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Hostess City Hidden Gems

EXPLORE THESE SAVANNAH SECRET SPOTS

By Anthony Garzilli 

Savannah is known for its rich history, charming downtown squares and welcoming hospitality, but there are many sites off the beaten path that are worthy of attention.

When planning a trip to the “Hostess City of the South,” think about enjoying locations just outside of the norm.

Here’s a guide to making the most of your visit.

Morning

Rise early for some of the best breakfast food in the city. Foxy Loxy Café on Bull Street has become a local’s favorite. This charismatic coffee shop and bakery features indoor and outdoor seating. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a yummy fresh-baked kolache as you relax in the large, pet-friendly, beautiful courtyard. For more information, visit foxyloxycafe.com.

If you want a quick bite, venture out a little further to Auspicious Baking. It will be worth the trip (about 15 minutes from downtown). The allure of fresh-baked goods (including croissants and cinnamon buns) and soup seemingly always produces a line out the door at this popular business in the Sandfly community. Learn more at auspiciousbakingco.com

After you’ve enjoyed some morning fuel, it’s time to have some fun in the city. Kids will have a good time at the Savannah Children’s Museum. Located at Tricentennial Park, the outdoor museum features more than a dozen exhibits, including a fun, giant exploration maze, a reading nook and a sensory garden. Recently an event encouraged attendees to dress as their favorite Dr. Seuss character in honor of the children’s book author. For more information, visit chsgeorgia.org/SCM.

Explore some of the beautiful sites of Savannah with a trip outside of downtown to the Wormsloe State Historic Site. The visually beautiful estate features mirrored oak trees, in an archway of branches, that leads to the tabby ruins of Noble Jones’ 18th century estate. Visitors can see an artifacts museum, observation deck overlooking marshland and the Joneses’ family original burial ground. Don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy a walk on the nature trail. For more information, visit gastateparks.org/Wormsloe.

As the afternoon nears, pause to do some souvenir shopping at Picker Joe’s Antique Mall and Vintage Market. Nestled in a mid-town neighborhood on 41st Street, Picker Joe’s is filled with knick-knacks, vintage furniture items, classic baseball cards and a rotating number of antiques. A walk around the 10,000-square-foot building brings you back to yesteryear. A cool new addition is its vintage coffee and soda shop. Sidle up to the counter and enjoy a beverage — or ice cream. Learn more at pickerjoes.com

Afternoon

After a busy morning, it’s time for lunch. Fortunately, you are just blocks from one of Savannah’s best eateries. Walk from Picker Joe’s to Green Truck Neighborhood Pub. Simply put, Green Truck has the best burgers (and fries) in town. Don’t want a burger?

The salads are savory. We also recommend the chicken and apple sandwich. The award-winning restaurant has been a mainstay for locals since it opened in 2010. With a welcoming atmosphere (which includes a vintage green truck outside) and friendly staff, Green Truck also features a “Little Truckers Menu” that includes a mollusk-shaped hot dog. For more information, visit greentruckpub.com.

With a satisfying meal enjoyed, Savannah invites some more exploring. You are minutes away from the Starland District, a thriving part of the city.

Visit Graveface Records & Curiosities, an independent shop that for more than 10 years has offered vinyl, cassettes, unique toys and books. Or stop by Starlandia Supply for any arts needs. The independent store carries new and used materials. Visit, graveface.bandcamp.com and starlandiasupply.com.

The shopping — and snacking — continue at Starland Strange and Bazaar. Enjoy tasty treats (including yummy ice cream and waffle cones) as you browse a variety of locally made shirts, sweats and other trinkets at this “quirky” establishment. Visit starlandstrangeandbazaar.com

If you are still in need of food or a drink and also want the kids to be active, visit Starland Yard, which hosts a variety of food trucks during the week and is home to Vittoria Pizzeria. The outdoor space, which includes a large “yard” bar, has cornhole and local music and art. It is dog friendly. The open-air rooftop overlooks the yard. Visit starlandyard.com.

A visit to Savannah must include a trip to Forsyth Park, one of the city’s crown jewels. Certainly not “hidden,” but what is often overlooked are its playgrounds that are wonderful for kids. Forsyth Park has nine slides, 16 climbers and eight swings. The ground is covered with rubber matting. The playground area includes a café and restrooms. Plenty of room to enjoy the outdoors and have fun. 

Evening

It’s been a busy day. After an hour or so at the park and taking time to relax, Savannah offers plenty of dining options.

Cotton & Rye on Habersham Street (we recommend reservations) is a local hot spot. Their wings are award winning, and the veggie pot pie is delicious. New items debuted this spring, including a roast beef dish with fingerling potatoes and baby carrots. Yum. Learn more at cottonandrye.com.

If you’d like to explore more outside of the city, visit Cohen’s Retreat, where you can dine and shop. Housed in a vintage building from the 1930s (“The Cohen’s Old Man’s Retreat”), the restored Cohen’s Retreat offers fantastic food and local art. Sit down or eat at the bar and enjoy live music. When you are outside, don’t miss the Savannah Blarney Stone. Visit cohensretreat.com.

As the evening winds down and if you want to stay busy, check out Historic Grayson Stadium and the Savannah Bananas. No longer a Savannah secret, the Bananas are one of the most popular teams in the country. Tickets are limited, but it’s a fun family outing — well worth experiencing the “world’s fastest and most entertaining game of baseball.” Visit thesavannahbananas.com.

There’s no better way to cap off the day than going on a ghost tour. After all, Savannah is one of the country’s most haunted cities. There are a few options, but we recommend a visit to Bonaventure Cemetery. The after-hours tour is a spooky good time. Visit shannonscott.com.