This school vacation week in Salem, Massachusetts comes with new attractions and exhibitions to see downtown and by the waterfront, the opening of seasonal venues, outdoor dining, walking tours, and more! Take a day trip downtown or spend a couple of nights in Salem with these ideas to fill your itinerary with a week of family fun.
Things to Do
Many of Salem’s walking tours have reopened for the season, including Salem Kids Tours which offers multiple tours geared specifically for kids and families. The Kids History Tour covers all angles of Salem’s history, including the Salem Witch Trials while offering a great introduction to the city for the whole family. Salem Kids Tours’ Slightly Spooky Tour is a fun way to add some kid-friendly ghost stories to your visit while taking in some true tales about Salem’s past. Tickets for both tours can be booked online at SalemKidsTours.com.
Real Pirates Salem is one of the newest attractions to open in Salem, showcasing an exhibition of real pirate treasure recovered from the wreck of the Whydah that went down off the coast of Cape Cod in the early 18th century. The items included in the exhibition make up the world’s only fully authenticated pirate treasure ever discovered. Don’t leave the exhibit before checking out the Discovery Lab where you can see the preservation process of authentic Whydah artifacts. Plan your visit at RealPiratesSalem.com.
April School Vacation Week is packed with programming and exhibitions at the Peabody Essex Museum. Climate Action: Inspiring Change is an exhibition that explores how we can transform the climate crisis into hope for our shared future, and Konstantin Dimopoulos: The Blue Trees is an environmental call to action in the form of a participatory installation. Events are planned throughout the week inspired by both exhibitions that will allow visitors of all ages to create their own collages and artwork. Find a full list of events at the museum at PEM.org.
The House of the Seven Gables is thrilled to offer school vacation week programming for the first time since 2019 with activities like historic scavenger hunts for the whole family, and interactive ways to recreate The Gables’ architecture. Visitors of all ages can learn what it was like to stay aboard sailing ships, and complete challenges for prizes before or after a guided tour of the museum or stroll through the Colonial Seaside Gardens. Find admissions details at 7Gables.org.
Additional Family-Friendly Activities
For workshops created just for kids, check out events hosted by the Good Witch of Salem. The week’s event lineup includes Magic With Dinosaurs, which allows kids to mix their own dinosaur dirt, adopt a dinosaur, and enjoy sensory play. Can’t make it to Salem for school vacation week? Check the events calendar, the Good Witch of Salem already has events planned through October!
The Witchery just launched broom-decorating for kids, with sessions available on Saturday mornings. And, for older kids and teens, broom-making and bookbinding sessions are available during the week at this shop on Pickering Wharf.
The Salem Willows Arcade is a seasonal destination for family fun. While the arcade is a popular spot for families visiting Salem over the summer, it will be open daily from noon to 8 pm during school vacation week, along with some of the seasonal restaurants that open this month at Salem Willows.
Salem has lots of shops that can appeal to the whole family, including Trolley Depot for Salem gifts and souvenirs, plus a number of shops to pick up candies and other sweets and treats. Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company on Derby Street is the oldest commercial candy shop in the country, while Curly Girl Candy Shop on Washington Street is the newest candy store to open in Salem.
On Pickering Wharf, Popped! Gourmet Popcorn offers specialty popcorn flavors, Richardson’s ice cream plus a wall of jelly beans, and downtown, Maria’s Sweet Somethings features handmade candies, gifts, and delicious ice cream as well.
Salem is a great destination for foodies, and with a variety of family-friendly restaurants finding a delicious dinner spot during school vacation week is a breeze. For pizza, check out Essex’s NY Pizza & Deli or Flying Saucer Pizza Company.
Salem’s Retreat and Red’s Sandwich Shop offer classic breakfast and lunch entrees, while Rockafellas and Witch City Hibachi could be great options for dinner. Bit Bar is another popular dining destination during school vacation week for its eats and classic video games, and this year marks its first vacation week at its new expanded location on Derby Street.
Stay overnight in Salem during school vacation week, and find accommodations with amenities like indoor pools and kitchenettes. For a spacious stay in Salem, check out the Hampton Inn, Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites, or the Salem Inn, with each location within walking distance of downtown museums and attractions, shops, and restaurants.
Start planning your April school vacation week trip today by browsing this site and downloading the free Salem app!