Things to Do in Savannah in the Fall
American Prohibition Museum
Travel back to the time of moonshine, gangsters, and Southern rumrunners. Escape to a different sort of museum and see the origin of speakeasies and understand the inspiration of the flapper girls. The American Prohibition Museum is the only museum of its kind and a highlight of any trip to Savannah in the fall. This is not your average dull, boring museum. This is American history with an exciting twist.
The museum has 6,000 square feet of exhibits, including costumed guides, a fully stocked speakeasy, vintage cars, antique stills, a theater, and much more. Guided tours that are informative and entertaining are available, or guests can opt to explore the halls independently.
Ghosts & Gravestones Tour
Hop on the Trolley of the Doomed for a frightful tour of the darker side of Savannah. Get in the Halloween spirit with the Ghost & Gravestones Trolley Tour, adding an entertaining and spooky feature to your fall visit.
The trolley tour proceeds past the ghostly cemeteries, spooky old mansions and former battlefields of America’s most haunted city. With the aid of a knowledgeable local guide, you’ll visit the city’s most haunted sites and hear stories of notorious ghosts and macabre happenings. Step inside the Andrew Low House and the Perkins & Sons Chandlery to hear ghostly stories of apparitions and curious spirits.
Savannah-Worthy Visiting Attractions
Savannah in the fall comes alive. Gone are the 90-degree days of summer as 70-degree days enter in. Outdoor activities are popular, with families coming out to enjoy the crisp air. Gone as well are the crowds of summer. Heading out to some of Savannah’s best attractions becomes easier with fewer visitors to contend with.
Walk through the picturesque Bonaventure Cemetery and enjoy one of the unique things to do in Savannah in the fall. Bonaventure is noted for its serene surroundings with 100 acres of moss-draped oak, magnolia, pecan, and hickory trees. Readers of John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil recognize Bonaventure as a featured setting in the novel.
Many visitors to this Southern park-like setting are looking for the final resting place of noteworthy military generals, writers, and celebrities. Most notable are Academy Award-winning songwriter Johnny Mercer, poet Conrad Aiken, and silent film actress Edythe Chapman. The most visited gravesite is that of little Gracie Watson. Gracie died when she was only six years old, and her bereaved parents commissioned a statue of the little girl to be posted at her grave.
Fans of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil should head straight to the Telfair Academy during a visit to Savannah in the fall to see the famous Bird Girl statue from the book’s cover. Formerly installed at Bonaventure Cemetery, the statue was moved to Telfair to avoid possible theft or vandalism.
The museum is home to a collection of 19th- and 20th-century American and European paintings, sculptures, and decorative art. There is a combination of permanent and rotating exhibits.
A three-in-one ticket can be purchased for added value, which includes admission to Telfair, the Jepson Center next door, and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.
Savannah African Art Museum
In 2016, the Savannah African Art Museum was opened to educate people on the “power, diversity, and spirituality of African art.” Displayed art comes from 22 West and Central African countries and more than 130 cultures and ethnic groups.
Over 1,000 pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries are on display, made from ceramic, wood, and metal. Museum tours that focus on the art of West Africa are scheduled at the top of the hour, and the art of Central Africa tours are at the bottom of the hour. Free workshops and family craft days are held on the second Saturday of each month. The Savannah African Art Museum promises to be a highlight of any trip to Savannah in the fall.
SCAD Museum of Art
The SCAD Museum serves the community of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Since its opening in 2002, the museum has set out to be a resource for the college’s students and alumni in their creative careers. Contemporary artwork on exhibit is from both well-established and newly emerging artists. There are rotating exhibits and an impressive permanent collection.
The impressive permanent collection includes African American art, British and American art, and the SCAD costume collection. There is also a small theater on-site for guest lecturers, master classes, and film screenings.
The Beach Institute is the first school built in Savannah to teach African American students. The building is now a cultural center for African American history and culture. The institute strives to preserve the African American history of Savannah through art exhibits, films, oral history, and tours. Avoid the summer crowds at the Beach Institute with a visit to Savannah in the fall.
Perhaps the most noteworthy display is an impressive collection of wood sculptures carved by self-taught folk artist Ulysses Davis. Mr. Davis was a barber by trade, who carved sculptures of political figures, presidents, and biblical illustrations.
List of Festivals You Must Visit in Savannah in the Fall
Savannah in October makes the short list of best US cities to visit for fall travel, according to Travel + Leisure magazine. The colorful fall foliage, fun festivals, and amazing food are a big draw to the most haunted city in America. With Halloween just around the corner, there are ghostly cemetery tours, spooky battlefields, and haunted places to make for an entertaining visit.
Festival fans will be pleased to know that some of the best festivals are scheduled in Savannah in October. Add the Jazz Festival, Oktoberfest, Film Festival, and Music Festival to your list of things to do in Savannah in the fall.
The Savannah Jazz Festival is five days of great jazz music, dancing, and fun at the end of September. Activities take place at various venues throughout the city, and all events are free.
Look for Jazz Festival events at Forsyth Park, Lucas Theatre, Good Times Jazz Bar, Georgia Southern University’s Fine Arts Hall, and the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum.
