If you're looking to spend a little time in the South, why not visit Savannah, Georgia or Charleston, South Carolina? Savannah, an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport, is the largest city of Chatham County in the state of Georgia. Savannah is also known for its architecture and historic buildings. If you're looking for some history and charm, Savannah is your place!
And while you're in the area, consider making a stop in Charleston. Frequently voted one of America's friendliest cities, it's no wonder Charleston is annually among the nation's most visited cities. Located on a peninsula where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet near the Atlantic Ocean, this city tucked into the coastline is full of adventures for visitors.
Savannah's climate is classified as humid subtropical. This climate is characterized by long and almost tropical summers with temperatures reaching freezing only a few times in the winter with very rare snowfall. Summers tend to be humid with many thunderstorms. Nearly half of Savannah's precipitation falls during the months of June through September. The best times to visit Savannah are the Spring and Fall when you can enjoy the warm weather without the high heat.
Getting around Savannah is a breeze. You may need a shuttle or taxi service from the airport or train station to your lodging, but from there you will find it's very easy to get around town. Walking Magazine rates Savannah as one of the 10 Best Walking Cities in America, and almost everything is in walking distance. If you are traveling around the Historic District, one of Savannah's most popular areas, you can also take one of the Chatham Area Transit shuttles offering free on-and-off shuttle service to many locations within the historic district.
Where to Stay
There are many hotels to choose from in Savannah. Many visitors have expressed how much they have enjoyed staying in Downtown Historic District. For a guide on where to stay, visit here.
Things to do and see around town
Historic District: Savannah's picturesque historic district, a National Historic Landmark, is at the heart of Savannah. With cobblestone streets, manicured gardens and oak-shaped parks, the District brings the traditional southern atmosphere to life. Here you can find art, culture, festivals, concerts, live theatre, outdoor cafes and gourmet restaurants. You will also find Forsyth Park, a 30-acre park bordered on the north by Gaston Street and on the south by Park Avenue.
Sixth Sense World Savannah Ghost Tours: 6th Sense World has been the leader in uncovering Savannah's haunted heritage. From voodoo rituals to exorcisms, the 6th Sense has it all. Savannah has been deemed America's Most Haunted City and now you can find out why. Come take a walking tour of the pre-Colonial Savannah to the present and be spooked!
Wilderness Southeast Tours: Explore Georgia's true nature on a private tour. You can take a couple hours or the whole day to explore Savannah's wildlife from birding to beachcombing and beyond. You can also choose your method of discovery: go walking, paddling or boating, and let expert naturalist guides help you investigate the natural history of coastal Georgia.
Historic Savannah Theatre: This Historic Theatre has the only Broadway-style professional live show in Savannah that runs all year long. The show features a 5-piece live band and a cast of singers, dancers, and actors that sing popular music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s in themed shows. All of the shows offered suit a variety of tastes, and you can even come hungry and satisfy your palate at the concession stand! The building itself is historic, built in 1818, and is the oldest continually operating theatre in the U.S.
City Market: City Market is a 4-block area on Jefferson at West Saint Julian Street, surrounded by retail shops, art galleries, nightlife and restaurants. City Market has been the commercial and social center of historic Savannah since the early 1700's. This charming, open-air marketplace has a wealth of things to do whether you come for the entertainment, shopping or dining.
Historic Grayson Stadium: Located at 1401 East Victory Drive, this stadium is home of the Savannah Sand Gnats. If you're interested in seeing some traditional baseball, go to Grayson Stadium. Not only will you find great baseball here, but it has also hosted events from concerts to Football games.
Broughton Street: Don't worry about transportation here—check out local designers' work as you stroll the sidewalks of Savannah's Broughton Street. Here you will find The Paris Market and Brocante, a flea market where you can find salvaged and new items alike. You can also find boutiques like DC2 Design where you will find home furnishings and accessories from fabulous purses and jewelry and a dessert-and-coffee bar.
