Savannah is Georgia’s oldest city, and its combination of historic atmosphere and Southern hospitality make it one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. Savannah can be expensive to visit, but with a little planning, you can enjoy much of what this beautiful coastal city has to offer without straining your budget.
Thrifty things to do
Strolling around Savannah’s historic district is a budget-friendly way to experience the city’s picturesque charm. Cobblestone streets, pre-Civil War architecture and Spanish moss-covered oak trees greet you at every turn. The area is home to 22 park squares that feature beautiful fountains, grand monuments and historic statues. While you’re here, be sure to step inside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a gorgeous historic church with towering spires and intricate stained glass. You can also tour Colonial Park Cemetery, the city’s oldest burial ground — and a spot with a haunted reputation.
Savannah is also home to a variety of affordable and intriguing museums. Start at the Savannah History Museum ($7 for adults) to get an informative overview of the city’s past. If you’re an art lover, consider a visit to the Telfair Museums complex. For $20, you can tour three different museums: the Jepson Center (modern art), Telfair Academy (19th and 20th century art) and the Owens-Thomas House (a historic home that once housed slaves). If you’re an American history buff, you’ll want to tour the new American Prohibition Museum ($14 for adults), which offers a fascinating and colorful glimpse into an era when the nation tried to ban alcohol.
You needn’t spend a fortune to sample Savannah’s famous cuisine. For breakfast, head over to Goose Feathers Cafe for freshly made bread pudding, croissants or eggs Benedict. Or try Henry’s Restaurant for the classic Southern diner experience — buttermilk pancakes, biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, huge omelets and more.
For lunch, one of Savannah’s most popular spots is the takeout counter at Zunzi’s. This eatery specializes in enormous (but reasonably priced) sandwiches that combine Dutch, South African, Swiss and Italian flavors. Another well-loved lunch destination is Vinnie Van GoGo’s, where you can get delicious pizza by the slice or by the pie — and where the dough is made fresh every day.
Savannah’s proximity to the ocean means that it’s a prime spot for fresh seafood. When it’s time for dinner, you’ll want to fit in a visit to Savannah Seafood Shack. Here, you can enjoy a feast of crab cakes, steamed or fried shrimp and fish, lobster tails and po’boys. The must-try specialty here (and only $12.95) is the low country boil, which features shell-on shrimp, corn on the cob, potatoes and sausage all steamed together with garlic butter and Cajun seasoning.
If all you need is a snack, stop in at Leopold’s Ice Cream. This Savannah institution will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. The handmade ice cream at Leopold’s is made with premium ingredients like Georgia pecans, local honey, fresh fruit and housemade cookies. You can also order a milkshake or old-fashioned ice cream soda at the soda fountain or enjoy a toasted sandwich from the cafe.
Like many other cities, hotels in Savannah get more affordable as you move farther away from downtown. It’s easy to find a room for less than $100 per night near the Oglethorpe Mall or the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. These areas are within easy driving distance of Savannah’s most popular attractions.
If you’d prefer to stay close to downtown and the Historic District, you’ll find many luxury hotels, historic inns and charming bed and breakfasts. These places usually aren’t budget-friendly, but you’ll find the best deals on weekdays and during the winter off-season. One affordable exception in the Historic District is the Savannah International Pensione. Located in a large, historic Victorian home, the Pensione offers comfortable, private rooms for individuals, couples and small groups. Rates range from $30 to $105 per night depending on the room.
Savannah offers visitors a rich feast of history, culture and cuisine, and much of it is accessible even on a limited budget. Start with these suggestions and you’ll be able to fully experience the city while keeping your visit affordable.
This article is presented by Colonial Volkswagen of Westborough in Westborough, Massachusetts.