If you’re wondering where to find the best Christmas lights in Savannah, I have a few ideas for you. I truly love this time of year! This city looks so beautiful 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.

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If you’re new around here, first of all…welcome! I’m Erin, and I authored the Savannah First-Timer’s Guide. It’s a helpful travel guide that contains everything you need to plan the perfect trip to Savannah. You can purchase and download it instantly right here…

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PLEASE NOTE: I currently advise against any unnecessary travel and hope you’ll stay home and stay safe. If you’re committed to traveling to Savannah, be advised that the city is under an active mask mandate and do your part to keep our residents — and yourself — safe and healthy.

Since this is a rather lengthy post, I created a handy table of contents you can click on to jump to specific sections of interest.

Savannah Georgia Christmas Lights 2020

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 such a heartwarming sight.

Pale blue historic home with dark blue shutters, candles illuminating the windows, and Christmas greenery on its wrought-iron fence
This home bordering Troup Square is decorated traditionally for the holiday season. It’s very common to find homes dressed in greenery and red bows, with candles in every window.

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!

2-story Colonial-style home decorated for the holidays as viewed from the square across the street
This is a typical Southern Christmas scene: green grass and flowers combined with Christmas decorations — and not an ounce of snow in sight!

My favorite areas to explore are the far NE section of the Historic District and the streets directly north of Forsyth Park.

View of a two-story traditional home in Savannah decorated for Christmas, seen from a distance through a square with greenery and large oaks
Two-story gray brick home with black shutters and a Victorian-style porch decorated with holiday greenery
This Historic District beauty has long been a favorite of mine. Not only because it’s pretty, but also because the sign in their window makes me laugh. It warns of a black widow spider’s nest below!

If you haven’t guessed by now, the majority of the decorations in the Historic District are very classic in nature. You won’t see tacky yard displays or gaudy balloons downtown. (Although I did spot one giant Olaf from Frozen balloon by Forsyth Park this year.)

Marquee lights of the Historic Savannah Theatre lit up at night
Although neon lights are rare in the Historic District, you’ll see them occasionally. This is the marquee sign for the Historic Savannah Theatre, which borders Chippewa Square.

Historic District Airbnbs

If you like the way the Historic District looks, I suggest booking a vacation rental next holiday season so you can experience it for yourself. Here are a few options I recommend…

If you’re ever curious to know if a vacation rental is in a good area, you’re always welcome to reach out to me via my private Facebook group about Savannah!

The good and bad areas often vary on a block-by-block basis, but I feel like I know the Historic District rather well. (I explore it daily.) Sometimes it helps to have a local’s input when you’re trying to find a rental!

Related Reading: Christmas in Savannah: It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year!

Broughton Street

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, adjacent to Levy’s Jewelers. It’s smack-dab in the middle of the road, so you can’t miss it!

A lit Christmas tree at night reflected in a wet paved city street

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.

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 at stores like The Paris Market and 24e. They change them every year, and it’s always fun to see what they’ll come up with next.

Elaborate holiday window displays of flocked Christmas trees at The Paris Market with cafe seating under a striped awning
Elaborate holiday window display of Christmas trees at The Paris Market with cafe seating under a striped awning
Elaborate holiday window display of Christmas trees at The Paris Market with cafe seating under a striped awning
Green storefront of The Paris Market in Savannah with elegant flocked Christmas trees in the window

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…

They’re all really great places to shop. Polka Dots probably has the highest number of “Savannah-themed” options, while Nourish is a personal favorite of mine.

Want to stay in a historic property on Broughton Street? I highly recommend The Marshall House.

City Market

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.

Close-up of a nutcracker guarding the entrance to Savannah Candy Kitchen
View of the Christmas lights in Savannah's City Market, as seen over the shoulder of a life-sized nutcracker
Christmas tree with white lights and red ribbons in the center of City Market in Savannah
Christmas tree in City Market in Savannah at night
City Market is a picturesque spot year-round, but it looks even more festive during the holidays.

The shops and art studios also get into the act by decorating with greenery, wreaths, and colorful trees in the windows.

City Market is hosting a Holiday Open House to celebrate Christmas in Savannah in 2020 and will have more than 500 luminaria lining the courtyard. They’ll have carolers available to serenade guests. Santa is supposed to make 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. Be sure to check out all of the talented artists in the area, too.

City Market | 219 W Bryan Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

The cathedral hosts numerous Christmas events, including their annual Christmas at the Cathedral event. It’s always a joyful spot and one I like to visit each year.

Elaborate church interior decorated with a 20-ft tall Christmas tree made of poinsettias
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist looks beautiful during the holidays, especially the trees made entirely from poinsettias.

They have a beautiful and very detailed nativity scene (Crechè scene) that guests can walk through to see up close.

The Squares

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.

