Are you planning to visit Savannah in December? In my (slightly biased) opinion, this Georgia city is one of the best places to experience the type of picture-perfect Hallmark holiday so many people crave.

After all — Savannah is nothing if not sickeningly picturesque!

Read on for some of the best events and things to do in Savannah in December, or check out the top annual events in Savannah if you’re visiting during a different time of year.

Pinnable graphic showing a photo of the interior of Cathedral St. John, one of an open door leading into a home decorated for Christmas, and a photo of Santa checking his list. Text overlay reads "Savannah Georgia in December: Events and Things To Do"

Note: This guide contains affiliate links to my trusted travel partners.

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.

You might also be interested in:
🎄 Christmas in Savannah: Get the Scoop From a Local!
➡️ A Local’s Guide to the Best Things To Do in Savannah

December in Savannah GA

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to be out enjoying the holiday festivities while you’re all bundled up in a parka — but it is nice to feel a bit of chill in the air.

Our mild winters are one of the big reasons why I love Savannah so much this time of year! During December, expect daytime highs around 65° F and evening lows around 45° F.

You can usually get away with wearing light layers during the day, and then it will be cold enough to appreciate a yummy cup of hot cocoa at night.

However, because Savannah is a fickle beast, sometimes the weather in December is so warm that you can wear shorts and a t-shirt! I always suggest checking your weather app a few days before your trip to get a solid idea of what to pack.

Make note that River Street sits at a lower elevation than the rest of the city and sometimes has a steady breeze blowing in off the water, so the riverfront often feels a few degrees colder.

Related Reading: Savannah Weather by Month

Savannah Christmas Events

I’ve arranged these events by date instead of by type, so you can at a glance which ones coincide with the dates of your vacation.

A few Savannah Christmas events start in November, so I’m including those here, as well!

Holiday Lights & Sights Trolley Tour

Location: Historic District
Date: November 24 – December 24, 2023
Time: Multiple daily start times, beginning at 6 p.m.
Cost: Approximately $35 – $40
Learn More

If you want to explore the Historic District to see the Christmas lights at night but you’re nervous about wandering around an unfamiliar city after dark, the holiday trolley makes a great option!

The trolley runs multiple nightly routes and takes place from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

It includes caroling, and riders are encouraged to sing along. (If I’m remembering correctly, I believe they string Christmas lights inside the trolley, too!)

The trolley winds through the Historic District and stops in City Market, where you’ll be able to shop and have pictures taken with Father Christmas.

While you’re there, you’ll be able to visit American Prohibition Museum to see how the holidays were celebrated in Savannah in the 1920s. Non-alcoholic punch will be served in the museum’s speakeasy, but you’ll also be able to purchase authentic winter cocktails.

The stop includes restrooms, and — as long as you’re able to climb up two or three steps to enter the trolley — this is a very mobility-friendly option. Book tickets here. (You can purchase them beginning in early November.)

Related Reading: Which Savannah Trolley Tour is Best?

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Location: Historic District | River Street
Address: 201 Port Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: Saturday, November 25, 2023
Time: 7 – 9 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Learn More

Here in Savannah, our annual Christmas parade falls a bit on the unique side!

Residents decorate their boats with festive lights and jolly holiday characters, and then the boats float down the river for all to enjoy.

Led by the Georgia Queen Riverboat, the parade begins at the Eastern Wharf Dock and then continues down the river before ending back at Eastern Wharf.

You can watch the parade from anywhere along River Street. It’s a popular event, but there’s plenty of room along the riverfront for everyone to have a clear view.

You do, however, need to arrive early to get a good parking spot. If you’re walking, simply show up 15 minutes or so before the event begins.

The Thompson Savannah is sponsoring the event in 2023, and their waterfront park makes an ideal viewing area.

Related Reading: 11 Photos That Will Make You Fall in Love with River Street

Savannah Christmas Market

Location: Plant Riverside District
Address: 400 W River Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: November 15, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Time: Varies
Cost: Most events are free
Learn More

During December, the Plant Riverside District transforms into a European-style Christmas market. You’ll find local vendors on hand with unique holiday gifts, plus specialty food and beverages.

