Hidden Savannah: The Best Things To See and Do That Travel Guides Don’t Tell You

Hidden Savannah: The Best Things To See and Do That Travel Guides Don’t Tell You

What To Do In Savannah, GA….Check out our list of these hidden gems and off the beaten path things to see. Take it from a local,  these are the spots that not all the travel guides will tell you about. Check out our list of 31 hidden gems of Savannah.

Walking the streets of Savannah, Georgia, is literally like stepping into a time machine with the destination set for the 18th century. Cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, and antebellum architecture give the city its historic charm.

Celebrated as the “Hostess City of the South,” Savannah is also one of the oldest, founded in 1733. It’s a city marked by its role in the slave trade, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the civil rights movement. Statues, houses, and museums are scattered throughout the city depicting these events. Yet it is hardly a town frozen in time. In the last few decades a creative class (fueled by thousands of students at the Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD) has cultivated a diverse and fertile local vitality with artists opening boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

With nearly 300 years of history it’s hard to find a rock unturned in Savannah. But that certainly doesn’t mean the city is lacking in hidden gems and little known points of interest. If you like to dig a little deeper and take in some sights other visitors completely miss, then here are some of the best hidden delights that are a bit off the beaten path in Savannah, Georgia.

Picture from Facebook

Echo Square

Our first stop is hidden in plain sight on the Savannah waterfront. That’s right, Savannah’s lively River street is home to the commonly overlooked Echo Square Step. Step into the center square where an “X” marks the spot and encounter this marvel. The acoustic oddity of the area gives off an echo which can only be heard by those inside the square. Echo Square can be hard to find, so look for the shop “Bob’s Your Uncle” and head towards the river from there.

Echo Square
305 East River Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Picture from Facebook

1. Grayson Stadium

Here’s to another one of those hidden delights in plain sight. Locals will know that it was once home to the Savannah Gnats, a Single A minor baseball affiliate (and now home to the Savannah Bananas, members of a collegiate summer baseball league). But you’re not going because of the team. You’re visiting this small stadium (capacity 4000) because of its history. Built in 1926, players like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle have played here. In terms of historical stadiums left in the U.S., this is one of the few.

Historic Grayson Stadium
1401 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404
(912) 712-2482
https://thesavannahbananas.com/

Picture from the flanneryoconnorhome.org

2. Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home

The acclaimed Southern author grew up in Savannah and her childhood home is now a museum that celebrates her life. Completely restored to the original Depression-era style prevalent during her childhood, the home gives you an illuminating view into her early years and the influences on her. Take the guided tour (about 30 minutes) with the knowledgeable guides that share interesting facts and anecdotes about her life.

Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home
207 East Charleston Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-6014
https://www.flanneryoconnorhome.org/

Picture from Atlas Obscura

3. Colonial Park Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery takes all the headlines when it comes to historical cemeteries in Savannah (you should still drop by, it is truly beautiful) but Colonial Park Cemetery has its own charm and a hint of the macabre.

The cemetery was built in 1750 and contains many of Savannah’s earliest settlers including over 600 victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1820, all of whom were interred in a mass grave. The cemetery also served as the city’s dueling ground from 1750 until 1877.

Savannah was spared from the total destruction of Sherman’s March to the Sea during the Civil War, when the city surrendered without incident. But the occupying Union soldiers are reputed to have left their mark in a unique and unusual way, by subtly altering the gravestones in the Colonial cemetery. Along the east wall of the cemetery lie dozens of gravestones which (according to legend) the soldiers dug up and displaced. They changed the dates on the headstones with their bayonets. One man lived to the ripe old age of 421, his neighbor living 544 years, and another man’s son was born 1000 years before his father.

Unfortunately, the cemetery has been the target of vandals for centuries and local guides always blame General Sherman’s “Bummers.”

Colonial Park Cemetery
200 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 651-6843

Picture from Facebook

4. The Paris Market

This two-level, quirky store and cafe with all things French is a charming place to wander around and find interesting things curated by the owners from their trips around the world. The variety ranges from art to handcrafted soaps and jewelry. The shop can be on the pricey side but the Paris Market is not to be missed for their cafe alone. Their infused teas and macaroons are outstanding.

The Paris Market
36 West Broughton Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-1500
https://theparismarket.com/home-v1

Picture from Facebook

5. Lucas Theatre for the Arts

An iconic landmark in Savannah’s historic district, the Lucas Theatre for the Arts hosts films, musical performances, and theatrical production. The theatre, which opened in 1921, was later restored extensively. It stands out with its striking marquee on the outside and opulent decor and stunning ornamentation on the inside. Instead of just walking by this beautiful building, step inside and check out the available shows. You may be in luck and catch a classic running.

