Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Savannah, GA

  • Published 2022/11/29

Savannah is a charming city in Chatham County, Georgia.

Founded in 1733, the city of Savannah is also the oldest in the state.

With its extensive and colorful history, it is no surprise that this city has become a center for historical preservation and research.

While many tourists flock to Savannah to sample its culture and history, hundreds of people visit it because it’s embedded in popular culture.

Many sites within the city have become locations for various classic films, including Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Forrest Gump.

This captivating city is so attractive that it continues to be the topic of literary works and the location of film shootings.

Whether you are a film buff or a typical vacationer who wants to experience new things, visiting Savannah is a must!

There’s no need to bring out your wallet because here are the free things to do in Savannah, Georgia.

Take Snaps at the Iconic Fountain in Forsyth Park

Scenic view of the Iconic Fountain in Forsyth Park

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Bring your significant other or your loved ones and snap a picture by the gorgeous fountain in the heart of Forsyth Park.

Forsyth Park is a gorgeous park on Gaston Street that spans 30 acres and features a wide range of amenities perfect for all guests!

This is also where you can find the iconic fountain, supposedly one of the most photographed locations in the whole city!

This legendary fountain was set up in 1858 and was inspired by the majestic fountains in the Place de la Concorde.

Details of the Iconic Fountain in Forsyth Park

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It’s said that the romantic vibes that this fountain brings have prompted many marriage proposals within the park.

Take a trip to Forsyth Park and behold this elegant fountain right before you!

Bring your cameras so you can take numerous selfies and pictures.

There are also playgrounds around the park where your kids can play and have fun while you enjoy snapping pictures and immersing yourself in the romantic atmosphere of the park.

Sculptures on the Iconic Fountain in Forsyth Park

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Relive an Iconic Film Scene at Chippewa Square

Daytime view of Chippewa Square

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Explore an open outdoor space right in the city’s center when you visit Chippewa Square!

Chippewa Square is the most popular of all of the squares around Savannah for numerous reasons.

This square is filled with historic buildings, grand architecture, and cafes beloved in the community, all accessible and visible from the area.

Another reason many people stop by this square is to try and spot the area where they shot most of Forrest Gump.

About 80% of this critically-acclaimed movie featured Forrest, played by Tom Hanks, sitting on a bench in Chippewa Square.

Even though they donated the original bench to the Savannah History Museum, you can still see the exact spot where it was on the northern side of the square, facing Bull Street.

Bring your box of chocolates as you take numerous pictures at Chippewa Square!

Visit the Final Resting Place of the Girls Scouts Founder at Laurel Grove North Cemetery

Entrance to the Laurel Grove North Cemetery

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pay your respects to the founder of the Girls Scouts of America by visiting her final resting place at Laurel Grove North Cemetery.

Located on Anderson Street, Laurel Grove North Cemetery gets its name from the oak trees that grew in the area before it was established.

This 67-acre cemetery is one of the most popular destinations in Savannah as it features numerous graves and tombstones of various famous people.

Headstones at Laurel Grove North Cemetery

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here, you can roam and find the final resting place of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girls Scouts of the USA.

Exploring the cemetery, you will find the graves of other notable individuals like James Pierpont, who composed Jingle Bells.

You can also check out the final resting place of more than 1500 Confederate soldiers and the small burial dedicated to Jewish graves.

The grounds of Laurel Grove North Cemetery

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Peaceful Walk around Oglethorpe Square

Welcome sign of Oglethorpe Square

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Have a break from your busy daily routine and unwind with a relaxing walk around Oglethorpe Square.

Oglethorpe Square is an open outdoor area on Abercorn Street, established in 1742.

Before it was renamed as an homage to the city’s founder, James Oglethorpe, this square was called Upper New Square.

While there aren’t any monuments around the square, many people still visit this destination to relax and spend a day outdoors without going too far away from the city.

Walk on the paved pathways and check out all the towering trees that fill the park.

You could also sit on the benches at Oglethorpe Square and take a quick snack if you are hungry.

Enter Paradise at Savannah Botanical Gardens

Enjoy the stunning flowers and luscious foliage all over Savannah Botanical Gardens!

Nestled on Eisenhower Drive, this destination is a popular attraction that features different gardens exhibiting various plants.

