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Not to be confused with Salem (Oregon).

A charming New England seaside destination, Salem offers visitors the requisite bevy of enthralling elements: a world class museum, compelling oceanfront and maritime history, quirky shops and tempting restaurants. They're all here and vying for your attention. However, one event in Salem's 400 year history looms above all else—the Salem witch trials. One of the most notorious cases of mass hysteria, the trials saw over two hundred people charged with witchcraft, 25 of whom died as a direct result. Try as they might, the city was never able to memory hole the events of 1692. So eventually they changed tack, leaning into the lore of witches and magic. Today the "Witch City" plasters its civic institutions with witch silhouettes, they even built a baseball diamond atop Gallows Hill Park. The plan seems to have worked, tourists have responded and business is up. You know what they say, "time heals all wounds".

Understand[edit]

House of Seven Gables with a Salem harbor backdrop

For thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, the Naumkeag people enjoyed life on this rocky peninsula. Contact with early explorers was calamitous, and disease would shatter their population. Throughout the 17th century a series of wars and pogroms pushed them to the brink of extinction. In 1686 survivors pressed their claim, and were given £20 (roughly $5,000 today) as payment for their land.

Salem is perhaps best known for the Salem witch trials, which began during the winter of 1692. Two little girls began behaving erratically, acts which town elders quickly deemed "witchcraft". A flurry of accusations and trials would play out over the course of following year. By the time the outrage subsided, over 200 villagers stood accused of witchcraft. 19 were hung, 5 died in jail, and one was pressed to death. In hindsight, the major political upheaval of the day combined with neighborly quarrels likely sparked the mass hysteria. The accused were overwhelmingly women (78%), and were often impoverished, having little means to speak of.

During the American Revolution, hundreds of large privateers arrived to assist the cause. These Salem based vessels saw action, and were able to scuttle about 600 British ships. Post war, attention turned to trade in the East Indies. Captains were able to import pepper, silks and other luxuries with windfall profits. The legacy of these riches is on full display throughout the city's many overlapping historic districts.

Orientation[edit]

Wilson House, Chestnut Street District

Derby Street is of primary concern to any visitor. Running roughly east to west, it passes through the Maritime District on its way to the ferry terminal. Equally as important is Essex Street, roughly paralleling Derby one block behind the harbor. The vast majority of tourist attractions are found between these two streets. At their western boundaries, you'll encounter Washington Street. This north-south thoroughfare holds the train station at its northern end. Cross Washington to begin your walking tour of the Chestnut Street District. The architecture here is stunning, but the shops and restaurants mostly drop away.

For those venturing further afield; Salem Willows and Winter Park can be found to the northeast. Follow Derby until it becomes Fort Ave. To the south, Pioneer Village and Salem University can be reached by following Washington until it merges with Lafayette Street. The more modern areas of Salem (the hospital, the Target, et al) can be found to the southwest, after Essex turns into Highland Ave.

Read and watch[edit]

  • The Witch (2015 film) — Set about 60 years before the witch trials, watch this darkly atmospheric film to sample some of the deepest fears held by Puritanical New Englanders. Exactingly detailed in its period sets and themes; you've never seen a goat or a forest with peculiarities like these.
  • Hidden History of Salem (2010 book) — While not widely distributed, this quick read by Susanne Saville is a collection of short stories—mostly focusing on topics other than the witch trials. Worth exploring for those interested in lesser-known facts about the town.
  • The Crucible (1996 film) — Based on Arthur Miller's groundbreaking 1953 play; this is a faithful adaptation of Miller's dramatized story of the Salem witch trials. While the film doesn't go quite as hard delving into the political allegories that made the play so forceful; it does feature "spectacular" performances by Daniel Day-Lewis, Joan Allen, and Winona Ryder.
  • I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem (1986 book) — This French Grand Prix award winning novel by Maryse Condé was translated into English in 1992. Traumatic and compelling, the life of Tituba is reconstructed from historical records and skillfully blended with fantasy. Gives a voice to one of the accusees least heard from during the witch trials.
  • The House of the Seven Gables (1851 book) — A gothic romance novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Set in the titular home, it weaves together an array of human emotions with a supernatural flare. The book was quite influential on H.P. Lovecraft, if you have opinions about that. Sections can feel dated, with some contemporary readers finding it a slog to get through.

Visitor information[edit]

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  • 1 Salem Armory Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St, +1 978 740-1650. W-Su 10AM-4PM. Welcome to Salem Maritime National Historic Site, established in 1938 as America's first NHS. This visitor's center is located away from the waterfront, and is staffed with folks who can help you make the best of your time. There's a lot to cover; spanning nine acres of land, dozens of historic structures, and 600 years of maritime history. Check out the short film recounting the witch trials, variety of displays and exhibits, or browse the outstanding gift shop selection. Restrooms available during business hours, otherwise you can use the porta-potties just outside.
  • 2 Waite & Peirce (Salem Maritime National Historic Site Visitor Center), 193 Derby St, +1 978 744-4319. Daily 10AM-5PM. National Park Service rangers and volunteers will welcome you to the city and to the Heritage Area, and can help you plan your visit. Rest rooms, free walking maps, and other historical information. One free film To the Farthest Ports of the Rich East tells the story of New England. Children can pick up Junior Ranger programs. This is also the ticket office for the Friendship, a 171-foot replica of the 1797 East Indiaman, built in the Scarano Brothers Shipyard in Albany, New York, in 2000. The original was taken by the British in the War of 1812. A museum about Salem's maritime and commercial history, operated by the National Park Service. It features tours of the historic custom house (1819), two colonial residences (dating to 1672 and 1761), and a full-scale replica of the 1805 ship the Friendship.

