Savannah is one of those places that is absolutely enchanting. Every corner, and every square for that matter, has a mysterious story to tell. As a girl from Alabama, my friends and I made frequent trips to this southern gothic town. Oh yea, did I mention the loose open container law? Yes, that’s right, a nondescript to-go cup filled with a sweet tea martini can be brought with you throughout your adventuring. This makes Savannah the perfect girl’s getaway!
Visiting Savannah is all about wandering through its squares. During its inception, in 1733, the entire city was planned around its public squares to intentionally slow the speed of traffic and, I think, to slow the speed of life. Today, there are 20+ squares in Savannah, but I’m here to tell you about the 10 best squares that you must see. So stock up on a few nips and let’s go for a stroll.
1) JOHNSON SQUARE
Johnson Square is one of the oldest and largest Savannah squares. It has a huge obelisk dedicated to Nathaniel Green, a Revolutionary War hero, the oldest church in Georgia, a few beautiful fountains, and a golden sundial. Not that I would know how to read a sundial or really care about the time while wandering around.
2. REYNOLDS SQUARE
Savannah loves a good ol’ dark scandal and Reynolds Square doesn’t disappoint. Right in the center, you’ll find a statue of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. As the religious leader, he used his influence to woo a young lady only to later chastise her when she ended their affair. Little did he know he had laid with quite a precocious women who brought suit against him that ultimately led to him fleeing Savannah. Pour one out for the ladies.
3. WASHINGTON SQUARE
Washington Square is regarded as the most beautiful square to wander around with your white wine spritzer disguised in a to-go cup. The surrounding architecture is deeply Southern Gothic.
4. WRIGHT SQUARE
Wright Square, previously Percival Square, was the second square laid. True to the south’s dark roots, a bunch of society folks thought it would be great to erect a monument for a prominent businessman and politician, disregarding the remains of Yamacra Tribe leader, Tomochichi. Tomochichi, by the way, only did this little thing called, ‘feed a bunch of white invaders so they don’t die.’ I’m pretty sure he haunts the grounds or at least possesses all the random folk singers that hang out on the square.
5. GREENE SQUARE
For some Civil War history, visit the Greene Square. This is the site where General Sherman promised each free slave “40 acres and a mule.” The surrounding charming houses and plenty of green space make it a perfect place to sit and have a picnic.
If you’ve seen Forrest Gump (and really, who hasn’t?), then you’ve seen Chippewa Square. This is one of the most impressive squares with a striking statue of the regal colony founder, Oglethorpe. Be sure not to miss the Savannah Theater, the oldest and still active theater in the United States.
7. MADISON SQUARE
Madison Square boasts a ton of revolutionary war history, but I mostly enjoyed the SCAD shop adjacent to it which has a ton of artsy gifts and trinkets.
8. LAFAYETTE SQUARE
Let’s switch gears to the literary side of Savannah in Lafayette Square. If you want to explore the depths of human morality, transcendence and the Catholic faith, just pick up one of Flannery O’Conner’s books and read it by her childhood home at 207 East Charlton Street. Then really test your morals by moseying on over to the Hamilton Turner Inn, famous for it’s literary caretaker, Joe Odom, in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
9. MONTEREY SQUARE
It’s no wonder Mercer-Williams House on Monterey Square was the center point of activity in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We came the realization that our Airbnb was located on this beautiful square as we nursed our hangovers by watching the Clint Eastwood film adaptation of the book. I’m not sure what that says about our literary prowess or the type of trip we were on. Did I mention the to-go cup open container law?
10. CALHOUN SQUARE
For a ghastly experience, visit 432 Abercorn on Calhoun Square. While the square is very picturesque with all of it’s buildings still intact, it hosts a terrifying story of disobedience and punishment. I don’t want to spoil all the fun, so go on the Ghost Tour to hear this story.
BONUS SITES TO SEE: WORMSLOE
Wow, was Wormsloe beautiful and nearly impossible to get to if you don’t have your own transportation. Uber is a rarity in Savannah so be sure to let the person dropping you off know you’ll be done in an hour or two so you don’t get stranded. Aside from the slightly glossed over retelling of how slavery was adopted in Savannah, the lined live oaks are absolutely breathtaking. River Street provides a grand ol’ time by popping in and out of all the galleries, shops, restaurants, and, most importantly, the brew pubs. And, lastly, Forsyth Park boasts the iconic fountain reminiscent of fountains in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Have you been to Savannah, Georgia? What are your favorite places in the city? Please share your own tips and any questions in the comments below.
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