LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Savannah, GA

LGBTQ Friendly Savannah GA
Photo by Mick Haupt from Unsplash

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Savannah, Georgia, located in the southeastern United States, is known for its history, architecture, and coastal landscapes. As the oldest city in the state, it has a rich cultural heritage and is a significant center for tourism and commerce. The city has a growing LGBTQ+ community with many LGBTQ+ friendly establishments and events, contributing to its reputation as an inclusive and welcoming destination for LGBTQ+ travelers.

The Waterfront, running along the Savannah River, is a popular area as a scenic backdrop to the city’s charm and serves as the starting point for boat tours and river cruises as well as where Savannah’s events, festivals, and live music performances are held throughout the year. 

Savannah’s historic district features cobblestone streets, well-preserved 18th and 19th-century buildings, and numerous public squares, providing visitors with a glimpse into the city’s past. Its arts scene, with galleries and theaters, attracts creative individuals from all walks of life. Savannah also has its share of LGBTQ+ bars, clubs, and support organizations that offer resources and social opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. These efforts have made Savannah a destination where LGBTQ+ travelers can explore the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty while feeling embraced and respected.

In our travel guide, we’ll take you on a journey to explore Savannah and its LGBTQ+ scene, highlighting LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations, restaurants, nightlife, and cultural attractions that make it a welcoming and inclusive place for all. Whether you’re looking to connect with the local LGBTQ+ community, enjoy a romantic getaway, or simply experience its southern charm, Savannah’s got you covered.

How to Get There: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Whether by plane, train, car or bus, traveling to Savannah has options to easily get you into and out of town.

Planes: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) is the primary airport serving the city,  offering both domestic and international flights, making it convenient for those choosing to travel by air.

Trains: The Amtrak Silver Service/Palmetto route provides train service to Savannah at the Savannah Amtrak Station, connecting the city with destinations along the East Coast.

Automobiles and More: Savannah is well-connected by road. Interstate 95 provides access to the city from the north and south. Bus companies operate services to and from Savannah, making it easily accessible by bus.

How LGBTQ+ Welcoming Is Savannah

Savannah has made major strides in establishing itself as an LGBTQ+ friendly city. The presence of an ever-growing LGBTQ+ community is evident through various initiatives and events. The city hosts LGBTQ+ events throughout the year, bringing together the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, and showcasing Savannah’s commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusivity. 

Savannah has enacted anti-discrimination measures to protect LGBTQ+ individuals. These ordinances cover various aspects of life, such as employment, housing, and access to public accommodations, ensuring that LGBTQ+ residents and visitors are legally safeguarded from discrimination. ‘Love is love” isn’t just an idea here. It’s a belief that LGBTQ+ people are free to love one another openly in this city.

The city is also home to LGBTQ+ support organizations and LGBTQ+ owned businesses that actively contribute to its LGBTQ+ friendly vibe. You can also find numerous LGBTQ+ friendly places to go, including bars, restaurants, attractions, and accommodations, which explicitly welcome LGBTQ+ visitors. These steps and initiatives demonstrate Savannah’s ongoing efforts to create an environment that is inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone is welcome in Savannah, making this city a true diamond in the rough for the LGBTQ+ traveler.

First City Pride Center

First City Pride Center – The only LGBTQ+ center in Georgia, The First City Pride Center, is a trans-led, non profit organization providing support and resources to the LGBTQ+ community. Established to promote inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights, the center offers various services, including educational programs, support groups, and counseling. 

  • Jeffrey’s Place –  A housing initiative under the umbrella of the First City Pride Center, Jeffrey’s Place provides LGBTQ+ homeless youth with safe and supportive transitional housing. This program focuses on addressing the unique challenges facing LGBTQ+ youth who are experiencing homelessness by offering a stable and affirming environment where they can access resources and work towards self-sufficiency.

Pride Events in Savannah

Savannah Pride Festival – Sponsored by The First City Pride Center, this annual, two-day, October event in Ellis Square next to Savannah’s City Market, features a parade, masquerade, drag, musicians, non-stop entertainment, a costume contest, youth activities, vendors and so much more.

Cheers Queers – Open to all ages, Cheers Queers is an LGBTQ+ social group that organizes a monthly event on the last Thursday of the month at Starland Yard, a food truck park, for the local LGBTQ+ community and its allies. 

Open Mic Nights – Free and family-friendly, Open Mic Night happens every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at the LGBTQ+ friendly Sentient Bean. Anything goes at this open mic night including music, singing, poetry, and drag.

Stonewall Block Party – The Stonewall Block Party is an annual LGBTQ+ event that commemorates the historic Stonewall riots and celebrates LGBTQ+ pride. It features live music, dance performances, food vendors, and entertainment.

