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34 Best Things To Do in Salem, Massachusetts

34 Best Things To Do in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts, is a city rich in history and culture. It’s no wonder that it’s a popular tourist destination! There are plenty of things to do in Salem, from touring the historical sites to taking a ghost tour. Here are the best things to do in Salem, MA.

When it comes to mysterious places, Salem, Massachusetts, ranks among the top options in the world. But what makes this city so intriguing? And more importantly, what are the best things to do in Salem?

Witchcraft, haunted places, ghost sights, and an obscure and esoteric history surround this small city on the north coast of Massachusetts, just half an hour away from Boston.

We’ll break down the best activities in Salem based on a few types of activities, such as walking tours, museums, and visiting downtown Salem.

Things to Do in Salem, Massachusetts

1. Salem Witch Museum

Salem Witch Museum Architecture
image by Smart Destinations is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Address: 19 1/2 N Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Salem Witch Museum is a museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It is the only museum in the world dedicated to the Salem witch trials and is located in a historic building known as the Witch House.

The museum was founded by artist and author Pauline Baynes and opened on November 1st, 1982. The museum was established by the City of Salem officials to commemorate what happened during those events and educate visitors about this dark period.

The exhibits at this unique attraction tell several stories from different perspectives: those of victims, accusers, judges, juries, townspeople, ministers, and others involved with these infamous trials over 300 years ago (1692-1693).

You can see artifacts from both sides, including items used during trial proceedings, such as tools used during questioning sessions or old court documents detailing testimonies given by those accused during their trials during this difficult time period. The Salem Witch Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Salem, so be sure to buy your tickets in advance!

2. Attend a trial at the Witch Dungeon Museum

Witch Dungeon Museum Building
image by Badger541/TripAdvisor

Address: 16 Lynde St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Witch Dungeon Museum is a great way to learn about the history of witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. The museum has a season-round opening, and groups can be booked too. There’s no prize to guess what it’s all about! The Witch Dungeon Museum recreates a 1692 witch trial atmosphere using real actors.

Keep track of witch trials from their beginnings until the end. Hear an authentic account of the history and understand how Salem influenced the superstitions of its people. Take a guided tour of a replica dungeon that holds the prisoner. You’ll be transported back in time to 1692 Salem.

3. Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Salem Witch Trials Memorial Entrance
image by christine zenino is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 24 Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial, located in Salem’s Memorial Square, was dedicated in 1992 to commemorate the victims of the Salem witch trials. The memorial comprises a granite slab and a bronze statue depicting three women standing together.

Anna Hyatt Huntington and Paul Manship created the memorial. The statue depicts three women accused of being witches during the 1692 witch trials: Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, and Susannah Martin.

The granite slab contains the names of all the accused witches, as well as those who lost their lives during the witch trials. This is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the Salem witch trials. The memorial is free and open to the public 24 hours a day.

See Related: Where to Stay in Salem, Massachusetts

4. Go on a Walking Tour in Salem

We already have an article about the best ghost tours in Salem, Massachusetts. However, a few of them are worth mentioning so you know about them.

Daytime Ghost Tours and History of Downtown Salem

Graveyard in Salem, Massachusetts During Day

These daylight walking tours will tell you the dark past of Salem as you visit the city’s most famous places. The ghost tour fully covers Salem’s dark history in the daytime, which is especially great if you travel with children or simply because you are a scary person.

As the local guide places you in context, you will learn what led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials in 1692. The guide narrates the obscure story in the most detailed, disturbing, and depressing way possible. You will end up petrified, and undoubtedly, this is one of the best things to do in Salem, MA.

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Graveyard and Ghost Tours at Night

Graveyard Tours in Salem

Oh man, if you think you have felt fear before in your life, wait until you take a graveyard night tour in Salem. Many people rate this kind of tour as the best thing to do in Salem, and we can tell you they are a must-try.

You will visit every historic place in Salem as you discover what truly happened during the horrendous Salem Witchcraft Trials. You can expect dark magic, obscure things, mystery, ghost sights, and more.

