Things to Do in Downtown Savannah
Its 21 historic squares, colonial architecture, and Low Country landscape make Savannah a top tourist destination. Blend beauty with attractions, and you have the setting for the perfect southern vacation. With everything from a historic theatre to a myriad of restaurants on Bay Street, Savannah offers something for everyone. And Suites at Bay gives you the perfect starting point to explore it all. Be sure to take in a walking, trolley, horse-drawn carriage, or ghost tour to get to know the area even better.
Built in 1818, the Telfair Academy of Arts was the first public museum in the southern United States. It started as a historic mansion in Savannah and is now an art museum housing more than 4,500 works of art from all over the world. Entrance into the museum includes a guided tour showcasing the history of the museum.
With foundations going back to 1773, First African Baptist Church is the oldest black Baptist church in the U.S. Located in the Savannah Historic District, the church has artifacts dating to the period prior to the American Revolutionary War as well as pews hand-made by slaves with tribal symbols carved into them. The church museum includes a guided tour explaining the remarkable history of the church and its congregation.
This national center for Girl Scouts is the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts. Originally constructed in 1821, the fully restored National Historic Landmark house is part shrine, part memorial, and part museum. It shows off the contributions of Low and the accomplishments of the Girl Scouts.
The first performance in this incredible building was 197 years ago. Due to fires, the building has undergone several renovations over the past two centuries, with its latest face-lift giving it the art deco style it boasts today. Spectacular performers at The Savannah Theatre are still entertaining audiences today. The Savannah Theatre hosts Broadway-style plays in an avenue that is truly in a class of its own.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
This private, non-profit university was founded in 1978. With more than 9,000 undergraduate students, it is a popular pick for students looking to pursue higher education in one of the oldest cities in America. SCAD distinguishes itself from other art and design universities by offering more degree programs and specializations. Keeping with the city’s theme of preserving its heritage, SCAD restores buildings for use as college facilities. The campus incudes 67 buildings throughout downtown Savannah, many of which are on the famous 21 squares.
Part of the Savannah College of Art and Design, this museum is home to more than 4,500 pieces of art. The building underwent extensive renovation and in 2011 it revealed its revitalized look. The new museum includes a 250-seat theater and an 86’ tall steel and glass lantern. Much of the art in the museum is contemporary and showcases the Walter O. Evans collection of African American Art.
Located in the historic district, the multipurpose Savannah Civic Center was constructed in 1974. With four different venues, the center hosts more than 500 events a year, including concerts, theater, conventions, sporting events exhibits, and tradeshows. The wide assortment of rooms and spaces make the Savannah Civic Center a popular choice of venues.
Savannah’s many squares have been referred to as the “heart and soul of the city” and are a perfect pick for outdoor weddings and other intimate gatherings. You’ll find 22 squares of greenery surrounded by glorious live oak trees and breathtaking homes, churches, and museums throughout Savannah.