When first-time visitors are trying to decide where to stay in Savannah, they often have a difficult time choosing which section of the city is best. There are so many pretty areas to explore, and each one has something unique to offer!

In this guide, I’ll break down the various sections of Savannah so you can pick a place to stay in the most convenient location for your budget. I’ve included some pros and cons for each area.

Pinnable graphic with a photo of River Street and a map of Savannah. Text overlay reads Where to Stay in Savannah GA

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

If you’re new around here, first of all…welcome!

My name is Erin, and I authored the Savannah First-Timer’s Guide. It’s a helpful ebook that summarizes my best insider tips about the city.

Just so you know, I tell it like it is when it comes to Savannah! That means I share both the pretty and the gritty sides of the city.

This post may mention things like crime statistics, gangs, or homelessness, because those things exist around here and I don’t try to hide that fact.


Historic District | Victorian District | Starland District | Plant Riverside District | Midtown & Outskirts | Tybee Island

Click on any section in the contents to skip to that section quickly.

Where to Stay in Savannah

Before I do a deep dive into each section of the city, here’s a brief overview…

The most touristy areas of Savannah are River Street, Plant Riverside, Bay Street, City Market, and Broughton Street.

The southern portion of the Landmark Historic District has the most “classic Savannah” vibe. It’s extremely picturesque and charming.

The Victorian and Starland Districts are very diverse and home to many full-time residents, plus a good number of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students.

Tybee Island isn’t Savannah, nor does it look or feel anything like Savannah; it just happens to be the beach closest to Savannah.

This map of the Historic District shows some of the most recommended areas to stay in Savannah, but I’ll discuss each section below in detail.

Detailed map of the Historic District showing where to stay in Savannah. The squares are shown in green and each zone is colored in varying shades of blue.

1. Savannah Historic District

The Historic District is probably the most well-known district in Savannah.

Many of the places visitors are most familiar with are located in the Historic District, including River Street, City Market, Jones Street, and the northern half of Forsyth Park.

It’s truly the heart of the city!

The Historic District is where you’ll find beautiful brick-paved streets and Savannah’s many squares filled with iconic Southern oaks and Spanish moss.

A lush square in Savannah Georgia just after a fresh rainfall with mossy green resurrection fern covering the branches of numerous mature Southern live oaks
The Historic District is built on a grid format that contains 22 beautiful squares. Think of the squares as tiny parks where you can stop to rest on a bench and cool off in the shade!

I’m going to break the Historic District into a few zones, since the northern and southern ends are completely different from one another.

If your budget allows it, I 100% recommend staying within the Historic District.

The boundaries of the Landmark Historic District are as follows:

  • North: River Street
  • East: E Broad Street
  • South: Gwinnett Street
  • West: Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Historic District NORTH Zone: River Street

So, what makes River Street unique? A couple of things…

River Street was the original warehouse district in Savannah. It was a center for trade where ships docked and loaded up with cotton and indigo to export across the world.

The area retains much of its rustic roots — with souvenir shops, restaurants, and art galleries all still operating out of warehouses built hundreds of years ago. The history evident in this area is incredible!

While the rest of the Historic District sits high atop a bluff, River Street is the only street that sits below the bluff. It’s only a few feet above river level.

Here are a few things to consider if you choose to stay on River Street…

Pros: There are plenty of restaurants and bars, and many stay open late into the night. The container ships that pass by regularly are fun to watch! There are often talented street artists performing along the plaza. Some of the city’s prettiest sunsets can be found on River Street.

Cons: It’s one of the most touristy sections of Savannah, so it stays consistently busy and tends to get loud. The restaurants are fairly high priced and aren’t always the best Savannah has to offer. Parking is scarce and valet fees can get expensive. It’s a riverfront area, so you might see rats scurrying around near the water late at night.

Homelessness: Members of the homeless community often choose to sleep along River Street. It’s common for them to request spare change or handouts from visitors in this area.

Riverfront plaza along River Street at dusk with the Savannah River and Talmadge bridge in the distance

VERDICT: If you love watching the ships go by, seeing sunsets over the water, and want to stay in a bustling area loaded with historical significance, then River Street makes a fantastic spot.

Map showing where to stay in Savannah with the River Street portion of the Historic District shaded in dark blue
The River Street Zone is outlined in yellow.

