Where to stay in Savannah first time: 7 Best areas and neighborhoods

Wondering Where to stay in Savannah for the first time? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas/neighborhoods to stay in Savannah for first-timers and the best hotels for all budgets.

Savannah is a historic city in Georgia and is known for its charming cobblestone streets, well-preserved historic architecture, and picturesque squares adorned with moss-draped oak trees.  

Founded in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe, it is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Its historic district features a unique grid layout with 22 public squares, which are lush green spaces surrounded by historic homes and buildings.

Located along the Savannah River, River Street is a popular area lined with shops, restaurants, offering stunning views of the river and is a great place for a leisurely stroll.

Savannah is home to several museums, including the Telfair Museums, which is home to the Telfair Academy, Owens-Thomas House, and Jepson Center for the Arts. These museums house a diverse collection of art and historical artifacts.

Savannah is often referred to as one of the most haunted cities in America. There are numerous ghost tours and stories associated with the city’s history and architecture.

The city offers a range of Southern and seafood cuisine. Visitors can enjoy dishes like shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and classic Southern comfort food.

Savannah is famous for its lively St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, which include parades, live music, and vibrant festivities throughout the city.

In addition to its historic appeal, Savannah offers access to natural beauty. Tybee Island, known for its beaches and lighthouse, is located just a short drive from the city.

Where to stay in Savannah for the first time?

The best areas to stay in Savannah GA for first-time visitors are the Historic District, River Street, City Market, East Bay Street, Midtown, Tybee Island, and Pooler. These neighborhoods offer plenty of hotels and amenities for visitors to stay and explore the city.

The Historic District is the heart of Savannah and the most popular area for tourists. Staying here will put you in close proximity to many of the city’s historic landmarks, squares, restaurants, and shops. It’s a great place to experience Savannah’s charming architecture and Southern hospitality.

River Street, City Market, East Bay Street are also small sections of the Historic District. If you enjoy waterfront views and a lively atmosphere, consider staying along River Street. 

Midtown is a good option for a more residential and local vibe. Tybee Island is a great base for beach holiday. It’s about a 20-30 minute drive from Savannah and offers sandy beaches, water sports, and a laid-back coastal vibe.

Pooler is a suburban area located northwest of Savannah. It’s known for its shopping centers, dining options, and proximity to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. It’s convenient for travelers needing airport access.

During my trip to Savannah, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Savannah, a beautiful 4-star hotel in a central location. It was close to everything, only a 5-10 mins walk to river street and the historic district. Staffs were very friendly and my room was cozy and clean.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Savannah. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of Best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Savannah
Map of Best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Savannah

7 Best areas to stay in Savannah for first time & tourists:

1. Savannah Historic District

The Historic District is the best overall area to stay in Savannah for first-timers. It offers central locations, proximity to major landmarks, and features some of the city’s best hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops.

This area is compact and walkable, you can easily explore on foot. Additionally, you can use trolleys, pedicabs, public buses, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

It is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the country and is renowned for its well-preserved urban layout and architecture, showcasing various styles from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The district is characterized by its unique grid pattern, with a series of squares interspersed throughout the area. Originally, there were 24 squares, but only 22 remain today. These squares were designed as public gathering spaces and were meant to promote a sense of community.

The Savannah Historic District is home to numerous points of interest, including:

  • Forsyth Park – large public park with walking paths, gardens, and a famous fountain.
  • Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – stunning Roman Catholic cathedral known for its architectural beauty.
  • Mercer-Williams House – Made famous by the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” this historic mansion is an example of Regency architecture.
  • Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) – has played a significant role in preserving and revitalizing the area.
  • River Street – bustling area along the Savannah River with shops, restaurants, and historic warehouses.

Guided walking tours, horse-drawn carriage tours, and trolley tours are available to explore the area’s history and architecture. 

The district’s well-preserved historic buildings and squares provide a glimpse into Savannah’s past and offer a unique atmosphere. The area’s cultural significance has made it a popular setting for movies and TV shows.

The area also offers a variety of accommodations, including historic inns, boutique hotels, and bed-and-breakfasts, which can provide an experience into the city’s history and culture.

