There's Another Savannah—And You Should See It at Christmas

A charming little burg between Memphis and Nashville pulls out all the stops.

There's just something about a small-town Christmas. Maybe it's the nostalgia of a Main Street draped in lights and Santa riding into town during the annual parade that makes us feel all Mayberry inside. We love that feeling this time of year. For several years now, Savannah, Tennessee, has been celebrating Christmas on Main, bringing lights and train rides and Christmas movies and general holiday to-doing downtown on Friday and Saturday nights.

Located on the Tennessee River in Hardin County, Savannah's not too far from the Alabama line and roughly halfway between Memphis and Nashville. Longtime residents mingle with transplants, some of whom come here to live on the river or on Pickwick Lake. Others are retirees, who like the idea of small-town life that's convenient to Memphis and Nashville, both of which are two or so hours away. Savannah is one of 22 Tennessee communities designated as retirement destinations by the state's Department of Tourist Development, based on the amenities and services it provides to residents.

Christmas on Main
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Take in the Christmas Lights in Savannah

The festivities—from reindeer feeding and ice skating to carriage rides and carolers—wrap up in the third weekend in December, but Main Street will keep right on twinkling—as will many Christmas trees, including a 30-footer at the downtown gazebo—throughout the month. In other words, downtown will be one Hallmark-worthy photo op this month. As for the kids, they will be completely charmed by the kiddie train ride and, of course, visits with Santa.

Watch a Christmas Classic

A different Christmas movie plays at the historic Savannah Theater each night during Christmas on Main weekends. Whether you're a fan of the grumpy Grinch or love black-and-white Christmas classics, be sure to check it out—no tickets required.

Do Some Christmas Shopping

Pick up the latest fashions, jewelry, and home decor at SpaLicious Boutique. Don't forget a pair of fuzzy socks for your stockings. Then stop by Nest for beautiful tableware, soft throw pillows, Christmas decorations, and more. LaDeeDa is a popular stop for kids' toys and clothing, while the Main Street Gift Gallery carries everything from soaps and scents to dishware, spices, and jams.

Eat Local

Even if you're just in town for the day, you'll find convenient, affordable food. Start by warming up with a mug from Selah Coffee. Then try out The Spot for burgers or Miss Pheobie's for the daily lunch special and sweet treats. If you didn't get your fill, White Oak Bakery is the spot for assorted cupcakes, coffee drinks, and brownies. For lunch or dinner, Ma Ma Fia's East serves up classic Italian dishes alongside specials like veal parmesan and a huge selection of cheesecakes. Locals also say this area is known for catfish, which you can sample at places like The Fish Hut or Hagy's Catfish Hotel in neighboring Shiloh, where members of the Hagy family have been feeding hungry diners since 1938. Venture to Crump, where Poppy's Barbecue operates out of a brick house that has been known to sport some porky-themed decor.

On the Pickwick Dam, about 10 miles from downtown Savannah, you'll find a rustic landmark called The Outpost, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday-Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Monday (closed Sunday). After a hearty meal, indulge in homemade ice cream on-site at the Frosty Mug Creamery.

Ice Skating at Christmas on Main
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Explore the Area

Staying over? Pickwick Landing State Park has an inn, rental cabins, a restaurant, and an indoor pool for chilly-day dips. Or contact Pickwick Cabin Rentals.

Explore the history of Savannah and the Tennessee River Valley at the Tennessee River Museum. Interactive and educational displays tell stories of the Civil War and explore the various cultures of Mound Builders, who constructed mounds to live in, for ceremonies, and for burials over a period of 5,000 years. You can visit the mounds nearby at Shiloh National Military Park.

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