28 Best Things To Do In Salem

Looking for the best things to do in Salem? Well, you’re in luck! Whether you’re interested in history, witch trials, or simply exploring a charming New England town, Salem has it all.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 20 must-see attractions and activities that will make your visit to Salem unforgettable. So hop on board as we uncover the fascinating secrets of this historic city!

If you are also looking for some great places to eat in Salem, you can read our restaurant guide.

Salem’s History

Salem is a striking city in Massachusetts, well-known for its rich colonial past and deep roots in maritime history. Established by Roger Conant and other immigrants from Cape Ann, this settlement was originally christened Naumkeag but later renamed Salem by the settlers.

Over time, Salem gained infamy as the stage for the notorious Salem Witch Trials of 1692 where more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft.

Today, it’s a fascinating town filled with history and charm that draws countless tourists each year who explore attractions like the Salem Witch Museum, House of Seven Gables, and the intricate Salem Maritime National Historic Site dedicated to showcasing its strong connection to sea trading activities.

Top 28 Things To Do In Salem

1. Visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site

best things to do in salem - Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Salem Maritime National Historic Site – 160 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Immerse yourself in the decidedly nautical atmosphere of Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Experience firsthand, the city’s rich maritime history encapsulated within several preserved historic sites.

Stand in awe of Custom House, which was once a significant location for America’s spice trade and Derby Wharf that served as an active shipping hub during its heyday.

The park is open 24/7 allowing you to explore at your own pace. Visit the Hawkes House, an emblem of Federalist architectural style or delve into colonial life with a tour through Narbonne House.

Don’t forget to spend some tranquil moments at the Colonial Revival Garden before setting sail on another adventure across Salem!

2. Explore the Peabody Essex Museum

best things to do in salem - Peabody Essex Museum
Peabody Essex Museum – 161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Seize the opportunity to visit the Peabody Essex Museum while you’re in Salem. Known globally for its dynamic exhibits, this museum boasts a diverse collection of over 1.5 million pieces spread across multiple genres.

It’s a paradise for art lovers with extensive collections of American and Asian art. The museum tells tales of maritime history through artifacts from various timelines. A tour around provides an exciting chance to unearth stories about Salem’s rich heritage wrapped up in its thrilling exhibits and displays.

One can find original artworks that have been on display here for more than 220 years! Enjoying the experiences offered by one of the world’s leading museums should definitely not be missed during your stay in Salem.

3. Tour the Witch House

best things to do in salem - Witch House
Witch House – 310 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Stepping into the Witch House allows you a rare glimpse of Salem’s dark and fascinating past. It was once home to Judge Jonathan Corwin, famously linked to the infamous witch trials, which still captivates visitors from all over the world today.

As you explore this preserved seventeenth-century dwelling, stories about these historic events will come alive, giving you an authentic taste of what life in witch-ridden Salem might have been like.

Don’t forget to pay heed to your guides’ recounting tales and legends for they are not just ordinary tour guides but practicing witches themselves! This makes the house a popular must-visit attraction that provides a unique perspective on witchcraft and its misunderstood modern interpretation – something not found anywhere else in Salem!

4. Stroll through the McIntire District

best things to do in salem - McIntire District
McIntire District – McIntire Historic District, Salem, MA, USA

The McIntire District in Salem is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Located just a short walk from the main campus of the Peabody Essex Museum, this district is known for its stunning collection of Georgian and Federal-period houses.

Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets lined with these architectural gems and soak in the rich history of Salem. Marvel at the intricate details and craftsmanship of these historic homes as you imagine life in the past.

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore one of Salem’s most picturesque neighborhoods during your visit.

5. Pay your respects at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial

best things to do in salem - Salem Witch Trials Memorial
Salem Witch Trials Memorial – Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a must-visit attraction in Salem, Massachusetts. Located just off Charter Street on Liberty Street, the memorial serves as a somber and dramatic reminder of the tragic events that unfolded during the witch trials of 1692.

With 20 granite benches inscribed with the names of the accused, dates of execution, and victims’ protests, it offers visitors a chance to pay their respects to those who lost their lives.

A visit to the memorial allows you to reflect on this dark period in history and learn more about the individuals affected by these unjust accusations.

6. Explore the Charter Street Cemetery

best things to do in salem - Charter Street Cemetery
Charter Street Cemetery – Charter St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

The Charter Street Cemetery is an essential stop for history enthusiasts visiting Salem. As the oldest cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts, it holds significant importance in the city’s rich past.

