Old Savannah ToursOld Savannah Tours
historic savannah tour

by Lucas Renfroe

Our Historic Savannah Tour Stops

 

A great way to explore our city’s history, one stop at a time, is by taking a historic Savannah tour! Our most popular tour, the Historic On/Off Tour, as well as some of our other touring options, offers guests a unique look at Savannah’s past through 16 stops throughout our city’s famous historic district. Below is a break down of all 16 of our historic Savannah tour stops!

 

1. Savannah Visitors Center

One of the best places to go when you want to explore a city is the visitors center, and in Savannah, there’s quite a few. The one located on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard has free parking across the street, which might make it the most popular. The Savannah Visitors Center has all the information you’ll need: maps of all shapes and sizes; brochures about attractions, tours, and restaurants; and an audiovisual exhibit about the city.

 

2. Savannah Theatre/ Chippewa Square

When people reach Chippewa Square, they usually feel like something’s missing from the iconic landmark. Known by locals and tourists alike as the “Forrest Gump” square, Chippewa Square doesn’t actually have a bench like in the movie, but it’s certainly famous nonetheless! Just a stone’s throw from the famous-yet-benchless square is the Savannah Theatre, which opened in 1818. This theatre is the oldest one in the country and still produces shows nightly.

 

3. Sorrel Weed House

Savannah has no shortage of spooky stories to tell and haunted houses to tour. The Sorrel Weed House is one of the most haunted houses in the country, so it’s only fitting that it appears on our list of stops, especially for the Grave Encounters Tour. The home is also a beautiful example of the architecture and design the Antebellum period was known for.

 

4. Forsyth Park

Arguably one of the most important stops in Savannah, Forsyth Park’s picturesque flowers, foliage, and fountain encourage you to pause and stroll for a while. Snap a photo in front of Savannah’s iconic fountain (the one that turns green around St. Patrick’s Day!). Walk the perimeter of the park and take in the sights of Savannah’s architecture or sit for a spell under one of the many live oak trees.

 

5. Massie Heritage Center

Step off the trolley and into a 19th century classroom. The Massie Heritage Center is the oldest school in continuous operation in Georgia. Opened in 1856, the center offers a “Nineteenth Century Classroom,” where students experience a school day as if they were in the late-1800s. For everyone else visiting the Massie Center, there are plenty of artifacts to learn about and exhibits to check out.

 

6. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is known for its part in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade as well as its ranking as a popular wedding venue location. The cathedral is located on a corner of Abercorn Street and overlooks Lafayette Square. If there isn’t a ceremony or mass taking place, visitors are allowed to tour the cathedral, stand beneath the stunning stained-glass windows, and wander the pews.

 

7. The Pirates’ House

After taking in the towering steeples and reverent beauty of St. John’s Cathedral, hop back on the trolley and head to The Pirates’ House. Offering quite the contrast to the other locations on this list, The Pirates’ House opened in 1753…to real-life pirates! The inn was used by travelers and sailors, looking to rest on solid ground after roaming the seas. Although no pirates frequent the establishment now, the building serves as a restaurant, so it’s still full of boisterous, happy guests.

 

8. Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters

Take another step back in time when you visit the Owens-Thomas House. This mansion with its adjoining slave quarters, carriage house, and fragrant gardens were built in 1819. Guests are invited to tour the grounds to learn about the complicated, unfortunate relationship between those with and without power. The rooms are outfitted with period furniture and decorations and a few interactive exhibits.

 

9. Telfair Academy/Jepson Center

Just a few blocks from the Owens-Thomas House sits the other two parts of the Telfair Museum family: the Jepson Center and Telfair Academy. The Jepson Center is Savannah’s art museum, a breathtakingly modern building home to both permanent collections and temporary exhibits. (Children can play in the Artzeum and and engage with the pieces in the interactive Techspace.) The Telfair Academy is another art museum, except this one has rooms decorated in 19th century décor as well as 19th and 20th century American and European art.

 

10. Ellis Square/ City Market

Ellis Square and City Market lie at the heart of Savannah. You’ll often spot children running through the water fountains in Ellis Square and hear live music flowing from City Market. These few blocks have restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Most weekends you’ll find people milling around with drinks, eating food al fresco, and listening to local bands play.

 

photo credit: savannahga.gov

11. Reynolds Square

Reynolds Square is the epitome of Savannah’s squares. This particular block of land is filled with moss-covered live oaks and holds a statue of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. However, the square is actually named after Georgia’s first governor, John Reynolds. Nearby you’ll find the deliciously famous Leopold’s Ice Cream, The Ole Pink House, and the Lucas Theatre. Eat some food, indulge in some ice cream, catch a show, then hop back on the trolley!

 

12. River St.

No place in the entire city screams Savannah more than iconic River Street. Grab a to-go drink and wander the cobblestoned streets. Pop into the shops and candy stores that line the sidewalk. Watch container ships pass by. Try out a local restaurant for lunch or dinner. And, if you’re brave enough, walk up one of the infamous alleyway staircases.

 

13. River St. Market Place

Once you’ve gotten your fair share of food, drink, and freshly made candy, you’ve probably made it to the River Street Market Place. This open-air market mimics the one that stood in its place back in the 1800s. Nowadays, passersby are driving cars rather than horse-and-buggy, but the experience of wandering the aisles and checking out local vendors is quite similar!

 

14. Old City Exchange Bell

Without this stop being on our list, you might walk right past the Old City Exchange Bell and be none the wiser to its rich, important history! The Exchange Bell is believed to be the oldest in Georgia, says the year 1802 imprinted on it. The bell was used to signal the end of the day or a cause for celebration, the closing time of shops and to alert citizens of fires.

 

15. Savannah City Hall

Another iconic building in Savannah is City Hall. The building opened in 1905, but its unique gold dome was originally copper. Located right off Bay Street and Factors Walk, City Hall is also a stone’s throw from plenty of other popular places in downtown, such as City Market and Ellis Square.

 

16. Franklin Square

Franklin Square is a last-but-not-least stop. If you’ve ridden the trolley around the entire city, you’ll have seen all that the city has to offer and still end up right in the heart of Savannah. Franklin Square (designed in 1790 and named after Benjamin Franklin) is adjacent to City Market and Ellis Square and just a few blocks up from Bay Street and River Street.

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historic savannah tour
Our Historic Savannah Tour Stops