Get in[edit]

The Salem Ferry approaching its dock off Blaney Street

By train[edit]

  • 1 Salem Station, 252 Bridge St (MBTA Newburyport/Rockport). 5AM-midnight. Open since 1838, Salem Station has been rebuilt four times; most recently in 2014. Its accessible platforms and secure bike parking are just a few blocks north of the town center. Trains departing from Boston's North Station take about 30 minutes to arrive. Trains run roughly once an hour, and every 30 minutes M-F during rush hours. Fares cannot be purchased at the station, please use the MBTA mTicket app. $8 from Boston one way. Salem station (Q7404023) on Wikidata Salem station on Wikipedia

By boat[edit]

  • 2 Salem Ferry, 10 Blaney St, +1 978-741-0220. 4-5 ferries daily May 26 - Oct 31. Hop aboard the Nathaniel Bowditch, a 92-foot catamaran with a top speed of 30 knots which makes the trip between Salem and Boston's Long Wharf in 50 minutes to an hour. A bit pricier than the train, but the views of Nahant, Marblehead, and minor islands more than make up for it. Light snacks and cash bar on board. No extra charge for bicycles. $25, $23 senior, $19 children 3-11.

By car[edit]

From Boston and points south, take Route 1 north, then merge onto I-95 north. From Maine and points north, take I-95 south. Eventually either direction on I-95 will allow a merge into MA-128 north, which is also labelled as Yankee Division Highway on some maps (although no-one calls it that). From there, you'll take exit 40A, merging onto MA-114 east. After you cross the North River, you're in Salem! Drop your vehicle off as soon as possible. Parking is quite challenging during most of the summer, and is especially tricky during the month of October. Driving in Salem on Halloween—or the closest weekends—is the stuff nightmares are made of.

By bicycle[edit]

Salem finds itself well positioned along several cycling routes. The East Coast Greenway passes through the center of town, making good use of both the Salem Bike Path and Marblehead Rail Trail. The former will run you into the heart of town; while the latter is unpaved, but well traveled. Almost any bike should make short work of these trails. Many riders choose to add the Northern Strand Trail to their cue sheet, and pedal to Salem from Boston. It's a flat 25 mi (40 km) between the Peabody Essex Museum and the P-town ferry, most of which is hidden away from cars. Along the way you'll pass miles of protected marshes, historical markers, and oceanfront vistas. It's really quite a remarkable route.

Get around[edit]

Map of Salem (Massachusetts)

By foot[edit]

Salem remains a small town, and as such the tourist attractions here fall within a tightly packed area. A stretch of Essex Street, from Washington St to Hawthorne Blvd, is closed to cars and is a delight to walk. Walking across the city; say from the ferry dock to the Witch House, is barely over a mile. Most folks should be able to cover this distance in about 20-25 minutes. The sites you'll pass along the way are packed with more than enough curios to hold anyone's attention.

By bicycle[edit]

  • Bluebikes, +1 855 948-2929. 24 hours daily. The same Bluebike system running in Boston runs here as well. There are 8 stations total, and bikes can be returned to any rack. There's a rack by the ferry terminal, one by the train station, one up by Salem Willows, and the rest are scattered around downtown. You'll need to install an app on your smartphone to use the system. $3 every 30 minutes until you return the bike.

By car[edit]

The downtown area is often congested, and becomes all but impassable to cars during October. Do not drive to Salem on Halloween. On street parking is generally good for about 2-4 hours and costs a dollar or two per hour. The city also owns a few garages and off-street lots if you're in need of some longer-term parking. Your best bet is going to be in one of the lots off of Church Street. There's a few surface lots there as well as the Museum Place Garage. Your other option is the MBTA parking lot and the adjacent Crescent lot. The Town of Salem has a great map showing all the gory parking details.

See[edit]

Museums[edit]

The Peabody Essex Museum's main entrance
  • 1 Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St, toll-free: +1-866-745-1876. Tu-Su 10AM-5M. Open 3rd Th of the month until 9PM. The Peabody Essex Museum is a leading museum of Asian art and culture and early American maritime trade and whaling; its collections of Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese art, and in particular Chinese export porcelain, are among the finest in the country. Founded in 1799, it is the oldest continuously operating museum in the United States. The museum owns and exhibits a number of historic houses in downtown Salem. In 2003, it completed a massive $100-million renovation and expansion, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, and moved a 200-year-old 16-room Chinese home from Xiuning County in southeastern China to the grounds of the museum. Gift shop available in person and online. Adults $20, seniors $18, students $12, youth (16 and under) and Salem residents admitted free; $6 plus the basic admission price for the 200-year-old Yin Yu Tang Chinese merchant's house. Peabody Essex Museum (Q3373790) on Wikidata Peabody Essex Museum on Wikipedia
  • 2 House of the Seven Gables (Turner-Ingersoll Mansion), 115 Derby St, +1 978 744-0991. 10AM-4PM daily. One of the oldest surviving 17th-century wooden mansions in New England. Made famous by the eponymous 1851 Nathaniel Hawthorne novel. The oldest sections of the home date to 1668, when it was built for Captain John Turner and his family. The home has been altered and modified countless times over the centuries as family fortunes ebbed and flowed. Eventually; in 1908, wealthy philanthropist Caroline Emmerton purchased the home and set about effecting its restoration. Supervised by Boston's city architect; they restored the home to it's former glory, making only the occasional sacrifice to historical accuracy. Visitors today will discover low ceilings, extensive Georgian paneling, and hidden staircases among hundreds of period curios. Walking the grounds is always a charming activity. The fresh ocean breezes are sure to invigorate. Also on site is the home where Nathaniel Hawthorne was born. It was moved here in 1958 and is worth a few minutes of your time. $20, $12 children 5-12, $5 grounds pass. House of the Seven Gables (Q3297920) on Wikidata House of the Seven Gables on Wikipedia
  • 3 The Witch House (Jonathan Corwin House), 310 Essex St, +1 978 744-8815. The Witch House is the last extant building with direct ties to the 1692 Salem witch trials. An excellent example of 17th-century architecture, it was probably built sometime between 1620 and 1642. Bought by Judge Jonathan Corwin in 1675, he would go on to live here for over forty years. 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 and around Salem. Eventually, he would send 19 people to the gallows, all of whom maintained their innocence and refused to admit to witchcraft. No interrogations or trials were conducted within the Witch House, nor were any of the accused brought here. The house remained in the Corwin family until the 1940s. At this time the Witch House was moved about 35 ft (11 m) to its current location and was restored to its 17th century origins. Today it basically looks as it would have in Corwin's time, although the gambrel roof was altered. The Witch House (Q7775277) on Wikidata The Witch House on Wikipedia