Popular Hotels on River Street

Additionally, the Thompson Savannah is a beautiful riverfront property located in a newly developed area on the far east end of the river. It’s outside the boundaries of the Landmark Historic District, but since it doesn’t fit in any other categories, I wanted add it here.

The Plant Riverside District is another new development along River Street. It’s located on the far west end of River Street and has its own section below: Click here to skip to the Plant Riverside section.

Related Reading: 12 Pros & Cons of Staying in a Hotel on River Street

Historic District North Zone: Bay Street

Bay Street is the first street that sits high atop the bluff, 40 feet above the water.

You’d think that would mean the hotels along Bay Street would have an incredible view of the river, but that’s only true for the uppermost floors. Tree canopies and the buildings on River Street block views from the lower levels.

Here are the pros and cons of this area…

Pros: The majority of the street level retail spaces along Bay Street are filled with restaurants and bars, so you won’t have to walk far for food or drinks.

Cons: Bay Street is a high traffic zone, so you might have to deal with some street noise. You’ll also step out of your hotel onto a congested sidewalk, since there’s a lot of foot traffic in this area. Like most of the remaining zones below, you’ll have to take steep, historic steps to access River Street. There’s only one public elevator available along the entire stretch of the river. It’s located by City Hall.

Homelessness: It’s rare to find members of the homeless community sleeping along Bay Street; it’s far too busy and loud to make a great sleeping spot. Sometimes folks will sleep high up on the steps of the Customs House, but that’s about it. It’s somewhat common for people to request spare change during the daylight hours.

View from a green space looking across a street at a row of buildings with bars and restaurants at street level.

VERDICT: Stay in this section if you want to be between busy River Street and City Market and able to easily access all the restaurants and bars in both areas.

Map showing where to stay in Savannah with the Bay Street portion of the Historic District shaded in pale blue
The busy Bay Street section is outlined in yellow.

Popular Hotels on Bay Street

Historic District North Zone: City Market & Broughton Street

Another tourist hotspot in the Historic District is City Market. The market takes up a two-block radius and offer shops, restaurants, and a thriving nightlife scene.

Visit by day to check out the galleries and many talented artists, and then stick around at night for the bars and live music. W Congress Street, which borders City Market, is known as an entertainment/bar zone.

Broughton Street is considered Savannah’s “shopping street,” so it’s a great place to buy clothes, gifts, and all kinds of souvenirs to bring back home. There are plenty of restaurants located on Broughton Street, and one of my favorite hotels in Savannah is located there, too.

Here are the pros and cons…

Pros: If you like being in the center of all the action, City Market is the zone is for you. If you love shopping, Broughton Street makes a great home base!

Cons: If you stay in a home rental located above a bar or business, read the reviews carefully to ensure it’s not too loud at night. Parking is an absolute nightmare in this area. (Try the Whitaker or Bryan Street Parking Garages if you can’t find any metered spaces.)

Homelessness: It’s very common to find members of the homeless community sleeping in City Market, as well as adjacent Franklin and Ellis Squares. Franklin Square is a gathering spot during the daytime, too. Expect to be asked for a handout when you’re staying in the City Market area.

Safety: I always like to caution first-time visitors that City Market is family-friendly during the day, but the vibe changes as the night wears on. When the bars close down for the night, sometimes fighting ensues — as well as the occasional shooting. [Shootings increased in City Market in 2022, and there was a mass shooting in May of 2024 where 11 people were injured.] I admit I’m not a fan of the area and wouldn’t personally stay there myself. The Broughton Street area is generally safer than City Market.

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

Street sign designating the corner of Barnard and Broughton Streets

VERDICT: Stay in this zone if you want to be in a touristy area loaded with a very high concentration of restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

Map showing where to stay in Savannah with the northern zone of the Historic District shaded in medium shade of blue
The Historic District north zone, outlined in yellow, is most crowded and “touristy” on the west side, especially near City Market (between Franklin Square and Ellis Square).

Popular near City Market

Popular on Broughton Street

Historic District South Zone

My love for this portion of the Historic District is no secret! Some of my favorite streets are located in this zone, and I feel like it’s one of the best areas to stay if you want to experience what it was truly like to live in Savannah “back in the day”.

When most people picture the Historic District with all its beautiful squares and mansions, this is the section of the city that comes to mind.

This area has fewer businesses and more homes, and the streets are shaded with beautiful Southern live oaks. It has a much more residential feel than the areas mentioned above.

There are only a handful of hotels, but there are plenty of beautiful B&Bs.

Pros: The historic homes are beautiful. The area is fairly quiet and residential. It’s one of the safest sections of the Historic District, if not the entire downtown area. There are plenty of landmarks nearby to explore.

Cons: You’ll have a 20-minute walk to River Street from this area. The restaurants and shops aren’t as plentiful in this section as they are further north. You won’t find many parking garages this far south, so street parking is the main option.

Homelessness: There are very few members of the homeless community in this area. You might occasionally find someone sleeping on church doorstep, but that’s about it.

Jones Street, the prettiest street in America, with a wide expanse of brick pavers in the foreground and large homes and mature oaks in the background.

Related Reading: Is Jones Street Really the Prettiest Street in Savannah?

VERDICT: Stay in this zone if you want to be in a residential zone, further removed from the crowds. It’s a safe area, where you can experience the city more like a local. It’s not a party zone.

Map showing where to stay in Savannah with the southern zone of the Historic District shaded in a very pale shade of blue
The relatively quiet Historic District South Zone, outlined in yellow, has a residential feel and picturesque streets.

Popular in the Historic District SOUTH Zone

NOTE: The best way to help maintain the beautiful residential feel of this zone is by staying in a charming B&B or small inn. I do NOT recommend Airbnb or VRBO, unless the property is truly owner-occupied.

2. Savannah Victorian District

The Victorian District begins about halfway through Forsyth Park. It’s a beautiful area, although some still consider it slightly transitional.

The Victorian District’s boundaries are as follows:

  • North: Gwinnett Street
  • East: E Broad Street
  • South: Anderson Street or 31st Street (depending on the source)
  • West: Montgomery Street

There are a decent number of full-time homeowners in this area, as well as plenty of SCAD students.

Many of the homes have been converted to home rentals, so VRBOs and Airbnbs are plentiful.

Pros: If you’re a fan of Victorian architecture, you’ll enjoy strolling around this area. It’s close to a few grocery stores and to Forsyth Park. Street parking is free! Accommodation rates are slightly lower than along River Street.

Cons: You’ll have a 30-minute walk to River Street from this area. That’s fine during the day, but you should probably use the free Downtowner vehicles or take an Uber at night — especially if you’re traveling solo. There aren’t as many historic landmarks in this area as you’ll find further north.

Homelessness: There is homelessness in this area. While it’s somewhat rare to find people asking for handouts (most prefer to do that in the touristy section closer to the river), you might spot people sleeping on church steps or outside businesses that have closed for the night.

Safety: In general, this is a fairly safe area during the daytime. It can be a little sketchier late at night. Some streets are better than others; it truly just depends on the block.

Street view of a well-maintained Victorian-style home painted sage green with dark green trim and a dark green door. The home is decorated for the holidays with greenery and red ribbon and two wreaths on the front doors. There is snow on the roof, ground, and in the large oak trees towering over the home

VERDICT: I adore this area and have written an entire post about the Victorian District! The homes are stunning, and it’s easy to meet people in the park. Stay in this area if you want to feel more like a local than a tourist.

Forsyth Park

I’ve only added Forsyth Park as its own section on this post because many visitors wouldn’t know which zone to look in to find it otherwise.

The northern half of Forsyth Park is located in the Historic District and the southern half is located in the Victorian District, so read up on both sections to get a feel for the vibe around the park. Gwinnett Street is the dividing line.

Pros: Forsyth Park is beautiful! It’s a great place to go for a stroll and meet people. It’s also a fantastic area to stay in if you’re traveling with a large dog that needs plenty of room to run. Lots of locals hang out in this area. Street parking is free everywhere south of Gaston Street.

Cons: Accommodations overlooking the park are almost as pricy as accommodations overlooking the river. Traffic is fairly consistent on the two north/south streets bordering the park — Whitaker and Drayton streets. You’ll have an approximate 30-minute walk to River Street from the park. (Hop on the free DOT shuttles to get there faster.)

Homelessness: You’ll find members of the homeless community throughout the park, both during the day and at night. They tend to keep to themselves and don’t interact much with others. As the sun begins to set, many gather and sleep near the tennis courts and the area directly south of the Fragrant Garden building.

Safety: I personally don’t cut through the park late at night, so I don’t recommend that visitors do so, either. Otherwise, the area is fairly safe. Use common sense and do all the things you would normally do in an urban environment, like keeping your car locked and valuables out of sight.

Rows of hot pink azaleas in Forsyth Park with stately homes in the background

VERDICT: Stay near the park if you hope to assimilate with locals or are traveling with a dog that needs space to run around. The park is beautiful, and the homes surrounding it are, too.

Accommodations Near Forsyth Park

  • Hotel Bardo (formerly The Mansion on Forsyth) | Overlooks the park and has a pool!
  • Forsyth Park Inn | Beautiful porch overlooking the park
  • The Gastonian | This historic B&B is a classic choice very close to the park
  • Azalea Inn | Cheerful B&B with a pool, very close to the park
  • Justine Inn | Refined French Renaissance-style townhome very close to the park
  • Catherine Ward House Inn | Elegant Victorian B&B only one block from the park

3. The Starland District

I have quite a fondness for the Starland District, since it’s the area of Savannah I call home. Southern Living seems to think it’s pretty great, too! They named Thomas Square (aka: Starland) as the #1 Neighborhood in the South in 2020.

This area is quirky and fun. I like it think it’s one of the most diverse areas in a city that’s already known for its diversity. It’s home to SCAD students, professionals, and many long-time residents who have lived in Savannah for 30+ years.

Some consider it a transitional area or claim it’s undergoing gentrification. I won’t argue that point — except to say I think it has pretty much reached the tail end of gentrification.

The borders of Starland aren’t always clearly defined, but here’s a rough guideline:

  • North: 31st Street
  • East: Maybe Price St? Perhaps E Broad?
  • South: Victory Drive
  • West: Maybe Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd?

Pros: There are fantastic restaurants and eclectic shops in the area. It’s a hub for the arts community, so you’ll find unique murals, art studios, and galleries. There’s good nightlife, too! Street parking is currently free throughout Starland. The area is residential, with only small pockets of overly-touristy sections along the Bull Street corridor.

Cons: There aren’t any hotels in this section of Savannah, but you’ll find somewhat reasonably-priced room rentals inside historic homes. It takes approximately 40 minutes to walk to River Street.

Homelessness: It’s common to find members of the homeless community in Starland, especially near the mission on Bull Street and around the Bull Street Library. Gang signs are more evident here than they are further in the Historic District.

Safety: Safety varies on a block-by-block basis, much like the Victorian District. It’s not uncommon to have a beautiful half-million-dollar home next to an abandoned building. I live on the west side of the Starland District, and I can promise you the west side “dirty thirties” are aptly named. Avoid Wells Park at night. Ladies, never walk alone on Jefferson Street late at night.

Side view of a large 2-story home with rainbow stripes painted down the entire length of the building

VERDICT: Stay in this area if you want to feel like a local in a fun and artsy zone. It’s very LGBTQ-friendly (all of Savannah is), and the accommodations are sometimes more affordable than the Historic District. Be very cautious at night the further west you stay.

Starland District Rentals

4. Plant Riverside District

The Plant Riverside District is a somewhat newly developed section along the far west end of River Street. It’s generally considered its own “district” and separate from the rest of River Street.

The majority of the businesses in the area opened in 2020 and 2021.

Like River Street, Plant Riverside sits below the bluff and has excellent river views.

The district’s anchor business is the JW Marriott Plant Riverside, which is housed inside a former power plant from 1912.

The hotel’s lobby contains rare gemstones, fossils, and a plethora of unique art. It looks a lot like a museum.

If you like Vegas, the Plant Riverside District is about as close to that atmosphere as you’ll get in Savannah. It’s a very touristy area that stays consistently busy.

The folks at Plant Riverside host numerous events to draw people to the area.

Pros: It has great views of the river! There are new restaurants, shops, and bars all within a short walking distance of the hotel. It even has a Starbucks.

Cons: It’s expensive, and there’s not a lot of parking along the riverfront. The hotel added a parking garage in 2021, which you can learn more here: Everything You Need to Know About Parking in Savannah.

Homelessness: Security guards patrol the area, so you won’t typically find members of the homeless community sleeping in this section of the riverfront. In fact, nearly every time I’ve walked around the Plant Riverside District, I’ve seen security guards.

Safety: Plant Riverside is probably one of the safer areas along the riverfront, if I had to venture a guess. (It sits on private property, so it’s difficult to know the statistics for sure.) Be careful late at night if you leave the district, since some of the surrounding areas don’t have as much security.

Interior of Plant Riverside lobby with a chrome dinosaur hanging from a 3-story high ceiling

VERDICT: Stay here if you’re not on a tight budget and want to be in an area marketed as the “riverfront entertainment destination”. (Think Savannah with a hefty dose of Vegas thrown in, as you can see by the photo of the JW Marriott’s lobby, above.)

Hotels in the Plant Riverside District

5. Midtown & Outskirts of Savannah

I don’t know how to describe Midtown other than to call it a typical suburban zone. It consists of a few beautiful neighborhoods, such as Ardsley Park, but it’s also full of busy streets and retail centers anchored by chain stores like Walgreens, Auto Zone, and UPS.

The neighborhoods are primarily filled with residents who live in Savannah full-time, so there aren’t as many VRBOs and Airbnbs as there are in the Historic District. In many areas south of Victory Drive it’s actually against city ordinance to run a short-term vacation rental.

Most visitors who stay in Midtown end up staying at one of the many hotels located on Abercorn Street. There are plenty of options! None are historic; they’re just modern-day, mid-range hotels.

Pros: Hotels in Midtown are cheaper than in the Historic District. Grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations are plentiful. Parking is free. There’s no shortage of chain restaurants and fast food joints.

Cons: You’ll want a car to get around if you opt to stay any further south than Victory Drive. If you don’t have a car, be sure to factor in the cost of Uber or Lyft to get to the Historic District.

Homelessness: You might see individuals panhandling along the side of the road, especially near Abercorn and DeRenne.

Safety: I’d expect tourists to stick primarily to the Abercorn corridor while driving back and forth to the Historic District, so the biggest safety concerns would be traffic-related.

VERDICT: The main reason to stay in this area is to save money on accommodations. If you’re planning a visit to see the Historic District, then it’s better to stay in the Historic District…or at least within walking distance of it.

Midtown Savannah Hotels

6. Tybee Island

The vibe on Tybee Island is very laid back; it’s a fun beach town and makes a nice spot for family vacations. You’ll find plenty of casual restaurants and lots of souvenir shops on the island. You’ll also find a plethora of home rentals and hotels.

Tybee is an approximate 20 to 30-minute drive from the Historic District. On crowded weekends or when an event is taking place, it can sometimes take an hour and a half to get back and forth between the two.

The Back River Beach is probably the nicest area. It’s very residential, and you’ll find homes there in the multi-million dollar range. Expect to pay a hefty price for vacation rentals in that particular area.

Pros: You’ll be at the beach!

Cons: Although it’s called, “Savannah’s beach,” it’s not in Savannah, nor does it feel like Savannah. Also, dogs are NOT allowed on the beach at Tybee!! You’ll pay a steep fine for having a dog on the beach, so keep that in mind if you’re traveling with a pet.

Homelessness: I don’t know if there are homeless communities on Tybee or if there’s a lot of panhandling, since I don’t spend much time there.

Safety: Overall, Tybee is a safe little beach community. It’s fine to walk around most areas even after dark.

White cottage with a black and white lighthouse behind it and deep blue skies in the background

VERDICT: If you’re primarily a beach person and want to spend most of your vacation with your toes in the sand, then stay on Tybee.

Related Reading: When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Savannah?

Where to Stay in Savannah, Georgia

I hope this post helped to summarize the various sections of Savannah.

Just remember, as a general rule of thumb, the closer you are to the river, the more touristy the area and the more expensive the accommodations.

If you need more help planning your trip, my Savannah vacation guide will get you started with a brief overview of the city.

Finally, if you’re looking for an in-depth resource, my Savannah First-Timer’s Guide contains my top tips from this website combined into one handy downloadable ebook.

Do you have additional questions about where to stay in Savannah Georgia? As always, feel free to ask in the comments below.

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Pinnable graphic with a photo of buildings on Bay Street and a map of Savannah. Text overlay reads Where to Stay in Savannah Georgia
Pinnable graphic with a photo of azaleas in the Historic District and a map of Savannah. Text overlay reads Where to Stay in Savannah Georgia
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