Best Things To Do in Salem, Mass

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Salem, Mass is a beautiful and historic little town with lots of fun things to do. Whether you’re looking for something historic or spooky, or both, Salem has all that and more.

The following is a list of things to do in Salem:

Visit a Historic House:

Salem has many historic houses and a few of them are even open to visitors.

The Witch House is a top attraction in Salem and is the only house still standing in Salem that has direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials. It was the home of Salem Witch Judge Jonathan Corwin during the trials and is even reported to be haunted. Built in 1675, the house is a beautiful first period colonial house that is furnished with 17th century antiques as well as a few items that belonged to some of the accused witches.

The Witch House in Salem, Mass
The Witch House in Salem, Mass

The House of Seven Gables is probably the most well known historic house in Salem because it served as the inspiration for the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel of the same name. Built in 1668, the house is a first period colonial mansion built by local merchant Captain John Turner. Hawthorne used to visit the house often in the 19th century when his cousin owned it and its long history is believed to have inspired him to write his famous story about the home.

Explore a Historic Cemetery:

Salem has a handful of historic cemeteries, including a few with connections to the Salem Witch Trials.

The Old Burying Point cemetery was established in 1627, making it the oldest cemetery in Salem, Mass. Many notable people are buried here including two Salem Witch Trials judges: Judge John Hawthorne and Judge Bartholomew Gedney, the second wife of accused witch Giles Corey, Mary Corey, a minister who was involved in the trials, Noyes, as well as a Mayflower passenger: Captain Richard More. It is also reportedly haunted by its inhabitants

Broad Street Cemetery was established in 1655, making it the second oldest cemetery in Salem. Notable people buried here include Sheriff George Corwin and his brother Salem Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin as well as a large number of Revolutionary War veterans, including Colonel Timothy Pickering.

Stop at a Witch Shop:

Crow Haven Corner is the oldest witch shop in Salem and was originally owned by the Official Witch of Salem, Laurie Cabot. The shop sells witchcraft supplies and new age supplies and also offers tarot card readings.

Hex: Old World Witchery is a popular witch shop in Salem that sells occult supplies, including voodoo supplies, and also offers tarot readings and other types of psychic readings and workshops and classes on the occult and new age topics.

Visit a Memorial:

The city of Salem has built a couple of memorials dedicated to the victims of the Salem Witch Trials and they are some of the most popular attractions in the town.

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Salem Witch Trials and is located in downtown Salem next to Old Burying Point Cemetery.

Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Mass
Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Mass

The Proctor’s Ledge Memorial is a memorial dedicated to the 19 people hanged at Proctor’s Ledge during the Salem Witch Trials and is located on Pope Street at the base of the ledge.

Take a Tour:

There’s no shortage of walking tours in Salem.

The Salem Night Tour is a haunt and history walking tour held in the evening year round. The tour visits sites related to the Salem Witch Trials as well as the most haunted locations in the city. The tour is very popular so reservations are strongly suggested.

The Satanic Salem Walking Tour is a walking tour about the occult and witchcraft in Salem led by a member of the local Satanic Temple. The tour begins at the Salem Old Town Hall and ends at the Bewitched Statue.

The Salem Witch Walk is a walking tour about witchcraft led by a practicing witch. Stops on the tour include the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, among other sites related to the Salem Witch Trials, and guests will even get to participate in a magic circle.

Check Out a Museum:

Salem has a lot of great museums to check out, including art museums, history museums and etc.

Peabody Essex Museum is an art museum that offers a number of revolving exhibits on everything from fashion to history. Check out how to get discount tickets to the Peabody Essex Museum.

Salem Witch Museum is more of an interactive attraction than a museum except that it does have at least one artifact from the Salem Witch Trials on display, a beam from the original witch jail dungeon. Its main feature is a narrated show depicting scenes of the Salem Witch Trials using dioramas.

Salem Witch Museum, Salem, Mass
Salem Witch Museum, Salem, Mass

Visit a Haunted House Attraction:

There’s many haunted house attractions to chose from in Salem since it is gaining a reputation as a Halloween city.

Chambers of Terror is a walk through haunted house attraction that features scary creatures created by professional with over 20 years of experience in the Halloween industry. The attraction currently offers two different shows: the Terror Tour and the Halloween Horror.

The Witch Mansion Haunted Museum is a walk through haunted house attraction, created by a professional haunted house design firm, that features scary creatures using high-tech animations and illusions. Witch Mansion is Salem’s most visited haunted house attraction, according to the company’s website.

Visit an Actual Haunted Location:

Since Salem is such a historic city, it’s no surprise that there are many ghost stories and reportedly haunted locations in the city. Some of these haunted locations are closed to the public, like the Pickman House, but many are not and are even popular attractions in the city.

Howard Street Cemetery was established in 1801 but it has a history that dates back further than that. During the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, the cemetery was an open field where it is believed that Salem Witch Trials victims Giles Corey was taken to and tortured to death when he refused to continue with his trial.

Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass
Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass

Local legend says that Corey now haunts the cemetery and that his ghost appears shortly before a tragic event takes place in Salem, as it did before the Great Salem Fire of 1914 when locals reported seeing a ghostly figure of a man in the cemetery shortly before the fire broke out near Gallows Hill.

The old Salem Jail is another reportedly haunted location in the town and it is located directly next to the Howard Street Cemetery. The jail is now an apartment building with a barcade on the ground floor that visitors can check out. Both employees of the barcade and residents of the building report lights turning off and on by themselves, objects breaking, the feeling of being watched and some residents have even seen the ghost of a former prison guard wandering the building.

Other haunted locations that have already been mention elsewhere in this article are the Witch House, the Hawthorne Hotel, the Merchant Hotel and the Old Burying Point Cemetery, which are all reportedly haunted by either victims of the Salem Witch Trials or the former occupants of the building or land.

Stay in a Historic Hotel:

Salem is a small city so it only has a few hotels but they are quite beautiful and historic.

Hawthorne Hotel is a beautiful historic hotel in downtown Salem. Built in 1925 and named after local author Nathaniel Hawthorne, the hotel was built to accommodate the growing number of tourists in Salem. If you’re just visiting Salem on a day trip you can always stop by one of the hotel’s two restaurant for a meal or hit up the hotel bar for a drink.

Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Mass, circa 2019
Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Mass, circa 2019

The Merchant is a historic boutique hotel in downtown Salem. Built in 1784, the hotel is a brick Federal-style mansion that was once the home of merchant Joshua Ward. In addition to being a historic building, it is located on a historic site where Sheriff George Corwin used to live during the Salem Witch Trials.

Walk the Salem Heritage Trail:

The Salem Heritage Trail is a walking path that leads to the many historic sites and tourist attractions in the city. The stops on the trail include:

Salem Visitor Center

Peabody Essex Museum

East India Marine Hall

Witch History Museum

Daniel Low Building

Town Pump Memorial

Bewitched Statue

Witch House

First Church in Salem

Ropes Mansion

Witch Dungeon Museum

Salem City Hall

Old Town Hall

Old Burying Point Cemetery

Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Salem Wax Museum

Salem Witch Village

New England Pirate Museum

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Ye Old Pepper Companie

House of Seven Gables

Hawthorne Hotel

Salem Common

Roger Conant Statue

Crow Haven Corner

For more ideas on things to do in this historic city, check out these articles on the most popular places to visit in Salem, free things to do in Salem or this article on Christmas in Salem.

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Things To Do in Salem, Mass