Galleries[edit]

Baphomet awaits your arrival at the Satanic Temple
  • 4 Old Town Hall (Salem Museum), 32 Derby Square, +1 978-744-0007. Built in 1816, this is the earliest surviving municipal building in Salem. First floor used as a space for public art. Museum closed until further notice.
  • 5 Punto Urban Art Museum, 96 Lafayette St, +1 978 745-8071. 24 hours daily. The Punto Urban Art Museum was founded as a social justice art program. Designed to promote and feature Dominican artists in an effort to reduce stigma against those who reside there. Over 75 large scale murals featuring a variety of global and New England-based artists. If your group has 15 or more people, sign up for an educational tour. Tours last about 90 minutes and cover topics like: the immigrant experience, street art, and local cultural highlights. Free.
  • 6 Salem Art Gallery (The Satanic Temple), 64 Bridge St, +1 (857) 523-2200. W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Sun noon-5PM. Opened in 2016 in the former Dubiel Funeral Parlor. This art space doubles as the world headquarters for the Satanic Temple. Offering a rotating selection of events, screenings, and artworks by local practitioners. The giant statue of Baphomet is always quite popular. Other permanent exhibits are dedicated to Satanism, witch hunts, and moral panics. Stop by the gift shop for t-shirts and merch you just can't get anywhere else. Varies, free to $25. The Satanic Temple (Q22080033) on Wikidata The Satanic Temple on Wikipedia

Parks[edit]

Fort Pickering Light, Winter Island
  • 7 Collins Cove Park, 32 Collins St. 24 hours daily. Park, sandy beach, and playground. A nice walkway circles around. Pretty, but check for broken glass before you decide to go for a dip. Free.
  • 8 Dead Horse Beach, 90 Memorial Drive. 24 hours daily. The views are significantly better than the name. Open to the public, but not to dogs. Free.
  • 9 Proctor’s Ledge, 7 Pope St. 24 hours daily. This memorial is the execution site for those "convicted" during the Salem Witch Trials. Here, nineteen souls were hung about the neck until dead during the closing months of 1692. For many years the site was assumed to be nearby Gallows Hill, until extensive research by the history department at Salem State University discovered the true location in 2016. This small park features a stone wall with each of the deceased's names etched in stone. Quiet and somber, the ledge was dedicated in 2017, 325 years after the executions. Free.
  • 10 Salem Common, N Washington Square. 24 hours daily. On this field in 1637 the East Regiment militia performed various drills and exercises. This day of training became known as "the first muster"—eventually leading to the birth of the US National Guard. 30 years later, in 1667, villagers decided the park should be held as common land where their livestock could graze. As the town grew and the park could no longer fulfill its purpose, it was closed in. The current handsome wrought iron fence dates from 1850. Visit in April, when the Second Corps of Cadets arrive to pay respects to their founder, Stephen Abbott; interred nearby. During the ceremony the cadets lay a wreath, play taps, and fire a 21-gun salute. Free. Salem Common Historic District (Q7404077) on Wikidata Salem Common Historic District (Salem, Massachusetts) on Wikipedia
  • 11 Winter Island Park (Fort Pickering and Waikiki Beach), 50 Winter Island Rd, +1 978 745-9430. 24 hours daliy. This park and historic district spans about 18 acres and is home to Fort Pickering and Waikiki beach. Used for defensive purposes since at least the 17th century, most extant buildings date from World War II. During this era the U.S. Coast Guard monitored these waters for German U-boat activity. Pickering Light has been guiding sailors safely home since 1871, although the city of Salem has been responsible for keeping the beacon lit since 1983. Urban explorers may enjoy picking through the abandoned seaplane hangar. See the Sleep section for campsite information. Free. Winter Island (Q8026265) on Wikidata Winter Island on Wikipedia

Kitsch[edit]

