Starstruck in Savannah: A Guide to Film Locations

Samantha Weck
Samantha Weck

Savannah is not just a place of Southern charm, but also one of the most gorgeous cities out there. Many movies and television shows have been filmed there. This guide is here to show you the ropes and make you feel like you stepped into each film yourself.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

This film is the famous adaption of the book by John Berendt. Clint Eastwood directed the film with both Kevin Spacey and John Cusack starring in it. The first location to see whether or not you are a fan of the movie is the Mercer Williams House on Monterey Square. This museum is a historical home that was built during the Civil War. The architecture is astounding to look at with inspirations from both Italy and Greece. The house is filled with art and antiques from around the world. Truly worth a visit if you love history and art. The carriage house is now a gift shop where you can find unique items for loved ones back home or for yourself to remember your amazing trip.

Forsyth Park is Savannah’s most famous park and also a key feature in the film. This is a picture perfect place to get your Instagram shots in for your trip. The iconic water fountain is there. There is also a large garden and huge amount of green space where you can walk around and relax. Maybe even have a picnic! If you have kiddos with you, there are multiple playgrounds for them to enjoy.

Bonaventure Cemetery is marketed as one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries with its many monuments and statues still very well intact. One can’t help but feel something when you walk along the grounds. There’s an energy in the air that you can’t help but vibrate to. If you’re looking for a little direction when you visit, the Bonaventure Historical Society offers free walking tours of he cemetery, but if you’re looking for a more peaceful tour, they have an app where you can listen to a recording. The grounds are open to the public and free during certain hours. Definitely. worth a visit whether you’re a fan of the movie or not.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Chippewa Square is one of the most beautiful and famous places to visit in Savannah. This is where the iconic bench scene in the movie Forrest Gump takes place. The bench is now replaced by a garden, however, the next location is where you can find the exact bench. You can also walk around and take a look at the most beautiful architecture. Nearby is the Savannah Theatre so make sure to stop by and catch a show!

Your next stop if you’re a fan of the movie is the Savannah History Museum. They have the bench where Forrest Gump waits for the bus in the famous scene displayed here. The museum displays history starting from 1733 all the way to today! It’s a perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon if you’re a history lover like myself. The museum is also fun for kids as there are a lot of hands-on activities throughout the museums to increase interaction and immersion into this city’s history.

Ford v. Ferrari (2019)

If you have the time, take a drive on Hutchinson Island. This is where they filmed the 1996 Grand Prix race scene. The landscape and scenery are stunning all on their own. Rent a convertible and ride with the top down (weather permitting). You will not regret taking the time to breathe in this island and relax. There are many great restaurants on the island as well so you will not leave empty-handed. The island also features multiple parks and gardens as well as beaches if you want to make an entire day of it. This is the best place to get in tune with nature and to take a break from the city if you need one.

Lady and the Tramp (2019)

If you’re a fan of the live-action Disney films as much as I am, you are going to be so excited about this!! Disney filmed some of the scenes at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist. Known as the “Sistine of the South” this structure is gorgeous. I will be honest, I am not a fan of religious iconography, but I cannot deny that this place is beautiful. They offer free self-guided tours when mass is not in session. They do ask for a modest $3 donation if you wish to. Mass here is open to the public, so you are welcome to attend if that is how you wish to visit this location. Another place you can visit is LafayetteSquare and Johnson Square where the iconic sandwich stealing scene was filmed! Both squares are gorgeous with lots of food and shopping close by. You can’t go wrong with taking a quick visit.

Glory (1989)

If you’re a movie buff, then you’ll definitely love these locations from the movie Glory, the civil war drama. While you can also cross this movie off your list when you visit the Mer Williams House Museum mentioned earlier, here are a couple of other film locations featured in the movie. First is the Georgia State Railroad Museum. The Roundhouse Complex is where you can find an exhibit about the movie, but it is a fun place to learn about trains, railcars, and have hands-on experiences throughout the museum. Perfect for history buffs, kids, and people who just love trains. Then there is Battlefield Memorial Park. This is a memorial for those who lost their lives in the second bloodiest battle of the American revolution. This is right next to the railroad museum so you do not have to travel far to visit the site. Again, this is perfect for history buffs and fans of the movie Glory.

