While exploring the Historic District and catching well-traveled sights is an essential part of experiencing Savannah, there are plenty of restaurants and shops that go unseen by first-time visitors. When planning a visit, do yourself a favor – make time to catch these off the beaten path gems that Savannah has to offer.
See: Famous but far-flung from the historic center of town, Bonaventure Cemetery is a sight not to be missed. Established in 1846, Bonaventure isn’t nearly as old as Colonial Park Cemetery. With 100 acres of winding paths canopied by live oaks and Spanish moss, however, it is easily more striking. In the springtime, azaleas arrive in full bloom and color the cemetery with bright pinks and reds. My favorite time to visit Bonaventure is in the morning when the sun has just risen over the Wilmington River to the East. On the second weekend of every month, Bonaventure offers free walking tours to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Another picturesque destination near Savannah is Skidaway Island State Park, a scenic spot for hikers and nature lovers. With almost 600 acres to explore, the park offers regular tours and lessons for young and old on fire building, bird watching, and more.
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is Savannah College of Art and Design’s event calendar, featuring a variety of lectures year-round. Many SCAD lectures include appearances by famous artists, designers, and writers from all over the globe. And the best part? Most talks are free and open to the public. Stay tuned to SCAD events by visiting their online calendar.
Eat: Start your morning right at Foxy Loxy. Foxy is a charming coffee shop housed in an old Victorian mansion across from the grand Bull Street library. The shop is open nightly as well, offering wine specials and Saturday evening bonfires in their courtyard. Another evening venture? Locally-run Southbound Brewing Co. is new to the Savannah scene, and this little microbrewery growing fast. Recently, they opened up the brewery for tours and tastings during the week.
Clary’s Cafe is a quintessential brunch stop with classic offerings like country fried steak and homemade biscuits. When dining at Clary’s, guests experience a Savannah landmark.. after all, it’s been around for over a hundred years. The corned beef and hash is one of the menu’s highlights. Just try and say no to their massive, deliciously homemade chocolate eclairs as you make your way to the counter to pay.
Banana pudding is serious business in the South, and Sweet Potatoes has the art down pat. If it isn’t the best banana pudding in the world, it is at least a top contender. Sweet Potatoes also offers a wide variety of Southern favorites, all expertly prepared by a gracious staff. For different sort of Southern staple, Wiley’s Championship BBQ is beloved in the area, as well – the restaurant’s burnt ends are legendary.
For fans of international cuisine, try Panaderia Y Canasta, a charming Mexican bakery and taco shop in the Midtown district, or Al Salaam Deli, a small family-run cafe on Habersham Street. The deli is consistently voted the best Middle Eastern food in Savannah by several local publications, and when you try the falafel wrap or chicken tikka, you’ll understand why.
Do: Savannah has many locally-owned shops off the beaten path that are worth visiting – from Measure, a small fabric shop with a solid selection of high-quality textiles, to the Book Lady Bookstore on Liberty, a store that hosts regular events with local authors. A must-see for music lovers is Graveface Records, an eclectic record shop just around the corner from Back in the Day Bakery.
Antique shopping in Savannah is a one of a kind experience, and Habersham Antique Market offers some of the best deals around. With a multitude of vendors offering a variety of home goods, clothing, and furniture to choose from, its selection can seem endless.
From April through September, Savannah plays ball. The Savannah Bannana’s baseball team, meets every season at Daffin Park’s Grayson Stadium. me.