This blog will help you decide Where to stay in Savannah first time, without a car. I’ll also give you the best areas in Savannah for tourists (include map and video), the best hotels in Savannah for all budgets, and the safest places to stay in Savannah.
Savannah is a coastal city with an amazing history, located in Georgia and separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. Its population of around 150,000 is proud of its beautiful city that dates back to the first half of the 18th Century.
There are many huge modern cities in the USA. Savannah is rather different from such conurbations yet can offer tourists a great experience. It is Georgia’s oldest city with many historic squares, cobbled streets along the waterfront, grand old mansions, and green parks. Savannah’s historic district is fascinating.
Where to stay in Savannah first time?
The best areas to stay in Savannah are the Historic District, River Street, City Market, East Bay Street, Midtown, Tybee Island, and Pooler. These are the most popular neighborhoods in the city that provide a wide variety of attractions and amenities.
The Historic District is the most popular area in Savannah for first-timers. It is the city’s most central location, offering easy access to major attractions such as River Street and City Market. This area also has the highest concentrations of hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops.
If this is your first visit, I recommend to stay at least 3 -5 days in Savannah, which is enough to see landmarks, enjoy food/drink, and get the sense of local culture and history. You can always come back next time and discorver more!
Savannah is a overall safe city for tourists. But as you travel to any big city, you should use common sense, stick into tourist areas, and avoid walking at night in a unfamilar places.
Savannah historic district is one of the safest neighborhood in Savannah for tourist to explore both day and night because it is very well-patrolled by polices.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:
|Savannah Historic District
|💎 Best luxury hotel:
|Perry Lane Hotel
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:
|Eliza Thompson House
|💰 Best budget hotel:
|DoubleTree by Hilton
Map of areas and neighborhoods in Savannah for visitors:
How to Get Around Savannah for tourists?
Getting to Savannah is easy by air, car, train, and bus. If you are traveling from far away, the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport serves as the major airport in the region. To reach Downtown (12 miles away), you can take taxi, Uber and Lyft, express airport bus, or rental car.
Savannah is accessible by major highways, including Interstate 16, Interstate 95, and US Route 17. If you are driving from nearby cities or states, these highways will lead you to Savannah.
Amtrak offers train service to Savannah with the Palmetto and Silver Service lines, providing connections to major cities along the East Coast. Greyhound bus services operate in Savannah, providing an affordable option for traveling to and from nearby cities.
For navigating within the city, it’s best to rely on walking or biking in the Historic District, as many attractions are close together. If you need to venture outside the Historic District, using a combination of CAT buses and rideshare services can be a good option.
Savannah offers various trolley tours that offers guided tours around the city’s most famous landmarks and historic sites. These tours give you an overview of the city’s history.
Historic District is the best area to stay in Savannah without a car due to its central location and walkability. You can easily get around on foot, by public transportation, or even by horse-drawn carriage. There is a free shuttle route as well as a free ferry service over to Hutchinson Island.
7 Best areas to stay in Savannah for tourists are:
1. Savannah Historic District
Savannah historic district, without a doubt, is the best area to stay in Savannah for first-time travelers due to its close proximity to the city’s major attractions. The area spans from Savannah River to Forsyth park, and from E. Broad Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Savannah Historic District has much to appeal to visitors including its cobbled streets, lovely green areas of manicured gardens, oak parks, and leafy squares and architecture.
The neighborhood is eminently walkable. As you go, you will be treated by many beautiful squares, art galleries, mansions, museums, churches, and famous forts of the Revolutionary & Civil War eras.
Savannah was a prominent city back in the War of Independence and the Civil War and you will see reminders of those periods as well.
Savannah Historic District has 22 historic squares but the most prominent squares are Calhoun Square on Forsyth Park, Chatham Square on the corner of Barnard & Wayne streets, Colombia Square, Johnson Square, Orleans Square, Troup Square, and Wright Square.