From the Vegetable Garden to the Spring Garden, you can roam around and see all the different flowering plants here.

Walk down the paved paths that will take you all around the beautiful garden areas and admire the breathtaking sights of the trees and plants.

Bring your cameras as well because you’ll want to take pictures of the gorgeous flowers you’ll encounter as you walk around the gardens!

Strike a Pose with the Waving Girl Statue

Daytime view of the Waving Girl Statue

Carrie A Hanrahan /

Strike a pose and snap pictures with one of the most iconic sculptures in the city, the Waving Girl Statue.

The Waving Girl Statue is a nine-foot bronze sculpture depicting a young girl waving a handkerchief with both her hands and a dog beside her.

This statue is a tribute to a woman named Florence Martus, a local from the city well-known in the maritime industry.

People say Florence Martus greeted ships that entered the city by eagerly waving a handkerchief at the boats in hopes of finding her lost lover from 1887 until 1931.

Close view of the Waving Girl Statue

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Today, you can find this statue on River Street and take pictures.

Enjoy the riverfront view near the statue as you pose and snap photos with this beloved sculpture.

You can also learn more about her story by reading the plaque next to the Waving Girl Statue.

Name of the Waving Girl Statue

meunierd /

Roam the Savannah Historic District

Walk down the cobblestone streets and admire the various historical buildings in the Savannah Historic District.

You can access the Savannah Historic District through Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; it features many shops, restaurants, and other entertainment centers.

It also houses numerous stunning gardens and parks you can explore with your loved ones.

This destination is the country’s biggest National Historic Landmark District, making it the best destination for traveling to different sites.

Admire the stunning architecture of the historic structures in this district.

Roam the streets and see museums, monuments, mansions, and even churches that have stood for many years.

Check out sites in the district where momentous events in history happened, such as the Civil War.

Bring your cameras since you will want to document your adventures around the Savannah Historic District!

See the Oldest Burial Grounds in the City at Colonial Park Cemetery

Entrance to the Colonial Park Cemetery

William Silver /

If you want to learn more about the history of Savannah, then set aside some time to visit Colonial Park Cemetery.

This cemetery on Abercorn Street is one of the oldest burial grounds in the city, established in 1750.

Colonial Park Cemetery has served as the city’s main burial site for over a century, which is why it features more than 9,000 graves.

Before becoming Colonial Park Cemetery, this cemetery has gone through a few names, including Old Cemetery, Christ Church Cemetery, and even Old Brick Graveyard.

Headstones at Colonial Park Cemetery

travelview /

Roam around this cemetery and see all the old historical monuments.

You can even try to find the final resting place of Button Gwinnett, one of the first individuals who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Some of the other areas in this cemetery that reflect significant historical moments are the mass grave that holds around 700 people who died of yellow fever in 1820.

Pay respects to those laid to rest in this cemetery while also getting a glimpse of history in the city!

Headstones on a wall at Colonial Park Cemetery

DnDavis /

Behold the Towering Steeple of the Independent Presbyterian Church

Exterior of the Independent Presbyterian Church

Bertl123 /

When you head to the Independent Presbyterian Church, look at the majestic and stunning steeple.

The Scotsmen brought the Independent Presbyterian Church to the area in 1733 and established the church in 1755.

It was initially named the Presbyterian Church and is the mother of Presbyterianism in the state.

Located on Bull Street, this church is a popular tourist destination because of its iconic steeple, which it uses as a logo on its website.

Admire its towering steeple and majestic overall facade!

Facade of the Independent Presbyterian Church

Terry W Ryder /

You can take pictures of the gorgeous architecture on its front, including marble columns reminiscent of ancient Greek structures.

Another thing that makes this church iconic is that it also appeared in Forrest Gump.

The church’s tall steeple appeared in the film.

Stop by this church and marvel at another famous landmark in the city!

Clock tower of the Independent Presbyterian Church

LouieLea /

Enjoy Scenic River Views at John P. Rousakis Riverfront Plaza

Go on a date or hang out with your close friends as you ponder the picturesque sight of the river at John P. Rousakis Riverfront Plaza.

Located on River Street, the John P. Rousakis Riverfront Plaza is famous among those who want to relax and watch the river.

This is the perfect spot to go if you feel a bit cooped up and want fresh air!