The spine-chilling feeling will take over your body, and the goosebumps will flourish as your stroll continues. Night tours in Salem are no joke. Want any advice? Don’t go on this walking tour alone.

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Candlelight Walks Around The Streets

Salem Witch Tours

Yet again, we warn you not to go all alone. Seriously, these tours are not for the faint of heart. The candlelight walks cover more than just the history of Salem. They dive into witchcraft, how witches perform magic, ghosts, dark elements, and creepy stuff.

We are not sure if you can handle this. If you know you are easily scared, don’t go alone. There is a good reason why these tours are not recommended for children under 13. So, don’t even think about bringing kids!

And yeah, we mentioned Salem is not only a dark and ghostly city. But what else do you expect to do in a town with this reputation? Of course, Salem offers more than creepy experiences. However, horror is the presentation card of the town, and we can’t simply ignore that.

For further information about candlelight tours in Salem, check out these best ghost tours in Salem.

See Related: Vacations for a Group of Friends

Hocus Pocus Tours

Hocus Pocus Tours Expedition
image by Viator

Hocus Pocus Tours offers an award-winning historical tour of Salem. The tour takes around 90 minutes to complete by foot. During the tour, many things may be learned from Salem’s historical past, particularly in the Salem witch trials.

The tour company has a similar name as the Hocus Pocus blockbuster, and you will see the sights from the movie though they are mostly based on the historical story of the place and are no longer a film.

The trip includes 15 tours and is guided by a talented author who brings to life the interesting city’s past. Hocus Pocus Tours is an informative, expertly guided tour that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for Salem’s history.

See Related: Best Breweries in Massachusetts

5. Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody Essex Museum Dracula Exhibit
image by Larry Lamsa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Peabody Essex Museum is one of the largest and oldest museums in the United States. Its collection includes 840,000 objects spanning various cultures and historical periods. The museum also owns numerous historic homes in the region replete with major American architectural styles.

The John Ward House was built during the 16th century and was historically important as the only surviving example containing its kind. It provides insight into previously undiscovered aspects of early New England architectural styles and forms.

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s the largest museum in New England and a Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program member.

It’s located right in downtown Salem and offers free admission to all visitors. The museum has a collection of more than 840,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in North America.

The Peabody Essex Museum is also home to a number of historic houses, including the John Ward House (the only remaining example of its kind), which provides insight into early New England architectural styles.

See Related: Things to Do in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

6. Pickering Wharf

Boat in Pickering Wharf
image by Salem State Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 23 Congress St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Pickering Wharf is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a mix of history, shopping, and dining options. The Friendship of Salem Ship replica is the main attraction for many tourists – it’s an impressive sight. The ship is open to passengers for a limited time, so be sure to check the schedule in advance.

Pickering Wharf is also home to dozens of shops, making it the perfect place to find a souvenir. And when you’re ready for a break from shopping, plenty of sand areas are nearby where you can relax and enjoy the view.

See Related: Where to Stay in Nantucket: 7 Areas & Neighborhoods

7. Misery Islands

Misery Islands Ocean Scenery
image by User:Magicpiano is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: Salem, MA 01970, United States

Misery Islands are a small chain of islands off the coast of Salem, Massachusetts. The name is a bit misleading, though—the islands aren’t actually that miserable to get to.

They’re part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and home to an amazing variety of wildlife. In fact, Misery Islands are one of the best places you can go bird watching in Massachusetts.

If you want to get out on these quiet little islands, Misery Island Charters offers boat tours from May through September that explore all three islands. These tours last about three hours and cost $38 per person (kids under 12 ride for free).

8. Pioneer Village

Salem Pioneer Village Old House
image by jjbadfish2/TripAdvisor

Address: 98 West Ave, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Pioneer Village is a living history museum located in Salem. It’s open year-round and free to visit, making it one of the best free things to do in the city. The village features historic buildings from the 17th through 19th centuries that you can explore and learn about.