Lucas Theatre for the Arts
32 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 525-5040
https://www.lucastheatre.com/

Picture from Facebook

6. The Beach Institute/King Tisdell Cottage

Both the Beach Institute and the King Tisdell Cottage can be found just a few blocks apart. The Beach Institute African American Cultural Center is a school-turned-museum celebrating Black history, arts, and culture. Nearby, the King Tisdell Cottage, built-in 1896, is now a restored historic site housing African American cultural artifacts.

The Beach Institute African American Cultural Center
502 East Harris Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 335-8868
https://www.beachinstitute.org/

King Tisdell Cottage
514 Huntington Street
Savannah. GA 31401
(912) 335-8868

Picture from Facebook

7. First African Baptist Church

A stop on the Underground Railroad, the First African Black Church is home to the oldest black congregation in North America. At the time of its construction, the church’s mostly enslaved members worked on plantations surrounding the city by day and at night they were allowed to work on their church, completing the structure in 1859.

The floors have patterns that look decorative but actually served a purpose as it allowed air to circulate for those hiding below awaiting nightfall to travel to their next stop.

First African Baptist Church
23 Montgomery Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-6597
https://firstafricanbc.com/

Picture from Instagram

8. Graveface Museum

The Graveface Museum showcases unusual oddities from around the world. It features a large true-crime exhibit, classic-horror film memorabilia, and a retro pinball arcade. Visitors will come across things such as Jim Jones’ sunglasses and Charles Manson’s sweatpants. Graveface is one of the strangest places to visit in Savannah. They have an incredible selection of pins, t-shirts, oddities, and crime related souvenirs all designed in-house for sale. This is a must see.

Graveface Museum
410 East Lower Factors Walk
Savannah, GA
(912) 335-8018

https://gravefacemuseum.com/museum-info

Picture from Alex Raskin Antiques

9. Alex Raskin Antiques

Billing itself as the “last unrestored grand mansion of Savannah,” this decaying Southern treasure lives up to its own publicity: peeling paint, crumbling plaster, and genteel disrepair. Spread over four stories, the house is overrun with antiques: furniture, paintings, knick knacks. All of them are for sale, but you might find the prices a little steep. That should not deter you from visiting this interesting and mysterious building.

Alex Raskin Antiques
441 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-8205
http://alexraskinantiques.com/

Picture from Facebook

10. Pin Point Heritage Museum

Pin Point Heritage Museum is an off-the-beaten-path delight. Nestled along the Moon River (made famous by Johnny Mercer), this Gullah/Geechee community has been living in these marshlands for hundreds of years. The Gullah/Geechee people are descendants of slaves who came from throughout West Africa. After being freed, many of them worked on the indigo plantations on the Georgia sea islands. In 1896, a group of African freedmen learned that there was land for sale and purchased it. This tract of land was part of the Beaulieu Plantation that was seized after the Civil War. Because the land was a salt marsh, it was not very desirable and was sold at a reasonable price. After the purchase they began building their own homes. To support themselves they relied on fishing, crabbing, and oystering. Isolated (only one road in and out) they formed their own unique Gullah/Geechee culture, which included an English Creole language.

In 1926, A.S Varn and his sons opened up an Oyster and Crab Factory in Pin Point that employed the vast majority of the people that lived there. For more than 60 years, the A.S. Varn Factory canned and shipped seafood to some of the finest restaurants on the East Coast. When the factory closed in 1985, many in the community were forced to leave to find employment. Some remained in Pin Point and others returned to visit. Today there are about 300 residents in PinPoint.

The PinPoint Heritage Museum is located on the site of A.S. Varn’s Factory. There are four restored buildings there: the Oyster Factory, Pickling and Cooling House, the Deviled Crab House and the Company Store and Crab Boiling Pavilion. Each area documents the process of the seafood factory but also provides information about the Gullah/Gechee people who lived and worked there.

The guides working in the museum are descendants of original Pin Point residents and are personable, marvelous storytellers. Visiting is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the history of Gullah/Geechee culture, a product of West African traditions, sadly brought to America on slave ships.

Pin Point Heritage Museum
9924 Pin Point Avenue
Savannah, GA 31406
(912) 355-0064
https://www.chsgeorgia.org/phm

11. Daffin Park

Forsyth Park isn’t the only big park in Savannah. Its less known (twin) sister, Daffin Park, is almost as big, but is rarely as crowded as its popular counterpart. Keeping up with Savannah’s green reputation, this one is also very scenic. It’s the locals’ favorite and great for a quiet park experience. As an added bonus, it is right next to Historic Grayson Stadium.

Daffin Park
1301 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404
(912) 351-3841
https://www.savannahga.gov/351/Parks-Playgrounds

Picture from Facebook

12. Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum

You don’t have to be a maritime enthusiast to appreciate this museum. Located along busy MLK boulevard, the museum, and especially its gardens, are serene.