The grandstand at Forsyth Park is an ideal location, with the changing of the leaves in the park adding a colorful backdrop and showcasing Savannah in the fall. Bring your coolers, lawn chairs, or blankets to enjoy the concerts in the park. Soft drinks, beer, and wine are available for sale. Bring your own food or enjoy a meal from one of the food trucks or food vendors on hand.
Jazz lovers should also visit the Savannah Jazz History and Hall of Fame Exhibit inside the Savannah History Museum.
Displays include memorabilia and musical instruments from some of Savannah’s most famous jazz musicians. You’ll see Ben Tucker’s bass violin, Johnny Mercer’s straw hat, the mouthpiece from Jabbo Smith’s trumpet, a Benedetto jazz guitar, old photos, concert posters, videos of jazz legends, recordings, and more.
In 1810, in Munich, Germany, the crown prince of Bavaria married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen of Saxony in an elaborate week-long ceremony, and people have celebrated their wedding ever since. Oktoberfest marks the anniversary of this elaborate wedding, and visitors to Savannah in October can raise a glass in honor of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
Oktoberfest in Savannah runs every weekend from the last week of September through the entire month of October. The family-friendly festivities take place in the Plant Riverside District. Festivities happen in the Pavilion tent. All events are free.
Revelers can enjoy traditional German activities such as live polka music, a keg toss, stein-holding competitions, and bratwurst-eating contests. Area restaurants serve a variety of specialty beers and traditional hearty German food.
Beer travelers can enjoy more than 25 breweries, biergartens, brewpubs, and taphouses in Savannah in October. Try the handcrafted beers conceived by master brewers with a flavorful bratwurst. Breweries with special Oktoberfest experiences in Savannah include Moon River Brewing and Coastal Empire.
For over 25 years, film lovers have arrived in Savannah in October to enjoy the festivities of the annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Toward the end of October, the Film Festival is eight days of competition film screenings. Hosted by SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design), the Film Festival attracts the top creative endeavors in documentaries, shorts, and animations from around the world.
World-class entertainment includes studio releases and indie films prior to being released to the public. Award-winning filmmakers also share panel talks, workshops, and lectures. Honored guests each year include Hollywood’s top celebrities and filmmakers.
Each year more than 63,000 people attend the festival in Savannah in October. The event is open to all film enthusiasts and students. Purchase individual tickets for daytime shows scheduled before 6:00 pm or evening shows. Passes are also available at several levels:
- Savannah Daytime Pass for all screenings and panels before 6:00 pm.
- Bronze Pass limited to screenings and panels.
- Silver Pass for all screenings, panels, and opening and closing events.
- Gold Pass for all screenings, panels, opening and closing events, and reserved section seats.
Each daily schedule is filled with events starting as early as 9:00 am. The festival venues include the SCAD Museum of Art, Lucas Theatre for the Arts, Trustees Theater, and Gutstein Gallery.
The best way to discover the heart of a city is through the local food, and Savannah in the fall does not disappoint. Guided food tours are a great option, as local guides lead their guests on a tour of three to four spots for appetizers and small plates. Each stop features a dish that is well-known to that establishment, often with a beer, glass of wine, or soft drink. While it may sound overwhelming to make multiple stops for food, each stop is usually a small dish and not enough to be a full meal.
Most food tours are walking expeditions with venues that are close together. Tour participants will meet at a central spot and head off on foot from there. The advantage of joining a guided tour is the commentary provided by the guide. Local anecdotes, historical stories, and restaurant recommendations are shared as you walk between food venues.
An independent, self-guided food tour is possible as well. Look for restaurants that offer local Southern specialties such as fried chicken, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, biscuits and gravy, and peach pie.
Ready to book your tour? Check out the Happy Hour tour with Savannah Taste Experience Tours where you’ll get to stop at 4 unique bars, including the American Prohibition Museum.
Savannah has been deemed the world’s most haunted city by prestigious sources, such as Travel + Leisure magazine, CNBC, and Condé Nast Traveler. Take a spooky ghost tour of Savannah in October to see if all the hubbub is well-justified.
Is Savannah nice in the Fall?
The weather in Savannah in the fall is glorious. High temperatures range from 70 to 86 degrees, and low temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees. The busy summer tourist season has subsided, so the best parks and attractions are no longer as crowded.
What should you wear in Savannah, Georgia in October?
From September through October, most days will continue to be shorts and short sleeves weather. Comfortable sandals or walking shoes are best for enjoying long walks along sidewalks framed by moss-draped trees. As temperatures at night generally dip down to the low 60s, a light jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt will be good for nighttime explorations.
What is the best month to go to Savannah?
October is a great month to go to Savannah! The heat and humidity of summer are gone, leaving the briskness of fall. The city embraces its reputation as the most haunted city in the world by putting out fall decorations. Festival season is in full force, including Oktoberfest, the Film Festival, and the Jazz Festival.
Do you need a car in Savannah?
Getting around Savannah is certainly easier with a car. Visiting the many great attractions, and even getting to the outskirts of town, is best done by car. If you stay in a centrally located hotel, you could get around by bus, but you may need to use a taxi or shared car to get to a few of the outer areas.