One of the best ways to see Salem, Massachusetts and learn about local history is on foot with a guided walking tour around town. Salem has a tour for everyone, with a variety of historical and ghost tours, tours just for kids and families, and even food tours! Learn more about each of Salem’s walking tours, and find links to book in the post below.
Bewitched After Dark Walking Tours covers the Salem Witch Trials in the larger context of 17th century Salem with stops at relevant historic sites and locations around town. Repeat visitors love Bewitched After Dark for their mix of historical knowledge and local insight into how best to see and experience Salem and make the most of your time downtown. Tickets for afternoon and evening tours are available at bewitchedafterdark.com.
For a daytime walking tour, Black Cat Tours offers a historic day tour focusing on “Pirates and Puritans, and Witchcraft and War.” The tour stops at sites that share Salem’s history of seafarers, architectural genius, and the spice trade with insight into how Salem became one of the most prominent ports in the US and home to one of the most famous American authors. Book online at blackcatsalem.com.
Guide Kenneth Glover leads an in depth look into Salem’s past and present with his 2.5 hour long Salem Morning & Afternoon Stroll. The tour covers the history of Salem from the 17th to 20th centuries, and is memorable thanks to Kenneth’s humorous anecdotes and a deep personal interest in Salem’s stories. This longer tour also means time to stop in little known historic districts and sites, making it a great way to see more of Salem on foot. Book online at sinisterstoriesofsalem.com or at the Coven’s Cottage on Essex Street.
Salem Day Tour includes a journey around town with stops at relevant historic sites minus the ghost stories you may encounter on a Salem Night Tour. The tour covers all areas of Salem’s history from the Salem Witch Trials to the Spice Trade, and beyond, and is geared for guests ages 13 and older. The tour is offered daily, but advanced tickets are recommended. Book at salemdaytours.com.
Salem Historical Tours cover the general history of Salem along with tours devoted entirely to the Witch Trials of 1692. They also offer both a daytime and evening version of their Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour allowing for some flexibility in when you take in Salem’s haunts and history. Just be sure to book your tour early to ensure you’re spot at salemhistoricaltours.com.
For tours on the Salem Witch Trials, we also recommend:
Salem Food Tours is Salem’s original food and cultural walking tour with stops at local shops and restaurants and background on the history of the Spice Trade and Salem as a culinary destination. Each tour starts with a spice tasting and includes tastings of traditional New England staples like clam chowder along with innovative new dishes by local chefs. Learn more at salemfoodtours.com.
You could also opt to start your day with an AM Coffee Walk by Salem Food Tours. Enjoy coffee or tea from a local coffee shop then take a stroll around town to take in some of Salem’s history earlier in the day. Information and booking for AM Coffee Walks is also available at salemfoodtours.com.
For a spooky walk through Salem by candlelight, plan your visit in the late summer or fall to take a Candlelit Ghostly Walking Tour. The tour departs from the side street adjacent to the Salem Wax Museum for an evening walk filled with Salem history and ghost stories. The tour also includes tips for those learning ghost photographer, and tickets are available when in season at candlelitghostlytour.com.
If you are searching for a tour that tells the history of the Salem Witch Trials and other local lore alongside tales of potential ghost stories, consider taking a Salem Night Tour. Offered nightly at 8 pm when in season, the tour covers the history of Salem through the centuries with stops at sights related to local history and hauntings. Advanced tickets are recommended, but it doesn’t hurt to check availability in person at Remember Salem (Salem’s Harry Potter shop!). Book online at salemghosttours.com.
Spellbound Tours offers walks guided tours around Salem with professional paranormal investigators. In addition to covering the major parts of Salem’s history like the Witch Trials, the tour dives into stories of vampire folklore and voodoo. Spellbound’s Guides also share photos they’ve captured of paranormal activity themselves to help their guests learn when their photos are evidence of a haunting and when they may be a simple camera function. Advanced tickets are recommended and available online for the whole season at spellboundtours.com.
For additional evening walking tours, we recommend:
The Salem Witch Walk tells the history of Salem along with contemporary stories of the city with a guided tour by a practicing Witch. The tour begins with a blessing in a magic circle before setting off to stop at sites relevant to Salem’s past and present. The Salem Witch Walk steps off from Crow Haven Corner, Salem’s oldest Witch shop, so you’ll also have time for a psychic reading or to stock up on some crystals, tarot cards, books, candles, and more before or after your tour. Book online at witchwalk.com.
Tours for Kids
Salem Kids Tour is especially designed with kids and families in mind. The tour takes Salem’s history and makes it more accessible for younger guests, making this tour the perfect addition to a family vacation or school vacation week activity. The tour runs most days while in season, and tickets are available at salemkidstours.com.
Love Hocus Pocus? Witch City Walking Tours has an entire tour devoted to the locations where this cult classic family Halloween movie was filmed. Learn trivia and history behind the movie and stop at Salem Common, Old Town Hall, and Allison’s house just to name a few. Witch City Walking Tours also offers a variety of historical tours covering everything from the Salem Witch Trials to Murder and Mysteries. Find what interests you and book online at witchcitywalkingtours.com.
For a self-guided tour, try Salem On Your Own, a new mobile app by Hocus Pocus Tours. The tour offers a self-guided exploration into Salem’s past that can be done whenever you want, at your own pace.
Prefer to see Salem by trolley? The Salem Trolley runs daily with hour long tours April-October, 10 am-5 pm. The last full tour departs at 4 pm, and complete information is available at salemtrolley.com.
Additional Salem Walking Tours:
- Salem Ghosts
- Salem Haunts
- Satanic Salem Walking Tours
Photos in this post were taken prior to 2020. Masks are required in Salem and throughout Massachusetts, both indoors and outdoors, even if you are vaccinated. Learn more here.
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