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10 Free Things to Do in Salem, Massachusetts

Free to explore Salem? The following activities, destinations and diversions are open to the public and are completely free of charge.

tenExplore your National Park

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
Salem, MA

nineTour Punto Urban Art Museum

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


Salem, MA

eightStroll along Chestnut Street

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


Salem, MA

sevenRelax at the Ropes Mansion

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.

Ropes Mansion

318 Essex Street
Salem, MA

sixPlay and Picnic in Salem Common

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.

Salem Common

Salem Common

fiveIndulge Your Sweet Tooth with Harbor Sweets

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).

Harbor Sweets

85 Leavitt Street
Salem, MA

fourStep Through Cemeteries

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.

Salem MA Burying Point

threeWander around the Willows

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.

Salem Willows

167 Fort Avenue
Salem, MA

twoRemember the victims of 1692

Dedicated in 1992, by Nobel Laureate Eli Wiesel, to commemorate the tercentenary of the Salem Witch Trials, the Witch Trials Memorial was restored in 2012 and remains a solemn place to honor and remember the brave people who maintained their innocence in 1692.

oneConnect it all along the Salem Heritage Trail

Connect all of Salem’s sites by walking the Salem Heritage Trail. The line painted on the sidewalk will help you navigate your way through Salem and American history. The Heritage Trail is printed on the map in the centerfold of The Salem Guide.

Salem Heritage Trail

Essex Street
Salem, MA