Splash! – Splash! is an annual LGBTQ+ pool party fundraiser open to all, with proceeds benefiting the First City Pride Center. Come Splash! around for the day and enjoy music, a cash bar, snacks, and entertainment.

History Of Savannah

Savannah, Georgia, was founded in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe and served as the first settlement of the British colony of Georgia. It was established to provide a buffer between the British colonies and Spanish Florida. The city’s layout, featuring 24 squares in a grid pattern, was designed to facilitate defense and became a model for urban planning in the Southern United States.

Savannah played a pivotal role in the American Revolution, serving as a crucial port city. In 1779, it briefly fell under British control but was retaken by American and French forces in 1782. During the Civil War, Union forces captured the city in December 1864, leading to its occupation until the end of the war.

Savannah has maintained its historical significance as one of the oldest cities in the United States. Its maritime importance has continued to shape its development over the centuries, with the Port of Savannah becoming one of the busiest container ports on the East Coast. The city’s deep-rooted history is further showcased through its role in the cotton industry during the pre- Civil War era. These historical elements, combined with the city’s commitment to preserving its architectural heritage, contribute to Savannah’s enduring appeal as a destination that offers a glimpse into America’s past.

Savannah GA Skyline
Photo by Bruce Proud

LGBTQ+ Friendly Places To Stay In Savannah

Accommodations can be found throughout the city, including in the historic district, where visitors can soak in Savannah’s history and architecture while enjoying LGBTQ+ friendly hospitality. Travelers can choose from smaller boutique hotels, homey B&Bs, luxury hotels, or exclusive resorts that align with both their personal preferences and budget. Regardless of which you choose, a comfortable, enjoyable stay awaits.

The Bohemian HotelLocated along the city’s historic River Street, The Bohemian Hotel, part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott, is known for its waterfront views and rooftop bar, Rocks on the Roof. A boutique-style design, it offers upscale accommodations with modern amenities. 

Roussell’s Garden Bed & BreakfastIf you prefer to stay in the middle of all of the action, Roussell’s Garden Bed & Breakfast is located in the city’s downtown area in a beautifully restored historic building. Known for its garden courtyard and walking distance to many of the attractions in Savannah, this Bed & Breakfast makes it a no-brainer for travelers looking to explore the city’s downtown historic district.

The Foley House InnThe Foley House Inn is an LGBTQ+ friendly bed and breakfast that extends a warm welcome to all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Located in the heart of Savannah, this inn is convenient to bars, restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and museums, all within easy walking distance.

River Street InnInitially a cotton warehouse built in 1817, the River Street Inn offers you your choice of either a Savannah River view or city view room. Located near the Broughton Street shopping district and City Market, it provides easy walking access to everything the River District has to offer.

Kimpton Brice Hotel – “The Brice” is located near Washington Square and reflects Savannah’s culture and history. The hotel, with its well-appointed guest rooms and amenities, Secret Garden courtyard, and pool terrace, offers guests access to a fitness center, cruiser bikes, and Saturday morning yoga sessions. The on-site Pacci Italian Kitchen and Bar is open for breakfast, weekend brunch, and dinner.

Forsyth Park, Savannah
Photo by Jessica Furtney from Unsplash

Recommended Restaurants In Savannah

B. Matthew’s Eatery – Located in a beautifully restored 1700s building in Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District, B. Matthew’s Eatery is a must-dine spot in Savannah, just ask the locals. Self-designated as a safe space for the transgender community, this one-of-a-kind bistro is open daily, serving an all-day brunch, lunch, and dinner. 

Jazz’d Tapas Bar – You can find Jazz’d Tapas Bar in Savannah’s Historic District, near Ellis Square. This underground venue offers a unique dining and drinking experience with a martini bar and an Americanized Tapas menu. Featuring live entertainment six nights a week, including blues, swing, jazz, and vocal performances, Jazz’d is often described as “swank, sexy and sultry.”

The Grey – Housed in a 1938 art deco Greyhound Bus Terminal that’s been meticulously restored to its original condition, The Grey specializes in Port City Southern cuisine, incorporating regional produce, seafood, and meats. The menu features flavorful dishes, with a mix of surprising and comforting tastes that are sure to please.

Husk – Combining a laid-back vibe and a chic downtown setting, Husk is all about ingredient-driven cooking, using only locally sourced items from the region. Husk follows one rule about what can go on its plates – “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.” A popular restaurant for locals and tourists, Husk certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Circa 1875 – Parlez-vous français? Gay-owned Circa 1875 is a Parisian bistro and gastro pub serving the best in authentic French cuisine in an old-world bistro setting in the heart of downtown. Featuring an extensive wine selection, Circa 1875 embraces a 19th-century ambiance for its guests to enjoy.

