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For some, a visit to southern coastal cities like Charleston, Savannah and Saint Augustine can seem daunting.  There are so many attractions in each of these treasured destinations that it can be hard to decide which to see first. Often, it’s just easier to arrange a group tour to ensure the best possible experience with the time available. Tours provide a planned itinerary that ensures that you get to see the most impressive attractions and events in the limited time of your stay. That said, in the time you have available during your tour of Savannah, Ga, there are a few locally known specialties that you need to know about.

The Bird Girl

Many who visit have seen Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  The Cusack classic is set in the city with notes to its antebellum architecture and  historic culture. If you find yourself wandering through Boneventure Cemetary looking for the “Bird Girl” statue, you’ll find she has moved. Currently the Bird Girl statue is on display in the Telfair Academy museum at Telfair Square, one of the prettiest squares in Savannah. Visiting her is included in your admission to the Telfair, so whether you start at the Jepson Center or in the yellow Academy building, you can see Bird Girl when you visit. Many will be surprised to learn that two of the four Bird Girl casts still reside in Illinois.

Shop SCAD

Another specialty of Savannah that visitors may find unique to the area is the student consignment shop at ShopSCAD. This unique store presents the works of up and coming student artist at the famed Design School.  Some student-artist who produced works sold here have become leaders in their art medium.  The small, original piece purchased today could be a collectors item in the future and benefit the students who are making their way through school.

Zunzi’s of Savannah

For those looking for a cuisine like no other, Savannah has a unique shop that is like no other. Zunzi’s journey began in Savannah, Georgia in 2005.  Founders Johnny and Gaby DeBeer created its eclectic menu by fusing the flavors of their cultural backgrounds, South African, Swiss, Italian, and Dutch.

Years earlier, the two met while working at Olympia Cafe, a Greek spot on the Savannah River.  With the leadership of Olympia’s owners, they set out to start their own venture.  Johnny would have preferred a disco, but Gaby had other plans.  To compromise, she let Johnny name their restaurant He landed on the name Zunzi’s, after his favorite place to vacation, Zanzibar. The sandwiches offer a burst of flavors like no other in the United States.  They are both unique, and divine. Make sure to get there early though, because it is a favorite with locals in Savannah, and the line can get quite long.

Obviously you will want to visit the more popular attractions as well.  Savannah offers many, but here are just a few:

  • Forsyth Park: Forsyth Park is one of the most iconic landmarks in Savannah. It is a large, beautiful park with a fountain, walking paths, and plenty of benches to relax on.
  • River Street: River Street is a cobblestone street that runs along the Savannah River. It is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. It is a great place to go for a walk, have a drink, or people-watch.
  • Historic District: Savannah’s Historic District is one of the largest in the United States. It is home to many beautiful buildings, including the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
  • Bonaventure Cemetery: Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. It is the final resting place of many notable people, including Johnny Mercer and Conrad Aiken. The cemetery is also known for its beautiful oak trees and Spanish moss.
  • Take a ghost tour: Savannah is known as one of the most haunted cities in the United States. There are a number of ghost tours available that will take you to some of the most haunted places in the city.
  • Visit the Telfair Museums: The Telfair Museums are a complex of three museums: the Telfair Museum of Art, the Jepson Center for the Arts, and the Telfair Academy. The museums house a collection of over 16,000 works of art.
  • Take a walk through the squares: Savannah is home to over 22 squares. These squares are public spaces that are filled with trees, benches, and fountains. They are a great place to relax and people-watch.
  • Enjoy the food: Savannah has a thriving culinary scene. There are a number of great restaurants serving everything from Southern cuisine to seafood to international fare. Personal favorites include BD Burgers, Boars Head Restaurant (try teh She Crab Soup), and Vick’s on the River.

Tips for touring Savannah:

  • Savannah is a very walkable city. However, you can also get around by bike or taxi. Or if you feel extra adventurous, take one of the many pedicabs available throughout the downtown area.
  • The best time to visit Savannah is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild.
  • Savannah is a popular tourist destination, so planned travel is always suggested.
  • Savannah is a beautiful and historic city with a lot to offer visitors. By following these tips, you can make the most of your tour of Savannah, Georgia.

No matter your reason for visiting this treasure of the Coastal Empire, you should prepare to be blown away with an experience like no other. Savannah and its unique character await fulfilling your best dreams of southern hospitality and historic curiosity.