Managed by the Peabody Essex Museum, this cemetery is a part of their architectural collection and even has a welcome center located within the historic Pickman House. At the Charter Street Cemetery Welcome Center, visitors can immerse themselves in exhibitions that shed light on the cemetery’s history and significance.

This picturesque burial ground serves as the final resting place for numerous notable figures from Salem’s past, offering a unique opportunity to pay homage to those who shaped this fascinating city.

7. Tour the House of the Seven Gables

best things to do in salem - House of the Seven Gables
House of the Seven Gables – 115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Explore the historic House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts. This iconic attraction is a must-visit during your trip to Salem. Located in the downtown area, this house has direct ties to the infamous Salem Witch Trials.

Immerse yourself in history as you take a guided tour and learn about the events that took place here. Discover the hidden secrets within its walls and gain insight into life during this period of witch hysteria.

Don’t miss out on this fascinating experience while exploring all that Salem has to offer.

8. Join a Guided Walking Tour

best things to do in salem - night time walking tour
Guided Walking Tour – Various locations

Embark on a guided walking tour to fully immerse yourself in the rich history and spooky legends of Salem. Choose from popular options like the Myths & Misconceptions Walking Tour with Essex Heritage or the highly rated History & Hauntings of Salem tour offered by Witch City Walking Tours.

These tours provide fascinating insights into both the historical events and paranormal activities that have shaped this enchanting city. With ticket prices ranging from $6-9, these guided walking tours offer an affordable and engaging way to explore Salem’s intriguing past.

9. Take a ride on the Salem Trolley

best things to do in salem - Salem Trolley
Salem Trolley – 8 Central St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

The Salem Trolley is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Salem. This eight-mile ride takes you on a tour of the city’s most popular attractions, such as the Charter Street Burial Ground and The House of the Seven Gables.

Hop aboard and enjoy a narrated journey through Salem’s fascinating history. Operating between April 1 and November 1, this 60-minute trolley tour offers convenient stops at key locations like the Visitor Center and Witch History Museum.

Don’t miss out on this fun and informative way to explore Salem!

10. Enjoy oceanfront parks

best things to do in salem -  beautiful ocreanfront park
Oceanfront parks – Various parks along the waterfront

Salem’s oceanfront parks offer a scenic and relaxing getaway for visitors. With breathtaking views of the ocean, these parks are perfect for outdoor activities like picnicking, walking, and cycling.

You can immerse yourself in the natural beauty while enjoying amenities such as playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll or have a fun-filled day with family and friends, these oceanfront parks provide the perfect setting.

Soak in the tranquility and enjoy the refreshing atmosphere that Salem’s parks have to offer.

11. Experience other witchy attractions

best things to do in salem - haunted happenings

Immerse yourself in the mystical atmosphere of Salem by exploring other witchy attractions. Discover the dark history of witchcraft at the Salem Witch Museum, where you’ll learn about the infamous trials that took place in 1692.

Don’t miss out on attending Haunted Happenings, a month-long celebration during October that includes spooky events and activities. If you’re feeling brave, visit Gallows Hill and The Lost Museum for an eerie experience.

And for those seeking solace or seeking to pay respects, make sure to stop by Crow Haven Corner, known as the oldest witch shop in Salem. There’s no shortage of witch-themed attractions to satisfy your curiosity and intrigue in this bewitching city.

12. Visit the Salem Witch Museum

best things to do in salem - Salem Witch Museum
Salem Witch Museum – 19 1/2 Washington Square N, Salem, MA 01970, USA

The Salem Witch Museum is a must-visit attraction in Salem, MA. This popular museum gives you the opportunity to explore the history of the notorious Salem Witch Trials. It provides an engaging and informative experience where you can learn about the true events that took place during this dark period.

As one of the most visited attractions in Salem, the museum is recommended for both those who are new to the subject and those looking to delve deeper into this fascinating chapter of history.

By visiting the Salem Witch Museum, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of witch-trial history and its impact on this historic city.

13. Attend Haunted Happenings

best things to do in salem - Haunted Happenings
Haunted Happenings – Various locations during October

Attend Haunted Happenings in Salem, Massachusetts during the month of October for an unforgettable experience. This month-long celebration attracts a large number of visitors who come dressed up in Halloween costumes to immerse themselves in the spooky atmosphere.