Jen's and Friends: Located at 34 Bull St, here you will find the largest selection of martinis and beer around. This establishment, described as a hole in the wall, is known for their beverage selection and cozy atmosphere. Find specialty martinis including popular concoctions like Bananas Foster Martini or the Snickers Martini, or select from one of their hundreds of bottles of beer. With a capacity of only 37, you'll find a mix of regulars and tourists raising a glass together.
Olde Pink House: Located at 23 Abercorn Street, this 18th century Georgian mansion is said to be haunted by several ghosts. Though you may want to look around for some ghosts, you will be too distracted with the excellent food and cozy atmosphere that have made this one of the city's most popular restaurants. The southern-influenced cuisine has a wide selection of fish, beef, pork and chicken dishes.
45 Bistro: Located at 123 E. Broughton Street in the Marshall House Hotel, this is an obvious choice for fine dining in Savannah. This elegant restaurant is a hidden gem serving up eclectic dishes. 45 Bistro's dishes can be paired with one of their wines on their extensive wine list to make for a truly memorable evening.
Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room: Located at 107 W. Jones Street, here you will find family-style soul food. With platters of fried chicken and dishes of butter beans, red rice, collard greens, mac and cheese and candied yams around a 10-person table, it's no wonder Mrs. Wilkes' draws a crowd from near and far. The selection of dishes rotates daily but is always sure to please.
Back In The Day Bakery: Located at 2403 Bull Street, this is the spot to satisfy your sweet tooth. This rustic bakery has garnered national attention for its old fashioned cupcakes, but those aren't the only treats worth trying. From the delectable banana-pudding to the lavender bars to the chocolaty star brownies, you are sure to find something to please. If you aren't looking on the sweet side, Back in the Day also serves sandwiches on homemade bread such as the Bacon-Onion Jam Panini featuring cheddar cheese and house-made bacon jam!
Club One: Located at 1 Jefferson Street, you are sure to find some entertainment here. Savannah's #1 Dance club hosts multi-level dance shows and entertainment. They even host Bingo nights and comedy shows along with pool tables and games. Open 6 days a week with food, dancing, and games.
Jazz'd Tapas Bar: Located in Savannah's Historic District at 52 Barnard Street, here you will find the best tapas and live jazz entertainment around. This underground hot spot is unique to anything else in Savannah and is described as swanky and sophisticated. You will find more than just your average dining experience here--this spacious below-street-level gathering place is great for a specialty martini or Americanized tapas. Live entertainment 6 nights a week includes blues, swing, jazz or classical vocals for all to enjoy.
Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos Saloon: Located at 214 B Williamson Street, this location is an audience driven, all request show. There are 4 talented piano players with non-stop action. Come enjoy the dueling pianos; this is great for large groups or just a night on the town.
Coach's Corner: Located at 3016 East Victory Drive, here you will find everything you need for televised sports, great food and fun. Known as Savannah's headquarters to watch sports, here you will find huge screens and great wings. You can also find interactive trivia, video games, outdoor beach volleyball, shuffleboard and billiards, darts, horseshoes and more. Come use their wireless Internet as well while you enjoy a game.
Charleston has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot, humid summers and significant rainfall all year long. Summer is the wettest season with almost half of the annual rainfall occurring during the summer months in the form of thundershowers. Fall remains relatively warm through November and the winter is short and mild with hardly any snow.
There are many ways to get to, from and around the Charleston area. Pick from car rentals, charter vehicles, ground transportation or water taxis. For more information on any of these modes of transportation, visit here.
Where to Stay
There are many places to stay in Charleston. You can pick between beach resorts where you'll find the sand and water at your doorstep or for a cozier feel, pick a Bed & Breakfast. For more information on how to find a place to stay to fit your needs, visit here.
Things to do and see around town
Charleston Bicycle Tours: Charleston Bicycle Tours offers 3- and 6-day bike tours of Charleston, SC and its surrounding towns and coastal islands. Cycle on back roads, quiet streets and alleys past historical homes and experience the charm of Charleston.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge): This bridge, connecting the city of Charleston and the town of Mount Pleasant along Highway 17, is a sight to see. This diamond-tower design features eight lanes of traffic with a shared pedestrian and bicycle lane overlooking the Charleston Harbor.