There are many building that has Georgian, Greek Revival, and Gothic styles such as Owens-Thomas House on Oglethorpe Square, the Edmund Molyneux Mansion on Bull Street, the Spencer Woodbridge House on Habersham Street, and the Greene House on Madison Square
If you want to learn more about the history of the region, there are plenty of museums to explore:
- The Davenport House Museum, a historic home which was built in 1820 in Georgian style architecture. You can take a guided tour of the house and buy souvenirs at its shop. Nearby, you can take a look at Columbia Square and the Pirate House.
- The Mercer-Williams House Museum, situated on the southwest corner of Monterey Square. I was built in Victorian architecture and is open to the public for tours.
- The Telfair Museums where you can find The Telfair Academy, Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and The Jepson Center for the Arts.
- The SCAD Museum of Art.
- The Georgia State Railroad Museum.
If you want to break from sightseeing, you can visit the Forsythe Park in the old city, home to the 1858 Forsyth Park’s fountain, Saturday Farmer’s Market, Confederate Memorial, and the Memorial to the Spanish-American War. The park has a lovely scent of oak trees and azalea bushes.
To explore the historic district, you can walk, ride on an e-bike or regular bicycle, take a Segway Tour, Indigo Journey Walking Tour of Antebellum Period, or Old Town Trolley Tours, a hop-on hop-off tour that stops at many attractions.
If you prefer, you can take a leisurely tour in a horse-drawn carriage. However, when you are on foot you can suit yourself about stopping to enjoy particular locations. The hop-on, hop-off trolley bus is a favorite way to spend time at different locations before moving on.
While walking around the town, you might also want to stop at the bench where Tom Hanks (Forest Gump) sat in Chippewa Square, First African Baptist Church, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Congregation Mickve Israel, and the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low.
Other places to explore are River Street, Factors Row, the Olde Pink House, and Old Harbor Light.
In addition to the historical and cultural attractions, Savannah Historic District has plenty of shopping, dining, and nightlife options. There are restaurants, bars, and shops in both the Historic District North Zone and the Historic District South Zone.
Historic District has a wide range of accommodation options, you can find budget hotels but mostly mid-range and luxury hotels.
Stay in Historic District if you are first-time visitors; You are looking for a central location; you travel without a car; you want to stay in a safe neighborhood;
Best places to stay in Savannah in Historic District for first-timers:
luxury ($$$): Perry Lane Hotel, 5-star hotel, featuring rooms for both couples and families with children of all ages. Located in the heart of Savannah, within easy walk from Owens-Thomas Museum, Oglethorpe, Lafayette and Madison squares.
Mid-range ($$): Eliza Thompson House, 4-star adult-only bed and breakfast, great base for couples and singles visiting Savannah. Located on Jones Street, easy walk from Forsyth Park, Paris Market and Brocante, Savannah History Museum, and Lucas Theater For the Art.
Budget ($): DoubleTree by Hilton, 3-star hotel, located just few steps from the City Market and the shops and restaurants of River Street. You can enjoy a variety of fare with a southern flair for breakfast and dinner at its on-site bistro and pub.MORE HOTELS IN HISTORIC DISTRICT
2. River Street
River Street follows the Savannah River that is such an important part of the city. Its development into a popular tourist neighborhood has made use of historic buildings that were formerly cotton warehouses.
The conversion of old buildings gives today’s visitors boutiques and antique shops, bars, restaurants, galleries, and more.
This is southern hospitality at its best. It is fun just to sit back, or even take a cruise to take in the whole setting. Remember as well as being a beautiful city, Savannah is one of the USA’s busiest ports.
The choice of restaurants is excellent but that is just one aspect of River Street. Clubs and bars, live music are found along the bank of the Savannah River. Visit the Rocks on the Roof with its rooftop bar and restaurant that offers excellent views of the Savannah River.
River Street is home to numerous museums and monuments to explore, include:
- The African – American Monument, just one of the memorials you will see as you walk the neighborhood. Old buildings have made excellent restaurants and thoroughly modern hotels.
- The World War II Monument (The Cracked Earth), which honors Chatham County’s veterans of the Second World War.
- The Graveface Museum, a museum dedicated to the world of oddities and criminal history;
- The Waving Girl Statue, located on the east-end of River Street,
- The 1996 Olympic Yachting Cauldron sculpture.
