Salem Things to Do

  • Who doesn't love Bewitched?
    Who doesn't love Bewitched?
    by garridogal
  • I tried to wrestle her
    I tried to wrestle her
    by garridogal
  • Even creepier on a cloudy day...
    Even creepier on a cloudy day...
    by garridogal

Most Recent Things to Do in Salem

  • tvor's Profile Photo

    Salem Witch Museum

    by tvor Written Apr 17, 2015

    Salem was a fishing village but it became infamous for hosting the witch trials in 1692. 20 innocent people were killed, most of them hanged during the hysteria caused by a group of young girls. While in the United Kingdom, witches were burned, in Salem, they were hanged. You must remember that the northeast of America was founded by Puritans who had a very strong fear of the devil and they were easily led to believe that people could become possessed by the devil and could also work evil through witchcraft. Salem will always be known for the witch trials and it brings in thousands of tourists every year, especially at Halloween.

    Thus, Salem is awash with witchy references, much of it being very tacky. Some of the attractions are really not worth the money you pay but the Salem Witch Museum is very well done and explains the history behind what happened to cause the hysteria and then brings you around to finding out what happened afterwards.

    When you first arrive, you will be shown a presentation in a dark room, with life sized mannequins and dioramas lit up over head around the room as the history reaches that point in the narration. From there you can see an exhibition all about witches, witchcraft and the myths, legends and reality around the pagan and wiccan beliefs. It's done in a very respectful manner. Later, of course, is the inevitable gift shop.

    We enjoyed the museum and definitely recommend it. It's in an old church which has its windows lit up in red at night. Very spooky!

    Open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Hours from 10 to 5 daily. Adult admission $10, reduced for seniors and children. No photos inside.

    Salem Witch Museum at night

    Was this review helpful?

  • tvor's Profile Photo

    Salem Trolley Tours

    by tvor Written Sep 28, 2014

    Rather than a double decker bus tour like some large cities have, Salem uses an old fashioned streetcar, or trolley (as does Boston). The tours are guided by a real person, not a recorded commentary and round the city in a figure 8 formation, stopping near all the attractions and historic areas of Salem. We were able to get tickets from the owner of the Bed and Breakfast but you can also get them at the Tourist Information centre and you can buy them online as well. (Possibly from the tour operator at any of the other stops, not sure). You can use the tour ticket all day so that the trolley is your transportation around town. You can hop on and off as you like to visit some of the museums or walk around the historic neighbourhoods or on the Salem Waterfront.

    We enjoyed the tour quite a lot. The guide was very good and we got a good overview, not only of the famous Witch Trials but of the connection to the sea and to the literary connections as well as the history of the city and it's area. There's a lot more to Salem than witches in spite of what you are led to believe.

    The tours run from April to November 1, with weekend only tours in March and November. There are a few of the trolleys that are wheelchair accessible but you need to check ahead. Collapsible chairs are accomodated. The tour costs $15 for an adult with discounts for seniors and children and they do group rates.

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    Old Burying Point Cemetery

    by CEP1863 Updated Oct 30, 2013

    The Old Burying Point Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in America. I found it really interesting that only a wall separates the Witch Trials Memorial to those who were falsely accused of being witches from the last resting place of two of the chief protagonists - Judge John Hathorne and Judge Jonathan Corwin.

    The cemetery also has the gravestone of one of the Mayflower pilgrims, Richard More as well as the elaborate tomb of Samuel Bradstreet who served as governor of Massachusetts.

    The cemetery is well worth visiting.

    Old Burying Point Cemetery Tombstone of Judge John Hathorne Old Burying Point Cemetery
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    The Friendship of Salem sailing ship

    by CEP1863 Written Oct 27, 2013

    The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is home to the Friendship, a replica of an East Indianman ship from the eighteenth century. Tours are conducted by the National Parks Service and need to be pre-booked at the Visitor Center that is situated opposite the Peabody Essex Museum. Tours last just over an hour and also include a visit to the Custom House. Both elements of the tour provide a fascinating insight into what life's a trader may have been like at this time.

    There is no cost for the tour.