The market begins mid-month in November and runs through the New Year. It includes live performances, children’s activities, and more.

It’s a family-friendly event filled with fun activities like photos with Santa and cookie decorating days. Since Santa has such a busy schedule, I suggest checking first to confirm when he’ll be on site.

Related Reading: Savannah Christmas Market: Get the Scoop From a Local

Holiday Nights in City Market

Location: Historic District | City Market
Address: Intersection of Jefferson Street and W Saint Julian Street
Date: November 24 – December 24, 2023
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Cost: Free
Learn More

Wander through City Market’s 2-block outdoor courtyard and enjoy listening to holiday music while you do a little Christmas shopping.

The stores stay open late and many offer treats to help sustain you while you shop.

I suggest stopping in Byrd Cookie Co. to purchase cookies for Santa, and then go by Savannah Candy Kitchen to stock up on fresh pralines and nuts to fill the stockings!

Father Christmas will be there to snap photos with the kiddos (and the young-at-heart).

Related Reading: City Market Savannah: What to See and What to Skip!

December Night & Holiday Lights at the Botanical Gardens

Location: Outskirts of Savannah | Coastal Botanical Gardens
Address: 2 Canebrake Road, Savannah, Georgia 31419
Date: November 24 – December 24, 2023 (Select days)
Time: 6 – 7 p.m.
Cost: $15 (Children under 3 free)
Learn More

The Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens puts on a spectacular holiday lights display every December, and it’s a fun event for all ages.

Families can wander along nearly five acres of holiday scenery and woodland wonders, and then check out the life-sized Advent calendar.

There will also be nightly visits from Santa, s’mores stations, and a hot beverage center that includes hot chocolate, cocoa, and coffee.

It’s a walking event, so you can fit in some exercise while enjoying the scenery!

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Location: Historic District
Address: Intersection of Bull and Broughton streets
Date: December 3, 10, and 17 (Saturdays)
Time: Afternoon and early evenings
Cost: Free

If you want to take a break from your holiday shopping along Broughton Street to check out the city’s official Christmas tree, you can do so at the intersection of Broughton and Bull streets.

Expect to find free entertainment from local dance groups, choirs, and storytellers every Saturday in December.

Totally Made-Up Holiday Movie

Location: Starland District | Front Porch Improv
Address: 210 W Victory Drive, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Dates: November 24 – December 22, 2023 (Select weekend dates)
Time: 8 p.m.
Cost: Varies from $8 – $25
Learn More

Seriously, y’all … what could be more fun than actors creating a live holiday movie that is actually made up on the spot from audience suggestions?!

It sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what Front Porch Improv does during every gig. You’re guaranteed to see a unique live-action show at each performance, and nothing is off limits — which adds to the humor.

The folks at Front Porch Improv are fantastic, so I highly recommend this one for anyone in need of a laugh this holiday season.

Make note that the show is recommended for ages 16 and up.

Related Reading: 11 Quirky and Fun Things To Do in Savannah Georgia

A Christmas Tradition at the Savannah Theatre

Location: Historic District | Historic Savannah Theatre
Address: 222 Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: December 1 – 24, 2023 (Excluding Mondays)
Time: 3 p.m, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Cost: Approximately $50 for adults and $25 for children
Learn More

What could be more festive during December than a glitzy 2-hour live performance set inside one of Savannah’s most beautiful theaters?

The Historic Savannah Theatre was built in 1818, and the building’s stunning architectural details are worth the price of admission alone.

Add in top-notch performers, lively music, and plenty of positive energy, and you know you’re in for a good time! The show includes an entertaining Rockettes-style performance by Santa and his reindeer.

This year marks 20+ consecutive “A Christmas Tradition” shows held at the Savannah Theatre, so that’s definitely something to celebrate.

