Enthralled by the area's lush tropical shoreline and mild climate, Savanah's founding father, Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe, landed on the shores of the Savannah River in 1733. General Oglethorpe's ingenuity brought about a unique design for Savannah based on a grid of broad thoroughfares with spacious public squares.
Historic Sites, Museums, Birding Trails, Gardens, Events & More
Andrew Low House sits on the SW trust lot on Lafayette Square in the beautiful port city of Savannah. In 1847 the wealthy cotton factor Andrew Low chose John Norris to design a house on the lot for his young family. As the ships of A. Low & Co. plied the ocean routes between Savannah and Liverpool loaded with bales of cotton worth millions of dollars. Andrew Low was the richest man in the city. Admission fee.Open tour times and days: Mon - Wed, Fri and Sat 10 am until 4:30 pm and Sun 12 Noon until 4:30 pm. Last Tour of the day begins at 4 pm. Closed Thursdays and Major Holidays. Phone: 912-233-6854 Address: 329 Abercorn St, Savannah Georgia 31401
Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens provides education in horticultural and environmental sciences to the citizens of the Georgia coast through plant exhibits and demonstrations. It started in 1919 as a 50-acre US Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant introduction station. There are many mature plants that were originally introduced by USDA plant collectors. Most of the plants were introduced from Asia. Open: Mon through Fri 8 am to 5 pm, Sat 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday at 12 Noon to 5 pm. Phone: 912-921-5460 - Address: 2 Canebrake Road, Savannah Georgia 31419
Beach Institute African-American Cultural Center displays works by African-American artists from the Savannah area and around the country. It was established in 1867, and once housed the first school for African-American children in Savannah. On permanent exhibit are more than 230 wood carvings by folk artist Ulysses Davis. Please call for hours. Admission fee. Phone: 912-234-8000 - Address: 502 E. Harris St., Historic District, Savannah Georgia
Bethesda Home for Boys is the oldest existing children's home in the country. George Whitefield, founder of Bethesda in 1740, said there were three fundamental values that should be instilled in youth: a love for God, a love for learning, and a strong work ethic. Bethesda continues to impart these same values some 268 years later. Phone: 912-351-2055 - Address: 9520 Ferguson Ave., Savannah Georgia 31406
Bonaventure Cemetery was developed on the historically-significant site of Bonaventure Plantation. The peaceful setting rests on a scenic bluff of the Wilmington River, east of Savannah. The site was purchased for a private cemetery in 1846 and became a public cemetery in 1907. Citizens and others can still purchase interment rights in Bonaventure. This charming site has been a world famous tourist destination for more than 150 years due to the old tree-lined roadways, the many notable persons interred, the unique cemetery sculpture and architecture, and the folklore associated with the site and the people. Open: Daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. free of charge. Phone: 912-651-6843 - Address: 330 Bonaventure Road, Thunderbolt, GA
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist- Dedicated in 1876, this is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Georgia. Open: Open daily at 9 am - 5 pm. Call for tours. Free admission, but donations are excepted.Amenities: Public Restrooms and Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Phone: 912-233-4709 – Address: 222 E Harris St, Savannah Georgia 31407
Chatham County Garden Center and Botanical Gardens were once on land once used as a prison farm. In 1991, the property developed into gardens and an educational center. A historic 1840s wooden farmhouse about to be demolished was transported to these premises to serve as the garden center headquarters. This 10-acre site educates the public in conservation, horticulture, landscape design, even garden therapy. Courses and lectures are routinely given in botany and related fields, tours of these and other botanical gardens are conducted. Its' fine collection of native trees (some quite mature), shrubs, and flowers is being enlarged. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-2 pm. Free, but donations are accepted.Phone: 912-355-3883 Address: 1388 Eisenhower Dr., Savannah Georgia
Christ Church in Savannah is known as Georgia’s Mother Church, John Wesley preached here and established the first Sunday school in 1736. Open: Call for tours. Free admission. Amenities: Parking, Public Restrooms and Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Phone: 912-232-4131 - Address: 28 Bull St., Savannah Georgia 31401
City Market of Savannah isn't just a place to visit. It's a place you discover and explore, a place that's romantic, historic, serene and exciting, and a place where there's always something new to encounter, something different to find, something hidden to uncover. You may have to look around a corner, behind an old door or up a remote staircase, but that's just part of the charm and what makes City Market so special! Phone: 912-232-4903 City Market Events: 912-525-CITY Address: Jefferson at West Saint Julian St., Savannah Georgia 31401