You can visit the cider press house with its huge brick kiln and walk out onto the covered bridge that spans Canal Street. You can also check out various other buildings, including an 18th-century log cabin, doctor’s office, and blacksmith shop—all staffed by costumed interpreters who bring these old structures to life with stories of early settlers’ lives during this period in American history.

9. House of Seven Gables Historic Site

House of S and Skylineeven Gables
image by aresauburn™ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Address: 115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

History buffs will enjoy an experience at The House of the Seven Gables, a museum of Salem’s rich history and Nathan Hawthorne’s life. Located on historic Chestnut Street in Salem, Massachusetts, this historic site is not only one of the most popular tourist attractions in New England but also one of America’s oldest houses still standing today.

The House of Seven Gables was built by an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote about it extensively in his book “The House Of The Seven Gables.”

You can tour the garden at the rear of the famous House of Seven Gables, which is beautifully landscaped and maintained. There are also several outbuildings on the property, including a carriage house and a replica of an old witchcraft trial room.

Guided tours are available year-round. During the summer, evening tours are available, which are candlelit and very atmospheric. If you’re interested in American history or want to experience one of New England’s most popular tourist attractions, add The House of Seven Gables Historic Site to your list.

10. Joshua Ward House

Joshua Ward House
image by Swampyank is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 148 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Joshua Ward House is a historic house museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The Joshua Ward House was built in 1790 by Joshua Ward, Jr., a prominent Salem merchant, and shipowner.

The house was designed by Samuel McIntire, one of Salem’s most prominent architects. The building has been open to the public since 1894 and is managed by Historic New England.

In addition to being home to Joshua Ward (1760-1815) and his family, this Federal-style mansion also served as headquarters for General Israel Putnam during the Siege of Boston during the American Revolution (1775-1783).

See Related: Things to Do in Boston

11. Explore The Witch House

Witch House
image by massmatt is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 310 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Witch House is a must-see for anyone visiting Salem. The house was originally built by Jonathan Corwin, a judge of the 1692 witch trial. In its current capacity, this museum houses, and the visitor is allowed to take an independently curated tour and see the lifestyle of the rich.

The Witch House is the only house in the town directly linked to the witch trials. In the early 1940s, this residence remained farther from the street.

The Witch House will definitely be worth the visit while staying in Salem. The historical value, as well as the unique experience, make it a can’t-miss while in town and on a Salem walking tour.

12. Nathaniel Bowditch House

Nathaniel Bowditch House
image by Daderot is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 9 North Street, Salem, MA 01970

Nathaniel Bowditch House is a must-visit for history buffs. It’s free, open to the public year-round, and features exhibits on Nathaniel Bowditch’s life and times, as well as his contributions to nautical sciences.

Bowditch was a 19th-century Salem ship captain, astronomer, and mathematician who wrote The New American Practical Navigator (first published in 1802). This guidebook was essential for sailors traveling long distances by sea because it contained accurate tables for determining latitude using the sun or stars.

His book also includes tables for calculating a ship’s speed and distance traveled during given periods at different speeds—information useful when navigating icebergs.

13. Perley House & Garden Tours

Front of Perly House, Salem, Massachusetts
Perley House / Massachusetts Government

The Perley House & Garden Tours are a must-see on your trip to Salem. The house is the oldest in the city, dating back to 1652. It’s also the only house owned by a woman in Salem that has been preserved as it was when she lived there.

It’s open for tours Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm during the summer (June 1st through September 30th), but you can also tour at other times if you’re visiting during off-season months.

To get there from downtown Salem, walk along Essex Street—you’ll know you’re at 36 Essex when you reach a sign that reads “Perley House.”

Free Things to Do in Salem, MA

Looking for something cheap to do in Salem? Here are our top picks.

14. Punto Urban Art Museum

Punto Urban Art Museum Wall Art

Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 91-1 Peabody St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Punto Urban Art Museum is one of the best things to do in Salem, Massachusetts. The museum is dedicated to urban art and features a variety of contemporary works by local, national, and international artists. The museum also has a gift shop and offers several workshops throughout the year.