(Visiting Savannah during November? Check out “Elf the Musical” instead. It’s just as entertaining! If you prefer to get spooked, they also offer a 3-hour paranormal investigation of the theatre.)

Related Reading: The Top Ghost Tours in Savannah, According to a Local

Handel’s Messiah Concert at the Cathedral

Location: Historic District | Cathedral St. John
Address: 222 East Harris Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: December 1, 2023
Time: 7:30 – 9 p.m.
Cost: TBD
Learn More

Handel’s Messiah is performed by the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus, and it’s held inside the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

This popular annual tradition is a favorite amongst locals, so tickets sell out quickly. Each year it features a new guest conductor and a variety of talented soloists.

Related Reading: 9 Must-See Spots in Savannah for First-Time Visitors

City Market Christmas for Kids Celebration

Location: Historic District | City Market
Address: Intersection of Jefferson Street and W Saint Julian Street
Date: December 6, 2023 – confirmed
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Does your child love The Grinch? Bring them to the City Market Kids Celebration where they can get “Grinched” and enjoy a sing-along to “How the Dancing Grinch Stole Christmas.”

They can finish off the afternoon by making ornaments and decorating seasonal cookies.

Savannah DNA Holiday Tour of Homes

Location: Historic District
Date: December 9, 2023 – confirmed
Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. or 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Sold Out for 2023
Learn More

The annual Holiday Tour of Homes is one of my favorite seasonal events in Savannah! I make sure to purchase my tickets each year as soon as they go on sale in early September.

This tour is one of the only opportunities to go inside some of the most stately homes in the Historic District while they’re all decked out in their holiday best. You’ll also get to visit a few historic inns and B&Bs during the tour.

If you purchase tickets, expect to make a day of it. You’ll be on the move throughout the entire event, so you’ll get plenty of steps in. There’s quite a bit to see, so I suggest eating a hearty breakfast before you go.

Proceeds from the event support a variety of local charities hand-selected by the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA). You can feel good knowing you’ll be giving back to the community by enjoying these beautiful homes.

Related Reading: A Local’s Guide to the Best Breakfast in the Historic District

158th Annual Winter Muster at Fort McAllister

Location: Outskirts of Savannah | Fort McAllister State Park
Address: 3494 Fort McAllister Road, Richmond Hill, Georgia 31324
Date: December 8- 9, 2023 – confirmed
Time: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $15 – $20
Learn More

On December 13, 1864, General Sherman and his troops launched an attack on Fort McAllister, and you can experience what it was like for the soldiers stationed at the fort via demonstrations by re-enactors.

You’ll be able to tour soldier encampments, watch blacksmithing demonstrations, and see how the Confederates prepared for the impending battle.

12 Bars of Christmas Annual 5k Bar Crawl

Location: Historic District | Factors Walk
Address: 306 Upper Factors Walk, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: December 09, 2023 – confirmed
Time: 4 – 8 p.m.
Cost: $30 (Look for early-bird discounts)
Learn More

Savannah just wouldn’t be Savannah without a drunken holiday bar crawl through the entertainment district!

In case you didn’t know, much of Savannah’s Historic District is an open container zone. That means you can walk around with an alcoholic drink without getting in trouble. (Although you do have to abide by certain stipulations regarding cup size and material.)

The crawl begins at Stafford House on Upper Factors Walk. That’s where you’ll pick up a scorecard and map of participating bars before heading out to explore each of the 12 destinations at your own pace.

Each location will offer drink specials for participants only, and bartenders will stamp your scorecard to prove you completed the 5k. Once you’ve finished, head straight to the afterparty to take photos with Santa and hang out with other participants.

Related Reading: 21 Photos That’ll Make You Want to Visit Factors Walk

Christmas at the Cathedral Concert

Location: Historic District | Cathedral St. John
Address: 222 E Harris Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: December 18, 2023
Time: 5 p.m
Cost: Sold Out
Learn More

This popular event features the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Brass as they present their annual holiday music program.

Christmas at the Cathedral mixes scripture readings with choral music, and the audience is encouraged to sing traditional seasonal carols along with the choir.