Colonial Coast Birding Trail & Savannah Ogeechee Canal Museum - The trail traces the 112 mile length of the Georgia shore with 18 stops during the trail where over 300 species of birds have been spotted since the trail opened. Each site along the trail is unique with many sites offering visitors a chance to visit 18th and 19th century historic places, as well as other sites located on lands and waters that were once part of early plantations. Phone: 877-728-2662 Address: 681 Fort Argyle Road, Savannah Georgia 31419
Colonial Park Cemetery is approximately 6 acres, and is located in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District. It is open from 8 am to 8 pm daily, and is a very popular site for local citizens and tourists. It is a public cemetery and there is no admission fee. The park-like cemetery has been closed to interments since 1853 and is the oldest intact municipal cemetery in Savannah. Previously known as the Old Cemetery, Old Brick Graveyard, South Broad Street Cemetery or Christ Church Cemetery, the cemetery served as the primary public cemetery from 1750 to 1853. Free admission. Phone: 912-651-6843 Address: 201 E Oglethorpe Ave, Savannah
Cotton Exchange was established in 1872, it was designed to stand out from the rest of the buildings to signify the importance of 'King Cotton.' The Cotton Exchange was long a symbol of the importance of the cotton industry to the city of Savannah. The building on Bay Street was originally called King Cotton’s Palace because its Romanesque architectural style made it stand out amongst the other buildings nearby. Today the historic building is a Solomon’s Masonic Lodge and is open to the public on special occasions. Located on Bay Street in Savannah Georgia
Davenport House is a fine Federal-style home that was completed by master-builder Isaiah Davenport as his family residence in 1820. Authentically restored, the house museum features original plasterwork, a cantilever staircase and furnishings true to the 1820s. It also features a courtyard garden that was originally a Bicentennial project of the Trustees' Garden Club and was later re-designed by noted horticulturist Penelope Hobhouse. Threatened with demolition in 1955, the saving of the Davenport House was the first effort of the Historic Savannah Foundation and the beginning of the historic preservation renaissance in this port city. Admission fee. Open: Mon - Sat 10 AM - 4 PM, Sun 1 - 4 PM. Phone: 912-236-8097 Address: 324 East State Street, Savannah Georgia 31401
Factor's Walk of Savannah is a network of iron crosswalks connects Bay Street with the multistory buildings that rise up from the river level, and iron stairways descend from Bay Street to Factors Walk. The area was originally the center of commerce for cotton brokers, who walked between and above the lower cotton warehouses. Cobblestone ramps lead pedestrians down to River St. These are serious cobblestones, so wear comfortable shoes. Phone: 877-728-2662 Address: Bay St. to Factors Walk, Historic District, Savannah Georgia
First African Baptist Church of Savannahis the First African Baptist Church of Savannah Georgia, and the oldest black church in North America. It was established when the Baptist Church was laying its foundation in America. The "Heroic Age" of George Leile marks the beginning of the church in 1773. He was ordained May 20, 1775, and enjoyed absolute freedom. He constituted the church December 1777 and thus became the first pastor of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah. Phone: 914-233-2244 Address: 23 Montgomery St., Savannah GA
Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home - The two main floors of the home have been closely restored to the time that the O'Connor family lived here, from 1925-1938. It's currently open from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. We are also experimenting with being open on some weekdays. Admission fee.Phone: 912-233-6014 Address: 207 E Charlton St., Savannah, GA
Forsyth Park was the first large park created in Savannah. Stylistically, the park was influenced by the urban renewal of Paris in the nineteenth century, when broad boulevards and parks were created. This greatly influenced city planning throughout the industrial world--every large city in the United States was developing large city parks beginning in the 1850's. The Fountain was created in 1858 and received extensive restoration in 1988. The Fountain is located in Forsyth Park, which extends from Gaston Street to Park Avenue along the Bull Street corridor. Phone: 912-651-2128 Address: 501 Whitaker St, Savannah Georgia
Georgia Historical Society- The 1875 Hodgson Hall is the headquarters of the Georgia Historical Society, the oldest such society in the Southeast, est. 1839. Open: Call for hours and fees. Amenities: Parking, Public Restrooms and Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Phone: 912-651-2125 - Address: 501 Whitaker St., Savannah Georgia 31401
Girl Scouts First Headquarters in America was built in 1848 as the carriage house to the Andrew Low House. Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, converted the carriage house into the Girl Scout Headquarters shortly after she founded Girl Scouting in March of 1912 in Savannah Georgia.
