5 Reasons to Visit Salem in 2020

There is more to see and do in Salem than ever before! Find inspiration for your next trip to Salem this year below and discover everything that’s new for 2020. For more trip planning inspiration, request a free Salem City Guide & Map here.

(1) Festivals & events all year long

Salem MA 2020 events

Kick off 2020 in Salem at the Salem Comedy & Spirits Festival in January, plan a spring visit and attend the Salem Arts Festival in June, or wait until the biggest Halloween celebration around in October for Salem Haunted Happenings.

Salem’s annual festival’s include:

(2) New festivals, shops, restaurants

Salem Ancestry Days will take place May 1-4 with lectures, tours, research opportunities, and information on the people who connect us all to Salem.

Casa Tequila recently opened on Derby Street offering Mexican cuisine alongside Salem’s best selection of Mezcal Tequila.

Hive & Forge is now open with more than 20 New England artisans and curators selling a wild collection of wares, led by the owners of Red Antler Apothecary and Bad Moon Shop.

Kakawa is now crafting historic drinking chocolate elixirs, artisan chocolates, ice cream, and much more all handmade on the premises right next to the Peabody Essex Museum.

Merry & Bright is an Enchanted shop, bringing a new and festive holiday shopping experience to Pickering Wharf.

(3) Peabody Essex Museum Expansion

In September 2019 the Peabody Essex Museum launched into a new era when it opened a new wing that features 40,000 square feet of gallery space spread over three floors and a beautiful new garden. The new wing is home to PEM’s extensive Maritime Art, Asian Export Art, and Fashion and Design collections.

The museum dates back to 1799 when  Salem Sea Captains and Supercargoes created the East India Marine Society to house the artifacts collected on their global journeys. Since that time, the Peabody Essex Museum has grown to include a Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house, along with historic homes around Salem including the Ropes Mansion, and an extensive fashion and design collection currently on display in the newly expanded gallery space.

Upcoming exhibitions for 2020 include works by Jacob Lawrence, Carlos Garaicoa, and more. Find a complete list of upcoming exhibitions and plan your next visit to the Peabody Essex Museum at PEM.org.

(4) Celebrate the women of Salem’s past and present

In celebration of the centennial of suffrage, we’re sharing a Salem #WomanCrushWednesday post each week on Instagram! Head over to @destsalem on Instagram and follow along as we share 52 notable women from Salem’s past and present throughout 2020.

Salem Women’s History Day is March 29, and local museums and historic sites are planning special events just for the occasion. Find events at The House of the Seven Gables, the Witch House, Phillips House, and more. Check the events calendar to see everything that’s planned, or click here for more information on Women’s History Day in Salem.

Visit Salem later this spring, and see Made It: The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion on view at the Peabody Essex Museum May 16-September 7. The exhibit encompasses 250 years of fashion history through 100 works that focus on women’s contributions to the fashion and design industries.

(5) In 2020 getting to Salem is easier than ever!

Just 16 miles north of Boston on the Massachusetts coast, Salem is easily accessible by car, train, bus and seasonal ferry.

The MBTA has continued $10 weekend fares for the Commuter Rail! Tickets are valid all weekend long for travel on all lines between all zones. You can take the Commuter Rail to Salem via the Newburyport/Rockport lines from Boston’s North Station or from cities to the north like Gloucester, Rockport, and more. Weekend tickets may be purchased in person or on the mTicket mobile app. Learn more here.

From Memorial Day to Halloween, you can also reach Salem aboard the Salem Ferry operated by Boston Harbor Cruises which departs from Long Wharf in Boston. In 2018, Salem was selected to receive a grant for federal funding towards the addition of a second ferry, which getting between Boston and Salem by sea will only get easier. Until the second ferry launches, the Salem Ferry schedules up to five trips between Boston and Salem daily. Complete schedules and ticket details are available at SalemFerry.com.

Since 2017, Zagster has made getting around Salem by bicycle a breeze.  Zagster relaunches each spring, and adds themed “Wicked Bikes” during October. Get the Zagster app here.

Click here for more information about getting to Salem, including parking maps and fees.