    The Friendship of Salem The Friendship of Salem
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    The Custom House

    by CEP1863 Written Oct 27, 2013

    The Custom House at Salem Maritime NHS is the last Custom House in Salem. Nathaniel Hawthorne worked there as a surveyor and it is claimed that he spent time during his working day working on his future novel the Scarlett Letter before he was fired.

    The Custom House can be toured and tours have to be pre-booked via the National Parks Desk which is at the Visitor Centre opposite the Peabody Essex Museum.

    Custom House in Salem
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    Witch History Museum

    by CEP1863 Written Oct 26, 2013

    This museum starts off with the guide giving a brief history that sets the scene. We were then led downstairs into the basement and taken through a series of scenes with poor quality and tired mannequins. The guide did her best but overall I found it to be an underwhelming experience. The whole tour lasted less than 20 minutes.

    Cost of entrance was $8.00 for an adult. Not one that I would really recommend.

    The Witch History Museum

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    The House of the Seven Gables

    by CEP1863 Updated Oct 26, 2013

    I chose to visit this historic site because I wanted to see the setting for Nathaniel Hawthorne's book of the same name. Admission was $12.50 but as it is a non profit organisation, all monies go back into educational programmes in Salem.

    The site contains a number of buildings including Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace and a small counting house that overlooks the bay. You can tour these buildings on your own and it was lovely to wander through the different buildings. The House of the Seven Gables can only be toured with a guide however. Our guide was very knowledgable and her commentary certainly bought the house to life. From the ground floor we ascended to the second floor via a secret staircase that was quite narrow to negotiate. Upstairs, not only did we see the bedrooms but we also got a glimpse of where the slaves lived.

    I really enjoyed this tour though it was clear that not everyone in my tour group did. If you enjoy history or literature then this tour is for you, if you are looking for tales of spooky goings on then I would advise giving this tour a miss.

    You are not allowed to take photographs inside the house.

    Opening hours are 10:00am until 05:00pm with hours extended until 07:00pm in the months of July to October.

    The House of the Seven Gables The house of the Seven Gables The House of the Seven Gables Nathaniel Hawthorne's Birthplace The Counting House
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

    by CEP1863 Written Oct 25, 2013

    A peaceful and poignant memorial to the twenty people who lost their lives in the Salem Witch Trials. The memorial is very simple in its design and represents the social indifference to the persecutions that took place at this time. As you enter the memorial, look down at the threshold where the words of some of the victims are inscribed in the stone. Within the perimeter of the memorial are stone benches that bear the names and the execution dates of each of the victims. At the rear of the memorial, you can look out across the Old Burying Point Cemetery where John Hathorne is buried.

    Salem Witch Trials Memorial
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    Chestnut Street and Phillips House

    by CEP1863 Updated Oct 25, 2013

    Walking along Chestnut Street was recommended to me by one of the volunteers in the Visitor Centre. At one time, it was considered to be the most beautiful street in Salem as it was where many of the merchants had their homes built. The street is tree lined and not too busy. At the time that I walked it, I was the only tourist around and this was right before Halloween! There are plenty of small side streets off that also have fantastic architecture. For me, seeing the size of some of the houses gave me a good idea of just how wealthy some of the traders who were sailing the triangle were.

    Along Chestnut Street is Phillips House. This is the only house in the Street open to the public. Here you can learn how four of the rooms were transported by ox sled from an earlier house to form the core of this new federal style mansion! The house was later bought by the Phillips family and restored before they moved in with their servants and the family collection of furniture and other objects that had been collected whilst trading around the world.

    The house is open all year around on weekends and from June until the end of October from Tuesday - Sunday. Opening hours are 11:00am - 5:00pm. The last your starts at 4:00pm. Admission is $5 for adults and well worth the money.

    Phillips House One of the houses on Chestnut Street One of the houses on Chestnut Street One of the houses on Chestnut Street
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    The Witch House

    by CEP1863 Written Oct 24, 2013

    I visited the Witch House on the recommendation of one of the volunteers in the Visitor Center. It was formerly the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin and is the only building still standing in Salem that has a direct link back to the 1692 Witch Trials.

