Spring is a wonderful time to visit Salem! Most of our seasonal attractions reopen for the season in April (with harbor tours opening up mid-May) and lots of restaurants are now offering outdoor dining on their expanded patios. The spring weather can be perfect for picnicking at a downtown green space or for seeing Salem by foot on a walking tour. If you have three days to spend in Salem this spring, here’s what we recommend:
Where to Stay
Salem has accommodations for every taste and budget, and it can be easier to find availability to stay right downtown during springtime if you’re used to coming during our busier times of year like late summer and October. For this itinerary, we’re going with the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites, and you can learn more about this hotel and find a full list of places to stay in Salem here.
Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites
Located right by Salem Harbor, the Salem Waterfront Hotel is brings modern conveniences to our historic downtown with 86 rooms and suites, a full service restaurant and bar with their Regatta Pub, an indoor pool and exercise room and complimentary parking and Wi-Fi. The hotel is close to Pickering Wharf’s shops and restaurants, and other Derby Street attractions including Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and The House of the Seven Gables.
After you arrive at your hotel, spend the afternoon exploring Salem with a tour aboard the Salem Trolley. Tours are an hour long and cover Salem’s past and present. They are also a great way to get your bearings before you set off to explore downtown on your own. The tour picks up from the stop outside the Salem Regional Visitor Center, and runs daily (when in season) from 10 am to 5 pm, with the last full tour of the day departing at 4 pm. Learn more at salemtrolley.com.
Peabody Essex Museum
Your trolley tour will conveniently end right by the Peabody Essex Museum so you can head inside to explore. The Peabody Essex Museum is one of the fastest-growing art museums in North of America with extensive collections of American art, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, and Native American, Oceanic and African Art. The museum is also home to Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house. Visit pem.org ahead of your visit to find ticket information and to check out the museum’s current exhibitions.
Stop for Dinner
After spending a couple of hours exploring the museum, we recommend getting dinner at…
For classic New England seafood served in Salem’s historic Lyceum Hall, head to Turner’s Seafood. It’s a short walk from the museum and reservations are recommended. Learn more at turners-seafood.com.
Village Tavern serves American food nearby the museum and has an outdoor patio overlooking the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall. Pull up a chair outside or head in to their dining room for prime rib, burgers, salads, and more. Check the menu at villagetavernsalem.com.
AM Coffee Walk with Salem Food Tours
Start your second day in Salem with an AM Coffee Walk around town by Salem Food Tours. This guided walk through downtown shares information on Salem’s spice trade history while passing historic landmarks and learning about local shops and restaurant. Plus each walk includes coffee and something sweet to go with it! Book tickets for your walk in advance and learn more about Salem Food Tours at salemfoodtours.com.
The House of the Seven Gables
After your Coffee Walk, continue down Derby Street to The House of the Seven Gables. (If time allows, spend some time exploring Salem Maritime National Historic Site along the way.) Once at The House of the Seven Gables, you’ll be able to embark on either a guided tour of the 17th century Turner-Ingersoll Mansion that served as the inspiration for Hawthorne’s novel, or spend some time exploring The Gables gardens and grounds. The seaside gardens are beautiful this time of year, and The Gables campus also features the Nathaniel Hawthorne birthplace and views of the harbor.
Don’t miss the museum shop on your way out– The store has everything from merchandise celebrating your climb up The Gables’ secret staircase to history books, crafts, ornaments, and more. Plan ahead to confirm tickets to the museum and gardens by booking online prior to your visit at 7gables.org.
Stop for lunch
Head back down Derby Street toward to stop for lunch at…
Longboards on Pickering Wharf, where you can try one of their award-winning lobster rolls or grab a burger, flatbread or salad and kick back at their full bar with 50 beers available. (Menu at longboardsbar.com.)
Red’s Sandwich Shop, further into downtown on Central Street for all day breakfast, sandwiches, soups, and salads for affordable prices all within the historic London Coffeehouse building. (Menu at redssandwichshop.com.)
Reading at Pentagram
Visit Pentagram for a reading! Pentagram is Salem’s newest Witch shop, co-owned by Salem psychics Leanne Marrama and Timothy Reagan. Book a reading for yourself or as a couple, and save time to browse the shop’s vast collection of candles, crystals, books, and more. Shop online and book a reading at pentagramsalem.com.
Witch Dungeon Museum
Head to the Witch Dungeon Museum for a live reenactment of a 1692 Witch Trial followed by a tour of a recreated dungeon. During your tour, you’ll be able to see what conditions for those imprisoned during the Trials were like, as well as a ceiling beam from the original 1692 dungeon. (If you have enough time during your visit, the museum also offers combination tickets with the New England Pirate Museum and Witch History Museum. Learn more here.)
The Witch House is the last remaining site still standing in Salem that is related to the Witch Trials. It was the home of Judge Corwin, and today the site is a museum offering guided and self-guided tours showcasing Witch Trials history and the interior of a 17th century home. Check their website to confirm hours and ticket information ahead of your visit.
Stop for dinner
We recommend stopping for dinner before heading out for an evening walking tour. Restaurants nearby include…
Salem Night Tour
After dinner, head over to Remember Salem on Essex Street to pick up your Salem Night Tour. The tour covers about a mile of ground around downtown Salem with stops at sites related to Salem’s history and hauntings. During your tour you’ll learn about relevant sites to the Salem Witch Trials and hear ghost stories from around some of the city’s buildings that are thought to be haunted. Purchase tickets in advance at salemghosttours.com.
Odd Meter Coffee Co.
Stop at Odd Meter Coffee, one of Salem’s newest coffee shops for a quick bite to eat. Grab a cup of coffee or a specialty latte and something sweet and freshly baked from A&J King. Check out the menu in their shop on Washington Street or order online here.
Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Witch Museum offers presentations throughout the day covering the history of the Salem Witch Trials, followed by a tour of their exhibition on the changing perceptions of witchcraft over time. Tickets are available online the day of your visit at salemwitchmuseum.com, and don’t forget to stop in the gift shop on your way out!
Don’t leave Salem without picking up some of your favorite souvenirs. Salem’s shops have something for everyone, whether you’re adding to your t-shirt collection or finding an ornament to gift someone back home. Find a full list of Salem shops here, and if you realize you forgot to purchase something when you return home, be sure to check the shopping page as many locations have online stores.
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