Salem

There are few places in the world more synonymous with Halloween than Salem, Massachusetts (and yes, we see you Transylvania), but if you happen to be heading there this October, allow us to show you around. When it comes to the where to stay, eat and explore in Salem, MA, plus the best

things to do in Salem, Massachusetts, we’ve rounded up plenty of options for you!

Where Is Salem, Massachusetts?

Salem, Massachusetts is located on the north coast of Massachusetts, about 50 minutes north of Boston.

How Far Is Salem, Massachusetts From Me?

If you happen to live near Boston you’re about 50 minutes from Salem, Massachusetts. From New York City, Salem is almost five hours and from Providence, RI it’s about an hour and 50 minutes. If you live on the west coast and want to get to Salem for Halloween weekend or a fall getaway, you’ll need to fly and then either rent a car or take the train. The closest airport to Salem, Massachusetts is Logan International Airport in Boston, MA, which is about 30-45 minutes from downtown Salem.

Salem, Massachusetts is famous for the Witch Trials in 1692, where more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 innocent people were executed. Today the town is visited by tourists from all over the world, especially during October and Halloween.

Related: 100 Wonderfully Wicked and Wacky Witch Names—Just in Time for Halloween!

How Many People Visit Salem Each Year?

Approximately 500,000 people visit Salem in October every year and hotels and Airbnbs can book up a year in advance.

How Does Salem, MA Celebrate Halloween?

No one does Halloween like Salem, with month-long Halloween festivals that includes a parade, games, a myriad of  haunted events and Halloween fireworks!

Things to Do In Salem, Massachusetts

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1. Visit The Burying Point Cemetery, also known as Charter Street Cemetery, which dates back to 1637. This is the oldest cemetery in Salem, and among the oldest in the United States. It’s also a burial ground for judges involved in the Salem Witch Trials and Revolutionary War victims, along with many historical people including Richard More (a passenger on the Mayflower) and Simon Bradstreet (governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony).

2. Tour the New England Pirate Museum! You don’t want to miss a visit to this historical museum where you get to explore the incredible relics and treasures that were once on a pirate ship.

3. Book a Salem-inspired photoshoot to really get into the Halloween spirit. There are over 300 costumes, props and detailed sets to choose from at Witch Pix that will guarantee you and your crew all the Insta likes.

4. Take a scroll around Punto Urban Art Museum, an open air art museum in the “El Punto” neighborhood, to witness 75 extraordinary murals by incredible artists around the world.

Punto Urban Art Museum

5. Check out Salem’s Wax Museum, which gives you options to visit two haunted houses, Frankenstein’s Castle or a Haunted Witch Village—pick your poison!

Related: 26+ DIY Witch Costumes to Get Your Creativity Boiling!

6. Get a taste for what life was like in New England centuries ago by visiting The Stephen Phillips House. In 1821, Captain Nathaniel West transported four intact rooms from an earlier house by ox sled to Salem’s fashionable Chestnut Street to form his Federal-style mansion and today Phillips House is the only mansion open to the public on Chestnut Street. They also have an extensive roster of family-friendly events, games, arts and crafts.

7. Swing by The Judge Jonathan Corwin House AKA “The Witch House.” This black old historical house in Salem, MA, is the only structure still standing with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692. As a local magistrate and civic leader, Corwin was called upon to investigate the claims of diabolical activity when a surge of witchcraft accusations arose in Salem and neighboring communities.

8. Peabody Essex Museum Exhibitions: During the last several years, the Peabody Essex Museum has been ranked among the top museums in the nation for collection acquisitions through both purchase and gift. When it opened in 2003, the museum was among the 25 largest in the nation. Since then, it has been distinguished as one of the fastest growing museums in the nation. The Peabody Essex is one of the country’s major museums for Asian Art, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Indian art and Asian Export art.

9. Hop aboard Boston Harbor Cruises’ Salem to Boston Ferry that’s easily accessible by car, but a seasonal ferry option is perhaps the most unique way to get to the North Shore city from Boston. Run through Boston Harbor Cruises, the Salem to Boston Ferry is seasonal from May through Halloween, and passes the beautiful coastline with views of Marblehead, Swampscott and more.

