Hotel at a Glance: River Street Inn
River Street Inn (a member of Historic Hotels of America) more than earns its place in the Savannah Historic District. Constructed in 1817, the building that now houses the inn was once a cotton warehouse; it was one of the lucky buildings left untouched during Sherman’s 1864 March to the Sea. It still stands on a bluff overlooking the Savannah River, combining period-style decor and modern comforts.
- In-room features: hardwood floors, iron headboards, and tall windows that look out on the Savannah River to the north or large, moss-draped oak trees to the south
- Complimentary receptions treat guests to wine, champagne, and hors d’oeuvres Monday–Saturday evenings.
- Dig in: The cajun sampler at the onsite Huey’s Southern Cafe combines red beans and rice, shrimp creole, crawfish étouffée, and gumbo.
- Study local history in the fifth-floor library, then head out to follow one of the inn’s suggested itineraries.
- Press shout-out: Frommer’s writes, ”If night crawls among the bars and restaurants of River Street are a priority, there is no other hotel better positioned than this one.”
Savannah, Georgia: Historical Mansions and a Lively River Walk
Founded in 1733 as Georgia’s first town, Savannah is not only one of the most graceful cities in the South but also one the most historic. The old but well-preserved architecture landed it on Forbes’s 2011 list of America’s Best Downtowns, and Travel + Leisure dubbed it one of the top cities in the United States and Canada in 2013. The city’s 22 famous public squares play host to some famous landmarks, such as antebellum-era houses framed by moss-covered oak trees. Head to Oglethorpe Square to see the Owens-Thomas House, an English Regency–style mansion completed in 1819 that now serves as a museum; tours here depart from the original carriage house and go past its charming English-style parterre garden.
Another relic of Savannah’s past, River Street curves for about a mile along Savannah River’s south bank. The cobblestone walkways are lined with 100-year-old cotton warehouses that have been converted into antique shops, brewpubs, and galleries. Explore the riverfront in style aboard one of the Old Town sightseeing trolleys or during a horse-drawn carriage tour. Though the street is tamer than it was a few decades ago—when it was overrun with muscle cars and rowdy sailors—there’s still plenty of energy here, with a lively pub scene and views of large ships lumbering toward the dock.
A five-minute walk west will take you to the City Market, a four-block public meeting space on the edge of downtown. This section of Savannah’s sprawling historic district has established itself as one of the city’s top destinations for entertainment and dining thanks to the many artists’ studios, open-air restaurants, and taverns found here.