Charleston Waterfront Park: This park is a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. This eight-acre linear park and pier along the Charleston Harbor entry combines fountains, spacious lawns, walking and jogging paths and a long pier with picnic tables and wooden swings.
Sound of Charleston: If you're looking for some entertainment, look no further! Come experience the sounds that define Charleston's musical history from gospel to Gershwin. Each week you will find a live concert. Visit the website for dates and ticket information.
If you're looking for some great shopping, go to King Street. King Street has been voted one of the top-10 Best Shopping Streets in the United States. King Street is a mix of nationally and internationally recognized names while maintaining a 72 percent locally owned and operated business base. If you're looking for antique shopping, head down to Lower King Street, also called the Antique District, which has some of the best antique shopping around. If you need a break from all your shopping, Upper King Street is where you can find any type of food to satisfy your appetite.
Jestine's Kitchen: Located at 251 Meeting Street, stop by anytime of the day for a meal. "Lunch, Dinner, Supper? Whatever you call it, we serve it all day" is what Jestine's menu boasts. Here you will find specials from a peanut butter and banana sandwich to a big pork chop plate, fried seafood platter or half-pound slab of meat loaf. Stop in for some great southern comfort food.
39 Rue de Jean: Located at 39 John Street in historic downtown Charleston, 39 Rue de Jean is a refined French café and bar offering the best in classic brasserie cuisine. Here you can enjoy indoor or outdoor patio seating, cocktails and a predominantly French wine list.
Hank's Seafood Restaurant: Located on the corner of Church and Hayne Streets, here you will find great food and a charming atmosphere. Hank's is located in a turn-of-the-century warehouse overlooking the Historic Market that has been renovated to reflect Charleston's port history and to create a classic fish house with an old-fashioned saloon-style bar and raw bar. Come on in for a meal and to relax and relive some of Charleston's history.
Kaminsky's Baking Co: Located at 78 N. Market Street in Historic downtown Charleston, here is your dessert spot. Kaminsky's desserts are prepared fresh each day by talented pastry chefs with daily selection changes. Along with their full selection of specialty coffees to accompany their desserts, here you will also find a full beer, wine and liquor selection.
Andolini's Pizza: Located at 82 Wentworth Street with 4 other locations in Charleston, you are never without great pizza. Dine in or carry out, Andolini's pies have been voted the Best New York Style Pizza in Charleston for 20 years running.
Trio Club-Lounge: Located at 139 Calhoun Street, here you will find high-energy live music offering Latin, blues, folk, jazz and rock acts. Trio Club can get crowded at times, but you can escape to the outdoor patio. And if you're looking for some dancing, look no further. Trio was named the "Best Dance Club" in Charleston in 2011.
Closed For Business: Located at 453 King Street, Closed for Business, one of King Street's most popular hangouts, has been voted as having "The Best Beer Selection on Tap". This local bar offers 42 beers on tap, roughly 50 bottled beers and a seasonal beer menu, monthly beer specials and even local Charleston brewery flights. Here you will also find a faux fireplace and community tables with your choice of pub food and creative daily desserts.
The Belmont Lounge: Located at 511 King Street, here you will find your signature upscale bar and lounge. The Belmont is filled nightly with local regulars and cocktail lovers. Decorated in simple style with an old movie screen on the back wall playing prohibition scenes, The Belmont has an elegant, relaxed feel.
Market Street Saloon: Located at 32 N. Market Street, this is the only place in the area you will find a country rock and roll atmosphere in Charleston. Smokehouse and grill by day and high-energy saloon and bar by night, this is popular with bachelor and birthday parties alike for the fun atmosphere.
If you know of some great areas or attractions that we've missed, please leave comments and suggestions along with your tips on navigating the city!
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.