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Where to Stay in Salem, Massachusetts

The Merchant: The Merchant opened in November of 2015 on Salem’s centrally-located Washington Street. This 11-room property was the former home of wealthy sea merchant, Joshua Ward, who built the striking building on what was once waterfront land in an effort to watch his traded goods entering and leaving the Salem harbor. Now, designed by Lark Hotels’ Design Director, Rachel Reider, it embraces the sense of mystery and charm from the days when Salem was a maritime powerhouse—importing molasses (for rum), spices (such as the widely popular Sumatran pepper) and (perhaps) looted artifacts from the East Indies.

The Hotel Salem: The Hotel Salem is housed in the historic Newmark’s Department Store building and boasts 44 rooms, including affordable micro-king rooms, lofted suites, compact king deluxe accommodations with pull-out trundle beds and more options if you’re looking to bunk up with fellow witch hunters. The Hotel Salem also happens to be home to Salem’s first and only rooftop bar and restaurant, The Roof, with views of the cityscape and nearby harbor.

Daniels House Bed & Breakfast: Built by a sea captain in 1677, The Daniels House Bed & Breakfast is the oldest B&B in Salem, Massachusetts and the ideal cozy retreat for a fall escape. Between the open hearth fireplaces, exposed beams and rustic interiors, you’ll love coming back to your quarters each night and the private garden and included daily breakfast are top notch.

Best Airbnbs in Salem, Massachusetts

Spacious 4 BR Near Witch House: Arguably one of the best Airbnb options, this charming abode in historic Salem is a 10-minute walk to main attractions such as Rockafellas, The Witch House and House of Seven Gables. Easy to drive in and out of, being located on Rte 114, the historical architecture perks keep on coming and did we mention there’s a tiki bar?

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(Airbnb)

Gorgeous 3 Bedroom/2 Bathroom Private Townhouse: This Airbnb is perfect for a family or a group of friends visiting Salem, Massachusetts. With a harbor view and close to all main attractions such as historical neighborhoods, restaurants and the beach—this private townhouse checks all the boxes.

Fresh New Space, Walk to Salem Harbor, Historic: This entire rental unit is newly renovated

and only a 15-minute walk from downtown Salem, which seriously cuts back on Uber costs. Not to mention tons of restaurants are ½ mile away and there’s ample outdoor space for spooky conjurings at night. Not only is this location convenient, but it offers access to a private backyard and there’s free parking onsite.

Where to Eat in Salem, Massachusetts

Ledger Restaurant & Bar: This progressive New England restaurant by acclaimed Chef Matt O’Neil is inspired by regional flavors and colonial cooking techniques, which makes total sense since it was once frequented by notable customers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Alexander Graham Bell. Housed within one of the city’s grandest buildings, a historical space dating back to 1818, Ledger is the perfect rustic restaurant for a quick bite in between sightseeing. Must-order dish: Fig Toast with stracciatella, speck, hazelnuts, honey and mint.

Kokeshi: The name “Kokeshi” is Japanese for wooden dolls—playing homage to the owners’ daughters. So, do what you want with that in Witch City, but definitely get the Colonel Sanders’ Ramen (with fried chicken, sambal, soft egg, Thai basil and Vermont butter) or Octopus Hot Dogs (with Sriracha aioli, daikon slaw, lime). We’re banking on best meal in Salem vibes here.

Related: The 22 Best Restaurants in Boston, Massachusetts

Far From the Tree Cider: Most apples don’t fall far from the tree, and the ciders made from them are generally quite similar. Far From the Tree makes craft hard cider based on a different philosophy: All products are made from local apples and exclusively natural ingredients.

The Roof: The Roof is the only place in Salem that offers top-tier access to grab a delicious drink and choose from a variety of small dishes like Lobster Quesadillas with sweet chili crema, or Nachos with Corn and Black Bean Salsa.

Next: These 16 Enchanting Shows About Witches Will Put a Spell on You

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