Due to COVID-19, if you are considering a visit to Salem this October and you do not have lodging booked or tickets or reservations purchased in advance, the City of Salem recommends that you postpone your visit until after Halloween or October 2021. Special events planned for Salem Haunted Happenings have been canceled due to the pandemic and all venues are working with limited occupancy and public health guidelines. Thanks for your help as we work to keep everyone healthy and safe. We would love to see you another time.
Film, food, chocolate, comedy, poetry, Pride, Halloween, spices, and boats–these are just a few festivals you can find here in Salem, MA. We have festivals for all five seasons (we consider October its own). What will be happening when you visit? Visit the Events Calendar or read below to learn more about these special events.
Salem Comedy & Spirits Festival
January 16-18, 2020
Warm up winter with laughter and spirits at the first annual Salem Comedy & Spirits Festival. Top area comedians and delicious locally-made spirits highlight this weekend celebration.
Salem’s So Sweet
February 7-9, 2020
Chocolate, ice sculptures, and a Golden Ticket take center stage at Salem’s annual Valentine celebration in February. Always a sell-out, the Chocolate & Wine Tasting at Colonial Hall opens the festival on February 8. Ice sculptures – at least a dozen of them – will be installed around Salem on February 9, and the Golden Ticket Raffle will run February 9-10. Downtown businesses will offer promotions, events, tastings, and great shopping throughout the festival.
SalemMainStreets.org, Salem-Chamber.org, Facebook.com/SalemSoSweet
Salem Restaurant Week
March 15-19 and 22-26, 2020
Salem Restaurant Week is the perfect time to dine out at the dozens of excellent eateries. There will be a wide variety of delicious foods, including steak, seafood, Italian classics, contemporary cuisine, American favorites and exotic ethnic treats. Restaurants will offer multiple choices for appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Salem Film Fest
March 20-29, 2020 (CANCELED)
Come to Salem, see the world during the largest all-documentary festival in New England. Film screenings and talkbacks with the directors are the highlights of the week-long film fest.
Women's History Day
March 29, 2020 (CANCELED)
Celebrate the work of remarkable women in Salem’s history. The House of the Seven Gables, Salem Maritime National Historic Site, History Alive!, Salem Witch Museum, the Witch House, and the Phillips House Museum will host programs that share four hundred years of stories.
Salem Arts Festival
June 7-9, 2020 (VIRTUAL EVENT)
For three days each summer, this free festival transforms downtown Salem into an opportunity for the local arts community to showcase their talents. The 2017 festival was attended by more than 5,000 people, featured scores of artists, a juried art show, outdoor performance, interactive art presentations, and artists located in 20 downtown businesses. People of all ages and backgrounds enjoyed viewing art, participating in art making and purchasing art.
Salem Farmers’ Market
June 11-October 15, 2020
Every Thursday, Derby Square turns into a convenient means to purchase locally grown or prepared food products and support local agriculture and producers. With new vendors every year, the Salem Farmers’ Market always has something new to offer.
North Shore Pride Parade
June 27, 2020 (VIRTUAL EVENT)
Join dozens of local businesses, faith groups, and community organizations for the fourth annual North Shore Pride Parade and Festival. All are welcome to attend this day-long event celebrating unity in the community.
Salem Celebrates the 4th
July 4, 2020 (CANCELED)
Bring your beach blankets and folding chairs to enjoy the 42-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra on Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site for a grand celebration of our nation’s Independence Day. Featuring a Pops concert, a Kid Space play area, and fireworks launched over Salem Harbor, this is a quintessential celebration of the 4th of July.
Salem Ancestry Days
July 31-August 3, 2020 (POSTPONED TO APRIL 30-MAY 1, 2021)
Residents and visitors are invited to celebrate their ancestral and immigrant connections to Salem, Massachusetts during the first annual Salem Ancestry Days celebration, May 1-4, 2020. The weekend will feature lectures, tours, research opportunities, and information on the people who connect us all to Salem.
Salem Heritage Days
August 1-9, 2020 (CHECK WITH INDIVIDUAL EVENTS)
Celebrate the past and the present during the annual Salem Heritage Days. Featuring food, fun, and activities for all ages, highlights include the Essex Street Fair, the Ice Cream Bowl, and the Car Show on Chestnut Street.
Salem Maritime Festival
August 1-2, 2020 (CANCELED)
Celebrate ships, sailors, sawdust and song at this annual free family festival. Hosted by the National Park Service, the festival features live music, historical re-enactors, tall ships, demonstrations, and interactive programs and crafts for families.
Salem Jazz & Soul Festival
August 15-16, 2020 (CANCELED)
The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival recreates and renews the vibrant jazz scene that began at the Salem Willows in the 1920s when Duke Ellington and other musicians from the Big Band era played at the seaside park in Massachusetts. The festival builds on this rich jazz history — adding soul, blues, and funk to the mix – and shining the spotlight on talented musicians from Boston’s North Shore and beyond.
Antique & Classic Boat Festival
August 29-30, 2020 (CANCELED)
A rare chance to see vintage motor yachts and sailboats, board vessels, meet skippers and crews and vote for your favorite boat! A crafts market, artists, old-time band music, children’s activities, the Blessing of the Fleet and more! The vessels will be on display to the public over the weekend at Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina.
Salem Spice Festival
September 12, 2020
Celebrate Salem’s four centuries of history with herbs, tea and spices. There will be vendors, exhibits,colonial music and song, open hearth cooking, herbal remedies demonstrations, games, storytelling, spiced cider and other autumnal treats!
Salem Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival
September 26-27, 2020
Food Truck Festivals of America is bringing the ultimate food truck experience to Salem for a two-day festival that will feature some of the area's most popular food trucks dishing out fan favorites as well as dozens of regional and national craft breweries.
38th Annual Salem Haunted Happenings
October 1–31, 2020
A festive celebration of Halloween and fall in New England, more than 250,000 people come to Salem Haunted Happenings each year. Events include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights on Salem Common, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations. An ABA Top 100 Event.
Salem Holiday Happenings
November 27, 2020–January 1, 2021
Celebrate, shop, and dine in Salem during the holiday season. Festival highlights include Historic Salem, Inc.’s annual Christmas in Salem Historic House Tour and Santa’s arrival atop the Hawthorne Hotel. Don’t miss the third annual Launch! celebration on New Year’s Eve.
We hope to see you there! Post your photos online at @destsalem and using hashtag #SalemMA.