Savannah, Ga., home to the STMA 2022 Conference and Exhibition, is one of America’s most beautiful and hospitable cities. Routinely ranked in the “Top 10 Places to Visit” by world-renowned travel publications and websites, Savannah is more popular than ever before.
Savannah offers culture that blends the best of the old and new in arts, music and history; museums dedicated to all styles and eras; and historical sites that document Savannah’s role in our nation’s history, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, on into World War II.
Sprinkled throughout Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District, walking, carriage and trolley tours showcase the city’s architecture, history, hauntings and films. The Historic District also boasts world-class restaurants, rooftop bars, and breweries, all dripping in Spanish moss. After conference sessions conclude, gather a group of friends and sample some fried green tomatoes, extra crispy fried chicken, and Southern BBQ,.
Coming to Savannah with family? Tybee Island can be reached by trolly in about 20 minutes. Once there, you can watch dolphins, go fishing and look for seashells.
- Forsyth Park: One of the most-photographed spots in town, Forsyth Park’s lush greenery and iconic fountain make it the ultimate gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.
- Cathedral of St. John the Baptist: Gothic cathedrals this ornate and awe-inspiring are often only seen in art history books and European tours. The Cathedral’s public areas are open for self-guided tours Monday through Saturday.
- Wormsloe State Historic Site: Wormsloe Plantation was the home of Noble Jones, a carpenter who arrived in 1733 with the first Georgia colonists. Jones’ descendants still live at Wormsloe, but most of the property was acquired by the state of Georgia as a historic site in 1973, including the highly photographed avenue of live oak trees lining the driveway and forming a twisting canopy of branches overhead.
- River Street: This 200-year-old cobblestone road stretches for nearly a mile, hugging the Savannah River and lined with historic former cotton warehouses. Its numerous shops, monuments and photo spots have made it an essential stroll on any visit to Savannah.
- Tybee Island Light Station: One of the nation’s most complete historic light station complexes, the original tower was constructed in 1736. Today, the station is still a functioning navigational aid.
- Savannah Botanical Gardens: A beautiful and peaceful slice of nature, at the Savannah Botanical Gardens you can find nature trails, a two-acre pond and an archaeological exhibit alongside the 1840 Reinhard House.
MUSEUMS AND HISTORY
- Telfair Museums: Encompassing three spaces, the Telfair Museums include Telfair Academy, the first public art museum in the South; the 1818 Owens-Thomas House museum; and The Jepson Center for contemporary art exhibits.
- The Green-Meldrim House: The only gothic-style home in Savannah, General Sherman made this mansion his headquarters during the Civil War occupation of the city after his fiery march across Georgia. It’s also the place where he wrote his letter to President Lincoln, gifting Savannah to him as a Christmas present.
- Pin Point Heritage Museum: Just a short ride from downtown, a pocket of Gullah/Geechee culture can be found in the village of Pin Point. Visitors can explore the refurbished Pin Point Heritage Museum, formerly the A.S. Varn & Sons Oyster and Crab Factory, and experience multimedia presentations and views of the marsh.
- The American Prohibition Museum: Savannah’s City Market is home to the country’s first museum dedicated to the prohibition era, featuring more than 20 intoxicating exhibits and an authentic speakeasy.
- Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum: Named for the pioneer of Savannah’s own grassroots movement, this museum celebrates the strides made by African Americans with a moving collection of exhibits and presentations housed in a building constructed by black contractor, Robert Pharrow, in 1914.
- The Pirates’ House: The original section of The Pirates’ House is the oldest standing structure in Georgia. It was once an inn and tavern for seafarers, and was mentioned in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic book, Treasure Island. Today, the Pirate’s House attracts diners in search of culinary treasures.
- Foxy Loxy Café: “Foxy” is always bustling with local artists and students. Sip on a horchata latte while perusing original works of art and enjoying live music every Tuesday evening.
- The White Rabbit Lounge: As an inclusive performance venue spotlighting local talent, this unique lounge will make you feel like you’ve gone down the rabbit hole. The White Rabbit features cabaret shows, burlesque and more.
- The Collins Quarter: The Collins Quarter is Savannah’s quintessential hipster brunch spot. On a bright corner with a walk-up coffee bar, this trendy cafe and bar is known for celebrity sightings.
- Green Truck Neighborhood Pub: Everything at this locally sourced restaurant is handmade, carefully crafted and absolutely delicious. Deep in the burgeoning Starland arts district, Green Truck is the perfect place for a casual burger and a beer.
- Gallery Espresso: This cozy and creative coffee shop/art gallery is located on the south end of Chippewa Square, just a stone’s throw away from Forrest Gump’s bench location.
BEER, WINE AND SPIRITS
- Ghost Coast Distillery: These makers of craft spirits embrace Savannah’s spirited and storied history by creating a multi-distilled corn and wheat vodka, and offering tours and tastings Tuesday through Saturday.
- Service Brewing Company: Service Brewing is a veteran-run brewery honoring local veterans and the many ways they serve their community. This industrial-chic hotspot is a favorite among both locals and visitors.
