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Please note, a few individual businesses may still require masks.
You can find public facilities at Salem Willows (Green Roof Building near Clam Shack; but sometimes not open), Central Wharf; Artists Row Restrooms (between Derby and Front Streets), Flatbread Company and Speedway. There are also Portable toilets outside Visitor Center.
As you may already know, Salem has a rich history. Whether visiting for its maritime history, to learn more about the witch trials or to see the oldest mansion in the nation (the House of Seven Gables), there is always a lot of things to do. There are also a ton of festivals and activities that happen throughout the year. A great resource is the Salem Chamber of Commerce or Destination Salem. Check their site when you plan to visit for specific information about festivals and activities for when you are visiting.
Listed here are some of our family favorites.
There are a few B&B's, inns and hotels in Salem. We enjoy the Hawthorne Hotel for its "Overlook Hotel" vibe and 1925 classically decorated rooms with modern amenities. When my family would like to swim, we stay at the Salem Waterfront.
The Merchant Salem is our new favorite gem in the City. The property once contained the home of High Sheriff George Corwin, the Sheriff during the Witch Trials. Corwin is said to have confiscated personal effects from those accused of witchcraft. All that remains of the Corwin property is a small portion of field stone foundation below the current hotel's foundation. The current boutique hotel is a Federal style home built in 1784 by the prosperous sea merchant Joshua Ward. The property has been beautifully restored and updated with spacious elegant rooms.
The Boston Marriott Peabody is a great choice just outside of the city if the previous hotels are full or pricey during peak seasons (June through November 1). It is close by, sometimes has a better rate, and does have a pool.
Museums and Tours:
Bit Bar (278 Derby St); This arcade has old school video games, cartoons and a great ambiance. Kid friendly during the day. Delicious craft beer is available throughout the day.
Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum (217 Essex Street) $15 adult, $8 kids. Fantastic wax museum of Monsters and Horror Movies; sometimes have live signings during October.; constantly changing things up so worth multiple visits. EXTREMELY busy in October, buy tickets ahead so you are sure to get in...
House of 7 Gables (115 Derby Street) $30 adult, kids under 5 free, just grounds $15. Teacher discount or free so bring your MTA card. Beautiful garden, cool old period mansion to tour including a secret passage and beautiful view of the water. Admission also gets you a tour of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birth Place.
Peabody Essex Museum (161 Essex Street)- $20 adults, kids 16 and under free. Great spot; awesome architectural design and the museum pieces are pretty amazing. My 16 year old loves it here. There are always great new exhibitions and the Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese House (which used to have a separate admission for adults) is amazing to tour.
Salem Trolley (Trolley Depot 8 Central Street) approx. $25 adult, $12 kids. This is great for those who have trouble walking. The trolley brings you around on a 2 hour tour of the city giving details about history and some “ghost stories” too. Get tickets early because of the time of year at the Trolley Depot, 191 Essex Street, Salem.
Salem Witch Museum (19 ½ Washington Square) $17.50 adult, $14.50 children; Teacher discount or free so bring your MTA card. It is ridiculously busy this time of year, but it is a must. Get tickets early because of the time of year. You MUST purchase your tickets ONLINE https://salemwitchmuseum.com/.They have also created an awesome Witch Trials Online Sites Tour .
Haunted Footsteps Ghost tour is great (8 Central Street). $25 adult, $18 kids. I used to work for them, but haven’t been on the tour since it is under new management. They had great historically accurate info and walked you around to the historic homes of importance. Get tickets early because of the time of year and ONLINE https://www.salemhistoricaltours.com/salem-haunted-footsteps-ghost-tour.***
Salem is a fantastic walking city. There are lots of things to see and do, but wear some good shoes! First up, Follow the red line! The Salem Heritage Trail connects all the important sites and cemeteries. This trail brings you by some pretty incredible historic homes. For additional beautiful homes, walk over to Chestnut Street or the McIntire Historic District. Please be aware these are private homes and please be respectful of the families that live in these homes. Personal favorites include the Philips House, Hamilton Hall, and just about every house on the street! Click here for the walking trail brochure and information. You will notice the street is much wider than most streets in Salem and a few of the doors are pretty special too. These doors are called coffin doors where a third section of the door was designed for "in home funerals" before there were funeral parlors (see image below). Not far away is the Ropes Mansion (featured in the movie Hocus Pocus), be sure to check that out too.
Essex Street Pedestrian Mall A series of shops line this portion of Essex Street. Wonderful for site seeing, shopping, and a few places to eat. There are a few great fountains on this street as well.
Salem Common Historic District (N. Washington Square, across from the Hawthorne Hotel) Great spot to picnic and there is a great playground for the kids to play.
Salem Willows This is about a 2 mile walk from downtown out to the ocean. Great green space for picnics. Small beach called Dead Horse Beach for kids to cool off. There is also Salem Willows Arcade with a boardwalk type atmosphere. The Arcade is FILLED with lots of old school arcade games that are $0.25 a play mixed in with newer games that are more expensive (up to $1 a play). There is also traditional walkway by the ocean surrounded by magnificent Willow trees and a pier extending out into Salem Sound.
Places to Shop:
Shops we always visit:
Trolley Depot (8 Central Street) This store has Salem souvenirs and other various interesting gifts.
Witch City Wicks (302A Essex Street) Amazing soy candles and other amazing products.
Wicked Good Books (215 Essex Street) Fabulous supply of books with local flare.
Harrison’s Comics (252 Essex Street) Great store with excellent comic book stuff.
Pamplemousse (185 Essex Street) Fantastic store with kitchen gadgets; great selection of wine and regional craft beer.
Remember Salem a.k.a. the Harry Potter Store (127 Essex Street) Get a butter beer to share! Fantastic Harry Potter merchandise.
Witch Tees (181 Essex Street) Super reasonable prices for awesome Salem themed apparel.
The Cheese Shop of Salem (45 Lafayette Street) Unbelievable choices from around the world paired with a pretty amazing wine selection.
Die with your Boots on (Witch City Mall) All the clothes, pins and shoes your Goth heart desires.
Pyramid Books (214 Derby Street) Books, crystals, carvings, all the new age materials you need.
Coffee Time Bake Shop (96 Bridge Street) We buy our family birthday cakes all year long, they are the best cakes around, plain and simple. They also have donuts and many other sweet treats.
Check out Cinema Salem in the Witch City Mall . They always have a few current movies and sometimes have special movie events.
To the Ocean!!!!
Misery Island via Essex Heritage, The Island has some pretty fantastic hiking on trails along ruins of a former luxurious resort (see image below). Bring food to picnic on an exclusive beach and take pictures of some truly breath taking views.
In September 2023, Great Misery Island Boat Tour- run by Essex Heritage, has drop-off at Misery Island and is perfect for the whole family (ages four and up). Adults are $42 and children 4-12 are $32. Tickets are available in advance through Essex Heritage
Chestnut Street- Coffin Door
Ruins-Misery Island; Great day hike for kids
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