It’s also an open-air museum, so plan accordingly if inclement weather is in the forecast. It’s an easy walk from downtown Salem, so you can visit it in around a half-hour if you stay in the heart of the main street.

15. Elias Hasket Derby House

Derby House Gate
image by daveynin is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Derby House, 65 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Elias Hasket Derby House is one of the oldest homes in Salem, Massachusetts. The house was built in 1762 and is now a museum open to the public for tours. The museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday, and admission is free.

16. Salem Common Historic District

Address: Salem, Massachusetts

You can’t visit Salem without paying a visit to the Salem Common. It’s the oldest public space in New England and was designated a National Historic Landmark District on October 15, 1966.

The Salem Common was created in 1629 by John Endecott, who led colonists from Salem to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Boston, as a place for public gatherings and military parades.

Today, it’s one of New England’s most important civic spaces—everything from museums to entertainment venues here.

Salem is known for its rich history, and the Salem Common is a key part of that history. If you’re interested in learning more about Salem’s past, there are several museums located on Salem Common, including the Witch Museum and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

The Salem Common is also home to a variety of events throughout the year, so be sure to check the calendar before you visit.

Whether you’re looking to learn more about Salem’s past or want to enjoy some time in the great outdoors, the Salem Common is a must-visit tourist attraction.

17. Elizabeth Montgomery Statue

Elizabeth Montgomery Statue
image by dresdnhope is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Address: Salem, MA 01970, United States

You may wonder what Elizabeth Montgomery’s role in Salem, Massachusetts is. She played a famous fictional witch on “Bewitched.” It would be great for her to be featured in a world-renowned city. Pop art statues are available at an Essex Street shopping mall.

The sculpture stands six-foot-high from bronze and captures Montgomery’s charm. TV Land had an interest in this project. The episodes of “Bewitched” have been filmed here, and the relationship has risen even deeper to the present. It is one of the sights to see on a Salem Witchcraft tour.

18. Chestnut Street District

Scenic Chestnut Street District
image by David Adam Kess is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Address: Chestnut Street District, Salem, MA 01970, USA

This historic district is one of the most popular parts of town. It’s got some great shops and restaurants, and even if you’re not into shopping or eating, it’s worth visiting because there are so many other things to do here. This area has so much history that you can easily spend hours exploring all the different sites.

If you’re traveling with kids, this is an excellent place to take them: they’ll love running around on a sunny day and checking out all the fun activities (and maybe even learning something new!). If you’re looking for a romantic spot to share with someone special, this area has lots of opportunities for that as well!

And if your friends want to get away together for a little while without their kids tagging along or if you need some alone time but don’t want to sit in front of a TV screen all day long…it couldn’t get any easier than spending an afternoon wandering around Chestnut Street District.

19. Old Burying Point Cemetery

Old Burying Point Cemetery
image by Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 51 Charter St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Old Burying Point Cemetery is the city’s oldest cemetery, built behind Salem witch trials memorials. The cemetery contains a large number of prominent locals who reside in Salem.

Perhaps the biggest buried person at Old Burying Point is Mary Corey, accused of witchcraft in the witch trial of Salem – one of the leading players in the darker side of Salem history.

Many of the inscriptions on the heads of these gravestones are illegible today due to the ravages of time; however, the Cemetery still receives many visits each day.

Today, Old Burying Point Cemetery is a popular tourist destination for those interested in spooky history or gorgeous gravestones and one of the sights to see on a Requiem for Salem Walking Ghost Tour.

20. Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Ship in Salem Maritime National Historic Site
image by Bob Linsdell is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 160 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a must-visit for anyone interested in American or maritime history. The site includes several other historic sites nearby, including a restored sailing ship, museums, historic homes, and an abundance of information on the history of this historic town.

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site was also the first national historic site in the United States, making it a great place for history buffs.

Fun Things to Do in Salem, MA

Looking for more things to do in historic Salem besides witchcraft history? Here are some fun attractions and activities.

