The Mansion on Forsyth Park
Set in a stately 1888 brick mansion overlooking its namesake park, this quirky-chic Kessler Collection hotel houses curiosities around every corner (century-old bonnets along a hallway, a one-of-a-kind Bösendorfer piano off the lobby), as well as a modern-art gallery, an on-site cooking school, and glamorous guest rooms outfitted with baroque headboards, crystal chandeliers, and velvet chaises.
It’s a treat to dine at a restaurant where the chef is at the top of her game. And at this Savannah hot spot, Mashama Bailey is straight-up crushing it. Her inventive Southern cooking (think foie gras and grits) garnered Bailey the James Beard Award for Best Chef this year. Pair that kitchen cred with art deco digs inside a renovated 1938 Greyhound bus terminal and you’ve got a destination spot.
Affectionately known as Savannah Beach, this breezy getaway is a favorite of city locals and famous folk alike. (Sandra Bullock and John Mellencamp have lived there.) The barrier island is a mere 20-minute drive from Savannah proper, but its salt marshes, scenic lighthouse, and coastal wildlife make it feel light-years from the city center.
Alley Cat Lounge
Savannah is “the hostess city of the South,” and there’s no easier way to enjoy that welcome than with a good drink. You’ll find plenty of them—32 menu pages’ worth—at this basement bar, tucked speakeasy-style in a back alley downtown. Along with Prohibition-era tipples, the newspaper-style menu features drinkers’ horoscopes, profiles on female bartenders, and literary excerpts by Hunter Thompson. But don’t mistake it for snooty—the Southern hospitality here goes down smooth.
Popularized by the 1994 John Berendt novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the Bonaventure is as historically impressive as it is hauntingly beautiful. The cemetery offers free guided tours that point out notable inhabitants like songwriter Johnny Mercer, but you could also easily spend an afternoon just strolling under the 250-year-old moss-draped oak trees.
Service Brewing Co.
You’ll find more than beer at this brewery and taproom off the Savannah River. Owned by former U.S. Army commander Kevin Ryan and his wife, Meredith Sutton, the brewery works to spotlight military members, from the servicemen working behind the bar to the veteran-focused charities that receive donations with each launch of a new craft beer. Speaking of service members, keep an eye out for Blackhawk and Chinook, the cats who call the brewery home.