10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Salem

Salem Holiday Happenings run the Friday after Thanksgiving through January 1, 2019 and feature holiday shopping events, specialty tastings, our holiday tree lighting, and more. Use this list to start planning your visit and find all of our Holiday Happenings on the events calendar.

Welcome Santa and see the annual holiday tree lighting


Photo by John Andrews

November 23, 2018: Stay in Salem after Thanksgiving and join Salem Main Streets in welcoming Santa as he arrives atop the historic Hawthorne Hotel with assistance from the Salem Fire Department. Get to Salem Common by 5:45 to see his arrival then follow the procession down Essex Street to Lappin Park for the holiday tree lighting with Santa and Mayor Driscoll.
Learn more here.

Shop small on Small Business Saturday

November 24, 2018: Shop small and get started on your holiday shopping in Salem during Small Business Saturday! This event is part of the “Shop Small” movement initiated by American Express that encourages local shopping to support small businesses during the busiest holiday shopping weekend. The City of Salem has made parking in downtown Salem free for the day, and many local shops are offering special deals and promotions for the occasion!
Learn more here.

Tour historic homes during Christmas in Salem



Photo by John Andrews

November 30-December 2, 2018: Christmas in Salem offers a peek inside some of our most historic homes professionally decorated for the holiday season! The homes featured in this season’s 39th annual event span four centuries of Salem’s past and the rest of the weekend includes a series of holiday-themed walking tours, wine tastings, and more that are exclusive to Christmas in Salem ticketholders.
Learn more here.

Join Mayor Kim Driscoll in the Salem Menorah Lighting

December 8, 2018: Join Mayor Kim Driscoll and the City of Salem at the 7th Annual Salem Chanukah Party on the 7th night of Chanukah! The event includes greetings from the Mayor, doughnuts, latkes, hot apple cider, and musical havdalah. Admission is free, and in the case of inclement weather is will be moved indoors to 120 Washington Street.
Learn more here.

Find locally-made gifts at one of our holiday markets


Photo by John Andrews

Shop throughout this holiday season at one of many local holiday markets. Each market offers local handcrafted goods and seasonal specialties that you won’t find the rest of the year! This year’s holiday markets include:

Dine at local restaurants during Restaurant Week

December 2-6, 2018: Salem Fall Restaurant Week features the best local cuisine at value pricing! For five days only, participating Salem restaurants offer specially priced menus for the occasion. Restaurant Week menus include a wide variety of delicious foods with something for everyone. Restaurants offer multiple choices for appetizers, entrees as well as desserts. Reservations are encouraged, be sure to mention “Restaurant Week” when you call.
Learn more here.

Sip on holiday teas or taste hot chocolate around town

Take your own self-guided hot chocolate crawl around town or stop for seasonal teas at Jolie Tea Company. Visit Jolie Tea Co. on Fridays for complimentary tea tastings, where tea and sweets are served with no reservations needed. For a traditional afternoon tea experience, make reservations on Jolie Tea’s website.

December 14-15, 2018: New for 2018, the Phillips House is hosting their own Christmas Tea where guests can dine on tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets in one of the home’s Samuel McIntire-designed rooms. Reservations are required.
Learn more here.

Enjoy a Christmas feast or brunch with Santa

Plan Christmas dinner in Salem with holiday buffets, photos with Santa, and more! Holiday dining includes:

Run through Salem during a festive road race

Go for a run through historic downtown Salem and support a good cause. Proceeds from Salem’s annual winter races go towards funding technology to help local students with autism and scholarships for area high school students. (Looking for races in Salem throughout the rest of the year? Check this page to see what events are planned during your visit.)

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Salem


Photo by John Andrews

December 31, 2018: Each year Salem Main Streets hosts LAUNCH! a family-friendly New Year’s eve celebration with an early countdown. Bring the family to Old Town Hall for hat-making, a photo booth, face-painting, games, activities, and more leading up to the early New Year’s countdown at 6:00 pm.
Learn more here.

❄️ Share your Salem holiday celebrations by using #destsalem.
Best wishes for this holiday season and for a happy New Year from Destination Salem.

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