Art lovers can find several art garleries at the old warehouses and Factors’ Walk, showing art works of local Savannah artists.
For an unique shopping experience, head to the River Street Market Place, where you can purchase Savannah souvenirs such as local handmade arts and jewelries. Central market is another excellent place to visit with many options of restaurants, art galleries, and shopping.
Other things to do in River Street are wandering around the Riverfront Plaza, Warren Square, Emmet Park, Talmadge Bridge.
Stay in River Street if The river location with vibrant nightlife appeals to you; You want to be close to the center of Savannah; You enjoy a location with plenty of history.
Best place to stay in Riverfront/River Street for first-time visitors:
- luxury ($$$): JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District, 5-star hotel, located within walking distance from River Street Train Museum, City Market, Franklin Square and Ellis Square. It features rooms for couples, families with kids, and group of friends.
- mid-range ($$): The Bohemian Autograph Collection, 4-star riverfront hotel close to the boutiques and bars of Savannah’s old town. It features family rooms and paid private parking for those travel with a car.
- mid-range ($$): Hyatt Regency Savannah, 4-star hotel, located located on the Savannah River with direct access to River Street right outside our doors.
3. City Market
City Market is downtown, not a large area but one in which there is always something going on. It was the central marketplace in Savanah for people to trade, shop for groceries in the 1700s.
Here is the best choice of restaurants, fine dining, or simple cafes. The shopping is good, and galleries and museums can occupy your day before you enjoy its nightlife.
This neighborhood to the northwest of the Historic District developed in the 1980s and the result is an area popular with locals and visitors alike. Plenty of thought went into the development that runs between two of Savannah’s famous squares, Ellis Square and Franklin Square, just 4 blocks.
Art lovers can take a look at the Art Centre to view art works of local artists. There are also numerous art galleries to visit such as Alix Baptiste Art Gallery, A.T. Hun Gallery, Stephen Kasun Gallery, and Signature Gallery.
City Market has plenty of shops to buy hand-crafted jewelries and souvenirs, as well as local products like wines and beers.
If you’re a foodie, you will find delicious seafood and steak around the City Market in Belford’s Savannah, or just simply chill at Cafe at City Market, Wet Willie’s bar.
History buffs will find numerous interesting museums. The American Prohibition Museum is great place to learn more about the history of Prohibition and travel back in time to the 20 century when anti-alcohol rallies swept the country.
Another must-see museum is the Ships Of The Sea Maritime Museum, located in the William Scarbrough House. You can view ship models and maritime antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries.
City Market is Art and Soul of Savannah with great nightlife. Plenty of bars, pubs, live music venues, and the to-go cup culture that makes it legal to take your adult beverage wherever you go.
Some popular spots for nightlife are Pour Larry’s, the Bar Bar, AlleyCat Lounge, Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos, Tree House, and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.
Stay in City Market if you want central safe location; you are first-time visitors; You like shopping and eating; You have an interest in art; you enjoy great nightlife;
Best places to stay in Savannah in City Market for first-timers:
- luxury ($$$): The Alida, Savannah, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, 5-star hotel, set within walking distance to the shopping, dining and entertainment in the City Market and Broughton Street retail corridor. Also close to Savannah College of Art and Design, SCAD Museum of Art and River Street Train Museum.
- mid-range ($$): Andaz Savannah, 4-star hotel, located in the heart of the Savannah Riverwalk District, within a short walk from riverfront boutiques and restaurants along the Savannah River.
- budget ($): Hilton Garden Inn, 3-star hotel, located within walking distance of the famous River Street and surrounded by nightlife, restaurants and shopping.
4. East Bay Street
You will find East Bay Street between the Historic District and the Savannah River. It is just a small area in which the East Bay Inn has stood since the middle of the 19th Century.
Similar to River Street, you are still within walking distance of most of Savannah’s highlights if you make East Bay Street your base for a visit to Savannah.
Look out for Factor’s Walk where cotton used to be bought and sold in the heyday of Savannah’s cotton industry in the 19th Century.
