Explore the City
Savannah, the thirteenth English colony, is considered America’s first planned city. It is also a walking city with numerous sites to see and tours to take. James E. Oglethorpe’s original design is still enjoyed by Savannah’s citizens and her visitors: the city is divided into blocks of five symmetrical 60-by-90-foot lots and 24 public squares. The squares served as public meetings places and as areas where citizens could camp out and fortify themselves against attack from natives, Spaniards (who ruled Florida), and even marauding pirates. Although we no longer have to fortify against ourselves against pirates, the squares are still thoroughly enjoyed as gathering places and punctuations of shade in this southern city.
City Market offers some of the city’s best restaurants as well shops and artists’ studios and galleries. The central street is blocked to traffic, creating a popular gathering place. The newly rebuilt Ellis Square offers a green space to meet and mingle, underground parking, and a visitors’ center for your convenience.
Stroll down River Street, a charming riverside walk lined with shops and restaurants, and enjoy seeing the huge ships coming into the harbor and the pavement of cobblestones that were ballast on incoming ships. Look upstream and you can see the giant cranes that serve our port city.
Savannah’s art museums are lovely, cool places to spend time and be inspired. The SCAD Museum of Art is a contemporary art and design museum conceived and designed expressly to enrich the educational milieu of SCAD students and professors, and to attract and delight visitors from around the world. The original portion of the museum was housed in an 1856 Greek Revival structure that was once home to the headquarters of the Central of Georgia Railway. This structure recently received a stunning addition, expanding into railway structures that were beautifully incorporated to create a world class museum. This is the home of our core conference.
The Telfair Museums consist of the Telfair Academy, the Jepsen Center and the Owens-Thomas House, a national landmark. Admission to the Telfair provides for a one-time visit to each of the Telfairs’ three sites for a week-long period following the date of purchase. General admission fee also includes regularly-scheduled docent-guided tours.
Savannah is blessed with a rich collection of historic homes. Tour the Mercer/Williams House and see if you can hear Johnny’s melodies echoing faintly in the hallways. See the birthplace of Juliet Gordon Lowe, founder of the Girl Scouts, presently owned and operated by the Girl Scouts as a living memorial to its founder. Visit the Greek Revival townhouse and childhood home of author, Flannery O’Connor. The O’Connor home is open to the public and admission is free on Saturday afternoons. For the full list of historic homes, visit the Historic Savannah site posted below.
Historic cemeteries are part of the city's intrigue. Colonial Park Cemetery is approximately 6 acres in size and is located in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District. The cemetery is located at 201 Abercorn Street at its intersection with Oglethorpe Avenue. It is open to pedestrians from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily and is a very popular site for local citizens and tourists. The park-like cemetery has been closed to interments since 1853 and is the oldest intact municipal cemetery in Savannah. Previously known as the Old Cemetery, Old Brick Graveyard, South Broad Street Cemetery or Christ Church Cemetery, the cemetery served as the primary public cemetery from 1750 to 1853. (City of Savannah Department of Cemeteries) Bonaventure Cemetery has captured the imaginations of writers, poets, naturalists, photographers and filmmakers for more than 150 years. Bonaventure transcends time. Live oak trees provide a canopy for a network of small, quiet roads that lead down to the river’s edge, past the elaborate monuments and sculptures used to mark final resting places of many Savannah citizens. Johnny Mercer’s grave is located there, as well as civil war notables. Transportation will be needed for this out-of-the-city experience.
See the following sites for more information:
Savannah Theater – “Jukebox Journey” and “Savannah Live”
Savannah Civic Center
Lucas Theater and Trustees Theater
City Market – The Art and Soul of Savannah
SCAD Museum of Art