Many people choose to see Savannah from the back of a historic trolley, but how about trading the trolley for two wheels? Biking around Savannah is not only scenic, but also efficient and independent. Plus, the city has bike lanes and locals are accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists. Rent a bike and you can cover more ground in Savannah, both in the historic district and the neighborhoods beyond, with these insiders' top stops.
1. Back in the Day Bakery
Start your bike tour at Back in the Day Bakery, a neighborhood bakery on Bull Street outside of the historic center. This local favorite serves crumbly scones, pretty cupcakes, and rustic-style breads. Fueled up with carbs, get back on your bike, and head off the beaten track for some antique shopping.
2. Pinch of the Past Architectural Antiques
There are plenty of antique stores in Savannah, but some in the historic district feel too organized. These aren't the type of stories where you rummage through antiques and stumble on a rare find. Pinch of the Past Architectural Antiques is a little out of the way of the tourist areas, leaving all the unique salvaged goods for locals and you. Plus, it is an easy four-block cycle to the next bakery.
3. Sentient Bean Café and Forsyth Park
After some antique shopping, cycle back towards the historic center of Savannah. But first, stop into the Sentient Bean Cafe for a cup of coffee. This quirky café is known for supporting local indie film, live music, and literary readings. Before getting back on the bike, enjoy your coffee under the massive oak trees draped with Spanish moss in Forsyth Park, just across the street from the café.
4. The Book Lady Bookstore
Cycle down the length of the park and back towards the historic district where you will find the Book Lady Bookstore. This inviting shop has comfortable leather furniture, fireplaces, and packed bookshelves. Spend some time browsing through the well-organized books, or take a seat to flip through a well-worn used book.
There are ample opportunities in Savannah to eat southern food, but how about food with influences from South Africa, Italy, and Switzerland? Locals have a devotion to Zunzi's a casual lunch counter serving sandwiches, salads, vegetarian dishes, and a rotating list of aromatic entrees. Owners Johnny and Gabriella will happily walk you through the day's offerings. Picnic tables are available outside for lingering over your lunch.
6. SCAD Museum of Art
It is impossible to visit Savannah without feeling the presence of SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. At the SCAD Museum of Art, you can wander through exhibitions featuring the work of SCAD students in addition to the permanent collection.
Insider Tip: ShopSCAD sells the creations of local Savannah College of Art and Design students. It's a great spot for unique, affordable gifts and souvenirs.
7. Circa 1875
Finish your bike tour in the historic heart of Savannah. Circa 1875 is a comfortable spot for a cold glass of wine or interesting cocktail after a day of cycling. Pull up a stool at the bar while jazz music plays in the background. If hunger strikes again, you can order French bistro classic dishes in the pub, wine cellar, or dining room.
Many visitors never see past the historic district's quaint squares. From the seat of a bike, you can cover more ground and see Savannah's shady parks, spooky graveyards, and arts scene up close.
Thinking of a trip to Savannah?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, as well as the best planning advice, check out our Savannah Travel Guide.
Freelance writer Jessica Colley covers cuisine, culture, the arts, and experiential travel. She is currently based in New York City and called Dublin, Ireland home for several years. You can follow her on Twitter @jessicacolley or check out her "Writer in the Kitchen" series on her blog The Great American Travel Dream.