There are plenty of activities to choose from, including haunted houses, psychic readings, and history tours. You can join a haunted walking tour to discover the eerie side of Salem or explore attractions like the Witch Trials Memorial and the Witch Museum.

Don’t miss out on taking a ferry to other nearby attractions as well. With affordable options available, you can have a hauntingly good time without breaking the bank during Haunted Happenings in Salem.

14. Learn about witches, dungeons, and pirates

best things to do in salem - Witch Dungeon Museum

Explore the fascinating history of witches, dungeons, and pirates in Salem. Immerse yourself in the eerie world of witch trials at museums like The Witch Dungeon Museum. Learn about the accused and explore replica dungeons where they were held.

Discover the connection between piracy and Salem’s maritime history through exhibits and interactive experiences. Uncover stories of notorious pirates who sailed these treacherous waters.

Get a glimpse into Salem’s dark past and discover the intertwining tales of witches, dungeons, and pirates that make this city so captivating.

15. Take a house tour

best things to do in salem - Salem Harbor

Explore the rich history of Salem by taking a house tour. One must-visit attraction is the House of the Seven Gables, which offers an immersive experience into colonial life. Step inside this historic mansion that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel and discover its hidden secrets.

Marvel at the stunning architecture and learn about the Turner family who once called it home for three generations. Take in the breathtaking views of Salem Harbor from its gardens and gain a deeper understanding of Salem’s fascinating past.

16. Visit unique shops like Kokeshi and Goodnight Fatty

best things to do in salem - Kokeshi
Kokeshi – 288 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

At Kokeshi, you can indulge in fresh and flavorful Asian dishes while enjoying the trendy industrial-chic ambiance. This unique shop offers a modern twist on traditional Japanese cuisine, with their menu featuring delicious bowls of ramen and creative sushi rolls.

Whether you’re craving some comforting comfort food or looking to try something new, Kokeshi is a must-visit spot in Salem.

For dessert lovers, Goodnight Fatty is the place to be. Originally starting as a hidden popup located in an alleyway behind a cookie speakeasy, this quirky shop serves up warm and gooey cookies that are simply irresistible.

With flavors ranging from classic chocolate chip to creative combinations like s’mores and peanut butter whiskey, Goodnight Fatty is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

17. Learn about Salem’s history at the Old Burying Point Cemetery

best things to do in salem - Old Burying Point Cemetery
Old Burying Point Cemetery – Charter St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

The Old Burying Point Cemetery is a must-visit attraction in Salem if you’re interested in the city’s history. Founded in 1637, it is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States and holds immense historical significance.

Not only is it the final resting place of notable individuals from Salem’s past, but it also has ties to the infamous Witch Trials of 1692. One important feature within the cemetery grounds is the Witch Trials Memorial, where visitors can learn more about this dark chapter in Salem’s history.

Take a walk through this historic cemetery and immerse yourself in Salem’s fascinating past.

18. Experience the eerie at Gallows Hill and The Lost Museum

best things to do in salem - Gallows Hill
Gallows Hill – 7 Lynde St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

At Gallows Hill and The Lost Museum, visitors can immerse themselves in a spine-chilling experience. These popular attractions in Salem offer an eerie and interactive adventure that will leave you with goosebumps.

The Lost Museum takes you on a journey underground, where you’ll discover strange rooms filled with cursed artifacts, ghosts, and even monsters. Meanwhile, at Gallows Hill, live witchcraft and ghost storytelling performances are sure to send shivers down your spine.

If you’re looking for something creepy and haunted during your visit to Salem, don’t miss out on the chilling experience at Gallows Hill and The Lost Museum.

19. Visit the historic Crow Haven Corner

best things to do in salem - Crow Haven Corner
Crow Haven Corner – 125 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Discover the enchanting world of witchcraft at the historic Crow Haven Corner, the oldest and most renowned Witch Shop in Salem. With over nine years as the number one Witch Shop on TripAdvisor, this charming store offers a unique and authentic experience for visitors.

Step inside and explore their wide selection of crystals, spell kits, tarot cards, and other bewitching items. Immerse yourself in the rich history of witchcraft as you browse through their collection.

Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or simply curious about the craft, Crow Haven Corner is a must-visit destination during your time in Salem.

