Make plans to come early or stay late after the conference.  See the beautiful, historic city of Savannah, Georgia – one of the 13 original colonies and the oldest city in Georgia.  Savannah was the only historic Georgian city that was not burned to the ground during the Civil War, so it retains its magnificent, original architecture.  Savannah is also the home of the world-renowned Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), making this a very eclectic, art-driven city.  Host to the second largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the United States, birthplace of the Girl Scouts, and a large Atlantic shipping port, Savannah’s residents are as diverse and vibrant as the city.
 
Just a Few Things to Do in Savannah:
  • Take a trolley tour with Old Town Trolley Tours – This is a great way to see the city in a short amount of time.  Your ticket gives you all day hop-on-hop-off access to sites around the city of Savannah with a narrated tour as you travel on the iconic orange and green trolleys. 
 
  • Visit the Historic Squares of Savannah – General Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah, laid out the city in a grid pattern upon its founding in 1733.  Today, 22 of his original 24 squares have been preserved and are surrounded by historic museums, houses, and examples of the architectural diversity of the city.  These lush green spaces are bustling meeting places, and hidden oases in the heart of the city.
 
  • Eat a traditional Southern meal at Mrs. Wilkes House – Lauded by Savannah locals as “the best” example of traditional Southern cooking, Mrs. Wilkes has been serving up Southern specialties in this family-style restaurant for 68 years.  There are no menus, just a table full of 22 dishes for you to eat to your heart’s delight.  Get there early, bring cash, and be ready to wait in line because they don’t take reservations or credit card, and they are always full! Open M-F, 11am-2pm  (Word on the street is that you should get in line by 10:15 to make sure you get a seat!)
 
  • Picnic in the Forsyth Park – Located in the heart of historic Savannah, this 30 acres of green space is Savannah’s version of Central Park. The park’s north end is home to a cast iron fountain that was erected in 1858. The Forsyth Park Fountain was designed to resemble the grand fountain in Paris at the Place de la Concorde. It is one of the most visited attractions by visitors to Savannah and the backdrop for local proposals and wedding photos.
 
  • Shop on Broughton Street – Do you prefer to spend your pennies, rather than toss them in the fountain?  Head on over to Broughton Street with its trendy boutiques and shops.  you may find some great treasures to take home with you!  When you’re there, make sure you stop by our next Savannah destination, Leopold’s Ice Cream.
 
  • Eat award-winning ice cream at Leopold’s Ice Cream – Voted “One of the Best Soda Fountains in the USA” by food&wine.com, Leopold’s has been a Savannah institution since 1919.  Try their signature Tutti-Frutti or Butter Pecan flavors, made from the original family recipe or get a delicious sandwich from the deli!
 
  • Stroll down River Street -True to its name, River Street runs along the Savannah River.  The century old buildings, once cotton warehouses, have been converted to antique shops, boutiques, galleries, pubs, restaurants, and yes, also tourist tchotchke shops.  Look past the neon “Savannah, GA” t-shirts and enjoy a stroll along this historic street, take a free ride on the river taxi, sample pralines at River Street Sweets, and watch the ships from around the globe sail into one of the busiest ports in America. This is a definitely must stop on the trolley tour! 
 
  • Tour Congregation Mickve Israel – The Savannah Jewish community is the third-oldest Jewish community in the US.  Settling in Savannah just five months after it’s founding in 1733, the original 41 Jews brought with them their Torah scroll that dated from the 1400s.  It can be seen in the newly constructed museum that houses various artifacts related to Judaism in Savannah and the history of the congregation in particular.  While Congregation Mickve Israel built the first synagogue in Georgia in 1820, the current synagogue building dates to 1878 and built in the Neo-Gothic architectural style with soaring arches and large stain glass windows, an unusual choice for a synagogue.  Tours are usually given (for a small entrance fee) M-F from 10am-3pm unless there is a holiday.  Check the calendar before planning your trip.
 
  • Explore African American history in the South – Your first stop should be the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.  Named after the father of Savannah’s modern day civil rights movement, The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum chronicles the civil rights struggle of Georgia’s oldest African-American community from slavery to the present. Three floors of historic photographic and interactive exhibits provide a glimpse of what life was like during the civil rights struggle in Savannah and in Georgia. 
 
  • Visit a stop on the Underground Railroad – Savannah is home to many historic sites related to the African American community.  Chief among them is the First African Baptist Church, site of the first black Sunday school in North America and a stop on the Underground Railroad.  Tours are given (for a small fee) Tu-Sa at 11am and 2pm and Sun at 1pm.  
 
  • Buy some Girl Scout cookies – Savannah is the destination for Girl Scout troupes from around the globe since it is home to the birthplace of its founder, Juliette Gordon Low. Tours are available Monday – Saturday (check the website for tour times. Tickets can be purchased in advance online for this popular tourist destination.
 
  • Enjoy the grandeur of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – An excellent example of French Gothic architecture, the church is regularly called “breathtaking” and “amazing”! TripAdvisor rated it #6 on its list of Top 10 US Attractions.  You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate it’s beauty!
 
  • Go back to school – Massie School, which now houses the Massie Heritage Center, opened in 1856 as the first free public school in Savannah.  Enjoy many educational exhibits surrounding the history of the city.  View hours and tour information.
 
  • Enjoy shopping, food, and strolling through City Market – Another must-do stop on the trolley tour, City Market is a pedestrian street that is home to art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.  One of the iconic eateries located at the west end of City Market is the legendary Vinnie VanGogo’s. Touted as having the best pizza in Savannah, make sure you bring cash, because pulling out plastic is a No-No at Vinnie VanGogo’s.  Looking for something less United States and more United Kingdom?  Stop in for a fresh made savory pie from The Pie Society.  Run by British ex-pats, the steak and mushroom pie is to die for!  If you didn’t try a praline on River Street, go by Savannah’s Candy Kitchen for a free sample. 
 
  • Check out www.visitsavannah.com for more information on other sites in the city and trip planners to help you make the most of your stay.