A stroll down Savannah’s Riverwalk is not only pleasing, it’s truly serene. Walk along the Savannah River; stop in for a bite at any of the restaurants or simply enjoy the scenery as you head towards the adjoining River Street, just a short distance away. On River Street, in the heart of historic Savannah, you’ll find everything from sweets to teddy bears, Harley Davidson apparel, and art galleries housed inside restored Cotton Warehouses. The working harbor—filled with ships of all kinds, horse-drawn carriage rides and street performers add to the enticement of this idyllic waterfront locale.
Eat, drink, shop and linger; there’s much to see and do on River Street – a lovely oasis of shopping, dining and culture.
Picturesque views of the river are just a sample of the ambiance and amenities one enjoys when they stay at the Marriott Riverfront. From gorgeously appointed guest rooms to suites, restaurants, bars, a fitness center and spa, guests of the hotel may not ever want to wander. Yet if they do, they’re in for a treat, because with access to River Street via Riverwalk, they’ll be immersed in Savannah’s charming taverns, shops and restaurants.
The Olympic Torch Sculpture on the riverfront is a touching monument that radiates the American spirit of victory and of athletic competition. The sculpture features an Olympic Torch surrounded by five columns that symbolize the five Olympic rings. Framing the flame are billowing sails that represent the sailboats in the Official Olympic Yachting events held in Savannah. The riverfront sculpture is a monument to Savannah’s role as host of the Yachting events of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. The stunning monument serves as a lasting memorial on the city’s beautiful waterfront promenade.
Florence Martus embodied the true spirit of Southern Hospitality. For forty-four years she greeted every ship entering the Savannah port by waving a cloth from her home on Elba Island. She was the sister of the Elba Island light-keeper and from 1887 to 1931 she was well-known for her welcoming persona. The Waving Girl Statue by Felix De Weldon, stands in Morrell Park on the Riverfront in tribute to Florence. It’s one of the recognized historic landmarks you can see in the riverfront park.
The bronze statue of Ms. Martus is one and one-half times life size, mounted on a slanted platform with a bronze collie dog. It is also the first memorial to a Georgia woman in any city park. Visitors to Savannah must see the endearing Waving Girl, a special tribute to one of Savannah’s great residents and an eternal symbol of Southern Hospitality.
See the sights along the Savannah River on board one of the Water Taxis or Ferry Boats. It’s a short but scenic look at the riverfront, the various statues and monuments are in view and the ride takes you to Hutchinson Island on the opposite side of the river.
Located on a bluff just above the famed River Walk, this area was named after the brokers, also known as factors, who once occupied the surrounding brick buildings as part of Savannah’s robust cotton trade. These former warehouses were abuzz with commercial activity back in the 19th century and, today, the area still bustles with visitors and locals exploring unique shops, cafes, art galleries, and historic hotels. Make sure to wear some comfy shoes, since there will be some minor climbing involved to access the buildings which are attached to the bluff by concrete and iron pedestrian walkways. This area is not to be overlooked and a definite must-see to complete your River Street experience.
Built into the Factor’s Walk retaining wall as a series of arched, catacomb-like enclosures, these vaults possess a history just recently unearthed. Thanks to archivists, archaeologists, and the efforts of several Savannah-area high school students, the story of these vaults has finally been told. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the vaults were used to house slaves, the excavation team debunked that myth by discovering a host of Civil War-era artifacts like pots, pans, wine bottles, and buttons from the uniforms of Union soldiers which all suggest that these enclosures were probably used by those same soldiers during the occupation of Savannah. Add a little mystery to your walk and discover this subterranean world for yourself!
As a side note, if you happen to have an affinity for the paranormal and things that go bump in the night, you should check out Savannah’s Ghosts & Gravestones tour and take a spine-tingling ride on the Trolley of the Doomed!
THE SHRIMP FACTORY – Located right on River Street and housed within a former cotton warehouse built in the early 1800s, this waterfront spot gets a lot of kudos and is an official recommendation by TripAdvisor. This is comfy, old-school dining in a historic setting that specializes in bringing the traditional flavors of Savannah from ocean to plate. Enjoy solid, no-frills preparations like shrimp, done every which way, oysters, scallops, wings, fried green tomatoes, and a nice selection of fresh salads and sandwiches. Don’t forget to leave room for the Bananas Foster!
ROCKS ON THE ROOF – For a more elevated experience in every way, this rooftop bar/restaurant overlooking the Savannah River definitely takes it up a notch. Located atop the charming Bohemian Hotel, this hotspot is known for its live music, inventive specialty cocktails, delicious tapas and chef-driven entrees all in a gorgeous setting designed to float your cares away.
A store that sells sinfully sweet southern candy classics that stays open until 11pm?? Yes, please! The killer confections made here are known throughout every corner of Savannah and give Willy Wonka a run for his money! We’re talking handmade everything from pralines, brittles, fudge, candy apples, cakes, pies, bear claws, and the list goes on and on. Not feeling the gluten? Not a problem! The good folks over at River Street Sweets haven’t forgotten you and offer a wide selection of options to choose from. With a combined history of 100 years of candy making experience, the Strickland family has made the South synonymous with gourmet southern sweets!
RIVER STREET MARKETPLACE – No serious shop-till-you-drop adventure on Savannah’s historic River Street can begin without a visit to this open-air market. Here you’ll find, well, EVERYTHING! Located on the east end of River Street amongst a series of A-framed buildings designed to replicate those that once stood there over 150 years ago, this sprawling market features 75 vendor booths and 50 shops selling everything from handmade jewelry, framed museum-quality prints, apparel, artisanal candles to specialty food shops selling small-batch, local hot sauce. The goods sold here come from all over the world so this isn’t your typical t-shirt shop selling novelty coffee mugs. If all that shopping works up an appetite, the marketplace also features several eateries where you can grab a gourmet hotdog and a silky smooth gelato for dessert!
CITY MARKET – Another excellent place you should visit for all things retail in Georgia’s First City is another expansive, central marketplace. Since first providing goods and services for the citizenry of Savannah way back in the 1700s, City Market has survived, in one form or another, despite natural disasters and a little thing called the Civil War. Today’s version still has some of the original old market as part of its permanent construction along with some of its charm. In addition to the many restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife options, City Market plays host to many events on the holiday calendar and you can even renew your vows there on Valentine’s Day!
Old Town Trolley is a convenient way to explore River Street while maximizing your vacation time. Experience the serene atmosphere of Savannah while visiting one of the many art galleries or dining along the riverfront. With stops throughout Savannah, you can hop on and off at the sites you want to visit and learn about the rest during our fully narrated 90 minute historic sightseeing tour. Find the lowest price and money-saving packages by purchasing tickets direct through our website.