River Street Sightseeing and Shopping (Self Guided), Savannah

The story of Savannah's River Street begins in 1733 with General James Edward Oglethorpe, who landed on the bank of the Savannah River and founded the American colony of Georgia. Today cobble-stoned River Street serves as a wonderful place that caters to a variety of interests. Marketplaces, stores, galleries... this self guided walking tour will let you enjoy watching the ships and boats in the harbor all while shopping!
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River Street Sightseeing and Shopping Map

Guide Name: River Street Sightseeing and Shopping
Guide Location: USA » Savannah (See other walking tours in Savannah)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
Author: hollyg
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The African American Monument
  • River Street Sweets
  • True Grits
  • Gallery 209
  • Savannah's Candy Kitchen
  • River Street Market Place
  • Savannah's Waving Girl
The African American Monument

1) The African American Monument

The African-American Families Monument in River Street, Savannah pays homage to the city's African-American heritage. The bronze and granite statue depicts a family of four embracing after emancipation, facing towards the Savannah River and the west coast of Africa, the starting point of the slaves' journey. Inscribed with a moving quote, the controversial monument was designed by Savannah College of Art and Design Professor, Dorothy Spradley, and recognizes the contributions made by African Americans as well as symbolizes their new beginning in the Americas.
River Street Sweets

2) River Street Sweets

River Street Sweets is probably the best candy and sweets store in all of Georgia. There is so much candy to choose from that you can easily get lost in the rows. Sweets's baked goods and ice creams are also all extremely tasty, so save room to try some!

Hours: Daily: 9 am- 11 pm.
True Grits

3) True Grits

True Grits is a beautiful and cozy store that will delight you with items pertaining to the history of the South. It has an amazing collection of Civil War artifacts for you to admire! There is also nautical art and other valuable artifacts available at the store.
Gallery 209

4) Gallery 209

Opened in 1976, Gallery 209 holds a unique collection of sculptures, paintings, gold and silver jewelry, and pottery made by Savannah artists. It also features limited-edition reproductions for true connoisseurs of art, and is a coop of over 30 art creators who take turns operating the gallery, thus allowing visitors an ideal opportunity to meet with the artists. Spread over two floors of a circa 1820 cotton warehouse in the historic River Street, Gallery 209 is a popular place for both tourists and locals alike.

Hours: Monday-Sunday 10:30 am – 9:00 pm
Savannah's Candy Kitchen

5) Savannah's Candy Kitchen

Savannah's Candy Kitchen is the largest candy and sweets shop in all of the South! The Candy Kitchen will surprise you by making some of the candy in front of your very eyes. The store has a great selection, and you are guaranteed to not leave disappointed!
River Street Market Place

6) River Street Market Place

The River Street Market is worth wandering through when enjoying the Savannah riverfront, especially if you want to kill time while waiting on your table at any nearby restaurant. It sits right in the popular area of the downtown river walk, with the river on one side and the cobblestone street on the other. There is a coffee, drinks and smoothies food cart right outside with picnic tables to lounge on, as well, should you be so inclined.

Pretty much every booth has a vendor in it, and there is a ceiling overhead so rain is not an issue when deciding whether to visit or not. Among the most interesting things to check out are the wood burning and carved home décor designs, as well as the candles you could use as lotion, made out of essential oils. There are tons of other random, unique items, some handmade (jewelry, carvings, wind chimes) and some pricey, but it's fine to walk through and see all the local culture.

Check out the delicious praline/candy shops and the honey store, as they are among the highlights.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed: 10am–7pm; Thu-Sun: 10am–8pm
Savannah's Waving Girl

7) Savannah's Waving Girl

Savannah's Waving Girl has been the source of legend for ages. Living in a lighthouse, she would by day wave a handkerchief and by night a lantern to every passing ship entering or leaving Savannah. As she did this religiously for over 50 years, she became a living legend as all sailors watched to be greeted by her. Most of her admirers never knew her real name, Florence Martus, and called her the Waving Girl.

Martus waved hello and goodbye to the ships passing by her home from 1886 to 1931. Nobody knew why she did it, but conjecture was rampant – one of the favorite myths about the Waving Girl is that she'd fallen in love with a sailor in the 1890s. Promising she'd be the first to greet him, she began waving at every ship. When he never returned, she continued waving in the hopes that one of the entering ships would have him aboard. Waving wasn't all Martus did, though – in 1893, she and her brother risked their lives to save several men from a sinking ship using nothing but a flat-bottomed rowboat.

Now, a bronze statue of Florence Martus sits on the waterfront. It was designed by famous sculptor Felix de Weldon, the creator of the equally famous Marine Corps War Memorial showing the flag raising on Iwo Jima. It was erected in 1972 at Riverside Park and depicts Florence waving her kerchief, and her pet collie by her side. The little park is a great place to sit and watch the barges and boats go by.

There are plenty of other statues around the riverfront that are also worth taking the time to enjoy.

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