The red brick buildings still stand impressively and today they house interesting shops, bars, and restaurants. Savannah City Hall is somewhat newer, early 20th Century. It is built on the site of the City Exchange that was demolished to provide the land. It is the City’s seat of government.
East Bay Street is surrounded by numerous green spaces and parks. The riverfront Morrell Park is located at the east end of River Street, where you can find Waving Girl statue honoring Florence Martus and the 1996 Olympic Yachting Cauldron.
Across the East Bay Street from Morrell Park is the Emmet Park, where you can take a stroll, relax, and view several monuments such as the Chatham Artillery Monument, The Celtic Cross Monument, The Salzburger Monument of Reconciliation, and The Vietnam War Monument.
You can check out the Historic Fort Wayne, which was founded in 1762 as a British fort to protect the colony from Spanish attacks. It played a role in the American Revolution and was used as a Confederate prison camp during the Civil War.
East Bay Street has a convenient location, close to both Savannah River and the Historic district, making it a popular place to stay in Savannah. It has plenty of accommodation options for all budget travelers.
Stay in East Bay Street if You want to be close to Savannah’s main landmarks without being right in the center; Somewhere a little quieter than the Historic District appeals to you; The location close to the river is appealing.
Best places to stay in Savannah’s East Bay Street:
- mid-range ($$): River Street Inn, 4-star hotel, situated in the city’s famous Historic District, offering views of Savannah River and comfortable guestrooms, for couples and families visiting Savannah.
mid-range ($$): The Drayton Hotel, 4-star hotel Conveniently set in Savannah, close to Reynolds Square, Johnson Square and Ellis Square.
budget ($): Staybridge Suites, 3-star family-friendly hotel, in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District, 3 blocks from the City Market, offering modern amenities.
See more: Where to stay in Savannah without a car
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly area to stay in Savannah, Midtown is a good choice. It consists of several residential areas such as Kensington Park, Ardsley Park, and HabershamWoods.
Midtown has many of the 19th Century homes that today serve as restaurants and shops, especially in Habersham Village, the 12 Oaks shopping center, and Abercorn Walk.
Midtown is home to several parks and cemeteries. Bonaventure Cemetery is the last resting place of notable locals. A second green area, Daffin Park, has plenty of space for sports games, including a stadium where its minor league baseball side plays. Kids can enjoy the playground and swimming pool.
You can also watch a Savannah Bananas game at Grayson Stadium, admire 19th and 20th-century architecture in Habersham Village, and many attractions in Historic District which is only a 10-minute drive away.
Midtown’s accommodation are mainly guest houses, B&B, and apartments. You will have all basic amenities that you will need for your stay.
Stay in Midtown if you’re budget-travelers; You enjoy parks as a recreational area; History is a hobby of yours and old cemeteries interest you; You are on a family holiday and want activities for everyone.
Best places to stay in Savannah in Midtown for first-timers:
- budget ($): Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, 3-star hotel, located only 5 minutes’ walk from Abercorn Walk shopping centre and a short drive from Oglethorpe Mall.
- budget ($): Tru By Hilton, 3-star hotel located within a short drive from Oglethorpe Mall, Hunter Golf Course, Grove Park Plaza, and Varsity Park Shopping Center.
- budget ($): Home2 Suites By Hilton, 3-star hotel, located within a short ride from Nathaniel Greene Park and Hunter Golf Course. It has free private parking which is great for travelers with a car.
6. Tybee Island
There is a beach just 20 minutes east of downtown Savannah on its outskirts. You will find it as Tybee Island, the barrier island and although a beach may not be your main reason for visiting Savannah, it is a welcome attraction for families although it is a rather expensive district.
There is no reason why you should not stay here and just drive into the city to enjoy its delights. After all, the miles of beach are conducive to fun and relaxation. In addition to sunbathing and swimming, you can walk in the dunes, see dolphins in the Atlantic, kayak, go fishing or cycling.
You will find 19th Century gun batteries in the north of the Island, the 19th-century military fortress Fort Screven, and there is a Tybee Island Light Station & Museum and a lighthouse that is still operational. The light station on Tybee Island is the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Georgia.
