Things to Do in Salem, MA: Attractions, History, and More
If you’re moving to or living in Salem, MA, you’re in for a treat. Known for its historic landmarks, maritime heritage, and infamous witch trials, Salem offers visitors a glimpse into early American history and culture. But it’s not all about the past – Salem also boasts a thriving arts scene, lively festivals, and a welcoming community that will make you feel right at home. In this article, we’ll explore the top things to do in Salem, from touring the witch trial sites to enjoying fresh seafood by the harbor.
So whether you already own a home in the area or you’re touring Salem apartments, keep reading to discover the many charms of this enchanting city.
1. Visit the Salem Witch Museum
When you think of Salem, the Salem Witch Trials may come to mind. The Salem Witch Museum is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in the trials that took place in the late 1600s. The museum offers a multimedia experience that provides an overview of the trials, including interactive exhibits, life-size stage sets, and a guided tour.
2. Explore the Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex Museum is one of the oldest and most prestigious museums in the U.S. It is home to an extensive collection of art and artifacts from around the world, with a focus on maritime art, Asian art, and American art. The museum also features interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, making it an engaging experience for visitors of all ages.
3. Take a stroll through Salem’s historic district
Salem’s historic district is a picturesque area with cobblestone streets, preserved 18th-century buildings, and beautiful gardens. Take a leisurely walk through the streets and admire the well-preserved architecture, which includes historic homes, churches, and museums. Be sure to stop by the House of the Seven Gables, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel of the same name.
4. Visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site
As a historic port city, Salem has a rich maritime history, and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site pays tribute to this heritage. The site includes several preserved historic buildings, including the Customs House, which now serves as a visitor center, and the Derby Wharf, where you can take a stroll along the waterfront and enjoy panoramic views of Salem Harbor.
5. Enjoy some local cuisine
Salem has a vibrant food scene with a wide range of restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes. From seafood to Italian cuisine to trendy farm-to-table eateries, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to try some local specialties, such as clam chowder or lobster roll, for a true taste of New England.
6. Take a ghost tour
With its history of witch trials and tales of haunted places, Salem is known for its spooky side. Join a ghost tour and explore the city’s haunted sites, including the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, the Joshua Ward House, and the Howard Street Cemetery. These tours provide an entertaining and eerie experience for those who enjoy the supernatural.
7. Explore Salem’s waterfront
Salem is located on the North Shore of Massachusetts, which means it has access to beautiful coastline and beaches. Take a walk along the waterfront and enjoy the scenic views of Salem Harbor, or head to one of the nearby beaches for a relaxing day by the ocean. Winter Island Park is a popular spot with a beach, a playground, and picnic areas.
8. Visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a somber and reflective place to pay tribute to the victims of the witch trials. The memorial, located in Proctor’s Ledge, the site where the executions took place, features a stone wall with the names of the victims inscribed, creating a poignant reminder of this dark chapter in Salem’s history.
9. Take a cruise on the Salem Sound
For a unique perspective of Salem and its surrounding natural beauty, consider taking a cruise on the Salem Sound. There are various options available, from narrated tours that provide insights into the area’s history and maritime heritage to sunset cruises that offer breathtaking views of the coastline. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty of Salem from the water.
10. Discover the local art scene
Salem is home to a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries, studios, and shops showcasing local artists’ work. Explore the city’s art scene by visiting the Salem Arts Association, which features rotating exhibits of local artists, or taking a self-guided art walk to discover murals and street art scattered throughout the city.
11. Attend a festival or event
Salem hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, offering visitors a chance to experience the city’s vibrant culture and community spirit. The Salem Arts Festival, Salem Food Truck Festival, and Haunted Happenings during the month of October are just a few examples of the exciting events that take place in Salem. Check the local events calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.
12. Go shopping in Salem
Salem is known for its unique shops and boutiques, offering a wide range of interesting and eclectic items. From vintage clothing to witchcraft supplies to handcrafted jewelry, there’s something for everyone. Explore the shops along Essex Street and Derby Street, and don’t forget to stop by the Salem Witch Museum Gift Shop for some witch-themed souvenirs.
Embrace the enchantment of Salem, MA
Salem, Boston, offers a plethora of activities and attractions for both visitors and locals to enjoy. Delve into its fascinating history, explore its museums and historic sites, indulge in local cuisine, and immerse yourself in its arts and culture. With so many things to do in Salem, it’s certain to make your experience in this historic city truly memorable.