Exhibits of fantastically detailed ship models, stretching through American maritime industry from the Revolutionary era to the Civil War and even through WWII are engaging. The garden, the largest in the historic district, is lovely and the gift shop is filled with books related to maritime life, arts, and history.

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum
41 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-1511
https://www.shipsofthesea.org/

Picture from Facebook

13. American Prohibition Museum

Get an in-depth look into a controversial period of American history, the Prohibition Era, with this fun museum. The only one in the country dedicated to this subject, the museum has thirteen galleries with innumerable exhibits that provide a vivid and detailed picture of its history and its impact on people, businesses, and society. A creative addition is a speakeasy located within the museum. Speak the secret password (bar tickets need to be purchased) and you will be admitted to a swanky, 1920s-themed bar serving authentic cocktails of the time.

American Prohibition Museum
209 West St. Julien Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 220-1249
https://www.americanprohibitionmuseum.com/

Picture from Facebook

14. Telfair Museums

A trio of public and house museums made up of the Telfair Academy, the Jepson Center, and the Owens-Thomas House. A single pass will grant you access to all three. The Telfair Academy is a neoclassical Regency mansion that displays 19th and 20th century paintings, silver and sculpture from the museum’s permanent collection. The Jepson Center is glowing and sleek, a showcase for contemporary art exhibits. The Owens-Thomas House, gardens, carriage house, and slave quarters allow visitors to explore the complicated relationships between the powerful and the enslaved.

Telfair Academy
121 Barnards Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Jepson Center
207 West York Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Owen-Thomas House & Slave Quarters
124 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401

(912) 790-8800
https://www.telfair.org/

Picture from Facebook

15. shopSCAD

A fanciful bazaar of art and wares designed and made by SCAD students, faculty, and alums. A place to help struggling artists, the university has opened this boutique for the sole purpose of selling one-of-a-kind paintings, prints, textiles, jewelry, and accessories produced only by members of the SCAD community.

shopSCAD
340 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 525-5180
https://shopscad.com/

Picture from Facebook

16. Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

A must-see place that chronicles the struggle of Savannah’s African American community from the time of slavery to the present day. The museum offers three stories of interactive exhibits, historical photographs, and a book collection by and about African American writers. It is named for Ralph Mark Gilbert, an early leader in Savannah’s branch of the NAACP and the 13th reverend of the First African Baptist Church.

Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum
460 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 777-6099
https://rmgilbertcivilrightsmuseum.com/

17. Underground Savannah

Underground Savannah offers tours memorializing the history and contributions of African Americans to coastal Georgia. Gullah Geechee descendants as tour guides celebrate the many cultural contributions of enslaved Africans through walking tours and re-enactments.

Underground Tours of Savannah
718-A Marting Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 547-5937
https://www.undergroundtoursofsavannah.net/

Picture from Visit Savannah

18. Weeping Time Historical Marker

Located about two miles west of downtown Savannah, this marker tells the story of one of the largest slave auctions in American history. It happened at this spot on March 2-3, 1859, where more than 436 enslaved men, women, and children were separated from their families and sold.

The Weeping Time Historical Marker
2053 Augusta Avenue
Savannah, GA

DINING AND DRINKING

Savannah has many well known restaurants and bars and you probably don’t need our help in finding them. And, to be honest, we did not want to go to the same old, same old. There’s definitely a time and place for them, but let’s explore some hidden delights that many tourists overlook or have never heard of.

Picture from Facebook

19. American Legion Post # 135

This is an iconic watering hole in the home of the mighty Eighth Air Force. Nearly a full city block on Forsyth Park’s southern border is occupied by a complex built in 1913 to house the Chatham Artillery. In 1941, the legendary Mighty Eighth Air Force formed here. Now locals, veterans, and even you can have a taste at “the Legion.” And if you know anything about drinking at an American Legion, the price is always right. Great burgers.

American Legion Savannah Post 135
1108 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-9277
https://www.alpost135.com/

Picture from Facebook

20. Repeal 33

Located on the western edge of downtown Savannah, you’d never know one of the city’s most beautiful bars exists along Martin Luther King Boulevard. Look at the gas lamps outside Repeal 33 which signifies the speakeasy-style lounge/restaurant within. Fresh, local seafood and creative dishes are what you’ll be offered at Repeal 33. And, as its name implies, the cocktail menu is extensive. The house-made charcuteries and charred wings are a hit as well as Lowcountry Swizzle (rum, peach, Blue Curacao, lime Demerara and mint).