Sometimes the handbell ensemble joins in, too!

The Cathedral is stunning year round, but it’s at its best during the holiday season when the crèche scene is on display and thousands of red poinsettias fill the sanctuary.

Davenport House Yuletide Tours

Location: Historic District | Davenport House
Address: 323 E. Broughton Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: December 8 – 9, 2023 – confirmed
Time: 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $35
Learn More

This is another December event in Savannah that’s worth doing for its historical aspect. Guests can “go back in time” to experience what Christmas would’ve been like for an affluent Savannah family during the mid-1800s.

The Davenport House looks beautiful when lit by candlelight, and the interpreters do a good job of bringing the home’s history to life. A few of the cast members even encourage audience participation, which can be entertaining.

Light refreshments and music round out the experience. Tickets are available in advance or at the door for a slightly higher fee (if the event isn’t sold out). As noted above, you can also see this event when you purchase a ticket for the holiday trolley tour.

Christmas Eve Riverboat Cruise

Location: Historic District | River Street
Address: 9 E River Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Date: December 24, 2023
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies
Learn More

If you have trouble finding an open restaurant on Christmas Eve, try scheduling a lunch or dinner cruise aboard the Georgia Queen steamboat. Both options offer an elaborate buffet and live entertainment.

After filling up on Southern-style food, you can head to the top deck to take photos of Savannah’s historic skyline.

Although the riverfront is pretty during the day, I personally prefer the nighttime cruise best (I enjoy seeing the lights of all the buildings reflecting off the water). If you’re interested in actually seeing the architectural styles of the buildings along the waterfront, you’ll want to pick the daytime tour.

The lunch cruise lasts for 1.5 hours and the dinner cruise sets sail for 2 full hours.

If you won’t be visiting on Christmas Eve, you can still book riverboat cruises anytime during December in Savannah at this link.

Things To Do in Savannah Georgia in December

Everything listed above was seasonal, but there are plenty of other things to do in Savannah that aren’t Christmas-related.

Here are a few ideas:

I also suggest checking the event calendars for District Live, Starland Yard, and Victory North if you’re interested in live music!

Savannah Georgia December FAQs

Is December a good time to visit Savannah?

December is one of the best times to visit Savannah! The winter weather is typically mild, the Southern oaks are still green during December (the Spanish moss stays on the trees year round), there are numerous seasonal events, and Savannah’s Christmas decorations are quite picturesque.

How warm is Savannah in December?

The weather in Savannah Georgia in December is usually mild. The average high is around 65° F and the average low is around 45° F. There’s no need to pack a heavy winter coat, and snow is so rare that it only falls in significant amounts once every 5 to 10 years. It’s also rare for temperatures to fall below freezing, and sometimes it’s warm enough for t-shirts and even shorts! NOTE: In 2022, the temperatures did fall well below freezing in Savannah during Christmas week.

How do people dress in Savannah in December?

Since Savannah’s winter weather is mild, it’s best to pack light layers for a December visit. There’s no need for a heavy winter coat! Pack a mixture of jeans, booties, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts or sweaters for layering. If the weather forecast shows an unseasonable cold snap, toss gloves and a hat into your suitcase.

Does Savannah have a Christmas Market?

Yes, the Savannah Christmas Market is held in the Plant Riverside District and runs from mid-November through the New Year. It is usually closed on Christmas day so the vendors can spend time with their families.

Visiting Savannah Georgia

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’ll also gain access to a private Facebook group where you can ask questions about your trip and get advice from others who have recently visited.

Are you headed to Savannah Georgia in December? If you have questions, drop them in the comments below!

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Pinnable graphic showing a photo of the interior of Cathedral St. John, one of an open door leading into a home decorated for Christmas, and a photo of Santa checking his list. Text overlay reads "Savannah Georgia in December: Events and Things To Do" and the Savannah First-Timer's Guide logo is visible in white on a green background
A cheery green door with a wreath on it is open to show the living room of a home filled with presents and a warmly-lit Christmas tree