Free to explore Salem? The following activities, destinations and diversions are open to the public and are completely free of charge.
The first National Historic Site established in the US, tours of the buildings, wharves, and Tall Ship Friendship at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site are free. Learn stories of the sailors, Revolutionary War privateers and merchants who brought the riches of the world to America through the port of Salem. Spend a half hour learning regional history from the wonderful, free film, Where Past is Present at the Visitor Center (located at 2 New Liberty Street).
Salem Maritime National Historic Site
160 Derby Street
Located in the Point Neighborhood, Punto Urban Art Museum is an open-air museum that features 85 large-scale murals and 40 world-renowned artists. It’s a five minute walk from downtown and free to explore. Share your favorite murals with us by tagging @destsalem in your posts!
Punto Urban Art Museum
Take the time to wander down beautiful Chestnut Street, which was the first planned street in America. Read all of the house plaques to learn the about the people who built and lived in the exquisite Federal-style mansions.
The McIntire Historic District
Just a block from historic Chestnut Street, at 318 Essex Street, you will find the historic Ropes Mansion Garden. This stunning Colonial Revival garden, created in 1912, is a popular place for relaxing, reading, photography, and admiring the flowers. Part of the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, the garden is open to the public, and throughout the growing season, offers a splendid sampling of local horticulture. The mansion itself is free and open to the public on summer weekends from noon to 4 pm.
318 Essex Street
Originally used as a grazing area for Salem residents’ livestock and a training area for the Salem militia, today Salem Common is a favorite spot for jogging, reading, concerts and wedding ceremonies. The playground and basketball court provide a place for families to unwind and enjoy some fresh air.
Harbor Sweets offers free factory tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 am. Take a tour and see where some of our favorite locally-made chocolates are handcrafted, then buy some to take home! (Contact Harbor Sweets to confirm tour availability).
85 Leavitt Street
Salem has wonderful, historic cemeteries, including the Old Burying Point Cemetery on Charter Street, Howard Street Cemetery and the Broad Street Cemetery. The Charter Street Burying Point is one of the oldest cemeteries in Massachusetts. In it you can see the graves of a Witch Trials judge, a Mayflower passenger, and architect Samuel McIntire. Cemeteries are open from dawn until dusk. Note: Charter Street Cemetery is undergoing preservation work and may be closed for select periods of time. Check PreservingSalem.com for updates.
In addition to the restaurants and arcades (which will lighten your quarter stash), Salem Willows Park has two free beaches, walking trails, and a free summer concert series. Good weather brings families from near and far with their picnics to savor the sun, sand, and salt water. And, for less than $2 you can feast on one of Salem Lowe’s famous chop suey sandwiches.
167 Fort Avenue
Salem Heritage Trail