Expect to find jump scares and wax figures galore at these attractions
  • 12 Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery, 217 Essex St, +1 978-740-0500. F-Su 10AM-5PM. Salem's only monster/sci-fi/fantasy museum. Haunted house every October.
  • 13 New England Pirate Museum, 274 Derby St, +1-978-741-2800. 10AM-5PM with extended hours in October. The museum includes a walking tour that consists an artifacts room, a recreation of life down by the docks where the pirates did their recruiting, and reenactments and representations of such famous pirates as Sam Bellamy, Captain Kidd, and Blackbeard. You can get $5 off tickets when you buy with Witch Dungeon Museum and Witch History Museum. Adults $8, children 4-13yr $6, seniors $7.
  • 14 Salem Wax Museum, 282-288 Derby St, +1 978 740-2929. 10AM-6PM daily. Not great. Same owners as Salem Witch Village, just next door.
  • 15 Salem Witch Museum, 19½ Washington Square North, +1 978 744-1692. Daily 10AM-5PM (until 7PM July, August). The museum includes a narrative on the history of the trials in 1692 and also an exhibit on witchcraft through the ages. $16.50, under 14 $14.50.
  • 16 Witch Dungeon Museum, 16 Lynde St, +1 978 741-3570. 10AM-5PM with extended hours in October. Has witch trial reenactments. You can get $5 off tickets when you buy with New England Pirate Museum and Witch History Museum. Adults $8, children 4-13yr $6, seniors $7.
  • 17 Witch History Museum, 197-201 Essex St, +1-978-741-7770. 10AM-5PM with extended hours in October. The Salem Witch Museum is dedicated to the Salem witch trials. You can get $5 off tickets when you buy with New England Pirate Museum and Witch Dungeon Museum. Adults $8, children 4-13yr $6, seniors $7. Witch History Museum (Q18159327) on Wikidata Witch History Museum on Wikipedia

Chestnut Street District[edit]

Treasure amassed from Salem's 18th century global trade routes are on full display along Chestnut street

This historic area is roughly bounded by Bridge, Lynn, Beckford, and River Streets. Referred to locally as the McIntyre Historic District; it was created in 1973 and contains some 407 buildings. Anchored by Samuel McIntire's home and workshop at 31 Summer Street, where many grand mansions display the enormous wealth brought in from the Old China Trade.

  • 18 Cotting–Smith Assembly House, 138 Federal St. Owned by the Peabody Essex Museum. Built in 1782. George Washington once attended a dance here. Cotting-Smith Assembly House (Q5175615) on Wikidata Cotting–Smith Assembly House on Wikipedia
  • 19 The Gedney House (Gedney and Cox Houses), 21 High St, +1 978 744-0440. First Saturdays June-Oct. Tours on the hour 11AM-2PM. A historic house museum built circa 1665 and is the 2nd oldest house in Salem. Owned by Historic New England. $10, $9 seniors, $5 children. Gedney and Cox Houses (Q5529716) on Wikidata Gedney and Cox Houses on Wikipedia
  • 20 Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut St, +1 978 744-0805. Self-guided tours M-F 9AM-noon. Hamilton Hall is on Chestnut Street, where many grand mansions can be traced to the roots of the Old China Trade. Hamilton Hall was built in 1805 by Samuel McIntire and is considered one of his best pieces. It was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1970. Free. Hamilton Hall (Q1869673) on Wikidata Hamilton Hall (Salem, Massachusetts) on Wikipedia
  • 21 Peirce-Nichols House, 80 Federal St. Owned by Peabody Essex Museum. Built 1782. Peirce-Nichols House (Q14715811) on Wikidata Peirce–Nichols House on Wikipedia
  • 22 Phillips House, 34 Chestnut St, +1 978 744-0440. Jun-Oct, Th-Su, 11AM-4PM tours on the hour. Owned by Historic New England. Built 1821. $15, $13 seniors, $7 children. Stephen Phillips House (Q7610246) on Wikidata Stephen Phillips House on Wikipedia
  • 23 Pickering House, 18 Broad St, +1 978 744-4777. The oldest house in Salem that has been continuously lived in by the same family. Pickering House (Q7190815) on Wikidata Pickering House (Salem, Massachusetts) on Wikipedia
  • 24 Ropes Mansion, 318 Essex St, +1 978 745-9500. Owned by Peabody Essex Museum. Built late 1720s. Ropes Mansion (Q7366750) on Wikidata Ropes Mansion on Wikipedia

Salem Maritime National Historic Site[edit]

The Friendship of Salem docked on the Salem Waterfront at the National Historic Site

In 1938 this area became the inaugural Historic Site within the National Park System. It consists of 9 acres of land, 12 historic buildings, and a visitor center all nestled along Salem's waterfront. Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a vital cog in the wheel of the infamous Atlantic triangular trade. From here, rum was shipped to the west coast of Africa, then slaves were shipped to the Caribbean, and finally sugar made its way back to New England. The Salem docks were instrumental during the colonial period; the role of privateering during the Revolutionary War; and international maritime trade. Especially with the Far East, which established American economic independence after the Revolution.

  • 25 Custom House, 176 Derby St, +1 978 740-1650. 10AM-noon, 1-4PM daily.
  • 26 Derby Wharf. 24 hours daily. Includes Derby Wharf Lighthouse built 1871. Free.
  • 27 Friendship of Salem. A 171-foot replica of the 1797 East Indiaman, built in the Scarano Brothers Shipyard in Albany, New York, in 2000. The ship usually functions as a stationary museum during most of the year, however the ship is a fully functioning United States Coast Guard certified vessel capable of passenger and crew voyages, and will set sail during various times of the year. The first American National Historic Site is run by the National Park Service and is the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, this is where the Friendship of Salem is docked. The original was a three-masted East Indiaman trading ship, built in 1797, which travelled the world over a dozen times and returned to Salem after each voyage with goods from all over the world. The original was taken by the British during the War of 1812, then stripped and sold in pieces. Friendship of Salem (Q5504426) on Wikidata Friendship of Salem on Wikipedia
  • 28 Narbonne House, 71 Essex St. Built 1675.

