Savannah is an incredible city worthy of a couple of days of urban hiking. There’s something to see on virtually every block and the whole city is a treasure trove of colonial architecture and historic sites. Add in great food and libations at every turn and they’re guaranteed to more than replace any calories you may have burned walking.
In 1733 General Oglethorpe and 120 passengers landed on the Savannah River. Oglethorpe named this the 13th colony “Georgia” after England’s King George II and Savannah became Georgia’s first city. The land charter offered a new start for England’s working poor along with a plan to strengthen the colonies by increasing trade. Under the original charter, individuals were free to worship as they pleased with rum, lawyers and slavery were forbidden.
Savannah was America’s first planned city and the design still serves its residents well today. Oglethorpe laid the city out in a series of grids allowing for wide open streets and shady public parks that served as town meeting places and centers of business. The design had 24 original squares with public parks at each intersection. 22 of todays city squares remain sited around that original plan.
Highlights of an urban hike in this city include dozens of historic homes with many open for tours, churches, museums, art galleries and more than a few opportunities to enjoy good food with a focus on Southern cooking.
1. River St & Bay St – The Cotton Exchange Seafood Grill & Tavern, Barracuda Bob’s Bar and Grill, Bernie’s Oyster House
2. Savannah City Market – The Olde Pink House Restaurant, Vic’s On the River, Jazz’d Tapas Bar, Paula Dean’s The Lady and Sons
3. Chippewa Square – one of the most known squares in all of Savannah, right in the center of everything. There’s a lot to see and do around the square, from plays to beautiful architecture and the Forrest Gump Bench.
4. Forsyth Park – The centerpiece of this great city.
5. SCAD Savanah College of Art & Design – SCAD has a number of venues around historic Savannah from the college itself to their gallery and a theater.
6. Six Pence Pub – Savannah has more than its share of bars, pubs and cafes with reputation for its night life.
7. Andrew Low House – A 1850’s historic house owned by Andrew Low is just one of a dozen historic homes open to the public for tours in Savannah. The Low house is beautifully preserved with rooms filled with a fantastic collection of furniture and artwork. It was home to Julliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America.
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