Repeal 33
125 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 200-9255
https://www.repeal33savannah.com/

Picture from Facebook

21. Crystal Beer Parlor

Established in 1933, this spot is a favorite with locals. Off the beaten path, but the regulars like it that way. Think cozy bistro and bar with a large (very large) beer menu. If you try only one thing, make it the Baked Southern Deviled Crab: blue crab meat, chopped onions, and peppers with just enough stuff to hold them together, topped off with a sweet red pepper remoulade sauce.

Crystal Beer Parlor
301 West Jones Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 349-1000
http://www.crystalbeerparlor.com/

Picture from Facebook

22. Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant

Rancho Alegre is giving Savannah a taste of Cuban cuisine as well as that of Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Spain. Established in 1999, it’s a colorful, family-friendly, uptempo place with live music. Exemplary Paella Valencia, Ropa Vierja, Boliche (Cuban pot roast), and Camarones Al Ajillo (shrimp and garlic). If you like mojitos then you will feel right at home. Be sure to try a caipirinha, the traditional Brazilian cocktail.

Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant
402 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 292-1656
http://ranchoalegrecuban.com/

Picture from Facebook

23. 520 Wings

This quick and casual spot for lunch opened in 2011. 520 Wings offers 15 flavors of chicken wings (try the sweet bourbon and hot garlic parmesan), maybe the best gyros in Savannah, and five different Alfredos. And, yes, they have a Po Boy Shrimp sandwich.

520 Wings
2706 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 349-5317
https://www.520wings.com/

Picture from Facebook

24. Water Witch Tiki Bar

Just south of the Historic District lies the quirky Starland District (think SCAD) which is home to the Water Witch Tiki Bar. Behind an unassuming commercial facade lies a mystical bar and restaurant. Polynesian-style cocktails complete with paper umbrellas transport you straight from the Lowcountry to the Tropics. Each drink acts as a showstopper. Small food menu highlighted by Ahi Poke and Banana Leaf Pork. Let’s face it, tiki is not for everyone….but having fun is. You can always go to The Grey (enjoy another hidden delight).

Water Witch Tiki Bar
2220 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 201-3164
https://www.waterwitchtiki.com/

Picture from Facebook

25. Zunzi’s

Zunzi’s is an eclectic fusion of Italian, South African, and Dutch, loved by locals. It’s in a small location on York Street with no indoor seating and a few tables outside. Sandwiches with names like the Conquistador, Godfather, Booty Roll, and Fisherman’s Deck give you all you need to know. Warning: there’s always a line. It moves fast and you won’t be talking to tourists, so savor the local flavor.

Zunzi’s
108 East York Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 443-9555
https://www.zunzis.com/

Picture from Facebook

26. The Vault Kitchen and Market

The Vault is a renovated, local bank turned into an industrially chic eatery. Open kitchen where tellers used to stand and rows of lockboxes hanging behind the bar. The Vault specializes in sushi offering classic varieties alongside house rolls. But if you want to go in a different direction then sample the tacos, curry dishes, and stir fry. Innovative drink menu with creative riffs on classic cocktails.

The Vault Kitchen & Market
2112 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 201-1950
https://www.thevaultkitchen.com/

Picture from Facebook

27. The Original Pinkie Masters

The Original Pinkie Masters is an old-school, cash-only bar that hasn’t changed over the years, right down to the neon PBR signs, multi-colored string lights, and tastefully tacky decor. Even Jimmy Carter made a speech here. This is a dive bar in the best sense of the word, neighbors and locals. Everyone behind the bar seems to have a good time. They’re happy to serve, happy to take the cash, and happy to chat with non-locals. Don’t leave Savannah without visiting!

The Original Pinkie Masters
318 Drayton Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 999-7106
http://www.theoriginalsavannah.com/

Lest we forget a place for breakfast….

Picture from Facebook

28. Foxy Loxy Cafe

Foxy Loxy is a coffee shop/art gallery/Tex Mex restaurant. A 2-story cafe with walls decorated with original prints for sale by local and national artists. Start your day with some zucchini bread, moist and sweet, or a huevos rancheros quiche, or maybe a breakfast taco. Don’t forget about the courtyard tables out back. If you’re in the mood, try a Foxy fire and wine night or a live music event.

Foxy Loxy Cafe
1919 Bull Street
Savannah, GA
(912) 401-0543
https://www.foxyloxycafe.com/

A PLACE TO STAY

Picture from Facebook

29. The Kimpton Brice

This sophisticated boutique hotel is located in what used to be the Old Fort neighborhood of historic Savannah. Once a Coca-Cola bottling factory, this exquisite hotel is just steps from the serenity of Washington Square and features a welcoming courtyard, pool, and restaurant. And you can even bring Lassie.

Kimpton Brice Hotel
601 East Bay Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 238-1200
https://www.bricehotel.com/

Savannah is dotted with many lesser-known jewels. So step outside the regular tourist circuit and explore the hidden delights of this intriguing and beautiful city.

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