Do[edit]

Full-scale replica of the famous schooner Fame sails in Salem Harbor
  • 1 Fame of Salem, 86 Wharf St (Pickering Wharf Marina), +1 978 729-7600. Take a tour of Salem harbor on a full-scale replica of the famous schooner. Framed and planked of white oak and trunnel-fastened in the traditional manner, this replica was launched in 2003. The original Fame was a fast Chebacco fishing schooner reborn as a privateer when war broke out in the summer of 1812. She was arguably the first American privateer to bring home a prize, and she made 20 more captures before being wrecked in the Bay of Fundy in 1814. From $39.
  • 2 Fort Lee, Fort Ave. 24 hours daily. These 5 point irregular star fort is what remains of earthworks constructed in 1776, during the Revolutionary War. Some original bits remain, although it has been modified dozens of times over the years. Granted to the Federal Government in 1867, it was returned to Salem in 1922. Some trails and interpretive signs were added at the nation's bicentennial, but they were removed and the site is today overgrown. The paths are well trod today, and it's certainly worth a visit to any history buff. Free. Fort Lee (Q5471499) on Wikidata Fort Lee (Salem, Massachusetts) on Wikipedia
  • 3 Misery Islands (Float a ½ mile across Manchester Bay by private boat, dinghy, canoe, or kayak.), +1 978 526-8687. Sunrise-sunset daily. This nature reserve in Salem Sound was established in 1935, after a fire in 1926 destroyed most extant buildings. It's managed by The Trustees. The islands' name comes from shipbuilder Robert Moulton. After being stranded on the islands during a winter storm in the 1620s, he described his experience as "three miserable days". Great Misery Island, in the past, has been home to a club with a golf course and about two dozen cottages. The island is now uninhabited. Little Misery Island can be reached from Great Misery on foot by wading across at low tide. Free. Misery Islands (Q6875367) on Wikidata Misery Islands on Wikipedia
  • 4 Pioneer Village, 98 West Ave, +1 978-744-8815. Created in 1930, was America's first living-history museum and now features a 3-acre re-creation of a Puritan village and allows visitors the opportunity to participate in activities from the lives of Salem's earliest English settlers. Holds space for the Naumkeag and other Massachusett peoples. $5. Pioneer Village (Q7196831) on Wikidata Pioneer Village (Salem, Massachusetts) on Wikipedia
  • 5 Salem Harborwalk. 24 hours daily. This short, 1,100-foot walkway along the South River basin extends from Derby to Congress streets. It's a nice way to escape the crowds on Derby, and there are even a few picnic tables squeezed in-between the parking lots. Free.
  • 6 Salem Willows Arcade and Park, 165 Fort Ave, +1 978 745-0251. 11AM-9PM daily. An oceanfront neighborhood and amusement park. It is named for the European white willow trees planted there in 1801 to form a shaded walk for patients convalescing at a nearby smallpox hospital. The area became a public park in 1858, and in the 20th century became a summer destination for residents of Boston's North Shore, many of whom escaped the heat of the city on newly popular streetcars. The beaches are also a common place to watch the 4th of July fireworks since you can see three sets of fireworks; Salem, Beverly, and Marblehead. The Willows also has a famous popcorn stand, Hobbs, which is known around the North Shore as one of the best places to get popcorn or and ice cream. Salem Willows (Q7404241) on Wikidata Salem Willows on Wikipedia

Buy[edit]

The chaos is all part of the fun at Wicked Good Books

Books[edit]

  • 1 Harrisons Comics, 252 Essex St, +1 978 741-0786. 10AM-8PM daily. Comics & collectables.
  • 2 Wicked Good Books, 215 Essex St, +1 978 594-1938. 11AM-6PM daily. A beautiful old-style bookstore, with nearly wall to ceiling high piles of books. Try not to knock anything over when maneuvering around the small shop. There are stacks upon stacks of books, some of which seem so old that you definitely cannot find them at your local Barnes and Nobel. It is run by an elderly man who seems to have a knack for finding the correct book despite the disorder. The store constantly has 50% off sale off of the price of every book inside.

Clothing[edit]

  • 3 A Beautiful Corset, 10 Derby Square, +1 978 740-2922. noon-5PM daily. Authentic steel-boned Vollers corsets. Custom and stock for all sizes. Private fittings by appointment.
  • 4 J. Mode, 17 Front St, +1 978-744-7007. 11AM-5PM daily. Contemporary clothing boutique. Brands include: Vince, Trina, Turk, Nicole Miller, Three Dot, Velvet, Joe Jeans, and XCVI. Testament. A little basic for Salem.
  • 5 Sage, 318 Derby St, +1 978 594-5174. W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Women's apparel and accessories including dresses, jeans,sweaters, hats, scarves, eclectic jewelry, bats, wallets, candles, perfumes and local made honey.

