out for are annual tours of homes and gardens, which allow a peek into some of Savannah's finer homes that usually are closed to the public.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Touring Savannah
Savannah is ranked in the top 10 best walking cities in the U.S. by Walking Magazine. Most tourists sites are concentrated around River Street, City Market, and the Historic District. River Street and City Market are thriving tourist areas within walking distance of each other that feature a collection of restaurants, clubs, art galleries, and souvenir shops housed in the historic buildings of Savannah's waterfront and City Market.
Savannah Visitors Center/Savannah History Museum
Located in the 1860 Central of Georgia Railroad Building, visitors starting here can get information on lodging, restaurants, and attractions that make Savannah distinctive. Walking, driving, or carriage tours are booked here. The Savannah History Museum offers an excellent introduction to the area's history. Exhibits feature Forrest Gump's bench and the Bird Girl statue on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, discuss the Siege of Savannah, Savannah-born songwriter Johnny Mercer, and Savannah's railroad history.
Directions: I-16 to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Exit 37A/167. At light, go left. Visitors Center is on left.
Activities: Historical touring.
Facilities: Restrooms, gift shop, snack bar.
Dates: Open 7 days a week, 9–5.
Fees: A small fee is charged for the museum.
For more information: Savannah Visitors Center/Savannah History Museum, 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31499. Visitors Center: Phone (912) 944-0455. History Museum: Phone (912) 238-1777