If you’re wondering where to find the best Christmas lights in Savannah, I have a few ideas for you. It’s no secret how much I love this time of year! This city looks so pretty when it’s decorated in its holiday best.
I’ve included a map at the end of the post in case you want to try a self-guided tour.
If you’re new around here, first of all … allow me to extend a warm welcome!
My name is Erin, and I authored the Savannah First-Timer’s Guide. It combines my top tips from this website into one handy downloadable guide.
Savannah Georgia Christmas Lights 2023
There are multiple areas throughout the city that are known for their beautiful Christmas displays. I’m going to attempt to list as many as possible, beginning with my favorites…
The Historic District
If you want to feel like you’ve crossed into a real-life Dickens novel, try going for a stroll through the Historic District during the holiday season. I kid you not…I’ve actually stumbled upon carolers strolling from door to door with candles in-hand. It’s as heartwarming as it sounds.
The historic homes, flickering gas lanterns illuminating the cobblestone streets, and Spanish moss hanging from giant Southern live oaks all combine to create a picture-perfect scene in Savannah year-round … but the Historic District looks even more charming during the holiday season!
My favorite areas to explore are the far NE section of the Historic District and the streets directly north of Forsyth Park.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the majority of the decorations in the Historic District are very classic in nature. It’s rare to see tacky yard displays or gaudy balloons downtown. Although I did spot one giant Olaf from Frozen balloon by Forsyth Park in recent years. (Update: Olaf returned in 2023! Tell the kiddos to be on the lookout.)
Related Reading: Where to Stay in Savannah Georgia: Get the Scoop From a Local!
Note: This guide contains affiliate links to my trusted travel partners.
Savannah Historic District Christmas Tours
Want to go on a tour to see the holiday decor in the Historic District? Here are a couple options for you:
- Trolley Tour Through the Historic District w/Caroling
- Savannah Ghosts of Christmas Past Walking Tour
Both are great options, it just depends on whether you prefer to walk through the Historic District or have someone drive you around.
The trolley is a nighttime tour, so you’ll be riding around after dark while music plays in the background (feel free to sing along). It stops at the historic Davenport House where you can grab some snacks and see what Christmas was like for families back in the 1820s in Savannah. (The Davenport House has public restrooms, and my mom tells me it’s always important to point that out!)
The trolley also stops by the Christmas Market at Plant Riverside so you can explore, shop, and enjoy some hot chocolate and other toasty drinks and snack.
As much as I love Broughton Street during the holidays, I need to list this area with a caveat this year. The road has been undergoing construction for nearly two years and the area is still a bit of a mess!
Having said that…
It’s so easy to get in the holiday spirit on Broughton Street! You’ll find the city’s official Christmas tree at the intersection of Broughton and Bull Streets. It’s always adjacent to Levy’s Jewelers, and it’s smack-dab in the middle of the road. You can’t miss it.
The twinkle lights draped from one side of the street to the other look like a scene from a Hallmark movie, and the greenery and ribbons on all of the old-timey lampposts just add to the effect.
The annual holiday tree lighting is typically held at 5:30 pm on the day after Thanksgiving at the intersection of Bull and Broughton. It’s always a free event!
If you take a stroll down Broughton Street in the early evening hours as the lights begin turning on, you’ll get the full effect of the extravagant holiday window displays in stores like The Paris Market. They change their display every year, and it’s always fun to see what they’ll come up with next.
Can’t-Miss Shops on Broughton Street
Here are a few places where you can pick up Christmas gifts while supporting local businesses at the same time. The Paris Market and Nourish are two personal favorites of mine.
If you want to stay in a gorgeous historic property on Broughton Street, I highly recommend The Marshall House. It’s one of my favorite hotels in Savannah that decorate for Christmas.
Related Reading: Christmas in Savannah: It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year!
City Market | 219 W Bryan Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
The area known as City Market is an open-air market covering two blocks in the Historic District. It’s a bit of a hotspot for tourists thanks to its many restaurants, bars, and shops. There’s also a steady stream of live music.
During the holidays, it’s a festive place to see the Christmas lights. Each block has a Christmas tree in the center that’s decorated with white lights and bright red ribbons.
The shops and art studios also get into the act by decorating with greenery, wreaths, and colorful trees in the windows.
