Salem, Massachusetts has great things to see and experience all year round; each season offering something special for visitors from near and far. Winter in Salem promises cozy accommodations, seasonal specialties in the restaurants, and museum visits without crowds. As Salem’s businesses continue to navigate the pandemic, we recommend doing a bit of advance planning to confirm hours of operation for your chosen destinations, and considering a weekend visit when there are more activities available.
Stay Somewhere Cozy
The winter season in Salem calls for staying somewhere that will feel like home. Historic inns and B&Bs like The Daniels House, The Northey Street House Bed and Breakfast, The Merchant, and Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast offer a cozy and comfortable place to put your feet up at the end of the day while you continue to soak in New England charm. If you prefer a full-service hotel, you will find fireplaces at The Hawthorne Hotel, and The Salem Waterfront Hotel, and centrally located, contemporary accommodations at Hotel Salem and the Hampton Inn. For a complete list of places to stay in Salem, click here.
Go to Winter Exclusive Festivals
Mark your calendars for one of Salem’s winter festivals! Salem’s So Sweet is Salem’s sweetest weekend of the year, February 11-13. Set your sites and Valentine shopping plans on this delicious chocolate and ice sculpture festival. Salem Film Fest, the largest international documentary film festival in Massachusetts, will present features, shorts, and special events from March 24 – April 3.
View Unique Exhibits
Several exhibits will come to a close before springtime, including Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming at the Peabody Essex Museum, which is on display until March 20th, and Sister Season of Sorrow: Caitlin and Nicole Duennebier, at the Salem Art Gallery, which is on display until February 17. WOLFDREAM which aims to promote the majesty of wolves will also be featured from February 16 to May 22 at the Salem Art Gallery. The Peabody Essex Museum also has fantastic exhibits running through early this year. January 29 – May 8, check out Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger which features the work of two leading Indigenous contemporary artists who focus on collaborative artmaking and community engagement. The Great Animal Orchestra: Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, an immersive audio-visual experience that celebrates our planet’s rich biodiversity through the work of Bernie Krause who over 50 years recorded more than 5,000 hours of recordings of natural environments, including at least 15,000 terrestrial and marine species from around the world, will be there through May 8th.
Experience Classic Year-Round Museums and Attractions
Several of Salem’s famous museums and attractions are open all year long. A winter visit will give you the opportunity to experience some of Salem’s favorite attractions without crowds. The Salem Witch Museum, The House of The Seven Gables, the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Witch Village and Salem Wax Museum are all open during the winter months, and many walking tours also operate through the winter, including Salem Night Tour, Salem Ghosts, Tours for Touring Tourists, Salem Haunts and Ghost City Tours. To see a full list of museums and attractions, click here.
Enjoy A Warm Meal
Salem is known for its culinary scene, and that doesn’t change in the winter! Warm-up with French onion soup from Longboards or go for clam chowder at Finz Seafood and Grill, Turner’s Seafood, or Brodie’s Seaport. For something more robust, cut into a steak at Village Tavern or Ledger or try a burger or sandwich at Rockafellas. If you are really looking to warm things up, head to The Regatta Pub at The Salem Waterfront Hotel for dinner and a drink around one of their outdoor fire top tables. For a complete list of Salem restaurants, click here. And try our hot chocolate crawl to warm up on the go!
The City of Salem has an indoor mask mandate and requires proof of vaccination to enter several types of businesses, including restaurant, museums, and indoor entertainment. Go to Salem.org/covid19 for more information.