21. Stay at or grab a drink at the Hawthorne Hotel

Hawthorne Hotel Building
image by Booking.com

Address: 18 Washington Square W, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Hawthorne Hotel is a historic hotel in Salem, Massachusetts. The hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

It was founded in 1926 as part of an effort to revitalize downtown Salem and was constructed using materials from nearby colonial structures that had been torn down or moved.

Located at 7 Columbus Avenue, it stands on one end of the city’s historic Carpenters’ Square area across from Liberty Tree Mall and near restaurants like The White Horse Tavern and Peter Prescott Park.

22. Essex Street Pedestrian Mall

Essex Street Pedestrian Mall Lights
image by oliva732000 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Address: Essex Street &, Central St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Essex Street Pedestrian Mall is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun, lively atmosphere. It’s home to some of the best shopping and dining in the city, and it’s also a great place to people-watch and take in all the sights and sounds of Salem.

The mall is especially busy on weekends and is known for being a part of the Essex National Heritage Area, filled with hidden gems of Salem’s history, restaurants, and shops.

23. Ride the Salem Trolley

Salem Trolley Tour
Management / TripAdvisor

The Salem trolley tour was established in 1982. It gives the visitor a chance to experience some of the most famous sights around the city and discover historical and interesting facts along the way.

The tour covers eight miles around the town center and stops at 14 places. You may go back and forth as much as you want and explore as long as you desire. The Salem Trolley is a great way to see the city. It’s a historic trolley car that will take you on a tour of Salem.

The Salem trolley tour stops at all the major attractions, so it’s a great way to get orientated with the city and is a great option for families looking to explore Salem.

24. New England Pirate Museum

New England Pirate Museum Exhibit
image by Maureen S/TripAdvisor

Address: 274 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The New England Pirate Museum is a great place to go if you want to learn more about pirates. There are all sorts of things to see and do here, and it’s a perfect place to visit with kids. They’ll have a blast learning all about piracy and the history of the seas.

The New England Pirate Museum is a fantastic place to learn more about the real-life pirates that once inhabited the city. Follow the exploits of notorious pirates such as Captain Kidd and Blackbeard as you view genuine pirate relics and riches.

25. Visit Salem Village for Souvenir Shopping

What can be better than bringing home some magical souvenirs from a mysterious city? Find out the best shops to take home some beautiful memories from Salem.

Witchery World

Witchery World in Salem

Address: 246 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

This witchcraft shop is the dream store for people who love magic and occultism. Buy what you are looking for to perform magic and spells.

If you are lucky enough, Salem’s Witches can read your mind; isn’t it cool? If you are looking for love, success, a better job, or to bring justice to this unfair world, this place offers you the exact relics for that and many other things.

Would you like to have a glance into the future or even change it? Do you want to contact your beloved dead relatives? They have all you can wish for. Here you can find the purest oils, the most exquisite incense, candles, and soaps. All products are handmade by local experts.

Even if you are not a magic lover or believer, visiting the Old World Witchery is one of the best things in Salem; it is a take-home souvenir!

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26. Grab a Souvenir at Artist’s Row in Salem

Salem Artists' Row Pottery
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 24 New Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Now let’s forget about magic for just a moment and admire the delightful Artist’s Row shop. They offer a wide variety of handcraft products to bring home.

The shop features handmade beeswax candles, award-winning honey, and bee skincare from Salem’s Bees! Also, you can see the Shindig Studio. They work hard to make the most sustainable fashion and decoration.

What’s the best? The handcrafts are recycled items! Shindig hand-paints any item that they can recycle, anything you can imagine. Salem’s local talent is such a hidden gem.

This and more are available at the Artist’s Row. Go and take a look to see Salem’s unknown talent.

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Visit Artemisia Botanicals

Artemisia Botanicals in Salem

Address: 3 Hawthorne Blvd, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Get into a world where magic meets the scentful. Teas, Herbs, Spices, Botanicals… and so much more! The Artemisia Botanicals shop is an apothecary filled with hundreds of herbs and teas, essential oils, soaps, and other handmade products designed for health, beauty, and even magic.

