Savannnah for History Buffs

The past and present are entertwined in Georgia's oldest city.

Savannah has a long and storied history as the first city in Georgia, an important hub for cotton trading following the Revolution, and a key stronghold during the Civil War. Experience a little of that history at these locations.

Vic's on the River
Vic's on the River (©Kasin Trotman/Flickr, Creative Commons)

The Best Restaurants in Savannah

Vic's on the River: Vic's features a contemporary to Southern classics, like a "Fried Green Tomato BLT" featuring goat cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto. The building served as a warehouse and housed a shipping company until the Civil War. History lovers, take note of the map that decorates the main dining room; hand-drawn by Union soldiers, it lays out Sherman's march to the sea.

45 Bistro: Located the The Marshall House—one of the oldest hotels in Savannah—45 Bistro serves updated versions of classic dishes. The house was built in 1852 and restored to its original grandeur. 

17 Hundred 90 Inn & Restaurant: This restaurant is named for the year it was built. The restaurant and lounge have a rustic, 1920s atmosphere with brick floors.

Where to Shop

City Market: The market has been a shopping center since it began in 1755. Former cotton warehouses were restored and now house art studios, shops, galleries, restaurants and specialty shops. 

Plantation Jewels: This unique local vendor has a booth at the River Street marketplace on weekends makes jewelry and other items from historical artifacts that have been found in Savannah. 

E. Shaver Bookseller: Find an extensive collection of hard to find books about the Civil War at this Madison Square bookstore. There's also wide selection of fiction and non-fiction titles. 

The Best Things to Do

Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum: The story of the civil rights struggle in Savannah is told on three floors of photos and interactive exhibits. The building was once the Wage Earners Savings and Loan Bank, once the largest bank primarily used by African Americans in the country.

Colonial Park Cemetery: The original burial ground for Christ Church Paris, the cemetery closed for new burials since before the Civil War. Many of the city's earliest residents are buried here, and more than 700 victims of the Yellow Fever Epidemic. 

Tricentennial Park: There are three museums in this park: the Savannah History Museum and Battlefield Memorial Park, Georgia State Railroad Museum and the Savannah Children's Museum. The history museum contains artifacts ranging from the American Revolution to Forrest Gump's bench. The memorial park commemorates the second bloodiest battle in the American Revolution. 

Fort Pulaski: The masonry fort near Tybee Island protected Savannah from overseas enemies for much of the 19th century but during the Civil War it fell to the Union Army. Guided tours are offered daily.

City Market in Savannah, Georgia
City Market (©Zahcary Long/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Where to Stay

Luxury Living Savannah: Elegant luxury rentals throughout the city's Historic District have been restored to resemble the genteel Old South with modern conveniences. Vacation rentals range from an entire mansion to a one-bedroom carriage house. 

President's Quarters Inn: This bed and breakfast on Oglethorpe Square is housed in two 1855 Federal-style mansions. The inn's 16 suites are furnished with period reproduction pieces.