Salem in One Day

Salem is a town for all seasons. Planning your visit between November and April? Read this post as attractions run seasonally.

Getting to Salem

Arrive in Salem via the MBTA Commuter Rail or the Salem Ferry or drive into downtown Salem an park the car for the day.

Where to start

To see Salem in one day, we recommend arriving downtown by 10:00 am. Start your visit to Salem at the Salem Regional Visitor Center. Here you can pick up a Salem visitor guide and map.

From the Visitor Center, you can pick up the Salem Trolley, which includes an hour-long tour around Salem and the ability to hop on and off throughout the day. If you arrive in Salem in the morning you can catch the first tour at 10:00 am.

Salem Witch Museum

Disembark the trolley at the Salem Witch Museum (the museum is the stop before the Visitor Center where your tour began). Presentations at the Salem Witch Museum begin every half hour, so you should be able to catch either the 11:00 am or 11:30 am showing.

The Salem Witch Museum tells the history of the Salem Witch Trials through life-size sets, and dramatic lighting and narration based on actual trial documents. The experience continues with a tour of the museum’s second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions. This exhibit introduces you to the different ways that witches have been interpreted over time, including the truth behind common stereotypes, modern witchcraft, and historical connections to the present.

Pickering Wharf

Longboards Restaurant & Bar

Exit the Salem Witch Museum and cross the street onto Salem Common. Turn right and continue down Washington Square West which becomes Hawthorne Boulevard (with the Hawthorne Hotel to your left). Pass by the statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne (and stop for a photo!) and continue walking until you reach Derby Street, then take a left.

Spend some time wandering the shops at Pickering Wharf, with uniquely Salem stores like Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints and Salem Spice. When you’re ready for lunch, visit Sea Level Oyster Bar & Kitchen or Finz Seafood & Grill to enjoy fresh seafood by the waterfront or head to Longboards or Brodie’s Seaport for more casual American fare.

The House of the Seven Gables

After lunch, explore the Salem Maritime National Historic Site while on your way down Derby Street towards The House of the Seven Gables. Take the hour-long tour of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion that served as the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work and spend some time wandering through the home’s seaside gardens. While there, be sure to view the 2018 exhibit, These Walls Do Talk, which focuses on the science and history behind the 350-year-old-mansion.

Shopping & Walking Tours

Pick up the Salem Trolley once more, or walk back towards the Salem Regional Visitor Center. From here you’ll be able to browse the shops that line Essex Street and find everything from Salem t-shirts to tarot cards. Don’t miss the shops on Central Street (located right off of Essex) to find retro clothing designs at Modern Millie’s and gifts for pets at New England Dog Biscuit Company.

If time allows, you can learn more about Salem’s history after the museums and attractions have closed for the day by taking a walking tour. Some tours begin as late as 8:00 pm, so you can always find one to take if you arrive in Salem later in the day or if you are looking to learn more before you head home.

Stay in Salem

Want to spend more than one day in Salem? Turn your spring day trip into a weekend getaway with the Family Fun Package from the Salem Inn. The package includes a two-night stay in a family suite along with passes to the Salem Witch Museum and The House of the Seven Gables, a $20 gift card to Flying Saucer Pizza Company and complimentary breakfast at the inn.

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