Skip to Content

13 Best Things To Do in Salem, Massachusetts | Top Attractions

13 Best Things To Do in Salem, Massachusetts | Top Attractions

When it comes to mysterious places, Salem, Massachusetts, ranks among the first ones. 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.

City of Salem, Massachusetts History

However, Salem offers so much more than just goosebumps.

In fact, if you delve into its history, you soon find out the rich history of this city, and the old architectures alone say a lot about the beauty of the town.

Discover the best things to do in Salem and the best places to visit. Why come, where to stay, where to eat, tours, history, and more!

You will realize how locals adapted to live their everyday life in a city with a dark reputation.

Top Things to See & Do in Salem, Massachusetts

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.

Go on a Walking Tour in Salem

We already have a whole article about the best ghost tours in Salem on ViaTravelers.com.

However, it worths mentioning a few of them for you to have an idea about them!

1) Daytime Ghost Tours and History of Downtown Salem

Graveyard in Salem, Massachusetts During Day

These daylight walks will tell you the dark past of Salem as you visit the city’s most famous places.

The tour is full coverage of Salem’s dark history in the daytime, which is especially great if you travel with children or simply because you are a scary person.

You will learn what led the Salem Witchcraft Trials back in 1692 as the local guide places you in context.

The guide narrates the obscure story in the most detailed, disturbing, and depressing way possible.

You will end up petrified and without a doubt, this is one of the best things to do in Salem.

See Related: Best Travel Credit Cards

2) 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 happed 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 goes on.

Night tours in Salem are no joke!

Want any advice? Don’t go alone.

Also, have a look at How to Earn Airline Miles Without a Credit Card.

3) 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 the 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 an easily scared person, 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 the whole article we made about them in Via Travelers. We covered the best ones!

Check out these best ghost tours in Salem.

Also, see 15 Best Vacations for a Group of Friends.

Outdoor Activities to do in Salem

Even though you don’t believe it, there are more outside activities to do in Salem more 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 also count as the best things to do in Salem.

1) Visit Salem’s Woods

Forest in Salem, MA

Although Salem’s forest is famous for witchcraft, it is not always the case.

In fact, the Salem Woods is now a recreational area for family picnics, hikers, naturalists, birders, the boy scouts, school groups, bikers, and many more who desires to take a 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 of those ghost sights and witchcraft are real.

See Related: Top 9 Vacations with Minimal Walking.

2) Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach in Salem at Sunset

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 a calm water. You can take a stroll with the family, friends, in 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

3) Charlotte Forten Park

Charlotte Forten Park

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.

Forten is a historic figure for the city as she also battled hard against slavery.

The park features green areas all around the place. You can also stroll around the dock, or simply seat admire 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.

Also, see Where Should I Travel for My Birthday?

Dine at Downtown Salem’s Top Restaurants

Salem also offers you an incredible gastronomy experience. Check this out.

1) Taste an Award-Winning Breakfast

Red’s is Salem’s most popular restaurant by far 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 of course the red’s famous wings!

Groups of visitors always end up satisfied with the food here.

If you are going to get scared in Salem, at least try the best food in town. Go check out Red’s to see their amazing menu.

See Related: Best Ways to Earn Delta Skymiles

2) Enjoy the Freshest Seafood in Town at Brodie’s Seaport

Brodies Seaport in Salem

Located at Salem’s historic Pickering Wharf, Brodie’s Seaport provides you an awesome culinary experience.

The menu features the freshest seafood on the East Coast. But also, Caesar Salad, steaks, shredded mozzarella pizza, chicken teriyaki sandwich, and one of the seaport favorite: the fish sandwich.

Nonetheless, Brodie’s Lobster Roll takes the spot as the number one dish in the restaurant as it earned national recognition in 2014. This restaurant also offers live music and daily specials.

For beverages, you can order beers, cider, cocktails, martinis, wine, or nice sparkling water.

Visit Brodie’s Seaport anytime you’re in Salem, you won’t want to leave the place!

Who knew going to restaurants is one of the best things to do in Salem.

See Related: Scott’s Cheap Flights Review

3) Dine at the Ledger Bar

Ledger Bar in Salem

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 innovated roof and a decoration out-of-this-world.

The restaurant bases its dishes on modern New England cuisine, highlighting wood fire cooking, charcuterie, and 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, pork belly & grits for brunch. For dinner time, you can go for the spinach campanelle, braised pork shank, or the 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. You can clearly see it is one of the best things to do in Salem!

This may interest you Manufactured Spending Overview: Is It Worth the Time?

Grab Museum Souvenir and Visit Salem Village

What can be better than bringing home some magical souvenirs from the very mysterious city?

Find out the best shops to take home some beautiful memories from Salem.

1) Witchery World

Witchery World in Salem

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, have a better job, or 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 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 to do in Salem, it is a take-home souvenir!

Don’t miss Dollar Flight Club Review: Is it Worth It?

2) See The Best Handcraft Items in Salem

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

The shop features handmade beeswax candles, and 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 Raw, go and take a look to see Salem’s unknown talent.

They are growing fast and they are making the city more appealing to visit.

Also, see this 30 Cheap Places to Travel [Ultimate Guide].

3) Visit the Nature Zone in Salem

Artemisia Botanicals in Salem

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.

You can find perfumes, crafts, flower essences, magic items such as crystal balls and stones, incense, and even animal care!

All of this made in Salem. We are telling you, this city offers more than mystery and terror.

If you are wondering about the best things to do in Salem, well, you just found out the answer.

Visit Artemisia Botanicals and see all the amazing products and gifts they offer.

Check out 5 Fun, Exciting Month-Long Vacation Ideas.

Where to Stay in Salem

1) Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites

First off, let’s start by planning your stay in Salem.

Before coming, you have to know that the Waterfront Hotel will take care of 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 a walkable distance from the 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 location of the hotel allows you to enjoy the best things to do in Salem.

Don’t hesitate and book a room here.

Also, you can’t miss 2 Days in Boston: A Complete Itinerary to See Everything.

2) Merchant Hotel

Merchant Hotel in Salem

Another great option when in Salem is the Merchant Hotel.

The Hotel is nearby from 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 wander around the city.

Go out and book one room right away.

Also, you don’t have to worry about flight tickets anymore, Scott’s Cheap Flights has the perfect solution for you and you can save up to 90%!

See Related: Best Tours in Boston, Massachusetts

3) Salem Inn

Salem Inn

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

This hotel is a no-brainer, the cost is 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!

Check out How to Book a Flight Without a Credit Card.

Related Resources

Lock In Your Travel Now
Looking for Extra Travel Perks?
My favorite travel companion is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which gives me lounge access, Uber credits, upgrades, and plenty of other travel perks. If you want to find out the best travel rewards credit card for you, consider using CardMatch to instantly get matched to a travel rewards credit card that meets your travel needs.
Booking Flights

Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.

You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It's a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Use World Nomads to find the best policy for your travel schedule.
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!