Savannah's small size doesn’t mean it lacks distinct neighborhoods – each one has its own character and charm that will entice you to linger.

From picturesque Downtown to artsy Starlands, each neighborhood has its own distinct attractions. Its grid-like layout makes it the perfect city to explore on foot and the green spaces and parks are among the best you'll find in an urban setting. Here’s everything you need to know about the top neighborhoods in Savannah.

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Downtown / Historic Savannah

Best for history buffs

Best for being in the heart of the hustle and bustle, Downtown Savannah is full of charm and Southern hospitality but is also one of the nation's most notable historic districts. The neighborhood is composed of Savannah's historic squares, museums, homes, restaurants and other structures dating back hundreds of years.

The 22 historic squares, each located within the downtown historic district, provide common areas for public use and recreation, which include benches and shaded areas for picnics. They are mostly 200 x 200 ft.

The neighborhood boasts some of the best museums in the country, such as the Telfair Academy – the oldest public art museum in the South, dating back to 1886. There are over 6300 works of art ranging from American Impressionism to European sculpture.

The Savannah History Museum contains more than 10,000 artifacts dating back to 1733 when the city was incorporated. The Railroad Museum is a National Historic Landmark and is located in the former Central of Georgia Railway.

For a killer brunch, visit The Collins Quarter (don’t miss their Lavender Mocha either); for dinner head to a.Lure for low-country gourmet or B. Matthew’s Eatery for some southern fusion fare. A few perennial Savannah favorites include The Olde Pink House or Mrs Wilkes Dining Room. Local favorite Zunzi’s serves South African sandwiches of all types – people line up around the block at peak times for these sandwiches, especially the Godfather. Top places to stay in the neighborhood include the Alida or The Drayton Hotel.

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A black musician plays the flute outside in a leafy square in Savannah's historic district
The beautiful squares in Downtown Savannah are a wonderful place to people watch © RAUL RODRIGUEZ / Getty Images

Starlands District

Best for art lovers

About a mile south of Forsyth Park is the Starlands District. Though the streets are lined with art galleries and other creative establishments, it’s the beautiful homes and even office buildings that draw visitors in. Filled with character, these aren’t your average ho-hum residences.

When not marveling at the architecture, visitors also love taking pictures of the many murals found throughout the neighborhood. For the best tiki oasis (yes, a tiki bar in Savannah) you could ever hope to find, head to the Water Witch Tiki, named after a famed (and possibly haunted) Union ship that was burned off the coast of Savannah in 1864. Try the Banana Spliff made with dark rum, bourbon, banana liquor, Mezcal and bitters.

Save time for a pitstop at Back in the Day Bakery to try one of the Biscones, a cross between a biscuit and a scone. Starland is also fantastic for retail therapy, especially for those with a penchant for vintage items. Check out The Cottage Shop and Graveface Records & Curiosities.

The famous white Forsyth Park fountain framed by an avenue of trees in Savannah
The Forsyth Park Fountain is one of the most popular photo opportunities in Savannah with visitors © SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Victorian District

Best for romantic getaways

Dreamy Victorian-style homes are abundant in this neighborhood, just south of the Historic District. Check out Ardsley Park, the oldest subdivision in Savannah, where you can catch a glimpse of classic Victorian architecture. For those who prefer a B&B over a huge hotel, there are plenty of delightful options to be found here. This is an especially nice area for couples on a romantic trip.

The neighborhood is also home to the 30-acre Forsyth Park, with its famous and prominent white fountain, that’s the focal point of many visitors’ photographs. The Printmaker’s Inn is a beautiful option for those who prefer a homely feel to their accommodation.

For a local favorite that’s both casual and delicious, check out Betty Bomber’s for terrific burgers and sandwiches. The famed Mansion on Forsyth Park hotel and restaurant was sold in 2022 and is being redeveloped to open under a new name in February 2024. Those who enjoy luxe accommodation and dining will most likely find it worth the wait.

Moon River District

Best for nature lovers

Moon River District is just 20 minutes south of downtown. Here’s where you’ll find Skidaway Island State Park with its six miles of trails to explore and later on pay a visit to the Wormsloe Historic Site that's also in the neighborhood.

This beautiful natural landscape is located between the village of Isle of Hope, which is bordered by Skidaway River, and the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge – one of the largest islands in the Savannah region. For eats, there are wonderful seafood restaurants like Wyld and Castaways.

Midtown Neighborhood

Best for shopping

You'll find incredible restaurants, and a number of locally owned shops, just about three miles from downtown. Abercorn Walk is a charming shopping center if you feel the urge to splurge. Locals love the nearby Bella's Italian Cafe and Hirano's teppanyaki and sushi bar in Habersham Village.  For southern food, visit Sweet Potatoes Kitchen – the corn pudding and homemade biscuits are always a good decision. Oh and please don’t forget the fried chicken.

In terms of lodging, you won’t find any boutique hotels in this neighborhood but the Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn are solid options.

A couple walking along the beach together and smiling at each other
Tybee Island's peaceful beaches are very popular with the locals © kate_sept2004 / /Getty Images / iStockphoto

Tybee Island

Best for families

Savannahians love Tybee Island. Located just a half hour's drive from Downtown Savannah, the five-mile beach town remains family-friendly, but in recent years has become a tourist hotspot. From the restaurants and bars to the shops and hotels, everything is casual on Tybee, whether you're looking for relaxation or a good time. Many hotels, like the historic DeSoto Beach Hotel or the full-service Hotel Tybee, provide direct access to the beach.

The Tybee Marine Science Center and the Tybee Island Light Station are great for a change of pace from the beach. The center also offers an eclectic selection of art galleries and stores. 

Tybee boasts a variety of casual restaurants that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters, from the Caribbean-inspired North Beach Bar & Grill to the superb lunch and dinner spot Sundae CafeThe Crab Shack serves some of the best steamed seafood in town. A half-pound snow crab and half-pound shrimp make up the “Half & Half”, a heaped platter of food that will satisfy even the biggest appetite.

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The Islands

Best for getting away from it all

Some of Savannah's most desirable residential neighborhoods are located on its islands, which offer lovely marsh views and a retreat from the thriving city center. Wilmington and Whitemarsh are larger islands with thousands of residents, whereas Talahi Island is smaller and more rural.

Whitemarsh Island

About six miles outside of downtown Savannah, Whitemarsh Island (pronounced “witmarsh”) is made up of a series of islands south of the Savannah River. Nearby Whitemarsh Preserve provides hiking and biking trails.

Wilmington Island

Approximately 15,000 permanent residents live on Wilmington Island, roughly 11 miles northeast of downtown Savannah. Visitors to Wilmington Island can go on boat tours, fishing charters and Daufuskie Island day trips from Bull River Marina. If you prefer to stay on dry land, check out golf and other recreational amenities at Savannah Country Club.

Talahi

A second island between Savannah and the sea, Talahi Island lies along US 80 (the Islands Expressway) near Wilmington Island and is about eight miles from the center of Savannah. There are fewer than 2000 permanent residents on the island, which is predominantly residential.

It’s a heavily wooded area and quite rural – perfect for those looking to get away from it all in nature. During the warmer months (March through June and September through December), the Islands Farmers Market operates every Saturday.

This article was first published October 2021 and updated August 2023

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