Perfumes, crafts, flower essences, magic items such as crystal balls and stones, incense, and animal care are all available. All of this was produced in Salem. We’re telling you that this metropolis has a lot more to offer than intrigue and dread.

If you are wondering about the best things to do in Salem, MA, you just found out the answer. Visit Artemisia Botanicals and see all the amazing products and gifts they offer.

See Related: Exciting Month-Long Vacation Ideas

27. Salem Arts Festival

Performer at the Salem Arts Festival, Massachusetts
Management / Salem Arts Festival

Address: 32 Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Salem is a historic city with a rich artistic heritage, and Salem Common is the perfect setting for the Salem Arts Festival. This juried fine art show features over 200 artists from around the world, so you can expect to find an array of handcrafted works. The festival takes place in June, over three days.

Salem is also home to a number of museums and galleries, so it’s the perfect place to explore if you’re looking for new artwork. Whether you’re an art lover or just looking for a unique weekend getaway, the Salem Arts Festival is definitely worth a visit.

28. Dine at the Best Restaurants in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem also offers you an incredible gastronomy experience. Check out these top Salem restaurants.

Taste an Award-Winning Breakfast at Red’s Kitchen & Tavern

Red’s is Salem’s most popular restaurant because they serve well-known breakfasts for only $6.95! You can also eat lunch here and try their delicious cheese omelets, steaks, fresh mushrooms, and the red’s famous wings!

Groups of visitors always end up satisfied with the food here. If you get scared in Salem, try the best food in town. Go check out Red’s to see their amazing menu.

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Enjoy the Freshest Seafood in Town at Brodie’s Seaport

Brodies Seaport in Salem

Address: 215 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Located at Salem’s historic Pickering Wharf, Brodie’s Seaport provides an awesome culinary experience. The menu features the freshest seafood on the East Coast. But also caesar salad, steaks, shredded mozzarella pizza, chicken teriyaki sandwiches, and one of the seaport favorites: the fish sandwich.

Nonetheless, Brodie’s Lobster Roll takes the spot as the number one dish in the restaurant as it earned national recognition. This restaurant also offers live music and daily specials.

You can order beer, cider, cocktails, martinis, wine, or nice sparkling water for beverages. Visit Brodie’s Seaport anytime in Salem, and you won’t want to leave the place.

See Related: Scott’s Cheap Flights Review

Dine at the Ledger Bar

Ledger Bar in Salem

Address: 125 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Welcome to a restaurant with two centuries of existence. The Ledger Bar situates in the former Salem Savings Bank building (1818), and it features an innovative roof and a decoration out-of-this-world.

The restaurant bases its dishes on modern New England cuisine, highlighting wood fire cooking, charcuterie, and a raw bar. This historic restaurant follows a strong New England approach, where traditional plates from the 19th Century are the main appeal.

The main menu emphasizes salmon and avocado toast, skirt steak, and eggs, and pork belly & grits for brunch. For dinner, go for the spinach campanelle, braised pork shank, or Ledger’s special double burger.

But hold on, you can’t skip the dessert, especially when the yummy pumpkin-almond cake is on the table. Undoubtedly, this place provides a real 19th-century experience like no other place. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Ledger Restaurant & Bar when you’re in town. It is one of the best things to do in Salem.

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Outdoor Things to Do in Salem, MA

Even though you don’t believe it, there are more outside activities to do in Salem than just ghost tours and scary candlelight walks through graveyards.

Salem is as beautiful as it is mysterious. And that means you have a lot to do here. See the following outdoor activities. They may interest you and count as Salem’s best things to do.

29. Visit Salem Woods

Forest in Salem, MA

Address: F3VQ+9X, Willson St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Although Salem Woods is famous for witchcraft, it is not always the case. The Salem Woods is now a recreational area for family picnics, hikers, naturalists, birders, the Boy Scouts, school groups, bikers, and many more who desire to stroll through the woods during daylight.

