The nine things you must do in Savannah, USA

THE ONE DISH

Savannah's signature dish is Southern shrimp and grits, a hearty meal served from brunch to dinner time. On the menu at down-home diners and in the fanciest restaurants (we see you, The Olde Pink House), it's a versatile dish that chefs can put their own spin on. The low-country classic of grits made from boiled cornmeal and topped with juicy local prawns is often seasoned with Cajun spices. At River House, the grits are richly doused in Parmesan and butter sauce reduction. See savannahriverhouse.com.

THE ONE HOTEL

Savannah is enjoying a visitor boom, with several new hotels opening and on the horizon for 2020. Stylish new boutique properties have been warmly welcomed to the city — Perry Lane Hotel is a stand-out — while long-time favourites such as DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Savannah Historic District continue to impress with warm service and unbeatable locations. Also, the complimentary warm chocolate chip cookies, served every afternoon in DoubleTree's lobby, are Southern hospitality at its best. See doubletree3.hilton.com.

THE ONE PARK

With a storied reputation as one of the prettiest cities in the US South, Savannah has long been a favourite of amateur photographers and filmmakers. Grab your camera or smartphone and take a leisurely walk through the historic district. Laid out on a grid with 22 green squares and shaded parks anchored by 19th Century fountains, the District is where you'll find historic mansions. Forsyth Park is the largest and most popular park in the city and is spread just over four hectares that were earmarked as public recreation space back in the 1840s. See visitsavannah.com.

THE ONE EVENT

St Patrick's Day weekend in Savannah is huge, with more than 300,000 people — and 350 marching bands — flooding the city with Irish craic. It's easily one of the biggest St Patty's Day celebrations outside of the Emerald Isle, with parades, fun runs, Clydesdale rides, dance parties and rivers of Guinness consumed. Tipsy revellers might rub their eyes at the sight of Savannah's famous fountains flowing green; no, it's not an illusion. Every year, the city dyes the water emerald in dozens of fountains, including the strikingly ornate one in Forsyth Park. See visitsavannah.com.

THE ONE WAY TO GET AROUND

Here's a recipe for a relaxing afternoon in Savannah: Hop on an open-air trolley bus, sit back and enjoy the commentary. Expect to encounter some familiar faces along Old Savannah Tours' routes; costumed actors with uncanny resemblances to Forrest Gump, pirates from Ye Olden Days and early abolitionists board the bus and deliver entertaining speeches. It's good, clean fun that's suitable for all ages. See oldsavannahtours.com.

THE ONE BAR

Avoid the frat bars serving frozen drinks along River Street (unless that's the rowdy vibe you crave) and opt instead for Savannah's emerging upmarket nightlife scene. Artillery Bar serves classy cocktails in a historic building, with glamorous decor details. We love the Fizzy Lifting Drink (botanical gin, hibiscus syrup, lemon, honey and sparkling wine).

See artillerybar.com.

THE ONE MUSEUM

Billed as "not another dry museum", the American Prohibition Museum tells the story of a time when a stiff drink was hard to find in the US. Historic artifacts, life-like wax figures of gangsters, hands-on interactive displays and video presentations bring to life the era when legal drinking was gone but not forgotten. Opened in 2016, one of the museum's highlights is a hidden speakeasy bar found behind an unmarked door. Inside, visitors can take their pick from a cocktail list of more than a dozen drinks with names that celebrate the 1920s. See americanprohibitionmuseum.com.

THE ONE STREET

Broughton Street, the main shopping artery, presents dozens of opportunities to browse, buy or bite into something delicious. Three spots worth seeking out are The Paris Market and Brocante, Gutstein Gallery and Leopold's Ice Cream. Bower birds will profit from the well-curated selection of gifts, snacks and souvenirs at the Paris Market. Gutstein Gallery presents exhibitions by national artists and alumni from Savannah College of Arts and Design. And as for 100-year-old Leopold's, the constant queue snaking its way down the block is the best advertisement for the locally made ice cream.

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See theparismarket.com, scad.edu, leopoldsicecream.com

ONE MORE THING

Collette's seven-day Southern Charm escorted tour includes two nights in Savannah. See gocollette.com.

Kristie Kellahan travelled to Savannah as a guest of Collette.

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