City Market hosts a Holiday Open House to celebrate Christmas in Savannah. It features more than 500 luminaria lining their courtyard. They also have carolers available to serenade guests. Santa usually makes an appearance, too!
Can’t-Miss Spots in City Market
Again, it’s great to support local businesses, so I want to list a few popular spots in the area…
- American Prohibition Museum
- Belford’s Seafood and Steaks
- Byrd Cookie Company
- Savannah Candy Kitchen
- The Bar Bar
- Vinnie Van Go-Go’s Pizza
Vinnie Van Go-Go’s and Byrd Cookie Co. are tied as my two favorite spots in City Market, and the Prohibition Museum tour is tons of fun. Be sure to check out all of the talented artists in the area, too.
Related Reading: City Market Savannah: What to See and What to Skip
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist
Cathedral St. John | 222 E Harris Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
The cathedral hosts numerous Christmas events, including their annual Christmas at the Cathedral musical program. The sanctuary is usually filled to capacity that night.
They have a beautiful and very detailed nativity scene (Crechè scene) that guests can walk through to see up close. Volunteers usually start assembling it the first week of December.
If it’s traditional Christmas decor you’re after, try exploring the squares throughout the Historic District. The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) and the folks who live in the homes surrounding each square decorate them annually with holiday greenery to celebrate the season.
The squares on the eastern side of the Historic District are usually the prettiest. I make a note beside each square below once it’s been decorated.
I’ll start updating these in late November and early December of 2023:
- Unnamed Square
- Chatham Square
- Chippewa Square
- Columbia Square
- Crawford Square
- Ellis Square
- Franklin Square
- Greene Square
- Johnson Square
- Lafayette Square
- Orleans Square
- Madison Square
- Monterey Square
- Pulaski Square
- Reynolds Square
- Telfair Square
- Troup Square
- Warren Square
- Washington Square
- Whitefield Square
- Wright Square
Troup Square is one of my personal favorites. They add beautiful red ribbons on all of the lamp posts, and they even decorate the trash cans in the square!
Make note that not all of the squares participate each year. Oglethorpe Square and Wright Square didn’t decorate in 2021, for example. All of the squares participated in 2022. We’ll see what 2023 brings!
Insider Tip: It’s ok to wander through the squares at dusk as you’re admiring the Christmas lights in Savannah, but I don’t recommend exploring them late at night unless you’re with a local who knows the area. Check my Savannah Crime Map for updated crime statistics.
The cemeteries sometimes get in on the act, too! The decorations along the gate for Colonial Park Cemetery usually go up the first week in December. Colonial Park is currently decorated.
Gaston, Taylor, and Jones Streets
I’ve written plenty about the historic homes on Jones Street, so it’s probably no surprise to learn that they’re decorated beautifully for the holidays.
If you’re in the mood for a romantic evening stroll, try walking from the Tattnall intersection all the way to E. Broad and back on Gaston, Taylor, and Jones Streets to see the pretty lights and decorations.
The 100 blocks of Jones (both east and west) have some pretty decor this year. Much of it is understated, so it won’t show up at night, but it looks pretty if you go for a stroll during the day.
Related Reading: Is Jones Street Really the Prettiest Street in Savannah?
You won’t find a Christmas tree or many holiday lights in the park, but the famous Forsyth fountain gets an annual holiday makeover with greenery and red bows.
The lamp posts surrounding the fountain get the same treatment. It’s an iconic place to take photos in Savannah, so I had to mention it!
The holiday decor is typically placed on the fountain the first week in December and stays up all month.
Insider Tip: If you take photos by the fountain, it’s courteous to get your shot and then move on to a nearby bench. That way others can take their photos without having tons of people in the background.
While you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the Armstrong-Kessler House which is just north of Forsyth Park at the intersection of Bull and Gaston. Mr. Kessler tends to go all out with his holiday decor.
Beyond the Historic District
As beautiful as Savannah’s Historic District is, some of the outlying areas are even more incredible. You’ll need a car to get to most of these.
This beautiful street is located south of the Historic District and is one you’ll probably want to drive to see. It’s a rather busy street, but many of the homes along Victory Drive are spectacular. A few of them have really elaborate holiday decor!
Victory Drive is notably different from many streets in Savannah, because it’s lined with more than 300 palm trees. The street was named to honor the many soldiers, sailors, and Marines who lost their lives in WWI.