20. Take a scenic ride on the Salem Ferry

best things to do in salem - Salem Ferry
Salem Ferry – 10 Blaney St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

The Salem Ferry offers a picturesque sixty-minute ride from Salem to Boston. Operated by Boston Harbor Cruises, this ferry provides tourists with stunning views of the iconic Boston skyline.

Whether you’re visiting during the summer or fall seasons, hop on the ferry and enjoy a leisurely cruise while taking in the beauty of the surrounding waters. It’s a perfect way to relax and appreciate the scenic charm of both Salem and Boston.

21. Try some sweets at Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie

best things to do in salem - Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie
Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie – 122 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Indulge your sweet tooth at Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, the oldest candy company in America. Established in 1806, this iconic store on Derby Street in Salem offers a wide variety of traditional sweets that are sure to satisfy any craving.

From their famous Salem Gibralter and Blackjacks to chocolates, fudges, taffies, caramels, and nostalgic treats, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to experience the signature candies like the molasses-flavored taffy called Blackjacks or sink your teeth into a delicious Salem Gibraltar.

With over 200 years of delighting customers, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie is a must-visit destination for anyone with a love for confectionery delights.

22. More Ideas for Living In and Exploring Salem

– Stay at The Hotel Salem for a unique and comfortable lodging experience.

– Dine at Ledger Restaurant and Bar to enjoy delicious meals in a stylish setting.

– Rent a bike from Bluebikes for a day trip to explore the beautiful trails around Salem.

– Go for a hike at nearby trails like Winter Island Park or Forest River Park for outdoor adventure.

– Check out other local attractions like Pioneer Village Salem and the Salem Wax Museum for more historical insights and entertainment.

– Explore the city’s food and drink scene with tours like WKND and Art & Culture, offering a taste of local flavors.

Read on to discover even more exciting things to do in Salem!

23. Stay at The Hotel Salem

best things to do in salem - Hotel Salem
The Hotel Salem – 209 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

The Hotel Salem is the perfect place to stay while exploring all that Salem has to offer. Located conveniently near various attractions, this accommodation option provides comfort and convenience for tourists visiting the city.

Whether you’re interested in learning about the witch trials or immersing yourself in Salem’s fascinating history, The Hotel Salem offers a comfortable base for your adventures. With its prime location and comfortable amenities, staying at The Hotel Salem ensures that you have a memorable and enjoyable experience during your visit to this historic city.

24. Dine at Ledger Restaurant and Bar

best things to do in salem - Ledger Restaurant and Bar
Ledger Restaurant and Bar – 125 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Ledger Restaurant and Bar is a must-visit dining spot in Salem, Massachusetts. Housed in the historic Salem Savings Bank building, this progressive New England concept offers a unique culinary experience.

Ledger combines traditional 19th-century dishes, cocktails, and techniques with a modern twist. Considered one of the best restaurants in Salem, Ledger’s location in the heart of historic Salem adds to its charm and appeal.

Make sure to include a visit to Ledger Restaurant and Bar on your itinerary for an unforgettable dining experience during your trip to Salem.

25. Rent a bike from Bluebikes for a day trip

best things to do in salem - Bluebikes
Bluebikes, available at various locations

Explore Salem on two wheels by renting a bike from Bluebikes. With over 4,000 bikes and 400 stations across various cities, Bluebikes is an extension of Metro Boston’s public bike share system.

Using the convenient Bluebikes app, you can easily purchase a single-day pass or monthly membership for $29. If you’re eligible, take advantage of the discounted annual membership for only $50.

The Adventure Pass offers 24-hour access to Bluebikes for just $10, giving you unlimited 2-hour rides. So grab a bike and pedal your way through Salem’s historic streets, enjoying the sights and sounds of this fascinating city at your own pace.

26. Go for a hike at nearby trails

best things to do in salem - hiking trails by salem
There are some beautiful trails in and around Salem

Explore the natural beauty of Salem by going for a hike on its nearby trails. With over two miles of hiking trails, it’s no wonder that this activity is considered one of the best things to do in Salem.

These trails are associated with More Ideas for Living In and Exploring Salem, offering visitors a chance to experience the outdoors and immerse themselves in nature. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, hiking at these nearby trails is a popular activity that allows you to enjoy scenic views and get some exercise while exploring all that Salem has to offer.

So grab your hiking boots and embark on an adventure through the picturesque landscapes of Salem!