Daytime shot of the white Victorian-style gazebo in Whitefield Square, draped in Christmas greenery and red ribbon
Whitefield Square looks very picturesque during the Christmas season. You’ll find similar greenery and red ribbons in nearly all of the squares.

The squares on the eastern side of the Historic District are usually the prettiest. Since 2020 is different from most years, here’s a running list of the squares that are decorated and when they added their decorations…

  • Calhoun Square – December 2, 2020
  • Chatham Square – December 5, 2020
  • Chippewa Square – December 5, 2020
  • Columbia Square – December 5, 2020
  • Crawford Square – December 5, 2020
  • Franklin Square – November 24, 2020
  • Greene Square – December 5, 2020
  • Lafayette Square – December 4, 2020
  • Orleans Square – December 5, 2020
  • Madison Square – December 4, 2020
  • Pulaski Square – December 5, 2020
  • Telfair Square – December 2, 2020
  • Troup Square – December 5, 2020
  • Warren Square – December 5, 2020
  • Washington Square – December 5, 2020
  • Whitefield Square – December 6, 2020
Black streetlamp wrapped in red ribbon with a red bow at the top and a view down a sidewalk lined with historic homes in Savannah
Black streetlamps in Troup Square lined with greenery and red Christmas ribbons and topped with red bows

Troup Square is my personal favorite this year, since they added beautiful red ribbons on all of the lamp posts. They even decorated the trash cans in the square!

Make note that not all of the squares participate. I strolled through Oglethorpe Square recently and noticed the absence of any holiday decorations. Wright Square doesn’t have any, either.

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 after dark — unless you’re with a local who knows the area.

The cemeteries sometimes get in on the act, too! The decorations along the gate for Colonial Park Cemetery went up on December 4, 2020 at 11 am.

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.

Related Reading: Stay in a Historic Home on Jones Street in Savannah

Forsyth Park

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!

Forsyth Park fountain dressed in greenery and red Christmas ribbons with sunlight illuminating the water spraying from the fountain
If you time it just right in the afternoon (around 4 – 4:30 pm during the month of December), the setting sun illuminates the spray of water from the fountain and looks magical.

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.

Savannah GA Christmas lights at the Armstrong-Kessler Mansion on Bull Street
The Armstrong-Kessler mansion is hard to miss! It’s located on Gaston Street, which has quite a few beautifully decorated homes this holiday season.

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.

Victory Drive

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.

Ardsley Park

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 from December 14 – December 28, 2020. Those two weeks are 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!)

Two-story coastal-style home with holiday decor and massive live oaks in the spacious front yard
The homes on Bluff Drive overlook Skidaway River and often look like something you’d see in the pages of Coastal Living magazine.

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.

  1. The Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farms is hosting a drive-thru Christmas light show this year to keep things Covid-safe. Get additional details on the Botanical Gardens website.
  2. Richmond Hill, GA, hosts an annual Christmas home decorating contest. It includes an entry for the most “The Griswold Award” (honoring the most Griswold-like holiday decor), as well as the best use of inflatables and the best animated yard.
  3. Head to Southbridge Boulevard off Dean Forest Road and explore the Southbridge neighborhood, which has a good number of homes decorated for the season.
  4. Finally, if you want to see some of the craziest and most “all-out” Christmas lights in the entire Savannah area, head to 116 N Sheftall Circle on Wilmington Island for a display that puts Clark Griswold’s to shame. (You might need to bring sunglasses!)

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..

FAQs

When do Christmas lights go up in Savannah GA?

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.

When is the Forsyth Park fountain decorated for Christmas?

The greenery and ribbon were placed on the fountain on Sunday, December 6, 2020 and will remain through Christmas week.The Forsyth Park fountain illuminated by sunlight with greenery and red Christmas bows decorating the lamp posts

What restaurants are open Christmas Day in Savannah 2020?

Many of the restaurants attached to hotels will be serving food on Christmas Day in 2020. Try The Emporium at Perry Lane, the 17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant, 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 will all also be open. (Flying Monk or Flock to the Wok get my vote!)Flock to the Wok storefront in Savannah GA with a man standing in the entryway wearing a mask for Covid health reasons.

What’s open Christmas Eve in Savannah 2020?

A good number of restaurants and bars will be open on Christmas Eve. I suggest The Olde Pink House for a classic meal — just be sure to make reservations well in advance. Six Pence Pub makes a great spot for a nightcap!Six Pence Pub storefront in Savannah Georgia with a magnolia tree growing out of the historic brick sidewalk and a bright red phone booth to the right of the door

Savannah Vacation Guide

If you’re planning a future trip to Savannah and found this post helpful, I’ve created some additional resources…

Don’t forget to grab a copy of my Savannah First-Timer’s Guide. It includes all of my best insider tips and must-see places in Savannah!

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Do you have any questions for me about where to find the best Savannah GA Christmas lights? Let me know in the comments below!