River Street is one of Savannah’s most popular destinations, but just steps away is a hidden gem that many visitors—and even locals—miss: Factors Walk.
Located at bluff’s level behind River Street, Factors Row and Factors Walk are home to a host of unique shops, cozy cafes and historic hotels. Just wander up the cobblestone walk from River Street, climb the steep steps and you’ll find yourself on the bluff. Look north towards the river and you’ll see the backside of the waterfront warehouses, once an activity hub for the cotton industry, and now home many not-so-secret businesses.
While a burgeoning business scene is still there; it’s much different today than it was in the 19th century, when it got its name, “Factors Walk.” In these buildings, men used to bale, factor and sell cotton. In the top level of the four- or five-story cotton warehouses, brokers worked with exporters and managed sales, while factors determined the amount of cotton that’d be sold to the merchants.
A series of walkways and iron bridges were built from the bluff to entrances on the third and fourth stories of the building, allowing these men to make their way from the waterfront warehouses to different places in the city to sell and buy cotton. It was these cotton factors that this “backside” business place was named after.
Today, businessmen and women still import products from around the world and sell them; they just specialize in a very different kind of commerce. Restaurants and cozy cafes now serve toasty croissants and tasty lattes, alongside boutiques, specialty shops and art galleries offering an assortment of unique gifts, from Georgia wines to classic cigars and antiques, upscale fashions and accessories and original artwork. Those who want to stay in the historic district can experience the city’s legendary hospitality at assorted boutique hotels and historic inns in Factors Walk.