27. Check out other local attractions like Pioneer Village Salem and the Salem Wax Museum

best things to do in salem - Pioneer Village
Pioneer Village, near Salem

Don’t miss out on exploring other local attractions while you’re in Salem! Take a trip to Pioneer Village Salem, known as America’s first living history museum. Step back in time and experience a recreation of an early English settlement.

And if you’re looking for some spooky fun, make sure to visit the Salem Wax Museum. It offers a unique look into local history with its exhibits on witches and seafarers. These two attractions are definitely worth adding to your itinerary when you visit Salem.

28. Explore the city’s food and drink scene with tours like WKND and Art & Culture

best things to do in salem - Art & Culture tour
Art & Culture Festival, locations vary!

Embark on a culinary adventure in Salem by exploring the city’s vibrant food and drink scene through tours like WKND and Art & Culture. Indulge your taste buds as you discover an array of restaurants catering to food lovers.

From local seafood delicacies to international cuisines, there is something for everyone. Sample craft beers at breweries or sip on artisanal cocktails at trendy bars. These tours offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Salem’s gastronomic delights while learning about the city’s history and culture.

Don’t miss out on this chance to experience the flavors of Salem!

Conclusion

In conclusion, Salem offers a wealth of history and attractions for visitors to explore. From the haunting witch trials memorial to the iconic House of the Seven Gables, there is something for everyone in this fascinating city.

Whether you are interested in maritime history, witchcraft, or simply enjoying the beautiful oceanfront parks, Salem has it all. Plan your trip today and get ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture and enchanting atmosphere of this historic New England destination.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the best things to do in Salem?

Salem offers witchy things like ghost tours, a visit to the Corwin house where one of the judges from 1692 Witch Trials lived, and other historical sites related to Salem Witch Trials.

How can I get from Boston to Salem?

You can easily get from Boston’s North Station to Salem station by train or take a ferry from Boston to reach downtown Salem.

Can you recommend any guided tours in Salem?

Yes, there are many excellent guided house tours for exploring structures in this historic town such as the Ward House which has a hidden staircase and possesses ties with victims accused of witchcraft.

Where should I go for learning more about the history of Salem?

The museum is a great place offering an overview of the Witch Hunt , it is also home to three generations of Turners and happens to be one oldest operating museums in United States.

Are there any significant landmarks I should visit when heading towards Essex Street?

Certainly! A stop at corner of Essex and North Streets reveals memorial dedicated for honoring victims who were executed during infamous witch hunt incident; certainly an intense way pay respect.

What activities can be done during Halloween season?

During Halloween season explore spookiest tales on ghost tours, visit dungeons where those accused were kept or just enjoy exciting events along with abundant restaurants and bars across entire downtown area makes it complete fun experience.

What are the best things to do in Salem?

Some of the best things to do in Salem include visiting the Salem Witch Museum, taking a spooky ghost tour, exploring the historic attractions, and indulging in the witchy atmosphere.

Where can I find a travel guide for Salem?

You can find a comprehensive travel guide for Salem at the local tourist information center or online travel websites that specialize in Salem attractions.

What are some popular ghost tours in Salem?

Some popular ghost tours in Salem include the Salem Night Tour, Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour, and Bewitched After Dark Walking Tours.

What are some must-see attractions in Salem?

Must-see attractions in Salem include the Salem Witch Museum, Salem Willows Park, and the statue of Elizabeth Montgomery from the TV show “Bewitched.”

How can I best experience the witchy things in Salem?

You can best experience the witchy things in Salem by visiting the House of the Seven Gables, exploring the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, and attending various witch-themed events and shops in the area.

Where can I learn about the history of Salem?

You can learn about the history of Salem at the Peabody Essex Museum, the Witch House, and various walking tours that delve into the rich historical background of the city.

What is the best way to get to Salem for a day trip?

The best way to get to Salem for a day trip is by taking a ferry from Boston to Salem, which offers a scenic and convenient mode of transportation.

What notable structures can I see in Salem?

Some notable structures to see in Salem include the Witch House, the House of the Seven Gables, and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Where can I find information about the victims of the Salem witch trials?

You can find information about the victims of the Salem witch trials at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and the various historical sites and museums dedicated to preserving their memory.

What are some recommended places to visit in Salem for a memorable experience?

Some recommended places to visit in Salem for a memorable experience include the historic Ropes Mansion, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birth home, and the Salem Armory.