It’s worth noting that the popularity of the Historic District means it can be a bit crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Best places to stay in Savannah Historic District first time:

Luxury ($$$): Perry Lane Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, 5-star hotel, located in the heart of Savannah, easy walk from Oglethorpe Square, Owens-Thomas Museum, Lafayette Square and Madison Square. It offers free bikes, private parking, an outdoor pool and a 24-hour front desk.

Mid-range ($$): The Marshall House, Historic Inns, 4-star boutique hotel, located in central Savannah’s Historic District, within walking distance from Lucas Theater for the Arts, John P. Rousakis Riverfront Plaza, and Savannah College of Art Design.

Budget ($): Springhill Suites by Marriott, 3-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Savannah on budget, located in the heart of Savannah’s historic district. It is surrounded by many restaurants, and within walking distance to the Civic Center and the Telfair Museum of Art.


2. River Street

River Street is one of the best locations in Savannah for travelers seeking waterfront location and easy access to major attractions. River Street is a historic street that is known for its picturesque cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and scenic views of the Savannah River. 

River Street runs parallel to the river and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

The street is lined with shops, boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and other businesses. Many of the buildings along River Street have been preserved and restored, giving it a charming and historic atmosphere. 

Explore the candy shops on River Street, such as River Street Sweets and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, where you can find traditional Southern treats like pralines and taffy.

The area often hosts events, festivals, and live music performances, making it a lively and vibrant part of Savannah’s cultural scene.

One of the notable features of River Street is its riverfront promenade, which offers stunning views of the Savannah River and the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the river, take riverboat cruises, and relax in parks and squares located along the street.

River Street is an integral part of Savannah’s historic district and is a must-visit for anyone exploring the city’s rich history, culture, and architecture.

Best places to stay in Savannah in River Street:

Luxury ($$$): JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District, 5-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Savannah for families and couples near the waterfront area. It offers easy access to the River Street Train Museum, City Market, and Franklin Square.

Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Regency Savannah, 4-star hotel with views of the river, located in the Savannah Historic District, on the Savannah River with direct access to River Street. It has an on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Budget ($): Hampton Inn Savannah Historic District, 3-star hotel, centrally located in Savannah, featuring an outdoor swimming pool, free WiFi, and a business center. It is located within walking distance from Washington Square, Reynolds, and Owens-Thomas Museum. 


3. City Market

City Market is a vibrant area in the Historic District. City Market dates back to the 18th century and has played a significant role in Savannah’s history. The area was initially a hub for trading goods and services, and it has retained its historic character through the years.

Staying near City Market offers easy access to numerous attractions such as Telfair Museums, SCAD Museum of Art, Ships Of The Sea Maritime Museum, American Prohibition Museum, First African Baptist Church, Ellis Square, and Franklin Square.

Best places to stay in Savannah in City Market:

Luxury ($$$): The Alida, Savannah, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, 5-star hotel, located close to the City Market and Broughton Street retail corridor with lots of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Also within easy access to College of Art and Design, SCAD Museum of Art and River Street Train Museum.

Mid-range ($$): Andaz Savannah – A Concept by Hyatt, 4-star modern hotel located in the heart of the Savannah Riverwalk District, easy distance from riverfront boutiques and restaurants along the Savannah River. You can choose to stay in a room with a balcony with a city view.

Budget ($): DoubleTree by Hilton Historic Savannah, budget-friendly hotel, located near City Market and the shops and restaurants of River Street, featuring contemporary amenities. You can enjoy a southern flair at its on-site restaurant.


4. East Bay Street

East Bay Street is a popular street in Savannah Historic District, running parallel to River Street and Savannah River. East Bay Street has a collection of elegant homes, historic warehouses, and businesses that reflect the city’s rich history.

One of the prominent landmarks along East Bay Street is the Factor’s Walk, which consists of elevated iron walkways connecting the upper levels of the old cotton warehouses to the surrounding streets. These warehouses were once central to Savannah’s thriving cotton trade.

You can enjoy strolling along the waterfront, exploring the various shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants that line the street. The area is also popular for its scenic views of the Savannah River and its proximity to attractions like River Street and the City Market.