The Olde Pink House – The Olde Pink House is a well-known, fine dining restaurant as famous for its new Southern cuisine as it is for its pink color and architecture that’s remained unchanged for nearly a century. The significance of this color is found in its history, and its history is best learned and understood by experiencing The Olde Pink House up close and personal for either lunch or dinner.

Things To Do & See In Savannah

There is so much to see and do in Savannah! You can explore well-preserved historic districts with cobblestone streets and city squares, or check out one of the many art, history, or maritime museums. There are unlimited historic homes to tour for a glimpse into the city’s past, while outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy riverfront activities, boat tours, and visits to nearby beaches. Greenspaces, gardens, and parks are scattered throughout Savannah providing spots for picnics, relaxation, or leisurely strolls. Depending upon your interests, whether history, the arts, shopping, or simply enjoying local cuisine, this city has something for everyone

Telfair Museum of Art – The Telfair Museum of Art is one of the oldest public art museums in the Southern United States, founded in 1883. The museum’s collection includes American and European art, focusing on 19th and 20th century works. Operating three separate sites, the Telfair Academy, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Jepson Center for the Arts, The Telfair Museum of Art is a glimpse into the history of art in the region.

Tybee Island – Tybee Island, a short, 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah, is known for its LGBTQ+ friendliness and inclusive community, where “y’all means y’all.” It hosts LGBTQ+ events including the annual Tybee Island Equality Fest in October. The island’s beaches, like North Beach, are welcoming to all visitors providing a relaxed vibe and for LGBTQ+ travelers to enjoy. You can rest easy knowing you’ve found a safe place. While you’re there, check out the Tybee Island Lighthouse, one of the most photographed structures when taking photos in Savannah.

Yes, Queen! Drag Queen Pub Crawl – Voted the #1 guided pub crawl, the Yes, Queen! Drag Queen Pub Crawl is a night of pure entertainment, fun, and lots of laughs! Enjoy drink specials, dancing, and karaoke, while enjoying VIP treatment as you are drag-queen-led to numerous bars and pubs in Savannah’s Historic District on this one-of-a-kind, unforgettable tour.

Colonial Park Cemetery DAR Memorial Savannah GA
Photo by Bruce Proud

Savannah Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour –  This tour reveals Savannah’s dark history, tracing back to its founding in 1733 on Native American burial grounds. Notable stops include the Andrew Low House, where the ghost of Civil War General Robert E. Lee is said to roam, and a visit to the burial grounds in Wright Square via the Trolley of the Doomed.   

Savannah River Boat Cruises – Savannah Riverboat Cruises transport you back in time to the days when river travel was the lifeblood of the city. With their grand paddlewheels and ornate designs, they evoke the romance and charm of a bygone era. Offering various cruise options, including narrated sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises, and specialty cruises for holidays and events, there’s one to meet everyone’s interests.

Skidaway Island State Park – Skidaway Island State Park is a nature lover’s playground. The park is a great place to hike scenic trails, birdwatch, picnic, or explore the park’s maritime forest and salt marshes, home to a variety of wildlife. One of the park’s highlights is the Sandpiper Nature Trail, a favorite among hikers, while the Avian Loop Trail is perfect for birdwatchers. The park also offers camper cabins and sites for tents and RVs, for visitors to stay in the park’s natural surroundings.

LGBTQ Things To Do In Savannah GA
Photo by Tyler Edic from Unsplash

Where To Shop & Stroll In Savannah

Along Savannah’s waterfront, you’re treated to stunning views of the river, with cargo ships passing by, iconic bridges in the distance, and over 70 shops, galleries, restaurants, pubs. There’s also the River Street Promenade, a  cobblestone street lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it one of the busiest spots in the city both day and night. The city’s historic districts are also a major draw, featuring well-preserved architecture and squares that provide a glimpse into the city’s history. 

Savannah’s City Market – City Market, located in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District, is a four-block area of nineteen restored warehouses. Dubbed the “quintessential Savannah experience, visitors to City Market can leisurely walk its streets and browse the shops, boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries along the way. While there is plenty to do and see here, no trip to City Market is complete without a visit to Savannah’s Candy Kitchen where you can find, what is considered to be, the ultimate southern sweet treasure – the praline. Hands down, it’s THE BEST in town.

River Street Marketplace – You can find River Street Market Place, an open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment venue on the east end of River Street, just north of the Waving Girl Statue, (another local landmark to check out). With over 70 shops featuring both local and international products, and a scenic view of ships sailing by as you shop, the River Street Marketplace is a shopping experience like no other. 