Gifts[edit]

  • 6 Harbor Sweets, 85 Leavitt St, +1 978 745-7648. M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Handmade chocolates & candies from sweet sloops to delicious gourmet truffles. Valentine gifts, sugar-free chocolates, wedding, party favors & chocolates in bulk. Enjoy a free sample when you visit the factory and shop. Watch chocolates being handmade.
  • 7 Magic Parlor, 213 Essex St, +1 978 740-3866. 11AM-6PM daily. Books on magic, paranormal, spirits, psychic readings, costume wigs, masks, makeup, gadgets, jokes, gags, bumper stickers, funny stuff, and some very nice jewelry and figurines.
  • 8 Roost and Company, 40 Front St, +1 978 744-4663. 10AM-6PM daily. Home accessories, books, bath & body, jewelry, baby, cards, and gifts.
  • 9 Salemdipity, 86 Wharf St, +1 978 745-5556. 11AM-7PM daily. Salem tees, sweats & souvenirs. Halloween collectibles, witch hats, books on Salem’s history & modern day witchcraft, Salem charms & pentacles, Amy Brown fairy figures, prints, & notecards.
  • 10 Ye Olde Pepper Companie, 122 Derby St, +1 978 745-2744, . Noon-5PM daily. Visit the oldest candy company in America. Fudge, saltwater taffy, chocolates, the works really. This flagship store was established in 1806. Very close to the House of Seven Gables. $4-40.

Witchcraft[edit]

  • 11 Bewitched In Salem, 180 Essex St, +1 978-744-9904. Su-Tu noon-5PM, Th-Sa 11AM-6PM. Crystals and other gifts.
  • 12 Crow Haven Corner, 125 Essex St, +1 978 745-8763. 10AM-9PM daily. The first Salem Witch store in town. Salem's first witch shop is home to Lorelei and her staff of talented witches and psychics offering readings using tarot, palmistry and mediumship. Classes also available. Nightly Witch Walk Tours every October.
  • 13 The Coven's Cottage, 190 Essex St, +1 978 498-4939. 11AM-6PM daily. Herbs, crystals, and other spellcasting requirements.
  • 14 Hex (Old World Witchery), 246 Essex St, +1 978 666-0765. 11AM-7PM daily. Authentic witchcraft for everyone from curious visitors to experienced practitioners, including candles, incense, jewelry, Voodoo dolls, potions, broomsticks, and spell kits.
  • 15 White Light Pentacles (Sacred Spirit Products), 2 Margin St, toll-free: +1 800 627-8379. 24 hours daily. A safe, welcoming, light-filled boutique & occult haven dedicated to the Holy Arts of Magick & the Craft of the Wise. Supplies, presentations, special events, readings and wholesale. Although the brick and mortar location closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still the real deal and still based in Salem.

Eat[edit]

The patio at Rockafellas is the perfect spot for people watching

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Melt Ice Cream, 60 Washington St, +1 978 826-5703, . W-F 3-8PM, Sa Su 2-8PM. $5-8.
  • 2 A&J King Artisan Bakers, 48 Central St, +1 978 744-4881. 8AM-3PM daily. Winner of the Best of Boston, Boston Magazine 2009 & 2012. Serves fresh breads & pastry, coffee & tea in a traditional cafe setting. $4-15.
  • 3 Boston Hot Dog Co., 60 Washington St, +1 978 744-4168. M-Sa 11AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. $6-10.
  • 4 Front Street Coffeehouse, 20 Front St, +1 978 740-6697. M-F 7AM-2PM, Sa 8AM-noon. Serving bagels, coffee & tea. Fresh soups and a variety of sandwich specials. On cold days, hot pear apple ginger juice. Every month there are new art exhibits & live music some evenings. $5-15.
  • 5 Kushco Bistro, 128 Washington St, +1 978 745-6996. noon-8PM daily. Sammies, wraps, fro-yo, and such. Kids menu. $8-15.
  • 6 Coffee Time Bake Shop, 96 Bridge St, +1 978 744-0995. 5AM-11PM. Bakery with a few sandwiches and some Polish selections. $4-18.
  • 7 Reds Sandwich Shop, 15 Central St, +1 978 745-3527. M-Sa 7AM-3PM; Su 7AM-1PM. Most popular in downtown for breakfast. $8-16.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 8 The Tin Whistle, 241 Jefferson Ave, +1 978-741-1912. Th-Su noon-1AM, M-W 3PM-midnight. Get off the main drag and visit the Tin Whistle. A fun little hole in the wall with great family feel, food, and service. Typical pub offerings like a juke box, pool table, and dart board; with food specials most nights. They often host events and giveaways, and occasionally run charity fundraisers. $12-18.
  • 9 Gulu-Gulu Café, 247 Essex St, +1 978 740-8882. Su-W 8AM-8PM, Th-Sa 8AM-midnight. A European-style café that features live music and local art. Outdoor seating on Lappin Park and a warm interior environment. High quality curated beer list featuring offerings from near and far. $10-20.
  • 10 Flying Saucer Pizza Company, 118 Washington St, +1 978 594-8189. M-Th 3-9PM, F Sa noon-10PM, Su noon-9PM. Pizzas and craft beers, with a classic sci-fi movie and tv show theme. Voted Bons best of north shore 2021. Some outdoor seating in Lapin Park. $10-30.
  • 11 Passage to India, 157 Washington St, +1 978 832-2200. 11:30AM-9:30PM daily. $12-25.
  • 12 Howling Wolf Taqueria, 76 Lafayette St, +1 978 744-9653. 11:30AM-9PM daily. California-style taqueria featuring cuisine inspired by the Southwest. What started as a simple take-out taco joint evolved into much more, as owners Patrick Schultz and Matthew Gaughan brought in a chef from Guadalajara, and decked out the dining room with wood floors, a fun bar, and colorful artwork. $12-25.
  • 13 Adriatic Restaurant, 155 Washington St, +1 978 594-1832. M-F 4-10PM, Sa Su noon-9PM. Mediterranean offerings with outdoor seating. Extensive wine list. $15-30.

