Salem is a historic town in Massachusetts and popular tourist destination that draws in one million visitors each year. The places these tourists are visiting the most are the museums, memorials and historic houses in the town.
The following is a list of the most popular places to visit in Salem:
Salem Witch Trials Memorial: 800,000 visitors annually
Address: Liberty Street, Salem, Mass
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a memorial dedicated to the 20 people who died during the Salem Witch Trials. It was built in 1992 on the 300th anniversary of the trials and has been a popular tourist spot ever since.
The memorial is free to the public and is in the heart of the downtown area, which is probably one of the many reasons why it is so popular. It is interesting and also educational and is a great introduction to anyone interested in learning more about the trials.
The memorial consists of a stone wall with 20 granite benches engraved with the names of the convicted witches and the dates they were executed.
Visitors who are new to Salem often mistake the memorial as the site of the Salem Witch Trials hangings, which it is not. The reason the memorial was built in that particular place was due to the fact that, at the time, the exact location of the hangings was unknown and also because it is an easily accessible spot for the many tourists who visit every year.
If you would like to see more things this in Salem, visit the Proctor’s Ledge Memorial on Pope Street. That memorial was built in 2017 at the actual site of the hangings and gets fewer visitors because it’s on the outskirts of the town in a residential neighborhood.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site: 756,038 visitors annually
Address: 160 Derby Street, Salem, Mass.
The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a national historic park dedicated to preserving Salem’s maritime history. The site and its many historic structures are free and open to the public and the site is located at Salem harbor near the downtown area.
The park consists of 12 historic structures:
The Derby House
Derby Light Station
Friendship of Salem tall ship
Pedrick Store House
The Public Stores warehouse
Salem Custom House
St. Joseph Hall
West India Goods Store
The site offers park ranger-guided tours of the historic houses and walking tours of the park. The park was established in 1938 to to preserve and interpret the maritime history of New England.
Salem Witch Museum: 300,000 visitors
Address: 19 1/2 N Washington Square, Salem, Mass
The Salem Witch Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of the Salem Witch Trials.
The museum features two exhibits: a half-hour narrated presentation of several dioramas depicting scenes of the trials and a second exhibit featuring a 10-15 minute guided tour of dioramas and wall displays about the history of paganism and the history of witch hunts.
The museum opened in 1972 in the former East Church and has been a popular tourist attraction ever since. It is located at Washington Square on Salem Common.
Peabody Essex Museum: 250,000 visitors annually
Address: 161 Essex St, Salem, Mass
The Peabody Essex Museum is an art museum that features historical and cultural art, including American, Asian, Oceanic, African art and Asian export art, and two large libraries with over 400,000 books and manuscripts.
The museum was established in 1799 with the founding of the East India Marine Society. In 1825, the society moved into its new hall, the East India Marine Society Hall, and then expanded to the large glass and brick museum building it is located in now in 2003.
The museum has been a popular tourist attraction since it was founded and has more than doubled its number of visitors since the new building opened in 2003.
House of Seven Gables: 120,000 visitors annually
Address: 115 Derby Street, Salem, Mass
The House of Seven Gables is a historic house museum that served as the inspiration for the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel of the same name.
The house, also known as the Turner-Ingosoll Mansion, is a first period house built by Captain John Turner in 1668. It is popular with both literary fans as well as history buffs and
The house is located on historic Derby Street and has beautiful views of Salem harbor.
Witch House: 27,000 visitors annually
Address: 310 Essex Street, Salem, Mass
The Witch House is a historic house museum that was the home of Salem Witch Judge Jonathan Corwin.
Built in 1675, the house, which is also known as the Corwin House, is the only building still standing in Salem that has direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials.
The house has been fully restored to its original 17th century appearance and features historic 17th century antiques and furnishings as well as a few items that once belonged to the Salem Witch Trials victims.
The house is located on historic Essex Street not far from downtown Salem.
For more ideas on places to visit in Salem, check out this article on the haunted places in Salem.
Pin it for Later:
“See the Sites from Salem’s Heritage Trail.” Salem.org, salem.org/heritage-trail
“Museum history.” PEM.org, www.pem.org/about-pem/museum-history
Dalton, Tom. “What’s Drawing the Most Visitors.” Salem News, 7 March. 2014, salemnews.com/news/local_news/whats-drawing-the-most-visitors/article_f3539932-e4df-5c71-8f99-b94db67b2047.html