There is also Fort Pulaski National Monument which preserves Fort Pulaski, where the Union Army forced the Confederate garrison inside Fort Pulaski to surrender during the American Civil War.
If you like bird watching, visit the North Beach Birding Trail where you can see a variety of birds and ducks; and Little Tybee Island is a great place for camping.
For some ice cream head to The Sugar Shack, and for some fresh seafood, check out the popular Crab Shack and Sting Ray’s Seafood.
As a popular beach destination, Tybee Island has various of accommodation options. You will be able book a hotel at your budget range.
Stay in Tybee Island if You want to stay in a seaside hotel in Tybee; Local history is important to you; You are with the family and want something for everyone.
Best places to stay in Tybee Island:
- mid-range ($$): Tybee Island Inn Bed & Breakfast, 4-star homey seaside bed and breakfast, easy walk from Tybee Island Beach and the Tybee Lighthouse.
- budget ($): Beachview Inn and Spa, great bed and breakfast provides free private parking and a 24-hour front desk. Located 300 metres from Tybee Island Beach.
- budget ($): Royal Palms Motel, 2-star accommodation, situated in Tybee Island, 200 metres from Tybee Island Beach and a short drive from from Savannah Bend Marina. It has free parking for those travel with a car.
Head northwest from the city center and you will find Pooler within the metropolitan area. It takes its name from a railroad employee, Robert William Pooler who lived at the time of the Civil War. The Union took the Confederate surrender of Savannah in Pooler.
Pooler is a business center with companies like JCB, and Gulfstream Aerospace among its patrons. You will find shopping malls in Pooler, a growing community with a minimal crime. Its population has been growing in recent years and that trend seems certain to continue.
The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force attracts significant visitors each year. Exhibits include a B-17 Bomber, a P-51 Mustang Fighter, and an F-4 Phantom II. If you have kids with you in Savannah, they will love it.
You also have the Tom Triplett Community Park, Tanger Outlets Savannah, and the Surf Lagoon Waterpark.
Pooler has other museums as well as good recreation facilities. They include the chance to play golf or tennis.
Stay in Pooler if This is a family holiday, and you need plenty to entertain the kids; Recreational options are important to you all; You want to stay near the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport;
Best hotels in Pooler and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport:
- mi-range ($$): Embassy Suites, 4-star hotel near the Savannah/Hilton Head Island International Airport. It is located one mile off Interstate-95 and within a 20-minute drive of downtown Savannah.
- budget ($): Homewood Suites, 3-star accommodation close to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.
- budget ($): Holiday Inn & Suites, 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, a short drive from Johnson Squareand Wells Park.
Where should I stay in Savannah for the first time?
The Historic District is the best place to stay in Savannah for first-time travelers due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located within easy access to attractions such as the River Street and City Market, as well as restaurants, bars, and shops.
What are the best areas to stay in Savannah?
Historic District, River Street, City Market, East Bay Street, Midtown, Tybee Island, and Pooler are the best areas to stay in Savannah because they are the most popular areas for tourists that offer many things to do and see.
Where to stay in Savannah without a car?
The Historic District is the best area to stay in Savannah without a car due to its central location and well-connected public transport. You can get around on foot, by public transportation, or even by horse-drawn carriage, and ferries.
What is the safest area to stay in Savannah, GA?
The Historic District is a popular and safe area for tourists, but it is recommended to always practice common sense and be aware of your surroundings.
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The Hostess City of South is one of the most popular places to visit in Georgia where you can find Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Congregation Mickve Israel, and the famous Forrest Gump scene.
In conclusion, Historic District, River Street, City Market, East Bay Street, Midtown, Tybee Island, and Pooler are the best places to stay in Savannah for tourists anf first-time travelers. They offers a central safe locations with a wide variety range of accommodation options for all budget.
Personally, I recommend Savannah Historic District as the best area in Savannah for first visit because it is the most convenient location and it has the widest range of accommodation options. If you stay here, you will be located in middle of the action!