Savannah St Patrick's Day

Savannah St Patrick’s Day (Survival Guide)

Savannah St Patrick's Day
Savannah St Patrick’s Day

This Jewel of a city in Georgia is known for the oak trees lining the streets and green squares. The city was designed by General Oglethorpe, which follows a grid. It’s really hard not to fall in love with the city, with it’s vibrant events and it’s many things to do.

For this post, we are going to show you what to expect, see, and do within 36 hours in Savannah, Georgia during St Patrick’s Day weekend.

What? Savannah celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Yes indeed! The city has a big parade every single year, regardless of the day of the week it is in. The celebration may not be as known as Boston or Chicago‘s, but this is a city that dyes the water green on its iconic fountain in Forsyth Park, as well as a general feeling of liveliness and uh, drinking.

Getting in and around of Savannah:

The best way to get around Savannah is by foot. It is a walkable city but expect to walk a lot.

Getting to Savannah, we drove a car. It is around a 2 1/2 hour drive from Jacksonville, Florida. Savannah also has an airport which you can fly to.

If you are going for St Patrick’s festivities, note that it is quite hard to find parking. You can park near the convention center but it takes a while to cross to the other side using the Savannah Belles ferry. Everybody parks on the convention center, so expect an hour or so just standing and waiting your turn to get to the other side of the river. Our advise? Bring a book to keep you entertained. If you don’t read books then bring a tablet or make sure your phone is charged for your entertainment.

Westin Savannah
Westin Savannah

Where to Stay in Savannah:

We decided to stay at the Westin in Hutchinson Island. Let’s face it: finding decent priced accommodation in Savannah during St Patrick’s weekend is tough.

We booked the Westin using 10,000 SPG points (great value for money) and there is a boat shuttle that takes you from River Street to Hutchinson Island (see above). We have been here once (only at the lobby) but we know this place is posh. And it smells good too! (mmm white tea and aloe scent)

Cash prices at the Westin go for $200+ a night. You do have to pay extra for parking ($15 for self parking) and resort fees ($28), so plan those extra costs in your budget.

They do give out wristbands during St Patrick’s Day to keep only hotel guests within the premises, adding to an extra layer of safety. What’s good about the hotel is that it is on a different island from the craziness of River Street, which means a quiet place to stay.

The bad thing about the hotel is that it is on a different island: which means you will have to wait for the ferry to come back and queue up again.

Tips to surviving Savannah St Patrick’s Day:

Try to get to Savannah early! The parade starts at promptly 10:15 AM and parking spots are hard to find. Try to check in to your hotel early (or the night before). See more of our parking tips above.

Several attractions may be closed for St Patrick’s Day, but you can walk along the riverfront and go souvenir shopping! The squares and Forsyth Park will most likely be open but if some squares are closed, it’s because they’re super dirty with litter and needs extra time to be cleaned. We went to Chippewa Square and it was a disaster zone.

If you haven’t packed any food for lunch or snacks, there are some restaurants open. The Pirate’s House is located near Bay Street, and has a $15 lunch buffet, which is pretty good considering the location and the regular sit down menus of the Pirate’s House costs around $20+ per entree. The food choices are not a lot, but the place is huge, has a view of the parade (depending on where they seat you), and has a good ambiance. Best of all there’s clean bathrooms! Oh, and a bar should you need your fix of the drinks.

The bathrooms are not available to the public, but if you dine for breakfast or lunch buffet, you can ask for a stamp and you get unlimited access to the bathroom while they are open! Better than using a porta-potty, but if you really need to go then they are readily available in some of the parade routes.

Plenty of other vendors line River Street, food cart style, but lines can be a little bit long and you will have to be content sitting on a park or open area if crowds are not your thing.

After the parade, you are more than welcome to walk around – just note that River Street will be insanely crowded, but Forsyth Park should be pleasant to walk around in. The water is dyed green to continue with the St Patrick’s theme, and it is a great park to sit around and relax after all the shenanigans that happened.

Budweiser Horses - Savannah St Patricks Day
Budweiser Horses – Savannah St Patricks Day

The Parade is Long

The parade can last up to 3 to 4 hours, so plan accordingly. The locals tend to have a mini party on the sidewalk under their tents – think tailgating! Try to find a spot where you can stand and be strategic enough to find shelter if it rains. Remember, the parade goes on rain or shine!

I wouldn’t recommend standing by the start of the parade, but rather, place yourself strategically in one of the streets where the parade goes through. We got to downtown Savannah around 10:45, and we managed to find a lunch spot, eat, and watch the parade from our spot after. When it rained, we headed for the shelter provided by the Pirate’s House and still managed to watch the parade (where the crowds thinned out).

The drunk squad

Remember: it is St Patrick’s Day, which is more commonly associated with drinking alcohol instead of actually honoring the saint itself. You are going to encounter rowdy people, noisy ones, and so many types of people and huge crowds all over the city center. When we were there, there were also a few arrests, a story of a man who jumped in the river to try and swim to Hutchinshon Island (and got tasered), and all sorts of other crazy things.

Keep your wits with you, make sure you drink responsibly, and just laugh at others stupidity and your day will be fun.

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Hopefully this little guide helped you plan your St Patrick’s Day in Savannah. We probably won’t go back until after a few years as it is a bit too crazy for me and there are so many destinations to visit.

Update on our bill situation with the Westin: after calling their hotel multiple times, emailing, posting on TripAdvisor and asking for help on Twitter, it got settled!

Twitter help is the one that came to our aide and within 3 weeks a check arrived in our home to reimburse us for the incorrect room service bill.

Just goes to show that you can always go to Twitter to get the best help and support that you can sometimes, especially in this world of social media!

Enjoy your St Patrick’s Day experience in Savannah and feel free to provide tips or personal insights in the comments below!

Looking for more Georgia and North Florida trip ideas? See below:

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