Gemini Man (2019)

For those who are a fan of Will Smith and the movie Gemini Man, the Isle of Hope is the place for you to visit. A bulk of the movie was filmed in this beautiful neighborhood. You can drive around through the oak-lined streets and if you make a day out of it, watch the beautiful sunset over the marsh! There are also restaurants and shops in the area if you wish to make this a day trip.

Baywatch (2017) & The Last Song (2010)

If you’re a fan of either Baywatch or The Last Song, then Tybee Island is the place you need to be. Both movies were filmed in different parts of the island. Baywatch was filmed on Tybee Island’s beaches on both the north and south end of the waterfront, but one particular place where a lot of the scenes were filmed is the Tybee Island Pier! Catch some rays and enjoy a nice dip in the ocean while being where a lot of the filming took place! If you’re interested in the morgue scene, that was filmed in another location at Savannah’s Memorial University Medical Center.

The Last Song was also majorly filmed on the island’s beaches and pier, however, one of the most iconic parts of the film was at Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. This is where Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth acted out the stained glass scene. Fun fact, this wedding chapel was built for the movie! After filming was over it was converted into an actual chapel where you can get married! Another spot in Savanah where they filmed was the Wormsloe Historic Estate. This is not on Tybee Island, but it is only a short half-hour drive away if you wish to make a stop there. The estate is absolutely stunning to walk through. There is a museum, theater, and gift shop on-site. There is also a large picnic area if you want to have a peaceful lunch there. I recommend getting there early as the park reaches capacity quickly on some days.

Where to Eat

There are so many great places to eat in Savannah that I would be here forever if I were to list them all. I’ll start you off with a few suggestions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, some great options are Clary’s Cafe, Mirabelle Savannah, Fox and Fog Cafe, and Savannah Coffee Roasters. Clary’s Cafe is perfect if you’re looking for a traditional All-American breakfast. They of course have classic Southern dishes such as biscuits and gravy. There are a lot of options so you will not go hungry if you go here. Mirabelle Savannah is the perfect place if you have a sweet tooth. Their menu is mostly made up of delicious waffle dishes. You can choose one of the sweet concoctions they suggest off the menu or choose your own toppings. There are some panini options if you’re not a waffle fan, but it’s not a big section. They also have a large selection of coffee and tea to give you your morning boost! The Fox and Fig cafe is entirely vegan. They are open for lunch and dinner too, but I recommended them for breakfast because their oat milk pancakes are amazing! Also, they have their own version of a “proper breakfast” that is definitely worth a try. The menu is very small, but still worth a try if you’re an adventurous eater. Finally, Savannah Coffee Roasters is also a brunch option if you are visiting Savannah during a weekend. They offer traditional food dishes with their own unique twist. This is the perfect place to stop if you’re looking for something different but not wanting to be too wild.

For lunch or dinner, I recommend Husk Savannah, Aqua Star, Zunzi’s, 1540 Room, Driftaway Cafe, Six Pence Pub, The Crab Shack, and Spanky’s Beachside. Husk Savannah is a unique fine dining experience where the menu changes depending on what food the Chefs can get their hands on as they strictly buy locally. They try to explore the reality of Southen cooking through their dishes. You will not be disappointed. Aqua Star is a seafood restaurant that adds a Southern flair to its dishes. It will allow you to experience seafood in a whole new way if you’ve never eaten seafood in the South before, Zunzi’s is the perfect lunch spot because they offer South African-inspired sandwiches, wraps, and spreads. You can take it to go and eat it as a picnic in one of the many locations mentioned above. 1540 Room is in the historic district and is another great fine dining experience for you to try. They offer farm-to-table Southern fare. Driftaway Cafe has a large variety of menu items. Anywhere from tacos to sandwiches. It is not strictly a Hispanic restaurant, but the food is definitely worth its salt. Six Pence Restaurant fits into the theme of this article perfectly because it also starred in a scene of a movie! That movie is Something to Talk About (1995). Besides that, it is still a great place to eat. They offer authentic English food. They do their best to provide a true English pub experience. It’s definitely a fun experience. The Crab Shack has been voted the best seafood in Savannah since 1998. If you love seafood, then this is where you need to be. Finally, Spanky’s Beachside offers mainly sandwich and seafood options, but they also have a small pasta section if you’re looking for something different.

Final Thoughts

No matter if you visit Savannah because of its role in many Hollywood movies, or if you just have an avid interest in the destination, Savannah has so much to see and do. It’s rich in history, has iconic Southern food, and has great weather year-round. You will not be bored in this amazing city.

Samantha Weck
Samantha Weck