Savannah, Georgia: What’s New for 2014

New Attractions Draw Tourists to Savannah, Georgia in 2014

by Steffi Porter

View of Waterfront from Kimpton Hotel, Savannah
View of Waterfront from Kimpton Hotel, Savannah

Savannah, Georgia is a city rich with culture, food and history. This year, a variety of new attractions are opening up, from places to stay, places to eat, new ways to tour the city and opportunities to soak in the art and culture, there is something for everybody in Savannah.

Old City Walks Tours

“Be a traveler, not a tourist.” That is the tagline for these innovative new walking tours that take visitors through historic, scenic Savannah, through what they call “America’s urban eye-candy,” and a city “best enjoyed on foot.”

This is likely due to the sheer volume of attractions, sights and beauty to be seen in this vast, Southern city. Walking around, you get to see a lot more than you would whizzing by in a tour bus or a car. Walking, you get to stop and experience Savannah.

Travelers get to go “off the beaten path” in small tour groups, and see historic sights that have been around since the civil war era. They get to learn stories of Savannah’s past, see beautiful architecture, hidden gardens and old eateries.

New this year, Old City Walking tours take visitors through historic places, guided by locals, and give them the chance to soak in the stories and the history of this city.

Art March

On the first friday of every month, Art March is bring arts and culture to River Street in Savannah. From 6-9 p.m. you can see live entertainment, explore the products of local businesses, shop in the Art March market, and view art.

Art March is a monthly, outdoor arts festival by Art Rise Savannah, a local program whose mission is building the creative economy by supporting the arts and helping local artists thrive. Speaking of local artists, they have a large part in making the Art March a success. Indie Arts Market, located on De Soto Ave., during the march, is a space where local artists and artisans show and sell their work to members of the community and tourists alike. Something new can be found every week as new artists are always coming into the picture at the March.

art march scene
Art March draws tourists and locals alike in Savannah.

Art March is about experiencing art, and enjoying a night out on the town. On Friday, March 7 2014, The art of Debi Daze will be on display at Black Orchid Tattoo as part of the festival. Refreshments will be served and there will be live music in the courtyard nearby.
New Bike Share Program

There is now another way to get around Savannah if you don’t want to drive: Chatham Area Transit (CAT) recently launched a new Bike Share program, letting tourists and locals rent bicycles from stations located scattered about the city.Savannah City busses now come equipped with bike racks, all a part of CAT’s plan to make traveling around Savannah a little easier. With membership, locals don’t have to worry about having their own bike, or the money for a car, or have to deal with walking everywhere.

The bikes come in handy for touring the area, for college students trying to get to their next class more quickly, or even just to catch a bus that is too far away to walk. If you become a member of the bike share program, you can have a bike whenever you need one.

The CAT Bike Share program offers annual, monthly, weekly, 3-day and 24-hour membership options. Currently, there are two bike stations: one at the Joe MUrray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center and one at Ellis Square. Bikes can be checked out and returned to either station.You must be 18-years-old or older in order to become a member, though teenagers aged 16-17 can become cyclists with parent or guardian consent. The bike share program operates from 5:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., meaning cyclists have to return their bikes by closing time.

Brewery Tours and Tastings

Southbound Brewery, Savannah’s first production microbrewery has just started offering brewery tours and tastings. The Brewery opened its doors in May 2013, and says they are currently working to become the “most innovating and exciting yet.”

“By bringing the American beer revolution to Savannah’s back door, we hope to cater to the tastes of the South by tantalizing your taste buds and keeping things interesting,” according to the Southbound Brewery website.

pouring beer copy
Breweries another draw for tourists to Savannah

Tours take place Wednesday through Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 2-4. They take two hours, and a spot on these tours run on a first come, first serve basis. These tours include complimentary tasting cups, and tourists can purchase an optional souvenir pint glass for ten dollars. All tours are free. No one under twenty-one is admitted.

Dept. 7 East opens in the Historic District

Fresh, seasonal ingredients, local flavors and traditions–these are the concepts behind Dept. 7 East, which Visit Savannah spokesperson Taylor Griffin called a “trendy new restaurant.” Dept. 7 East is a full-service bistro that serves a wide variety of menu options, gourmet lunch items as well as small plates, and dinner options, plus wine and beer. The bistro also offers event hosting, afternoon tea parties, traditional Savannah cocktail and dinner parties, and on-site catering.

“The foundation of Dept. 7 East is built on the simple concept of serving food that celebrates the highest quality seasonal ingredients,” according to their website.

Dept. 7 East demonstrates Southern hospitality, guaranteeing customers are all greeted with a smile and give excellent service. They are passionate about supporting local businesses and local farmers.

Joe Nelson and James Pittman perform in foxy loxy courtyard copy
Joe Nelson and James Pittman perform in a Savannah courtyard.

“Our goal is to share our passion for food and life with every guest,” says the spokesperson on the website.

New Hotels to Open in 2014

There are a few new hotels opening, and one that already has, in Savannah for 2014, bringing with them new restaurants and new ways to experience Savannah.The BriceThe Brice, a Kimpton hotel, will open this year along with a new restaurant, Pacci Italian Kitchen & Bar, which was developed by Roberto Leoci, a popular local chef.

“The Brice [is] a modern-day southern belle that very well may change your perception of hotels in Savannah Georgia. The Brice boldly offers an inventive twist on the traditional lodging found throughout Savannah, with a style that is metropolitan, upscale and eclectic,” according to a spokesperson on their website.

The hotel is located downtown, just near River street, in the Historic District and will offer 145 guest rooms, including 25 “lavish” suites.

The Cotton Sail Hotel

Expected to open on River Street in April 2014, the Cotton Sail Hotel is a full-service boutique hotel also located in Savannah’s Historic District. It will be housed in a late-1800’s cotton warehouse, refurbished and named in tribute to its past.

The hotel has a view of the Savannah River from the guestroom balconies, and offers the River House Restaurant, room service, plus Top Deck, a rooftop bar overlooking historic Savannah and the river.

Embassy Suite Hotel

The Embassy Suites Hotel recently opened in the heart of Downtown Savannah. This all-suite hotel is located twelve miles east of Savannah Hilton Head International Airport and Tybee Island Beach, and offers options for short trips and extended stays in Savannah. There is plenty to do and see within walking distance of this hotel. There is an outdoor pool, fitness center, and the hotel offers cooked-to-order breakfast.

steffi-porterSteffi Porter is a creative writer and journalist who has written for The Daily Hampshire Gazette, Hearst Newspapers and the Houston Chronicle. She is a former writer and editor for her college paper, the Massachusetts Daily Collegian and a graduate of the Institute for Political Journalism and the Fund for American Studies.

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