Girls’ Weekend Getaway Guide to Savannah, Georgia
Long hailed as one of the country’s most lovers-friendly destinations, Georgia’s oldest city is filled with moss-covered oaks, picturesque squares, and historic house museums that lend it the quaint atmosphere of a romantic comedy. But with world-class restaurants and museums to rival its larger siblings, Savannah is also hip enough to play the backdrop to your girls’ getaway. Here’s a rundown of where to eat, sleep, and—perhaps most importantly—shop with your crew.
Jen has been a staff editor at Architectural Digest, Travel + Leisure, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Afar, and Elle Decor. When she's not snowmobiling in the French Alps or tasting scotch straight from the barrel in Scotland, she's at home in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
Perry Lane Hotel
Taking its cues from Savannah’s thriving arts scene and antebellum past, the brand new Perry Lane Hotel fuses traditional design and contemporary-chic details in 167 guest rooms that feature leather headboards, crystal pendant lighting, and curated artwork by local talents. Grab the girls for a low-country cooking class at the Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market, or sip sazerac sundowners from the striped banquettes at Peregrin, the hotel’s rooftop bar, where the cocktails are rivaled only by the panoramic views.
If a languid afternoon spent sampling craft cocktails and seafood-forward specialties (scallop-and-corn fritters with habanero-honey butter, local shrimp rolls, etc.) on the waterfront sounds like your idea of heaven, don’t miss The Wyld, an open-air dock where the food is surprisingly good. Located on the banks of a creek at the edge of town—boats pull up throughout the day—the restaurant also offers bocce courts for those who prefer a side of sport with their drink, as well as hammocks and picnic tables for everyone else.
The Grey may get all the glory thanks to its elevated southern menu with global influences, but if you want to dine like a local with a dose of low-key nostalgia, head to Atlantic. Housed in an old gas station, the restaurant serves American comfort food (crab toast with lemon aioli, duck breast with bok choy and sweet potato puree) and inventive cocktails in an airy setting that will make your friends back home jealous. Come for dinner or celebrate happy hour with small bites and a seat on the outdoor patio.
SCAD Museum of Art
With its antebellum architecture and historic streets, Savannah hardly seems like one of the country’s top destinations for contemporary art, but that’s just what you’ll find at the on-campus museum at SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design, where works by emerging local talent and established international artists inform the permanent collection. Another go-to culture fix can be indulged at the Jepson Center for the Arts, a Moshe Safdie–designed building displaying modern pieces. And next door, the Telfair Museum of Art houses sculptures, paintings, photography, and decorative arts that span the 18th through 20th centuries.
Leopold's Ice Cream
From the neon sign at the entrance to the original marble soda fountain behind the bar, Leopold’s feels like a step back in time. A Savannah institution, the family-owned ice cream parlor has been serving up its award-winning frozen treats since 1919, including menu regulars like Tutti Frutti, a rum base with candied fruit and roasted Georgia pecans that has been around since inception, as well as trendier flavors like Japanese Cherry Blossom, Guinness, and Habanero Sugar. Brave the lines, then take your dessert to go as you window shop the charming boutiques nearby on Broughton Street.
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There’s something for everyone at City Market, an open-air courtyard between the historic district’s Franklin and Ellis Squares that dates back to the 1700s. The old warehouses have been converted into shops, restaurants, galleries, and artist studios; don’t miss the key lime coolers at Byrd Cookie Company. Follow Congress Street to shop the one-of-a-kind furnishings and home décor at 24e Design Co., turn off on Bull Street en route to Satchel, where you’ll find handmade leather bags and accessories, or continue north to River Street, a waterfront emporium in the footprint of a circa 1800s market.
If you’ve read John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for book club, then a trip to Bonaventure is a must. Built on a former plantation, the iconic moss-draped cemetery served as the setting for the novel’s cover and a filming location for the movie of the same name, as well as a backdrop for a number of historical references: naturalist John Muir camped out among the ornate graves during his Thousand Mile Walk, and singer Johnny Mercer, novelist Conrad Aiken, and a slew of Civil War soldiers and generals are interred in the Southern Gothic stunner.
Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah, Tybee Island is an idyllic beach retreat known for its powdery sands, gentle waves, and famous lighthouse. Climb to the top for a view you won’t soon forget—there’s also a museum that illuminates its history as well as the lives of former keepers—then dine on seafood with a side of kitsch at the Crab Shack, a waterfront restaurant where you can feast on peel-and-eat shrimp and deviled crab then feed 78 resident alligators.
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Keep it casual with a breezy tunic, destroyed jeans, and a few colorful accessories.
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