It was willed to the Girl Scout Council of Savannah upon her death in 1927. Open: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and the first and third Saturday of each month from 10 - 4. Special arrangements can be made for groups of 15 or more. Admission fee. Phone: 912-232-8200 Address: 330 Drayton Street, Savannah Georgia 31401
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest near shore live-bottom reefs of the southeastern United States. It is the only natural area protected off the Georgia coast. The 17 square nautical miles (about 11,000 acres) of Gray's Reef protects habitat that is recognized both nationally and internationally. Phone: 912-598-2345 - Location: The sanctuary is located 32 kilometers (17.5 nautical miles) off Sapelo Island, Georgia, between Savannah and Brunswick GA and 60-70 feet below the ocean surface. Visitors Center: 10 Ocean Science Circle, Savannah Georgia 31411
Historic Railroad Shops was built on the site of the 2nd bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War. The shops began in 1845. 13 of the original structures survive, including the blacksmith shop and the brick mason shop. A National Historic Landmark since 1978, the shops were used in filming the movie "Glory" in 1988. They are recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as the most significant complex of ante-bellum railroad structures to survive in the U. S. They also serve as the state of Georgia's official railroad museum. Phone: 912-651-6823 Located in Savannah Georgia
Historic Savannah Theatre - Opened in 1818, this is augurably the oldest continuously running theater in the nation. See a show and visit the historical exhibit in the loby with artifacts, newspaper ads and photographs from the theater's celebrated past. Amenities: Parking, Public Restrooms, and Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Phone: 912-233-7764 - Address: 222 Bull St., Savannah Georgia
Independent Presbyterian Church - Scotsmen landed with James Oglethorpe at the founding of Georgia in 1733 and brought with them a strong faith. By 1755, the Presbyterian Church of Savannah, later called the Independent Presbyterian Church, had been established. Phone: 912-236-3346 - Address: 207 Bull St., Savannah Georgia 31401
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace was built in 1821. It was elegantly restored to reflect the 1880s and furnished with many original Gordon family pieces, including artwork by Juliette Gordon Low. Located in the heart of the Savannah Historic District, "the Birthplace," as it is commonly called by Girl Scouts nationwide, was the city's first National Historic Landmark. Admission fee.Open: 10 am - 4 pm on Mon - Tues, Thurs - Sat, and Sun 11 am - 4 pm. Phone: 912-233-4501 Location: 10 East Oglethorpe Avenue, Savannah Georgia 31401- Directions: Take Interstate 16 east to Savannah. Do not exit. Follow the I-16 ramp onto Montgomery St. Get into the right lane and proceed to the 2nd light. Turn right at Oglethorpe Ave. The Birthplace is 4 blocks east on the corner of Bull St and Oglethorpe Ave.