Best places to stay in Savannah in East Bay Street:

  • Mid-range ($$): The Drayton Hotel Savannah, Curio Collection by Hilton, 5-star hotel, located close to popular Reynolds Square, Johnson Square and Ellis Square.
  • Mid-range ($$): Olde Harbour Inn, Historic Inns, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located in the heart of Savannah city center, offering views of the Savannah River.  Easy distance from more than 90 restaurants and boutiques.
  • Budget ($): Homewood Suites Savannah, 3-star hotel, within easy distance from a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment in the City Center and City Market.

5. Midtown

Midtown is often considered one of the best areas to stay in Savannah. It offers a mix of residential neighborhoods, shopping districts, dining options, and attractions.

Midtown is relatively close to the Historic District. Staying in Midtown allows you to easily access the Historic District while also enjoying a slightly quieter and more residential atmosphere.

Midtown has its own array of shops, restaurants, cafes, and local businesses, providing you with convenient options for dining and shopping without venturing too far.

Forsyth Park is a beautiful green space located in Midtown, offering walking paths, gardens, fountains, and a playground. It’s a great place to relax, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the outdoors.

While the Historic District can get busy and bustling with tourists, Midtown offers a quieter and more residential atmosphere, which can be appealing for those seeking a more relaxed stay.

Best places to stay in Savannah in Midtown for first-timers:

Budget ($): Tru By Hilton Savannah Midtown Ga, 3-star hotel, within a short distance from Oglethorpe Mall Shopping Center, Hunter Golf Course, Grove Park Plaza Shopping Center, and Varsity Park Shopping Center.

Budget ($): Home2 Suites By Hilton Savannah Midtown, 3-star hotel that has a fitness center, free private parking, a restaurant, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi.

Budget ($): 5 BR, Sustainable homestay located within a short distance from Wells Park,  Myers Park, Forsyth Park, Monterey Square, and Pulaski Square.


6. Tybee Island

Tybee Island is a popular destination near Savannah, known for its beaches and relaxed atmosphere. 

Tybee Island offers beautiful sandy beaches and ocean views, making it a great choice for those who want a beach-oriented vacation and opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, fishing, and biking.

The island has a more laid-back vibe compared to the bustling city of Savannah. It’s a place where you can unwind and enjoy the slower pace of life.

The island’s natural beauty and scenic landscapes provide a serene setting for your stay.

There are several waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy seafood and other local cuisine while taking in the ocean views.

While Tybee Island is relatively close to Savannah (about a 20-30 minute drive), you’ll need to plan for transportation if you want to explore the city. Tybee Island has a more relaxed and quiet nightlife scene compared to the vibrant nightlife of Savannah.

Tybee Island offers a range of accommodation options, but they might be more limited compared to the variety you’d find in the heart of Savannah.

If you’re looking for a peaceful beach vacation, Tybee Island can be a great choice. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more urban environment with historical sites, shopping, dining, and a bustling culture scene, staying in the historic district of Savannah is more suitable for you. 

Best places to stay in Tybee Island first time:

  • Mid-range ($$): Beachview Inn and Spa, great B&B offers free private parking and a 24-hour front desk, located within walking distance from Tybee Island Beach. It has on-site yoga classes, free use of bicycles, and the area is popular for cycling.
  • Budget ($): Royal Palms Motel, 2-star hotel in Tybee Island, easy walk from Tybee Island Beach, offering spacious rooms with free WiFi and private bathroom.  
  • Budget ($): Tybee Wishes, nice comfortable condo, near south beach, a short drive by car from Pooler and Rincon.

7. Pooler

Pooler is a suburb located just west of Savannah, Georgia. While Pooler is not directly within the historic downtown area of Savannah, it has gained popularity as a more affordable and convenient option for travelers looking to explore the Savannah region. 

The area is known for its shopping centers, restaurants, proximity to major highways and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, making it a convenient base for exploring the city and its surrounding attractions.

Some travelers prefer the charm and historical atmosphere of staying in the heart of Savannah’s historic district, where you can easily walk to museums, shops, parks, and iconic landmarks. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more modern amenities, a potentially lower cost of accommodation, and easy access to major roads, Pooler could be a suitable option.

Best places to stay in Pooler:

see more:

In conclusion, Savannah Historic District, River Street, City Market, East Bay Street, Midtown, Tybee Island, and Pooler are the best places to stay in Savannah for first-time visitors. These areas offer plenty of things to do and see for tourists!

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment