There is a unique and magical mixture of past and present from the moment you first step foot in Savannah, Georgia.
With stunning beaches and coastline set against a backdrop of historical architecture, it’s no wonder almost 15 million people visit this quaint little southern town each year.
What is it like to live in Savannah, Georgia?
Does the same down-home feel with which the city greets its tourists resonate with new residents, or does this glittering jewel of the South lose its luster?
We will cover some of the best reasons to call Savannah, Georgia home, along with some examples that may have you turning in another direction.
25 Pros of Living in Savannah
Savannah comes with a long list of exciting activities to tackle daily.
Whether you’re looking for a rooftop bar, a stroll through the Historic District, or some of the city’s world-famous foods, here’s just a taste of what you’ll love about the Hostess City of the South.
1. The Beautiful Neighborhoods
Well-known for its beauty, the reason many people make the move to Savannah in the first place is to enjoy the lovely surroundings.
With towering trees draped in Spanish moss, a captivating view of the waterfront, and a touch of whimsy from a bygone era, it’s no wonder people fall immediately in love.
There are approximately 100 neighborhoods located within the city and surrounding areas, each with its own unique characteristics.
Some of the best neighborhoods are Ardsley Park, the Historic District, and Gordonston, which is praised for its quietness.
2. The Stunning Architecture
As the oldest city in Georgia, the location is rich in architectural history.
Founded in 1733, Savannah has seen numerous changes in building styles as each new period arose.
Georgian buildings present a solid, square façade, much like the Olde Pink House Restaurant.
Romanesque arches, domes, and even Corinthian columns still appear in facilities throughout the town, while influences of the Gothic Revival from the late 1800s remain prevalent in many churches.
3. A Love of the Arts
With so much history embedded in the town’s culture, it’s no wonder a love of the arts is deeply rooted in its soul.
In addition to being home to the famed Savannah College of Art and Design, the city hosts a number of festivals and markets that regularly sell work from local artists.
If that isn’t enough to get you excited about seeing art, several incredible museums call Savannah home.
There’s the Lucas Theater for the Arts and the Savannah Theater for performances, the trio of sites that make up the Telfair Museums, and many others.
4. Tour of Homes and Gardens
One of the biggest draws for Savannah is the annual Tour of Homes and Gardens.
It’s a time when taking an inside peek into some of the most stunning buildings and homes in Georgia is accessible to the public.
There are anywhere between 100 and 500 different exhibits, including architectural achievements, gorgeous interior design, antiquities, and of course, fantastic gardens.
In past years, the event brought in up to 20,000 visitors, both locals and tourists.
Though the city canceled the event the past two years due to the pandemic, it is slated to return for March 2022.
Tickets generally go on sale in November, and information about the event can be found on the event’s website.
5. Walkability is High
As a small town, downtown Savannah is easily one of the most walkable cities in the United States.
Navigating the many shops, gardens, and other notable areas without a car is a breeze, which is perfect for those who love to get their steps in each week.
The appeal of walking throughout the city holds such merit that there are even numerous walking tours available to better acquaint yourself with Savannah.
Tours like the breathtaking Footprints of Savannah expose historical nuggets of wisdom that are easily accessible to the public.
In contrast, others like Savannah in 10,000 Steps allow you to hit your fitness goals all in one shot.
6. Perfect for Biking
If walking isn’t your cup of tea, there are always different avenues to explore.
Savannah is an excellent place for people who love to ride their bikes, both for recreational use and for transportation around town.
The fact that Savannah is such an accessible town to get around in adds to its appeal for bicyclists.
In addition, it’s relatively flat with fantastic weather conditions, which makes it even more enjoyable for cyclists.
Plus, the city utilizes several programs and biking paths to ensure the safety of all who ride their bikes through town.
7. Free Public Transportation
Walking and biking aren’t the only free transportation to take advantage of in Savannah.
The city also uses a DOT service that allows residents and tourists alike to navigate the most popular areas in the downtown district.
Though this free transport is currently unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is expected to return and runs on most days throughout the year.
In addition to the DOT, there are paid forms of transportation.
These options include the trolley, the Chatham Area Transit, and the ferry.
8. Tourism Brings in More Jobs
Tourism means a great many things for a thriving economy.
Not only does it bring in a boatload of ideas for tours and showing off your hometown, but it also brings in a ton of jobs.
Each year, approximately 15 million people visit Savannah, adding 3.1 billion dollars in revenue for the city.
9. Low Unemployment Rate
All that tourism certainly pays off, especially when you see the unemployment rate in Savannah.
Surprisingly, even as most tourist hubs took a nosedive in their economy, Savannah stayed strong, ranking well below the national average.
At present, the United States possesses an unemployment rate of 5.8, where Savannah comes in strong at 3.9.
This low rating is terrific news for those looking to relocate and discover new job opportunities.
10. Lower Cost of Living
The first thing most people look at before moving to a new town is whether or not they can afford to live there.
Luckily, Savannah has a reasonably low cost of living, especially compared to other parts of the country.
The website Best Places ranks the livability in each city based on factors like housing costs, grocery bills, transportation, and utilities.
In almost every category, Savannah proved to be less expensive to live in compared to both the State of Georgia and the United States overall.
The cheapest class for Savannah was housing costs.
11. Low Housing Expenses
Precisely how cheap are those housing expenses anyway?
According to Best Places, the median price of a home in the United States costs around $231,200.
In Georgia, this number is slightly less expensive but still weighs in at around $186,500.
Savannah’s median home cost drops even further, leaving the median price at $131,700.
12. Tybee Island Beach
The closest beach to Savannah is Tybee Beach.
Only 18 minutes away from town, this popular destination is one you won’t want to miss.
It’s so amazing, in fact, that producers and filmmakers from all over have often used this beach to capture some incredible footage.
You may even recognize it from Baywatch (2017).
Tybee Beach is only about three square miles, so while it may seem small, it’s the perfect size for a quick trip to the shore.
13. The Blooming Flowers
A big draw from many tourists is the sea of blooms that appear every year in spring.
Tourists come from all over to witness the first azaleas and dogwoods blooming at the start of the season.
The warmer weather means that flowers appear much earlier than in other parts of the country, sometimes when other states are still experiencing the last few sprinkles of snow.
The best time of the year to visit is early in the spring, starting in March and ending in April.
14. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
The warm weather, coupled with incredible parks and gardens, means plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.
Even outside the blooming season, the views you encounter strolling through town are enough to captivate anyone.
One must-see location is Forsyth Park.
This 30-acre park consists of sprawling greens, a fragrant garden for the blind, and a spectacular fountain.
Other settings that make spending time outdoors memorable are anywhere along the riverfront and even the Bonaventure Cemetery.
15. Visit the Gorgeous Historic District
The first place to visit when you step foot in Savannah should be the Historic District.
It’s the classic view of the city and consists of a blend of culture, history, and modern conveniences.
You’ll get to see all the fantastic architecture associated with historical sites, stunning gardens, and you’ll have easy access to shops, museums, and so much more.
16. Rooftop Bars and Restaurants
Savannah is known for its fabulous nightlife, so it isn’t surprising that it comes with bars and restaurants that also host a killer view.
These rooftop dining areas showcase the glimmering lights of the city, the bridge, and a bird’s eye view of the riverfront.
Plus, on warm summer evenings, the open-air seating offers tremendously refreshing breezes.
Some places to visit are the Electric Moon Skytop Lounge, Top Deck, and many more.
17. St. Patrick’s Day Festivities
You don’t have to travel all the way to Ireland to experience a thrilling St. Patrick’s Day.
Savannah residents love a good party, and there’s no better day to celebrate than March 17.
The town festivities started in 1824 and have only grown in popularity with residents and tourists alike.
Savannah hosts the second largest celebration of the holiday in the United States—second only to NYC—so it’s kind of a big deal.
Fountains are dyed green, there’s a huge parade, and the festivities last for three days.
18. The Delicious Food
Being so close to the water combines a love of seafood with a love of delicious Southern fare.
In Savannah, there is nothing quite like the food to tickle the taste buds, and there are plenty of mouthwatering recipes to try.
One example of a place where you can find this delectable blend is at The Olde Pink House Restaurant.
The menu includes items like Shrimp and Grits, Southern Sushi, and Blue Crab Beignets.
19. Try Some Tasty Pralines
Pralines are a true Southern delicacy.
Initially brought over to New Orleans in the 1700s, they later made their way up to Georgia.
Today, they are the most notable treat to find in Savannah, and rightfully so.
Made with a succulent mix of chocolate, caramel, and pecans, this crunchy and sweet treat is perfect for a quick sugar rush.
Numerous shops sell pralines in Savannah, but River Street Sweets and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen are the most well-known.
20. Go on a Chocolate Journey
Pralines aren’t the only delicacies available to soothe that sweet tooth of yours.
Artisan chocolate lovers discover a whole new world of deliciousness when it comes to the Chocolat by Adam Turoni shops.
There are two shops located in Savannah, The Chocolate Library and The Chocolate Dining Room, with a brand-new shop that just opened in Charleston.
Both shops include carefully crafted truffles, honey-infused creations, and edible works of art.
21. Take a Ghost Tour
Whether you believe in the paranormal world of spooks and specters or not, almost everyone appreciates a good ghost story.
Savannah is home to some of the best ghostly tales in the country.
Deemed the most haunted city in America, the town is filled with eerie locations and plenty of tours that really get the blood pumping
Among these death-defying destinations is a haunted hotel known as the Marshall House, the Pirate’s House restaurant, and the Moon River Brewing Co.
22. Stroll Through Classic Movie Scenes
The city’s gorgeous setting doesn’t just attract tourists who love to take in the sights.
It also attracts movie producers looking for a killer backdrop.
There are numerous show-stopping locations featured in movies like Gemini Man, The Last Song, and even the live-action version of Lady and the Tramp.
The Mercer Williams House appeared in the movies Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and the 1989 classic, Glory.
The famous “Life is like a box of chocolates” line from Forrest Gump was delivered right there in Savannah’s Chippewa Square.
Other iconic settings from that movie include Debi’s Restaurant, the First Baptist Church that appears in the opening scene, and many more.
23. Take in a Show
Artists in Savannah don’t only take the form of crafters and painters.
Theatrical performances, musical festivals, and comedy are just a few of the events open to visitors and residents.
There are improv theaters, ballet, and even the Good Times Jazz Bar to fulfill all levels of entertainment.
The Savannah Theater also hosts several musical and live performances ranging from Paranormal Investigations to watching legends perform some of their most famous hits.
24. Enjoy a Riverboat Cruise
One of the biggest advantages of living right on the water is the opportunity to indulge in a cruise or two.
The best way to view the city, along with discovering a long-enjoyed form of recreation in the South, is through a riverboat cruise.
Just like a regular cruise, a trip on these boats takes you on an extraordinary journey down the waterway, whether you’re enjoying a sunset or a lovely afternoon.
Their distinctive design also transports you to another place and time with plenty of eye-catching spokes and gears to entertain passengers.
25. The City Market
The City Market is a primary feature in Savannah.
Not only has it survived a devastating hurricane, fires, and a Civil War since its original construction in the 1700s, it actually survived being demolished altogether.
After moving the market from its original location in the 1950s, it returned in all its glory at the start of the 21st century.
The City Market stands as one of the best places to shop.
There are delicious meals, beautifully handcrafted gifts, and even the artwork of local artists ready for purchase.
In some cases, you might even be able to watch the artists and shop owners work their magic onsite!
25 Cons of Living in Savannah
Every town has something the locals typically warn you about before moving to it.
Though the reasons to move to Savannah, Georgia are certainly enough to get us packing, there are still a few that give us pause.
1. The Weather Is Stifling
As with most places in the lower part of the United States, if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the South.
Savannah is no different, with many of the drawbacks for moving to this stunning city by the beach deriving from the warm weather.
Summers run a little long in the South and tend to reach as high as the low 90s for the majority of the time.
Lows sink to only about 70 degrees in the evening.
While the humidity does make things feel a little muggy and air conditioning is a constant necessity, it’s actually better than other parts of the country that run into the 100s for their summertime highs.
2. There Aren’t Four Seasons
If seeing the leaves change color in fall is high on your list of priorities, this isn’t the town for you.
Not only are the summers considerably warmer and more humid than those used to the climates in northern states, but the warm weather also limits the seasons in Georgia to only two: warm and hot.
Much like Florida, seasons in Savannah are instead relegated to tourist seasons, which break down the busier seasons from the more docile ones.
3. There’s No Snow
You probably saw where this was going with all the talk of warmer weather.
However, if you love those weekend trips skiing or can’t wait to bust out the sleds and snowboards as soon as a fresh layer of powder hits, you’ve come to the wrong place.
On average, Savannah sees zero inches of snow each year.
In fact, 2018 was the last time snow fell in the city, with the only other recent time being 1996.
That’s a gap of twelve years without snow!
That also means twelve years of no shoveling snow either.
4. Prepare for Hurricanes
Though not as prevalent as other parts of the country, hurricanes are still a problem to look out for when planning a move to Savannah.
In the past, only 22 hurricanes touched down in Georgia, though there have been many others that still impacted the area.
Even without a direct hit from hurricanes, there is a significant increase in winds and rain living along the coast.
This means damage from a hurricane is still possible even if it isn’t a direct hit.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a plan in place for dealing with these weather patterns.
5. You’ll Need Flood Insurance
The increase in weather complications means you may also be required to pay higher insurance rates.
Flood insurance is one such premium that may adorn your list of expenses when moving into a new home or apartment.
Though this kind of insurance is not always mandatory, if you live in a flood zone area, it’s strongly encouraged.
However, if you live in an apartment in one of these areas, the landlord may require you to add this on before moving in.
6. The Bugs
Any time you have warm weather and high humidity, it tends to attract other less than desirable things, namely bugs.
Savannah sees a heavy increase in mosquitoes and gnats as the summer months carry on, though you’ll find these pests year-round if you live near any body of water.
You may also encounter, among other things, the notoriously larger-than-life cockroaches the South is so famous for when out and about.
7. Tourism Can Get Annoying
While the tourism industry in Savannah accounts for billions of dollars in spending each year, it can be a little overwhelming for such a small town.
For the St. Patrick’s Day festival alone, the town saw approximately 500,000 tourists flock to the city.
This is no big deal for larger cities that are used to accommodating millions of people.
However, considering the population of Savannah is less than 30% of that number, you can see where a huge number of people arriving in the city all at once could wreak havoc on traffic and entertainment for locals.
8. It’s a Party City
If you expect to be in bed by 10 pm each night and don’t want to hear the upbeat sounds of music and laughter pouring in from every corner of downtown, you’re out of luck.
Because there is such a thriving nightlife in Savannah, it’s earned itself the reputation of being a bit of a party town.
If you’re not much into this lively scene, it may be a little difficult to adjust to the noise, crowds, and overall boisterousness that often goes with an active nightlife.
However, renting or owning property outside of the downtown area is one way to fix this problem.
9. The Traffic
Even though Savannah isn’t a large city, it still gets its fair share of traffic.
The biggest problems arise from trying to get in and out of the town to the outlying suburbs.
Since there are only very limited routes to take to get to and from your destination, this often results in bottlenecks during the busiest times of the day.
The good news is, it’s nowhere near as bad as that infamous Atlanta traffic.
10. Parking Downtown
As a highly walkable city, this next con may not be as bad as others.
However, the biggest concern most commuters face when traveling into town is finding available and affordable parking.
The city operates thousands of parking meters, six large surface lots, and five parking garages for use.
This may seem like quite a bit of parking, but during tourist season, you may not get a space that’s close to your intended destination.
Parking prices also reach up to $16 a day, adding up to quite a bit over several days a week.
11. Limited Transportation Out of Town
Getting around Savannah is reasonably easy.
Getting out of Savannah, not so much.
There is an international airport in town, though it is pricey to use.
In fact, the Savannah Morning News reported that the Department of Transportation named the city amongst the top ten highest-priced airports in the country.
The reason is likely due to its size.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a large airport, and the closest airport, Brunswick International, is more than 60 miles away.
12. Low Minimum Wage
The US minimum wage is $7.25, though most states have adopted a higher salary for workers in each part of the country.
The highest minimum wage goes to the District of Columbia, which pays its residents at least $15.00 an hour.
In Georgia, the minimum wage remains the lowest it can possibly be, staying at $7.25, likely in response to its lower cost of living.
Other states directly surrounding Georgia also use this low wage, with the lone exception being Florida.
13. Higher Utilities
Housing costs may rank on the lower end in Savannah, especially when compared to the rest of the country.
However, the utility costs may be enough to send you packing.
Like most towns in the South with high humidity and warm weather, it ranks slightly above the national average.
This price increase is likely due to the need to run your air conditioning almost year-round regularly.
The good news is it’s not too severe a jump, and the money you save on housing more than compensates for the cost of energy.
14. Taxes on Housing
Even though housing is significantly more affordable in Georgia than in other parts of the country, it doesn’t come without its cost.
Georgia falls in the higher half of the list for housing tax.
For a home that costs $217,500, the annual amount designated for taxes would be just over $2,000.
The percentage for this tax is 0.92%, which is still slightly below the national average of 1.1% but not by much.
15. Increase in Sales Tax
Sales tax may make or break a purchase.
Depending on what you buy, it adds a hefty sum to the overall price tag.
Savannah adds an extra 3% in city tax to the already 4% state tax for a combined total of 7% sales tax.
This isn’t an unusual sum for some cities, but it is high considering some towns in Georgia that remain at the 4% sales tax alone.
There are even cities in the United States with no sales tax at all, such as Erie, Pennsylvania, Anchorage, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon.
16. Rental Costs Are Projected to Increase
Buying a house is the better investment when it comes to paying for a roof over your head, but not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to buy right off the bat.
The price for rental properties is increasing throughout the country every year, and Savannah is no different.
If you’re looking to rent a one-bedroom apartment with an average square footage of just over 900 feet, the price you’re looking at is around $1,200 a month.
Though this falls right around the national average, it’s still pretty high for more than half of the country’s population.
17. Not for Sports Fan
If sports are a huge part of your life, this probably isn’t the town for you.
While Savannah residents love a good sporting event as much as the next person, they aren’t a major hub for professional sporting activities.
Some people love the chance to support their local sports team and exhibit a sense of pride in seeing them compete on the big screen.
However, most of the professional teams in Georgia, especially for the major sports like football and baseball, come out of Atlanta, not Savannah.
18. Fewer Universities Available
Though Savannah is home to some pretty exceptional universities, there isn’t a wide variety to choose from overall.
There are only five universities located in and around Savannah, including SCAD and Savannah State University.
For comparison, larger metropolises like Dallas host up to 38 colleges, with NYC being home to approximately 200 universities.
The State of Georgia ranks at #11 for the most colleges, with only 68 located throughout the entire state.
States like Texas, California, and New York, which are in the top three ratings, have more than 200 schools.
19. Not Very Wheelchair Accessible
Savannah has gone to great lengths in recent history to make its streets, shops, hotels, and attractions much more accessible to guests with powered wheelchairs.
However, many locations still make it difficult to traverse the area either in a powered or traditional chair.
This drawback tends to be the norm in some of the more historic locations, as they were not initially built to accommodate wheelchairs.
While most buildings have taken steps to rectify these shortcomings, even the cobblestone roads may make it uncomfortable for some users to maneuver in powered chairs.
20. The Sulfur Smell
Many Savannah residents liken the sulfur smell that permeates the streets to being right at home.
If you aren’t used to the scent or can’t stand strong smells in general, you’re in for a rude awakening.
The odor often comes from the marshes or is a result of the nearby paper mill.
In both cases, it leaves the faint but noticeable tinge of rotten eggs in the air.
One of the biggest complaints from tourists is the garbage.
In a larger city, you would expect to see overflowing trash cans and litter on the streets, yet Savannah is hardly the population colossus we would expect from places like New York City.
However, it is understandable to see more trash in a town where there is an abundance of drinking, partying, and healthy nightlife.
22. High Violent Crime Rate
Overall, Savannah is generally a safe and quiet neighborhood.
However, it does rank higher in crime rates than both the State of Georgia and the national average.
For violent crimes, Savannah sees approximately 4.36 crimes per 1,000 residents.
Statewide, Georgia experiences 3.41 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, which is actually lower than the national average of four crimes.
23. Property Crime is High, Too
Violent crimes aren’t the only crimes residents need to worry about in Savannah.
Property crime is another issue and includes offenses like vandalism, burglary, and trespassing.
Unlike the violent crimes, Georgia surpasses the national average of 21, falling in at 23.76 property crimes per 1,000 residents.
Savannah is slightly less than Georgia in this case but is still above the US median at 22.83 violations.
24. Increasing Homeless Population
As with most tourist towns, there tends to be a moderate population of homeless persons.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, this number has only increased in Savannah, making it a significant population that ranges up into the thousands.
Recently, the city took steps to provide shelter, better security, and hygiene to residents without a home.
They created a designated area where members of the homeless community can securely store their belongings under the safety of security cameras, find a place to lay their heads down for the night, and take showers.
25. And Finally… Allergies
If you didn’t have allergies before, you would probably discover some new ones you never even knew existed moving down here.
Like most cities in the South, the increase in heat and abundance of flowers adds to the extremely high pollen count and the emergence of allergens.
It doesn’t always strike right away, either.
It may take you a couple of months before you start to notice those stuffy noses occurring more and more frequently.
While there are always advantages and drawbacks to moving to a new place, the significance each reason holds depends solely on the individual.
The sizzling Savannah weather may turn some away, but it’s a much-needed relief for those seeking a nice change from the cold.
With such a rich history and plenty of enthralling avenues for entertainment, there’s never a dull moment in the Hostess City of the South.
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