- Moon River Brewing Company: The building housing Moon River Brewery is widely known to be extremely haunted and was investigated by the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” crew. Their 5,400-square-foot beer garden is an ideal spot to drink a craft brew and keep an eye out for specters.
- Congress Street Up: A museum where you can drink? Ain’t that swell! As part of the American Prohibition Museum experience, whisper the password at the door to this speakeasy for a chance to sip authentic Prohibition-era cocktails (the bar is open after museum hours, too).
- Artillery Bar: One of Savannah’s most elegant lounges, this beautiful space on Bull Street sits on the lot formerly occupied by one of the city’s armories. This night spot doesn’t skimp on details, atmosphere or tasty hand-crafted cocktails.
- Edgar’s Proof & Provision: Befitting its location in the landmark DeSoto Hotel, this elegant spot blends barrel-aged cocktails and Southern comfort food. Don’t leave without savoring a sip of the private label “Edgar’s Truth” bourbon!
- The Olde Pink House: For a thoroughly modern take on a ubiquitous Lowcountry dish, don’t miss the contemporary elegance of The Olde Pink House. You’ve never seen shrimp and grits done like this!
- Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room: Most days, there’s a line of people down Jones Street waiting for their turn to sample some of the most famous fried chicken in the South. Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room serves family-style meals on a first-come-first-served basis.
- The Crab Shack: Tybee Island’s The Crab Shack embraces its rustic fish camp roots with marsh-side tables under a live oak canopy and classic Lowcountry boil that tastes just the way it’s supposed to.
- Zunzi’s: This multicultural lunch spot was inspired by the proprietors’ Swiss, Italian, South African and Dutch heritage. The chicken Conquistador sandwich is famous for taking top honors on an episode of “Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America” on The Travel Channel.
- Sandfly Bar-B-Q: While owner Keith Latture cut his culinary teeth in Memphis, his barbecue fits right in with eclectic Lowcountry flavors in an authentically retro streamliner diner.
- Bonaventure Cemetery: This elegant cemetery is somehow stunningly beautiful and deeply creepy at the same time. Made famous by the Southern gothic novel and film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” Bonaventure is a must-see in Savannah. Several companies offer tours of the cemetery, including an evening tour.
- Haunted tours: There are even more haunted places in Savannah than there are historic squares, and a haunted walking tour is a great way to get all of the eerie highlights.
- Hearse ghost ride tours: If a walking tour isn’t immersive enough for you, you can learn about ghosts from the macabre comfort of a hearse!
- Haunted pub crawls: Haunted pub crawls make haunted tales and pubs seem like a match made in heaven (or hell), offering visitors the opportunity to drink their spirits with the spirits.
- Sorrel-Weed House: The Sorrel-Weed House has a variety of creepy touring options. This mansion was featured on SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” and The Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures.”
HOLLYWOOD FILMING LOCATIONS
- Chippewa Square: This is the spot where Forrest Gump sat on a bench and shared his life story with strangers. The bench was a movie prop, but visitors still love to pose with the statue of General Oglethorpe in the background. Today, you can see the bench at the Savannah History Museum on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
- Mercer Williams House Museum: The real-life action chronicled in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” took place in this 1868 mansion. Many of the film’s major scenes were also shot on-location inside the house.
- Tybee Wedding Chapel: It’s the church from Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s movie romance in “The Last Song”! Actually, the chapel was built especially for the film. It’s now a popular wedding venue.
- Broughton Street: An extensive list of films, TV shows and documentaries have been filmed on one of Savannah’s most famous commercial streets.
- The Six Pence Pub: Six Pence was already a popular local watering hole, but its appearance in Julia Roberts’ 1995 “Something to Talk About” pushed it into Savannah movie stardom.
- Savannah riverboat cruises: A trip down the Savannah River on an old-fashioned riverboat provides the best views of the River Street skyline. Make reservations for lunch, dinner or sightseeing cruises daily.
- The Moon River District: Just outside of downtown, the Moon River District is home to seven visitor attractions including the Pin Point Gullah/Geechee community and its Heritage Museum, the University of Georgia Aquarium, historic Isle of Hope and Skidaway Island State Park – perfect for hiking, kayaking and camping.
- West Chatham: The western side of Chatham County is home to the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force and shopping aplenty at the Tanger Outlet center.
- Fort Pulaski: This National Monument Civil War fortification is tucked away on the road between Savannah and nearby Tybee Island, making it a perfect stop on the way to the beach.
- Dolphin cruises: Book an excursion from Tybee Island to visit the local dolphin population! Dolphin tours always fulfill their promise of a dolphin encounter and share entertaining local history along the way.
- Kayak or paddleboarding tours: Explore the Lowcountry’s marshes, creeks and wildlife up close! Just outside of the city, there’s a pristine wilderness waiting for adventurous travelers.
STMA’s 33rd Annual Conference & Exhibition will be held January 17-20, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.stma.org/conference/