Nothing is better than Salem in October. It is magical. But this year Salem is working with restrictions and guidelines that have been established to keep residents, businesses, and visitors safe during the global coronavirus pandemic. These restrictions have led to some new recommendations and best practices for travel to our bewitching seaport.
1. Plan ahead. Make reservations and buy tickets in advance. If you cannot get any tickets or reservations, postpone your visit for a time when you can.
2. Visit mid-week. In a normal year, midweek visits are less crowded because there is less to do. During COVID, midweek visits offer the same activities as the weekend, but with a fraction of the crowds. None of our special events are permitted to happen this year because of COVID reopening guidelines outlined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
3. Postpone your visit. Salem’s not going anywhere. Come explore our history after October or in 2021. Subscribe to our mailing list so you know what is on tap for the less-crowded holidays, winter, and spring.
4. Go virtual. Many of Salem’s experiences are available online this year. Tarot salons, history lectures, magic shows, costume contests, and the merchant marketplace all have gone online. Many Salem shops also have online platforms, so you can bring the magic home!
If you do find yourself in Salem without reservations, tickets, and a plan, all may not be lost. The following attractions and museums do offer same day ticketing.
You can also follow our suggestions for spots in Salem that offer physical distancing, including Derby Wharf, Salem Common, and Salem Willows.
And if you are still looking for more, here are ways to find a little Salem outside of Salem:
The location for some of the scenes in Hubie Halloween and the cemetery scene in Hocus Pocus, Marblehead is the charming seaside community just south of Salem. Explore unique boutiques, enjoy the view from Chandler Hovey Park, and stop at The Landing for lunch by the harbor.
Explore the “Bass River side of Salem” in Beverly, to the north. Cabot and Rantoul streets are lined with restaurants and breweries, and you can stop for exterior shots of Hale Farm, which was home to Witch Trials judge John Hale.
Witch Trials Sites
If you are interested in the Witch Trials history, Hale Farm in Beverly could be the first stop of many throughout the region. Follow the Salem Witch Museum’s Witch Trials Online Sites Tour around Essex and Middlesex County from home or in person to see some of the significant locations of 1692.
If you explore the Witch Trials Sites, be sure to stop in Danvers, which was Salem Village in 1692, to see their memorial to the Salem Witch Trials.
Explore the Region
The North of Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau has several self-guided tours of the region. If you’re interested in Punto Urban Art Museum, you’ll also like the murals and public art north of Boston. If you’re exploring the Hocus Pocus film locations, you may want to broaden your reach and explore filming locations throughout the county, and if you like Notch and East Regiment, download the Toast the Coast brochure and head out on a self-guided tours of breweries, cideries, and distilleries within a short drive.
Wherever you go, check websites or call ahead to make sure they are open and you are aware of any special guidelines in place due to COVID.