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Introduction to Savannah
Savannah is so warm and welcoming that it's easy to see why it's nicknamed "The Hostess City." The city has eye-catching historic architecture and an air of mystery, but it's never stuffy or bewildering. Be prepared to feel passionate about Savannah. When locals say "y'all come back now," they mean it. And most visitors heed their advice. Travelers of every stripe find there's plenty to pursue here.
For History Buffs
It's only natural that history buffs are drawn to Savannah's well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century homes, forts, and churches. The area is steeped in centuries of history, with Revolutionary War battle sites, churches that were stops along the Underground Railroad, and Colonial-era cemeteries. As the only city that survived being burned to the ground during General Sherman's March to the Sea, Savannah offers quite a bit of Civil War-era history as well.
For Culture Vultures
Art and music enthusiasts enjoy the city's vibrant cultural calendar, which includes the Savannah Music Festival each spring, the Savannah Film Festival each fall, and with numerous other programs, festivals, and performances throughout the year. There are several notable museums worth visiting as well. As the Savannah College of Art and Design has grown, so has the city's visual arts scene, which includes dozens of galleries scattered across the downtown.
Gourmands are drawn to Savannah's blend of traditional Southern cooking and contemporary flair. The area offers a rich variety of locally sourced ingredients, taking advantage of both the proximity to the ocean and Georgia's vast agricultural resources. Grass-fed beef, seafood such as shrimp and grouper, and a variety of fruit and vegetables that can be produced during the region's longer-than-average growing season grace the city's menus.
For Outdoor Enthusiasts
It's easy to love the eminently walkable Historic District, particularly during Savannah's temperate spring and fall. For those in search of more sporty activities, the city's surrounding area is full of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Kiteboarding, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and hiking can all be found on the barrier islands south and east of Savannah.
For Party Animals
There's an old saying that goes, "In Atlanta, they ask you what you do for a living. In Macon, they ask you what church you attend. In Savannah, they ask you what you drink." Savannah is a city that knows how to have a good time. Part of this is thanks to the city's lax open-container law, which allows people to walk around downtown with beer or cocktails in plastic cups, known locally as "go cups." The city's annual St. Patrick's Day celebration draws hundreds of thousands of people for one of the Southeast's biggest street parties.
Savannah's quaint parks and squares, moody Spanish moss–draped live oaks, and stately historic mansions create a romantic spell that makes it a popular spot for destination weddings, couples' getaways, and long weekends. When staying at a luxurious bed-and-breakfast in a former antebellum mansion, or drinking champagne in a horse-drawn carriage on a ride through the historic streets, it's easy to fall in love in—and with—Savannah.
For Everyone Else
There are plenty of other reasons to visit Savannah, and many times visitors who arrive with an open mind and an eagerness to explore discover more than they expected. A few insider tips will help improve your chances of having a great trip:
First, the best times to visit are during the spring (March through early May) or fall (late September through early November) in order to avoid the summer's oppressive heat and humidity. The spring and fall high seasons are also when most of the city's annual festivals and cultural events are scheduled. If you're looking for deals and don't care so much about the weather, look during December and January. The city's most scenic area is the 2.2-mile Historic District, which includes the highest concentration of hotels, restaurants, bars, museums, and other attractions. The area is almost completely flat, so it's very easy to walk around. While travelers didn't have much reason to leave the Historic District in years past, many interesting new restaurants and shops have recently opened in neighborhoods south and east of downtown.Updated: 04-2013
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