Bring your loved ones with you and enjoy catching up while observing the boats that pass by and listening to the gentle crashing of the water!

You can stroll around, sit by the ledges near the waters, or relax on the benches under the shady trees.

Climb aboard the Savannah Belles Ferry

Dock of the Savannah Belles Ferry

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There is no better way to get a good view of the city than from the water, and you can do that by taking a ride on the Savannah Belles Ferry!

This ferry system offers visitors and locals in the city to experience a unique mode of transportation while getting a fresh perspective of Savannah.

Ride the ferry for free and sail through the Savannah River as you take in the beautiful sight of the water.

A Savannah Belles Ferry cruising the water

EQRoy /

You’ll also sail by Hutchinson Island and see the Westin Savannah Harbor Gold Resort & Spa and the city’s convention center.

Take note of the ferry’s schedule on their website so you can explore the city without wasting time.

Bring your family and friends and tour the city on the water with the Savannah Belles Ferry!

Interior of a Savannah Belles Ferry

EQRoy /

Explore Flannery O’Connor’s Childhood Home

Exterior of Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home

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See the house where one of America’s greatest writers grew up at Flannery O’Connor’s Childhood Home.

Located right on Charlton Street, the Flannery O’Connor Home saw the formative years of the great writer.

Flannery O’Connor is one of the country’s best and most popular female writers from the South.

She was born in Savannah and lived in this home, which they restored to its Depression-era appearance, and now stands as a museum.

Check out this home and read more about it and Flannery O’Connor on the plaque right outside the property!

You could also visit on a Sunday to join a free lecture held inside this home.

Feast Your Eyes on the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

Aerial view of the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

Djaustin88 /

If you’re an architecture buff, you must visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

This church on Harris Street stands out among the other Roman Catholic churches in the area because of its magnificent French Gothic architectural style.

The church presents its glorious, towering steeple, which features dark green spires!

Step inside the church and see the grand structure of its ceiling, filled with arched lines that add to its luxurious aesthetic.

Facade of the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

Joseph Creamer /

You’ll also be amazed by this church’s altar, which features a miniature religious structure that resembles the architecture of the whole church.

There are also stained-glass window designs that adorn the top section of the altar.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is a must-visit if you are a devout Catholic or an architecture enthusiast.

Interior of the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

Dsdugan, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Snap Numerous Selfies around Monterey Square

A monument at Monterey Square

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Monterey Square is one of the many must-visit spots in Savannah for numerous reasons!

This square on Gordon Street boasts beautiful landscaping, stunning architecture, and Instagram-worthy spots.

Established in 1847 as a dedication to the Battle of Monterey in 1846 during the Mexican-American War, many different historic sites and properties surround this square.

Near the square is a place called Mickve Israel Temple.

This property boasts a Gothic Revival architectural style and houses one of the oldest Reform Judaism congregations in the county.

You could see the intriguing Mercer-Williams House from another corner of the square.

Daytime view of Monterey Square

James Andrews1 /

The gorgeous Owens-Thomas House dominates one side of the square, while the other has the impressive Mercer House.

The focal point of this square is the monument installed in the middle, which commemorates General Casimir Pulaski.

Stop by this square and take pictures of all the historical sites around!

You could also go for a walk and relax while enjoying the foliage’s tranquil views.

A wooden bench at Monterey Square

James Andrews1 /

Remember the Brave Heroes at the World Apart Monument

Daytime view of the World Apart Monument

Noah Densmore /

Check out the A World Apart” monument to honor the brave soldiers who fought during World War II.

This monument on River Street is also called “Cracked Earth” and is dedicated to all the veterans from Chatham County who passed during the war.

It was installed near the river since the city’s waterfront area had a significant role during the second world war.

Side view of the World Apart Monument

Noah Densmore /

It depicts a “cracked earth,” representing the divide between the Pacific and Europe during the war.

You can walk between the two cracked sculptures and read the names of the veterans killed during the war.

Pay your respects to the brave heroes who fought for the nation, and visit A World Apart near River Street.

Final Thoughts

Savannah is full of beautiful architecture, fascinating history, and lovely parks.

This is a city that will not require you to break the bank so that you can have fun and maximize your visit!

Try the free things to do in Savannah, Georgia, so you can check out all the great destinations in the city without spending a dime.

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