    Admission is $8.25 but with my Salem Witch Museum sticker I received a $1 discount. There is no guided tour and you are able to work your way through the house at your own pace. There are detailed notes throughout the house which provides you with clear explanations of many of the exhibits and there are guides on hand to answer your questions. Photography is allowed inside the house.

    Overall I found this to be well worth the money and would recommend it to anyone visiting Salem.

    The Witch House in Salem The kitchen in the a Witch House Upstairs in the Witch House The Witch House in Salem
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo

    Salem Witch Museum

    by CEP1863 Written Oct 24, 2013

    I visited the Salem Witch Museum in order to get a basic outline of the 1692 Witch Trials that took place in the town. The cost of admission was $9.50 for an adult but the sticker could be used to gain discounts on admission to some other visitor attractions in Salem.

    Once inside the museum, a series of sets that go anti-clockwise around the room take you back to the 1692 trials. Sets were well constructed and the narration drew you in, giving you a clear understanding of the events that took place.

    At the end of the presentation, the audience was divided in two based upon the colour of the admission ticket for the second part of the tour. Irritatingly, I was part of the half that was deposited into the gift shop and it seemed to be an interminable amount of time looking at souvenirs before we were called forward for the second part. I found this part of the tour - Witches: Evolving Perspectives to be very interesting but unfortunately it was rushed and I didn't really get sufficient time to have a good look at the time line. It was a real pity especially considering the amount of wasted time hanging around in the gift shop prior to this part but overall I felt that it was worth the visit.

    The museum is open daily from 10:00am until 5:00pm daily with extended opening hours during the month of October.

    Salem Witch Museum One of the sets in the museum One of the sets in the museum One of the sets in the museum Names of those put to death in the 1692 trials
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • moiraistyx's Profile Photo

    PIRATE MUSEUM

    by moiraistyx Updated Sep 30, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This museum really isn't something I would have done alone. ES wanted to go here because he missed it during his last trip to Boston. The tour is full of information however the scenes are basic and pretty boring. Our tour guide was very funny which made stopping here worth while. This museum would be a great stop for people with children who are under age 12. The older kids would probably be bored. Admission is $8.00 per adult, $6.00 for children and $7.00 for seniors; however there are combination tickets available for the Pirate Museum, the Witch Dungeon Museum and the Witch History Museum. The museum is open May through October...10am to 5pm, weekends in November and some nights during Haunted Happenings.

    pirate flag
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • moiraistyx's Profile Photo

    WITCH DUNGEON MUSEUM

    by moiraistyx Updated Sep 30, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I saw the witch dungeon museum back in 1992 on Halloween night. This was a particularly fun time to go due to the excitement of the witching hour. Here we got to participate in an reenactment of the trial of beggar woman Sarah Good who was accused of being a witch in 1692. Visitors are also given a guided tour of the dungeon where the accused were held pending trials. A recreation of the village and Gallows Hill is included. Admission prices are:
    Adults: $8.00
    Children (4-13 yrs): $6.00
    Seniors (65+): $7.00
    You can purchase a combination ticket if you are planning to visit this, the pirate museum and the witch history museum.
    Hours are 10:00 to 5:00 daily April through November.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • The Salem Haunted Magic Show

    by becmontgomery Written Jul 30, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I took my husband and kids to this show last year. It was a lot of fun, very different and not your typical Salem tourist attraction. The hour+ spooky themed magic show had ghosts, comedy and talked about maritime history and other really interesting facts! Finally something that wasn't constantly retelling the same witch trials stories you've heard a thousand times before! Highly recommended!

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Theater Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • TheTravelSlut's Profile Photo

    A witch here, a witch there...

    by TheTravelSlut Written Feb 5, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Salem Witch Museum on the Heritage Trail is a must see for anyone interested in early America history or the occult (or both).

    Where 16 supposed "witches" were hung in 1692 and here you learn the differnence between myth and reality when it comes to this part of American history.

    It is Salem's most visited museum and within walking distance there are numerous restaurants, galleries, shops, etc.

    Plan on at least one hour and don't forget the gift shop.

    Salem's Witch Museum
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Salem

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

45 travelers online now

Comments

Salem Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Salem things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Salem sightseeing.

View all Salem hotels