Nobody does Halloween quite like Salem, MA. Home of the Salem Witch Trials, Salem is known for it’s spooky hysteria. Especially during the month of October. This month long celebration includes haunted happenings, seances, ghosts, ghouls, witches, vampires, and so much more. Now is the perfect time to visit Salem to get a taste of the city’s dark history along with it’s modern day fun.
Just 25 miles north of Boston, getting to Salem is no hard feat. The problems arise when it comes to parking in the city once you’re there. Parking is very limited, even more so this time of year. If you’re not a local to the north shore, I recommend taking advantage of the MBTA or the fast ferry that leaves from Boston Harbor. Both modes of transportation will get you within walking distance of downtown Salem in under an hour. So save yourself the stress of trying to find parking so you can truly enjoy all that Salem has to offer. You can learn more about the different transportation options here.
Once you’re in Salem there is plenty to do and see. The question is do you want to hit all of those tourist spots or do you want to visit all the local’s hidden gems?Whether it’s your first time visiting, or even a local, here are the attractions to see and places to eat this October in Salem.
The House of Seven Gables – 115 Derby Street
The House of Seven Gables, also known as the Turner-Ingersoll mansion, is the oldest surviving New England wooden mansion. Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of ‘The Scarlet Letter’ was a cousin to the Turner family and wrote a novel in 1851 inspired by the mansion. The House of Seven Gables offers daily admission that includes a 40-minute guided tour, a visit to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, a stroll through the Colonial Revival gardens, and so much more. Tours sell out fast so if you’re planning on heading to Salem this October you can purchase your tickets to The House of Seven Gables in advanced here.
Salem Witch Museum – 19 1/2 Washington Square
Bringing you back to the Summer of 1692 and the Salem Witch Trials, the Salem Witch Museum is a must see on your trip to Salem. Whether you believe in witches or not, the Salem Witch Museum offers a comprehensive history of the Salem Witch Trials to help you better understand what went down for those who were accused of practicing witchcraft. The Salem Witch Museum is one of the busiest attractions in Salem so make sure it’s one of your early stops on your visit. Tickets go on sale every day at 9.45 am and can be purchased in person at the door. You can learn more about visiting this museum in October here.
Bewitched Statue – 235 Essex Street
Donated by TV Land and dedicated in 2005, this now well-known landmark in the city of Salem pays tribute to one of America’s favorite witches, Samantha from ‘Bewitched’. The 7th season of Bewitched was even filmed in Salem! The Bewitched Statue can be found in the middle of Lappin Park. Some say if you look at the statue long enough you might even catch a glimpse of her nose twitch.
Salem Witch House – 310 1/2 Essex Street
One of Salem’s top attractions, the Salem Witch House provides a straightforward history of the Salem Witch Trials. Jonathan Corwin who served as a judge in the witchcraft trials of 1692 once owned this house. Besides the fact that this house looks as spooky as the stories that come along with it, this home is the only structure that is still standing in Salem that has direct links to the witch trials. The Witch House offers both self-guided and guided tours daily and tickets are sold at the gift shop. You can learn more about the Salem Witch House here.
Gallows Hill – 7 Lynde Street
Gallows Hill has so much to offer anyone visiting Salem! This attraction allows for the exploration of the Salem Witch Trials through a Daytime Walking Tour, a Ghosts and Legends Trolley, the Lost Museum, a Gallows Hill Main Show and even Tales & Ales. You Salem adventure truly begins at Gallows Hill. The Main Show is filled with historic witch lore compared to the Tales and Ales which offers an intimate storytelling of terrifying tales of ghosts. You can get individual tickets or combo tickets to these Gallows Hill experiences here.
Old Burying Point Cemetery and Witch Trials Memorial – Charter Street
Among one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States, the Old Burying Point Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Salem, MA. The Old Burying Point Cemetery first opened in 1637 and happens to be the final resting place of many notable Salem residents from the 1600s. Around the corner from this cemetery on Liberty Street is the Salem Witch Trial Memorial. This memorial pays tribute to 20 victims of the witch trials. Granite benches represent each victim with their name, means of execution and words from their trial etched on the bench. This cemetery and memorial are the perfect spot to channel the spookiness that Salem offers.
Bewitched After Dark – 180 Essex Street
Bewitched After Dark offers historical walking tours, both during the day and at night! Where history is more frightening than fiction, you’ll learn about Salem’s colonial history, the 1962 hysteria and witch trials as well as everything witchcraft that Salem has to offer. Bewitched After Dark are consistently rated as one of the best tours in Salem. This two hour tour is offered at multiple times daily and runs rain or shine. Do you think you have what it takes to take this tour at night? If you think so you can purchase your tickets here.
After a long day in the city exploring everything Salem has to offer in October you’re bound to be hungry and thirty. The excitement that Salem offers doesn’t end with just the attractions. Salem is home to some of the best restaurants in Massachusetts with food creations and cocktails that match it’s spooky atmosphere.
Ledger – 125 Washington Street
Located in the 1818 Salem Savings Bank building, Ledger offers traditional 19th-century dishes and cocktails that will be elevated to the 21st-century. Their menu offers everything from a raw bar to pasta, wood fired and pan roasted dishes. If you’re up for a seasonal cocktail after your day exploring the city, may I recommend the One Bad Apple which features grilled honeycrisp apple vodka, honey, lemon and fall spices. You can check our all of Ledger’s menu items here.
Rockafellas – 231 Essex Street
A premier casual restaurant located in historic downtown Salem, Rockafellas offers topnotch food, drinks, entertainment and service. Their menu features fresh New England seafood, Black Angus steaks, gourmet pizzas and more! They offer a full-service bar which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a specialty cocktail and some tasty bar bites. Learn more about Rockafellas and what they have planned this October here.
Koto – 90 Washington Street
Koto is a family owned Asian restaurant and a local favorite in downtown Salem. Koto offers Chinese favorites, sushi, ramen and more. Even offering vegan and gluten free options. Koto is known for it’s late night music scene and creative cocktails. If you give Koto a try you won’t be disappointed. You can explore their website here.
Opus – 87 Washington Street
Opus is a quirky progressive restaurant that embodies the city of Salem. At Opus you can enjoy a peaceful meal during the week or having a rocking time on a weekend. Their kitchen focuses on whipping unexpected flavor combinations. Their large location allows for them to have an upstairs dining room that features an over-sized round glowing glass bar compared to their basement, Opus Underground, which allows guests to enjoy a Moroccan inspired entertainment space. Learn more about what Opus has to offer here.
If you’re planning on making a weekend out of your trip to Salem this October, there’s only one true charming and frightening place for you to stay…
The Hawthorne Hotel
Established in 1925 in Salem, MA, the Hawthorn Hotel is one of the top ten most haunted hotels in America. This hotel has been investigated by the professional paranormal investigators, aka real life ghost hunters. The ghosts stories that have been told from the guests who have stayed here are completely frightening. If you stay here and are unlucky enough to stay in room 325 watch out. It’s been said that people who stay in room 325 have felt the sensation of someone’s hand touching them when no one is to be seen. A ghostly figure of a woman wanders throughout the sixth floor of the hotel and has been rumored to enter different rooms. Many have even said to have heard children screaming throughout the night when no children were staying at the hotel at all. If you’re crazy enough to live out your haunted hotel nightmares, then check out more about the Hawthorne Hotel here.
Salem has so much to do and see, it offers something for everyone. If you’re lucky enough to spend some time in Salem this October be sure to share with us your witch and ghost story encounters. Have a Happy, Haunted Halloween!
You can check out the full event calendar of what Salem has to offer all month long here.