10 Things to Know About Salem, Massachusetts
With a festival or celebration every month of the year, a robust local theater scene, active nightlife, and ever-changing museum programming, you will always find something to do and explore in Salem. To start your adventure, here are 10 things to know about Salem, Massachusetts:
10. Salem is a small city
Chestnut Street Car Meet, Heritage Days
With a population of about 42,000 people, Salem is a small city located just 16 miles north of Boston
. In Salem, you’ll find a bustling downtown area full of museums and attractions
, and restaurants
, along with historic districts
, a neighborhood that features murals painted by local artists
, and 18.5 miles of tidal shoreline that include 7 public beaches
9. Our busiest season is October during the Haunted Happenings Festival
Salem Haunted Happenings
Essex Street Market during Salem Haunted Happenings. Photo by John Andrews.
is a month-long celebration, encompassing everything from family-friendly magic shows, to costume balls, psychic readings, haunted harbor cruises, ghost tours, and more. Whether you come to Salem seeking history
, or even a vibrant food and “spirits” scene
, you are sure to find your own adventure each October.
8. Salem hosts dozens of festivals throughout the year
Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. Photo by John Andrews.
may be the biggest, but it’s just one of dozens of festivals
during the year in Salem. Salem’s So Sweet
in February, Salem Film Fest
in March, Salem Arts Festival
in June, Heritage Days
in August, and Holiday Happenings
in December are just a few others! We’re also home to regional events that take place annually including ArtWeek
in April/May, the Massachusetts Poetry Festival
in May, the North Shore Pride Parade & Festival
7. Salem is a walkable city
Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Wear comfortable shoes because Salem is a very walkable city
and we encourage you to park your car for the day
to explore our historic streets and waterfront on foot. Downtown Salem is only about a mile wide (from the Phillips House
on Chestnut Street to the Salem Ferry
on Blaney Street). You can learn about Salem’s history by walking the Salem Heritage Trail
, or by taking a guided tour
on any topic ranging from food tours with tastings
, to ghost tours
, and modern witch walks
6.You can take a self-guided walking tour
Salem Regional Visitor Center
There are a couple of self-guided walking tours available through the National Park Service
. Print the a brochure before you go on either the McIntire Historic District
or Architecture in Salem
and tour Salem’s history at your own pace. Prefer an audio tour? You can download the (free) Salem Black Heritage Audio Tour
right to your smartphone by searching for “UniGuide” in your app store and selecting the tour.
5. Parking costs between $.75/hour and $20/day
Essex Street Pedestrian Mall
The cost of parking in Salem varies depending on the space, garage, lot, or season. During October weekends, City garages and lots along with most private lots cost $20 (cash on entry) to park for the day. You can find long-term parking in one of the City garages, or by downloading the Passport Parking App to feed your meter from your phone.
4. ”Pop-ups” and special events happen all the time!
Finz Seafood & Grill. Photo by Jared Charney.
Be sure to allow time for the unexpected since there is always something happening in Salem
! You may find a cookie “speakeasy” down an alley, an artisan market at a brewery
, or the Farmers’ Market
in Derby Square! You can always check out events happening during your visit on our events calendar
3. Salem is a dog-friendly destination
Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade
We have lots of dog-friendly
restaurants that allow you to dine on their outdoor patios for you and your pet, with some locations even offering special ‘doggy menus.’ Salem is even home to a number of pet-friendly
accommodations, walking tours, and shopping experiences. We even celebrate Halloween with furry friends during the annual Howl-o-ween Pet Parade
2. Combination tickets are available for select attractions
Visit The Land of Witches & Pirates
with a combo ticket to the Witch Dungeon Museum
, Witch History Museum
, and New England Pirate Museum
. The Salem Hysteria Pass includes the Salem Wax Museum
and Salem Witch Village
. The Visit 1692 Pass includes the Salem Witch Museum
, Witch House
and the Rebecca Nurse House in Danvers, and includes discounts at The Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel
, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie
and Goodies Ice Cream (Danvers).
1. You can start planning your Salem adventure today!
Request your FREE Visitor Guide
or join our list
to start planning your visit to Salem today! Love the cover of the 2018 Salem Guide
as much as we do? You can enter to win
your very own signed limited edition print of the cover art featuring an original design of The House of the Seven Gables
by local artist, Elissa Von Letkemann of Windows of Salem
. We’ll be randomly selecting one winner each month during 2018!
Where to next?