Laurel Grove Cemetery is located on the west side of Savannah on a portion of the former Springfield Plantation. Named after the native laurel oak trees which once inhabited the site, the cemetery was developed in 1850 as the Old Cemetery (Colonial Park Cemetery), the Old Jewish Cemetery, Potter’s Field, and the Old Negro Cemetery approached capacity. The cemetery was developed as a segregated cemetery and today is managed as two cemeteries: Laurel Grove North (white section) and Laurel Grove South (black section). The Jewish Section is a part of Laurel Grove North and there are multiple Stranger’s Grounds in both Laurel Grove North and Laurel Grove South. Both cemeteries are well-maintained park-like public open spaces with historical and cultural significance. Open: 8 am to 5 pm. Free Admission. Phone: 912-651-6843 - Address: 802 West Anderson Street, Savannah Georgia
Lucas Theater - The Lucas Theatre was built in 1921 by Arthur Lucas and architect C.K. Howell. Howell designed theaters across the country and Lucas owned more than 20 theaters throughout the South, though the Lucas Theatre in Savannah is the only one to bear his name. Phone:912-525-5040 - Address: 32 Abercorn St., Savannah Georgia. 31401 USA
Lutheran Church of the Ascension - This 260-year-old church is one of Savannah’s most celebrated landmarks. Call for services hours. Amenities: Public Restrooms and Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Phone: 912-232-4151 – Address: Wright Square, 120 Bull St, Savannah GA
Massie Heritage Center is an excellent landmark to visit and explore. It is a symbol of Savannah’s early commitment to public education. Open: Monday through Friday from 9 to 4 pm. Admission fee.Phone: 912-201-5070 Address: 207 E. Gordon Street (on Calhoun Square), Savannah Georgia 31401 Located on Calhoun Square at the southeast corner of Abercorn and Gordon Streets
Mickve Israel Synagogue - In 1732 there were 6,000 Jews living in London. The more affluent and established members of that Jewish community, threatened by the poverty of their coreligionists, provided generous financial support by subscribing to Oglethorpe’s new colony of Georgia, in addition to helping their fellow Jews set sail on the second boat for Georgia.
Among the Jews who helped subscribe were members of the Spanish and Portuguese Bevis Marks Synagogue, the mother congregation to Mickve Israel in Savannah. Phone: 912-233-1547 or toll free 800-728-6610 - Address: 20 E Gordon St, Savannah, GA
Oatland Island Wildlife Center is an environmental education center that features a 1 3/4 mile walking trail where visitors can see native animal and plant species like Florida panthers, Eastern timber wolves, alligators, bison, wolves, bears, and raptors. Open: Daily 10 am - 4 pm. Admission fee.Phone: 912-95-1212 - Address: 711 Sandtown Road, Savannah Georgia
Old Fort Jackson is the oldest standing fort in Georgia. The site where the fort now stands has been use since the 1740's, and possess' a rich history relating to the defense of Savannah to the end of the 19th century. The site was fortified during the Revolutionary War as an earthen fort. The original brick fort was begun in 1808. The offspring of a Revolutionary War battery and garrisoned troops during the war of 1812.Old Fort Jackson is one of Savannah's popular tourist attractions with unmatched daytime educational and historical programs and "after hours" programs for groups of all ages. Open: Daily 9am-5pm. Admission fee. Phone: 912-232-3945 - Address: 1 Fort Jackson Rd., Savannah Georgia 31404
Old Harbor Light & Oglethorpe Bench features a fountain that commemorates 3 famous ships named for Savannah. Bench marks the sight of the landing of General Oglethorpe Feb. 12, 1733 and the founding of the colony that became Georgia. Phone: 877-728-2662 - Location: Bay St, Savannah GA 31401 - Directions: I-16 East to historic downtown Savannah district
Owens-Thomas House is considered the finest example of English Regency architecture in America by architectural historians. The house was designed by the young English architect William Jay (1792-1837), one of the first professionally trained architects practicing in the United States. The elegant residence was built for cotton merchant and banker Richard Richardson and his wife Francis Bolton. Mr. Richardson's brother-in-law was married to Ann Jay, the architect's sister. Open: Sun 1-5 pm, Mon 12-5 pm, Tues- Sat.: 10 am-5 pm. Admission fee. Phone: 912-233-9743 - Address: 124 Abercorn St, Savannah Georgia 31401
Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum serves to educate the public on Savannah's rich African-American heritage, and to engender community pride and self-esteem in area residents. Housed here are the papers and memorabilia of its namesake, as well as a sequence of 15 areas that re-create the saga of the civil right movement in Savannah. It was recently named "Georgia's Best New History Museum" by the Georgia Journal, is named in honor of the late Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert. The father of Savannah's modern day Civil Rights Movement. Open: from 9-5 Monday through Saturday. Admission fee. Phone: 912-231-8900 - Address: 460 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Savannah Georgia 31401
Riverfront Plaza, River Street features 9 blocks of renovated waterfront warehouses (once the city's cotton exchange) where more than 75 boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and pubs deliver everything from popcorn to pottery, and even voodoo spells! Location: Old River Street, Historic District, Savannah Georgia - Directions: I-16 to historic district. Located on the Riverfront in historic downtown Savannah
Roundhouse Railroad Museum complex begun in the 1830s as the Central of Georgia Railway headquarters and repair shops. Its design was revolutionary, combining all the railroad's cutting-edge facilities in one place. Open: Daily 9 am - 5 pm. Admission fee. Phone: 912.651.6823 - Address: 601 West Harris Street, Savannah Georgia 31401- Directions: I-16 ends in downtown Savannah. At the end of the off-ramp, make a left onto Liberty Street, then a left onto Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Turn right onto W. Harris Street (a brick street in front of the Parker's gas station). The Roundhouse is at the end of the street. Park in the grass in front of the museum or parallel park on the street.