This beautiful neighborhood is located south of Victory Drive and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the homes in Ardsley Park have larger yards than the homes in the Historic District, which are typically much closer together.
The neighborhood hosts a holiday decorating contest, which runs the two weeks surrounding Christmas. That’s the best time to see the lights on full display!
Insider Tip: Ardsley Park is bordered by Victory Drive on the north and 55th Street to the south. The east/west boundaries are Bull Street and Waters Avenue.
Isle of Hope
Bluff Drive on Isle of Hope is another location I always make a point to visit for the holidays. The road is very narrow. As a result, there’s really only room for one car at a time driving in any particular direction. You can also park near the marina and walk if it’s not too cold. (That’s what I usually do.)
The homes on Bluff Drive face the water and sit on beautiful oversized lots featuring old — and massive — Southern live oaks. I enjoy this drive any time of year, but it’s extra magical during the holiday season. As a bonus, you’ll drive right past beautiful Wormsloe Historic Site on your way there.
Isle of Hope Marina | 50 W Bluff Drive, Savannah GA, 31406
More Savannah GA Christmas Lights
This list is getting pretty far outside Savannah, so I’ll end it with a few final suggestions for those who still need more ideas — including one “all-out” option.
- The Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farms hosts a very festive holiday lights event! Get additional details on the Botanical Gardens website.
- Richmond Hill, GA, hosts an annual Christmas home decorating contest. It includes an entry “The Griswold Award” honoring the most Griswold-like holiday decor, as well as the best use of inflatables and the best animated yard.
- Head to Southbridge Boulevard off Dean Forest Road and explore the Southbridge neighborhood, which has a good number of homes decorated for the season.
Map of Savannah GA Christmas Lights
OK, that about wraps up my Savannah GA Christmas lights roundup for this year. Have fun out there! Here’s a map to help you find them all.
If you’d rather do a guided tour, I highly suggest doing one of the Hop-On/Hop-Off trolley tours! I created a one-day Savannah itinerary based on the Old Savannah Tours route, and it covers the majority of the places listed above.
It’s a fantastic tour to do in the daytime during the holiday season. As always, you can do the Holiday Trolley Tour if you prefer to see the lights at night.
Savannah Christmas Lights FAQs
A few businesses begin decorating the week of Thanksgiving, but the majority wait until the weekend following Thanksgiving. The squares are usually the last areas to get in the holiday spirit, since they’re often decorated with live greenery.
The Forsyth Park fountain is usually decorated after Thanksgiving. The greenery and ribbon are usually placed on the fountain the first weekend in December and remain up through the week of Christmas. Check back on this post in December of 2023, and I’ll update when they’re up!
Many of the restaurants attached to hotels will be serving food on Christmas Day in 2023. Try The Emporium at Perry Lane, Fleeting at Thompson Savannah, Edgars Proof & Provisions at The DeSoto, and Stone & Webster Chophouse at Plant Riverside. The Chart House, Flock to the Wok, Flying Monk, and The Vault Kitchen & Market may also be open.
A good number of restaurants and bars will be open on Christmas Eve in Savannah. Try The Olde Pink House for a classic meal, but make your reservations well in advance. The Collins Quarter will be open as well, but also requries reservations. Six Pence Pub makes a great spot for a nightcap!
Savannah Vacation Guide
If you’re planning to a trip to Savannah, here are a few additional resources I’ve created to help you out.
- Free Resources Library – When you sign up for my email list, you’ll get a checklist of “50 Things To Do On-Foot in the Historic District (No Car Necessary)” and other helpful printables.
- Savannah First-Timer’s Guide – My ebook combines my most helpful Savannah travel tips from this website in one handy downloadable guide.
When you purchase my ebook, you also get access to a private Facebook group I created where you can ask questions about your trip and get advice/see photos from others who have recently visited.
Do you have any questions for me about where to find the best Savannah GA Christmas lights? Let me know in the comments below!
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When do Christmas decorations come down?
Most businesses take their lights down the first week of the New Year.
Thank you so much…misty eyed as a Christmas freak and my bday in December:)
Drove out to 116 N Sheftall Circle on Wilmington Island yesterday. No lights. Long drive. May want to update that for others.
I’m so sorry you made the long drive and it wasn’t lit up! That was a good one that has been decorated for many years in a row, so it’s too bad they weren’t able to do it this year. Hopefully all is well with them. Thank you for the update.