Quirky, charming and full of historic architecture, Midtown Savannah is a bit of a different travel destination. Sightseeing excursions, walking tours of historic homes, riverboat tours, and Southern hospitality combine to create a location that harkens back to a more genteel and elegant lifestyle. Whether you like shopping on River Street or dressing like a pirate and heading to the islands, the warm weather and friendly locals ensure that you enjoy your trip to the South.
Savannah has a semitropical climate, high humidity and year-round moderate weather, so ultimately you can visit whenever you like. The best time to see all that the city has to offer is in the spring and fall, when outdoor festivals and tours are in full swing. The peak season occurs between March and May; when the flowers bloom, the crowds blossom and events like St. Patrick's Day attract huge groups for people-watching. Fall brings the popular Savannah Film Festival, but visitors can save money by booking their trips in summer and winter, when prices are at their lowest.
Southern charm, Spanish moss, antebellum architecture and historic mansions create a different world in Midtown Savannah. Located on the Savannah River, the city is near the Atlantic Ocean, so visitors can enjoy the historic charm of the city, then head to the beach to kick back and relax. Dozens of private and public islands dot the coast, so water-based activities are widely available.
Back in the city, absorb the atmosphere of the charming neighborhoods, ethnic eateries, and stunningly beautiful homes by touring the area on foot. Standouts among these homes are often converted into hotels, restaurants and shops. Unsurprisingly, Savannah's top attractions generally reflect the notable art and architecture of the city.
The Owens-Thomas House, built in 1816, has ionic columns, slave quarters, an English garden, curved walls and authentic period furnishings. A beautiful example of Georgian architecture, it was designed by William Jay, one of the first professional architects in the United States.
Once an inn catering to actual pirates (though intended for seafarers of the more honest variety), this restaurant dates back to the early 1700s. Though the American Museum Society lists it as a museum house, the operators of the Pirate House consider the site's "most precious treasure" its food.
The avenue along Savannah's riverfront is lined with art galleries, boutique shops, and lively restaurants housed in converted cotton warehouses. An open-air market is meant to mimic the way Savannah's original seaport residents shopped.
Travelers can stay in historic bed-and-breakfast facilities in restored antebellum mansions, or choose one of the area's boutique midtown hotels. Most offer easy access to the city's shopping, restaurants and brew pubs. Hotel choices range from luxury resorts to bargain rooms. Since Savannah prices tend to be on the affordable side, a visit here could be a nice opportunity to upgrade from your family's typical accommodations.
Yearly events in Savannah include a steady stream of outdoor festivals, fairs and concerts. The largest music and arts festival is the Savannah Music Festival, which takes place in late March or early April. Musical performances can satisfy even the fussiest musical tastes, as a result of the festival's incredible range, which includes more than 400 performances of jazz, blues, classical and bluegrass genres.
Held annually since 2005, this festival celebrates Columbus Day weekend on nearby Tybee Island with costumes, weaponry demonstrations, street performers and unusual surprises each October. Don't expect to walk the plank, but do expect to enjoy swimming, fishing, picnicking and island wildlife, like Savannah's native bottlenose dolphins and rough-billed pelicans. Even those that don't want to travel the 18 miles to the island get into the spirit by donning a costume and hanging around Midtown.