Savannah History Museum housed in the old Central of Georgia Railway passenger shed. It is a National Historic Landmark built in the 1850s and 1860s. The railway used the building until 1972. In 1984, a historical attraction called The Great Savannah Exposition opened in the building. The museum is now home to more than 10,000 artifacts - the largest collection of artifacts in the entire Georgia coastal community. Call for times and fees. Phone: 912-651-6825
Address: 303 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Savannah Georgia 31401
Savannah Historic District is a National Historic Landmark, is significant for its distinctive grid plan as well as its 18th and 19th century architecture. Open: The visitor center is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 9 am - 5 pm. Phone: 912-944-0455 - Location: Boundaries of the Savannah Historic District are the Savannah River, E. Broad Street, Gwinnett Street, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge - During the spring and fall, you will usually see many alligators sunning themselves on the banks of waterways, along with an assortment of wading birds. During the winter months, waterfowl and other migratory birds are visible in the impoundment system. Phone: 912-652-4415 - Directions: Take GA Route 25 E out of Port Wentworth, Georgia, cross the Savannah River and you are on the refuge. Proceed 3 miles east and on the right is the Laurel Hill Wildlife Dr.
Visit the enchanting Savannah Squares. Most Savannah Squares were created from the early 1700's to the mid-1800s. Each square is named to represent a local or U.S. prominent historical founder, colonist or politician. These quaint squares feature historical markers, and ornate statues and monuments. Each square is beautifully landscaped with its own sitting and walking areas. All squares are surrounded by elegant Victorian homes and buildings. These squares are a fun place to relax and learn about Georgia's earliest history.
The Forest City - The City of Savannah has a grand history as The Forest City. As early as 1891, trees were planted in an organized manner along streets and boulevards, and in parks and squares. In 1896, the Park & Tree Commission was established to assure the orderly forestation and beautification of the entire City. Contact: City of Savannah Park Services - Phone: 912-525-3100 ext 4863
Wesley Monumental Church - Savannah’s first Methodist Church, Wesley Chapel, was established in 1807 and located at the corner of Lincoln Street and Oglethorpe Avenue. The congregation later purchased a lot on Telfair Square where they erected the present Trinity church building. In 1862 Wesley Chapel was closed, and the two churches became one, known as Trinity Church. Phone: 912-232-0191 - Address: 429 Abercorn St., Savannah Georgia 31401
Savannah Historic Beginnings
Savannah History - Savannah was founded on February 12, 1733, by James Oglethorpe. The city was laid out according to a plan that Oglethorpe designed. This plan had alleys, streets, and squares which gave the city a distinctive look that was different from other American cities. From the beginning, the colony's development was assisted by the Yamacraw Indians, who had a friendly relationship with the settlers.
The 7 Founders of Historic Savannah Foundation - In 1955, downtown Savannah was in deplorable condition. Beautiful old houses and significant commercial buildings were being destroyed. Although some restoration efforts were going on at the time, the core of the city was rotting. Seven determined, civic-minded women joined to preserve and restore Savannah.