There are few places as innately charming — or romantic — as the quaint moss-cloaked, tree-lined streets of Savannah.
With massive public squares, well-manicured gardens, a burgeoning dining scene, a downtown riverfront and easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, Savannah has become one of the South’s biggest draws, often stealing the limelight from its neighbor, Charleston.
Headed that way wth your significant other? Settle in with your sweetie at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, an ideal base in the heart of historic Savannah. This luxe, Victorian-Romanesque enclave lies tucked alongside Forsyth Park, the largest and most charming of the neighborhood’s squares.
Here’s how to spend a romantic, sun-soaked summer weekend in Georgia’s dreamiest town.
See Savannah’s Squares in a New Light
Shortly after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design with a master of architecture in 2004, Jonathan Stalcup launched Architectural Tours of Savannah.
Stalcup’s telling of James Oglethorpe’s vision for the settlement of Georgia by England in the 1700s offers a fascinating window into the thinking of the era. Tours reveal how the city’s buildings and 24 public squares, about which Jonathan is a polished expert, reflect the Utopian ideology of Oglethorpe and many of the humanitarian thinkers of the age.
Tours run daily in the morning for 90 minutes. Reservations are required.
Take a Day Trip to the Islands
Where else besides Savannah can you enjoy a cosmopolitan small city vibe but still be a quick half-hour drive to the sleepy beach town of Tybee Island? There, you can hop aboard a dolphin tour or rent a couple of bikes and see the small island by two wheels.
While you’re out that way, detour down to Isle of Hope and take a drive among the stately old homes woven throughout the marshland, stopping for drinks and a bite at the Wyld Dock Bar.
This idyllic creekside hangout is perfect for a lazy Sunday, bloody mary in hand, thanks to its ample outdoor dining space, fire pit, porch swings and bocce ball.
Watch the Sunset over the River
As the sun sinks low, the riverfront Historic District heats up. River Street may attract tourists by the droves, but it’s also got the best seat in the house come sunset time.
The hopping Rocks on the Roof bar at the top of the Bohemian Hotel serves up tapas and craft cocktails—not to mention, the best panoramic view of the Savannah River.
Rather not drive or look for parking along the waterfront? Not to worry. Hop aboard the Mansion on Forsyth Park’s free shuttle, which runs every 30 minutes between the two hotels.
Swoon over the Tastiest Bites in Town
A former Greyhound bus station conceals Savannah’s hottest restaurant. Aptly named The Grey, the design of this art deco–inspired restaurant draws its inspiration from the time in which it was built.
Johno Morisano and Chef Mashama Bailey thoughtfully restored the 1930s-era building, morphing it into a contemporary Southern food destination that features locally sourced ingredients and elevated cuisine.
For a slightly less formal atmosphere, check out the Grey’s outdoor Yard events for themed picnics served communal style.
The Collins Quarter is open all day every day (except Tuesday after 12 p.m.), meaning you can have your fancy brunch — a breakfast sandwich, brioche French toast, avocado toast with a poached egg on top, short rib hash or more — midweek.
Just don’t overlook the cocktail list, which includes the ultimate mimosa with passionfruit and strawberry puree. For java lovers, the spiced lavender mocha is one of the most Instagrammed (and delicious) drinks in town.
Pro tip: If you don’t have time to stop in for a meal, there’s a walk-up coffee window to order takeaway drinks.
Late night and need a treat? Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is a sweet-lover’s happy place. Open daily until midnight (or later), Lulu’s offers chocolate indulgences in every form: as fondue, cheesecake, pie, tarts, brownies, mousse towers and even martinis.
Cozy Up with a Cocktail (or Beer)
Housed in a former armory, the year-old Artillery Bar follows theme: The interior fuses the romanticism of 19th-century Savannah with military references and modern design elements (note: the bar has a dress code, which prohibits flip-flops and shorts).
Sip a little bit of everything — The Doc is a fan favorite with its hint of smoked tobacco — but don’t leave without tasting Savannah’s signature Chatham Artillery Punch. A boozy concoction that first appeared in the 1800s, the Chatham is made with whiskey, rum, brandy and champagne and is served in an ornate brass pineapple drinking apparatus.
Craft beer fans can head to Service Brewing, which, true to its name, is owned and operated by military veterans (the co-founder/CEO is a West Point alum and former Army commander), or belly up to the bar at Crystal Beer Parlor with its selection of 26 brews on tap, many of them local.
At the end of a long day of sightseeing, there’s nowhere better to be than AlleyCat Lounge, which is tucked away beneath an unmarked entrance on a quiet alley behind Broughton Street, speakeasy-style (though no password needed).
Claim a booth, grab a newspaper — which doubles as an extensive cocktail and small bites menu — order a punch bowl for the table, and settle in for a while. The owners designed this space with the intention for guests to spend the entire evening here, rather than hop on to the next spot.