But be careful at nighttime. Things can be different. If you are adventurous and brave enough, you can walk around the forest at night to see if all those ghost sights and witchcraft are real.

See Related: Top Vacations with Minimal Walking

30. Winter Island Park

Winter Island Park Sunset
image by rlfeser/TripAdvisor

Address: 50 Winter Island Rd, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Winter Island Park is a popular boating, fishing, and bird-watching destination. It’s also the site of the Witch Trials Memorial: a bronze sculpture depicting various scenes from that dark chapter in Salem’s history.

The statue was created by artist Bernard Langlais in 1939 and featured a cast of more than 50 actors (including an actual witch). The park is filled with trails that wind around coves and through forested areas on Winter Island. For an afternoon full of fun activities, rent boats from the Salem Sailing Association or bring your kayak or paddleboard to explore the area at your leisurely pace.

31. Salem Willows

Salem Willows Pathway
image by Fletcher6 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Address: 165 Fort Ave, Salem, MA 01970, United States

If you want to experience the ocean, Salem Willows is a good place. It’s a waterfront park with plenty of grassy areas, so it’s a great place to stretch out and relax while enjoying the view.

The park is also home to an amusement park called “Fun Land” (closed in 2017), which has been around since 1846. You can still see some old-timey attractions like bumper cars, but most have been removed or repurposed for other uses.

32. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach in Salem at Sunset

Address: 60 Winter Island Rd, Salem, MA 01970, United States

A beautiful and quiet place to spend the afternoon for sure. Waikiki Beach won’t disappoint you. This is a superb spot to submerge in calm water. You can walk with your family, friends, in a couple, or with a special one and see the beautiful sunset here.

You hear a lot about Salem’s history and elegant architecture. But this peaceful beach on the East Coast is a great option to visit when you go to Salem.

See Related: Best Sites Like Skiplagged

33. Charlotte Forten Park

Charlotte Forten Park

Address: 289 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

This eye-catching green space in Salem honors the legacy of Charlotte Forten, an activist who fought for women’s rights in the 19th Century. Charlotte Forten is a historical figure for the city as she battled hard against slavery. The park features green areas all around the place. You can also stroll around the dock or sit admiring the local river.

The 25,000-square-foot area also connects to Salem’s downtown, so you will not have any trouble finding this place. If you want to know more about Charlotte Forten and her legacy, check out this lecture. Did you imagine all the great things you can do in Salem without any piece of thriller? Now you know all the best things to do in Salem.

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34. Derby Square

Spacious Derby Square
image by Salem State Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970, USA

Derby Square is a small park located in the center of Salem. The park is a great place to relax, observe the people around you, and have lunch in good company.

If you don’t have any food but are looking for someplace quiet where you can read a book and be left alone, Derby Square is also an ideal spot. Derby Square is a great place to take a break from shopping or sightseeing in Salem. The park is also a popular spot for people-watching.

You can find a bench in the shade and enjoy the scenery. Derby Square is also a great place for people to watch. You can sit in the sun and watch the people go about their day.

Tours in Salem

1. Salem: Ghosts of Salem Walking Tour Top Recommendation

Salem is listed among the top 10 haunted cities in America. Take a walking tour of Salem’s historic landmarks and visit sites where spirits are believed to linger, like the Witch House. Hear chilling tales of tortured witches during the 17th century Witch Trials. This family friendly tour will give you an up-close glimpse of America’s dark past as you explore historic sites such as the Old Burying Point Cemetery and Gallows Hill

2. Salem: History & Witchcraft Day Tour

Salem is a historic city that has been under scrutiny for centuries. This tour will take you all throughout downtown Salem, from the historically rich and culturally diverse areas to the winding streets of this beautiful city. You'll be able to discover the connection between witchcraft and history in a way that only an expert can tell you.