Splurge[edit]

  • 14 Rockafellas, 231 Essex St, +1 978 745-2491. Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-1AM. You can enjoy outside dining here in mild weather. At night, Rockafellas is a usual hot spot with local bands. A fun atmosphere with classy taste. $20-30.
  • 15 Dube's Seafood, 317 Jefferson Ave, +1 978 744-9531. Tu-Sa 11AM-9PM. Seafood stuff in a simple setting since the swinging sixties. $15-35.
  • 16 Bella Verona, 107 Essex St, +1 978 825-9911. 4-10PM daily. Opened in 1996 and serving Italian food. $25-40.
  • 17 Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall, 43 Church St, +1 978 745-7665. Tu-Th 4-9PM, F-Su noon-9PM. Classic New England seafood dining, a lively oyster bar and Salem's first, fresh, locally-sourced seafood market. In the historic Lyceum Hall downtown. Sister locations in Gloucester and Melrose. $20-45.
  • 18 Finz, 86 Wharf St, +1 978 744-8485. 11:30AM-9PM daily. Somewhat fancy seafood spot overlooking Derby Wharf. Nice, but quite touristic. $22-45.
  • 19 Nathaniel's Restaurant, 18 Washington Square West (Hawthorne Hotel), +1 978 825-4311. 8-11AM, 5-9PM daily. Traditional New England fare in a 1920s atmosphere. Serving breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Often offers live entertainment on weekends 6-9PM in the tavern. No cover charge or reservations. Breakfast $20-30, dinner $40-70.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 Bit Bar, 278 Derby St, +1 978 594-4838. W Th 4PM-midnight, F 4PM-1AM, Sa noon-1AM, Su noon-midnight. Classic arcade games in a pub atmosphere. All the fan favorites from air hockey and skee-ball, to Donkey Kong, Tron, and Mortal Kombat II. Their pinball machines even work! More craft brews and classic cocktails than you can shake a stick at. Full menu, outdoor seating. $10-20.
  • 2 The Derby, 189 Washington St, +1 978 740-2337. Su-Th 11:30AM-midnight, F Sa 11:30AM-1AM. Over 30 flat screen TVs - the biggest sports bar in downtown - open very late - full bar & huge patio. $20-40.
  • 3 The Lobster Shanty, 25 Front St, +1 978 745-5449. M-Th 5PM-midnight, F-Sa noon-midnight. Once a dive bar, now a classy dive bar. Serving the good people of Salem circa 1980. Offering cocktails, BBQ, and of course lobster rolls. Puppers are welcome on the patio. No reservations, first come first served. $20-30.
  • 4 Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St, +1 978 412-7674. M-W 4-10PM, Th noon-10PM, F Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-8PM. Notch focuses on central European style "sessionable" beers, rarely exceeding 5% alcohol. The brewers are quite talented and often win awards. There are a few noshables here like pretzels and Bavarian style brats, but feel free to bring whatever food you want in. Non-alc sodas and coffee also available. The Biergarten is open year round with a 200 person capacity. Dogs allowed, children allowed, snow allowed. No reservations, first come first served.

Sleep[edit]

Due to its small size, pretty much everything in Salem is going to be "right in the heart of it all". The high season here runs from Memorial Day until Halloween. Book well in advance to ensure your bunk! Sleeping here on Halloween night? Make your reservations by Thanksgiving. For real. Most accommodations are basically the same price, around $300 once you factor in taxes, fees, and surcharges. Same story for AirBnB and similar services. If you're looking to save money, there is a campsite on Winter Island. If roughing it's not your thing, there are more affordable options along the Route 1 & I-95 corridor in Peabody and Danvers.

"More weight"

One of the few men to be executed during the witch trials, Giles Corey was pressed to death in September of 1692.

After being accused of witchcraft, he refused to enter a plea of either guilty or innocent. According to the law of that era, one could not be tried in court without first entering a plea. While rarely put into practice, a form of torture—pressing—was used as a threat to coerce pleas from the accused. In this case; however, it was in Corey's financial interest not to enter a plea. He was 80 years old and could see clearly which way the winds were blowing. A guilty verdict would forfeit his right to pass his estate down to his children.

After some months in prison, Giles was stripped naked, tied down, and heavy planks were laid across his body. Weighty stones were placed atop the planks while Sheriff George Corwin asked how he pleaded. For three days Corey's only reply would be "More weight." After his death, his wife Martha (also accused of witchcraft) would be hung just a few days later.

The public and gruesome nature of Corey's execution could have been the event that caused the colonists to "wake up" from their witch-related hysteria. His estate was transferred in accordance with his will, although his heirs would be harangued for years to come. Eventually Giles and Martha had their excommunications from the church reversed. But only Giles had the charges of witchcraft formally withdrawn.