Broughton Street – One of THE most popular shopping streets in Savannah, Broughton Street is in the heart of the historic downtown district, making it a must-visit for the shopper in you. Known for its blend of national brands, local boutiques, and thrift shops, you can certainly find whatever’s your pleasure. Whether it’s the latest fashions or one-of-a-kind treasures, or something in between, a shopper’s paradise can be found on Broughton Street. 

Leopold’s Ice Cream –  What shopping excursion is complete without topping off the day with a sweet treat? Known for their award-winning, homemade super-premium ice cream, which has remained unchanged for over a century, Leopold’s also offers fresh-squeezed fruit drinks, coffees, and yummy baked treats making it the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Shopping in Savannah GA
Photo by Bruce Proud

LGBTQ+ Bars, Clubs And Nightlife In Savannah

Savannah has a lot to offer after dark for the LGBTQ+ community and it all depends upon what you’re looking for. The city’s nightlife scene is both diverse and inclusive, catering to different tastes and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing, live performances, or a quiet evening with friends, Savannah’s LGBTQ+ nightlife has all of that and more.

Club One – Club One is Savannah’s #1 Dance Club and the Home of The Club One Cabaret, a must-visit destination for those looking for an unforgettable night out in Savannah’s LGBTQ+ scene. You can find drag shows, an always-crowded dance floor, and themed parties that keep the party going late into the night.

Crypt Pub – Reopened after a five-year hiatus and known as America’s most haunted bar, the Crypt Pub is a restaurant by day, a dance club by night, but ghostly all of the time. So, if you’re looking to add a little spooky to your night out, enjoy the Crypt Pub’s dance floor that opens at 10:00 PM. And don’t miss trying one of their signature cocktails, The Dead Head or Drag Me to Hell.

The Original Pinkie Masters – One of the oldest running bars in downtown Savannah, and named after its original owner, “Pinkie,” The Original Pinkie Masters hasn’t changed much since its opening in1951. It’s where locals and tourists gather to enjoy a cold beer and listen to music from the jukebox. While Pinkie Masters may not be the fanciest or trendiest bar in Savannah, it is LGBTQ+ friendly, holding a special place in the hearts of many for its authenticity and sense of community. 

Vice Lounge + Mojito Bar – More commonly known as “VICE,” the LGBTQ+ friendly Vice Lounge + Mojito Bar redefines Savannah’s nightlife with its upscale VIP section, hint of Caribbean influence, staff attire, and specialty mojito bar, featuring a menu showcasing many different variations of the classic mojito. With its cool and sophisticated vibe, it’s a mojito lover’s paradise.

The Little Crown by Pie Society – Located in City Market, The Little Crown is a “pie house and pub” serving award-winning meat pies, desserts, pastries and sausage rolls with a full bar, including house-crafted cocktails with a British twist, wine, pub ales, and liquor.

Annual Events And Festivals In Savannah

Savannah is a city that knows how to celebrate, and its annual events and festivals reflect its commitment to culture and community. Throughout the year, its calendar is dotted with events that offer entertainment and a sense of belonging by offering something for everyone. Here’s a snapshot of some of what you can expect throughout the year.

Savannah Music Festival – Taking place every spring, this two-week-long Music Festival is one of the highlights of the festival season. No matter what kind of music you’re into, jazz, pop, bluegrass, classical, soul, punk, or rock, you can find it, and a whole lot more at one of the Music Festival venues.

Savannah Craft Brew Fest – An event for beer lovers, featuring a variety of craft beers, ciders, and spirits from local and national breweries, the Savannah Craft Brew Fest has become a Labor Day holiday weekend tradition.

Savannah Black Heritage Festival – The Savannah Black Heritage Festival is a celebration of African American culture through art, music, dance, and educational events during Black History Month.

Savannah St Patrick’s Day Parade – One of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States, the Savannah St Patrick’s Day Parade is known for its green-themed festivities.

Savannah Christmas Market – A European-style holiday market featuring a tree lighting ceremony, live music and performances, children’s activities, photos with Santa Claus, vendors, decorations, and more, Savannah Christmas market is the #1 holiday market in the south. 

LGBTQ+ Friendly Savannah: Embracing Diversity With Open Arms

The city’s historic charm and artistic vibe leave an indelible mark on anyone who wanders its cobblestone streets. Whether you’re strolling along the waterfront, taking in a performance at one of the many theaters, or enjoying the nightlife, you are met by a warm and inviting atmosphere. The city’s LGBTQ+ friendliness is always on display in its open-hearted embrace of all who visit making it feel like home. As you wrap up your visit to Savannah, there’s a sense of having explored not just a city but a community that values diversity, unity, and  the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. You carry with you not just memories of its storied past but also the warmth and inclusivity that defines the Savannah of today.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

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