3. The Salem Night Tour

Salem is a city steeped in history and mystery, with hundreds of years worth of stories to tell. The Salem Night Tour is the best way to learn about Salem's eerie haunted past while discovering some of the city's most exciting attractions. From historical figures who have been seen wandering around town, to ghostly apparitions that still roam the streets today, this tour has it all - and you'll leave entertained and satisfied, not only by what you've learned but also by all the delicious food you'll have eaten along the way!

Where to Stay in Salem

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites
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Address: 225 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

First off, let’s start by planning your stay in Salem. Before coming, you must know that the Waterfront Hotel will care for you for only $119 a night.

Here, you will have an amazing experience, and the hotel is centrally located in Salem. The location is just great as it is within walking distance of famous places in the city.

The hotel provides all the essentials but also features a stable Wi-Fi connection, a business, a meeting, and a conference center. The hotel’s location allows you to enjoy the best things to do in Salem. Don’t hesitate to book a room here.

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Merchant Hotel

Merchant Hotel in Salem
image by Booking.com

Address: 148 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Another great option when in Salem is the Merchant Hotel. The Hotel is near all of Salem’s main tourist destinations. In less than 10 minutes, you will be in the Salem Witch Museum and other important sports.

Charming and beautiful, this hotel only charges you $159 a night. If you are wondering about dark elements, you don’t have to worry because, in this hotel, you will be safe from any witch or ghost that wanders around the city. Go out and book one room right away.

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See Related: Best Tours in Boston, Massachusetts

Salem Inn

Salem Inn
image by Booking.com

Address: 7 Summer St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

The Salem Inn is another cool option to stay in when visiting Salem. It is only 10 minutes away from the Salem Witch Museum and very close to the other main places in the city.

This hotel is a no-brainer, only $103 a night. Get ready to explore the mysteries of Salem while you stay in a lovely, ghost-free place. Get your room here, and don’t wait any longer. Salem awaits you.

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City of Salem, Massachusetts History

View of Salem Harbor, Massachusetts
Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Salem, Massachusetts, is a beautiful city with much to offer. The city’s history dates back to 1626 when colonists led by Roger Conant founded it. The city was named after the town of Salem in Essex, England, and became famous for the Salem Witch Trials and the burning of witches in the 17th century.

However, Salem offers so much more than just goosebumps. If you delve into its history, you soon find out the rich history of this city, and the old architecture alone says a lot about the beauty of the town.

In recent years, Salem has become known as one of New England’s leading destinations for tourists who want to experience the rich history behind this enchanting city.

Discover the best things to do and the places to visit in Salem, including why you should visit, where to stay, where to eat, tours, and more in this full guide about the city. You will realize how locals adapted to live their everyday lives in a city with a dark reputation.

What is Salem Known For?

Historic Homes in Salem, Massachusetts
pabrady63 / Adobe Stock

If you’ve heard of Salem, Massachusetts, it’s most likely because of its place in the history books as “the witch city.” But what else is there to do there? The colonial-era capital of Massachusetts and one of America’s oldest cities (founded in 1626), Salem is known for its maritime history and rich maritime heritage.

Along with its maritime past, Salem offers attractions such as art museums and galleries that house works by local artists; these include the Peabody Essex Museum, which houses an impressive collection of American paintings and decorative arts from many different periods.

Visitors can also take advantage of their proximity to Cape Ann—a peninsula that juts into Massachusetts Bay with beautiful natural scenery, including beaches, caves, lighthouses, and more.

As you can see, there’s a lot to do in Salem. From the witch trials at the Old Burying Hill to exploring the city on foot with your friends and family, there are lots of great activities for everyone.

If you’re looking for something fun and adventurous that will keep you busy throughout your stay in this historic town, then be sure to check out some of our top picks.

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FAQs

Is Salem Worth Visiting?

Whether you’re visiting Salem, Massachusetts, or planning to make it your home, you’ll find plenty to do. There are also tons of restaurants and bars, so you can enjoy eating and drinking and sightseeing. If you’re visiting with friends, Salem has a lot to offer regarding activities for groups (especially ones who love history). It’s no wonder why people are flocking here—Salem provides options for various interests.

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