  • 1 Amelia Payson House (Bed & Breakfast), 16 Winter St, +1 978 744-8304. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. This bed and breakfast was built for Amelia and Edward Payson in 1845. Today the home features three guest rooms, each with private bathrooms. Each offers on-site parking, cable TV, A/C and the hotel received an editor’s choice award from Yankee Magazine. The most recent renovations took place in 2022. Children under 12 not allowed. From $200-325. Minimum 2-3 night stay in the high season.
  • 2 The Daniels House (Bed & Breakfast), 1 Daniels St, +1 978 594-8757. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Purportedly the oldest bed and breakfast in America, this home dates from 1667. This place is a must stay, if you're into first-period early colonial history (the ceilings are low and you may have to share a bathroom). The large fireplaces, exposed beams and detailed wall panelings have surfed the centuries mostly undisturbed. Each of the four rooms offers cable tv, air conditioners, and free parking. The most recent round of updates and upgrades was completed in 2019. From $250 in the high season. Two night minimum.
  • 3 Hawthorne Hotel (3 star hotel), 18 Washington Square West, +1 978 744-4080. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Number one hotel in Salem according to US News & World reports in 2021. One of the "most haunted" places in Massachusetts, rooms 325 and 612 are the ones to request or avoid. Eighty-nine rooms and six suites. Ask about the four period appropriate rooms offered in the Fidelia Bridges Guest House if that's your thing. From $159. Hawthorne Hotel (Q109558112) on Wikidata Hawthorne Hotel on Wikipedia
  • 4 Morning Glory (Bed & Breakfast), 22 Hardy St, +1 978 741-1703. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. This bed and breakfast is found in a beautifully restored home dating from 1808. The location is quite good, just across the street from the waterfront and the House of Seven Gables. In 2018 TripAdvisor listed this B&B as the 13th best in the United States. Each of the three rooms comes with off-street parking, A/C, cable TV and ocean views from the roof deck. Fresh homemade breakfast prepared daily. From $230.
  • 5 The Salem Inn (3 star hotel), 7 Summer St, +1 978 741-0680. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. On the National Register of Historic Places, the inn is comprised of three separate houses. The 1834 home of Captain Nathaniel West was the first to turn into a B&B, followed by the Peabody and Curwen houses. Combined they offer 40 unique guest rooms. Room #17 is famously haunted. Pet friendly rooms, family suites, child-free rooms and complimentary breakfasts are on offer; in addition to all the standard conveniences. Two night minimum. $169-600.
  • 6 Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites (3 star hotel), 225 Derby St, +1 978 740-8788. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. One of the few Salem accommodations in a modern building. Offers both rooms and suites, with some having views of Derby Wharf. All mod-cons plus a heated indoor pool in the fitness center. Regatta Pub is downstairs and offers room service. From $300 in the high season.
  • Winter Island Park (Campsite), 50 Winter Island Road, +1 978 741-7461. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. Offering campsites for 22 tents and 28 RVs, space fills up fast at this waterfront campground. Well situated on Salem Neck, you're near the shops and amusements at the Willows, and all the action downtown is about 2½ miles away. Store and office hours are open from 8AM to 4PM, restrooms open 24 hours. No fires. Park gate is locked from 10PM until 6-7AM the following morning. Please see the parks section for more details. Peak season: $35-50 tent sites, $50-100 RV sites.

Connect[edit]

Just your average 1855 brick mansion turned public library
  • 3 Essex Law Library, 56 Federal St, +1 (978) 741-0674. M-F 9AM-noon, 1-3:30PM. If you need a break from all that history, head over to this palace of glass and have all of your legal research needs fulfilled. Gratis.
  • 4 Frederick E. Berry Library (Salem State), 4 College Dr, +1 (978) 542-6230. M-Th 8AM-9PM, F 9AM-5PM, Sa noon-5PM, Su noon-7PM. Opened in 2013, this library is primarily for those affiliated with Salem State. It is open to the wider community; however, and it's worth checking out for the eye-catching red staircase and environmentally friendly designs. Free.
  • 5 Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St, +1 978 744-2540. Tu-F 1-6PM, Sa 10AM-2PM. The Salem Athenaeum was founded in 1810 and is one of the oldest private libraries in the United States. Its initial home was built in the 1850s with a generous gift from Caroline Plummer. In 1905 the Athenaeum sold "Plummer Hall" to the Peabody Essex Museum. The proceeds were then plowed into the current building, which opened in 1907. The collections today include over 50,000 volumes on a wide range of topics. Free. Salem Athenaeum (Q2214167) on Wikidata Salem Athenaeum on Wikipedia
  • 6 Salem Public Library, 370 Essex St, +1 978 744-0860. M-Th 9AM-9PM, F Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. Built as a private home for a wealthy sea captain in 1855, it was donated to the City in 1887 and has been open to the public since 1889. Free. Salem Public Library (Q39069597) on Wikidata Salem Public Library (Massachusetts) on Wikipedia

Go next[edit]

Motif #1 in Rockport is "the most often-painted building in America"
  • Nature lovers might enjoy exploring almost 2,000 acres in Topsfield's Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. The views are great by foot, but exploring by paddle can really shape your sense of the land, and afford some truly unique wildlife encounters. The famous Topsfield Fair is also well worth your time if you're visiting in late September.
  • For a taste of the English countryside, look no further than Crane Estate in Ipswich. Featuring the ostentatious mansion Castle Hill, acres of gardens replete with hiking trails, as well as the breathtaking Crane Beach.
  • Popular resort town just to the south, Nahant boasts some fantastic beaches and superlative ocean views.
  • Head north-east to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. If it's dry, the sands may seem to "sing" as you walk along.
  • Further north-east takes you to Rockport, and the end of the line. Stroll Bearskin Neck where densely packed studios, shops, and restaurants wind along a narrow road backed by the Atlantic Ocean. Don't forget to snap a photo of Motif #1 before you leave.
  • Did you enjoy Salem's historical appeal, but were hoping for less tourists? Check out one time whaling capitol New Bedford, filled with great museums, history, and Pastel de nata to boot. About a 1½–2 hour drive to the south depending on traffic.
Routes through Salem
NewburyportBeverly  N MA Route 1A.svg S  LynnBoston
DanversPeabody  W MA Route 114.svg E  MarbleheadEnds at MA Route 129.svg
BostonLynn  SW MBTA Newburyport-Rockport icon.png NE  BeverlyNewburyport/Rockport


This city travel guide to Salem is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.