During the month of October be prepared for the crowds of tourist that flock to Salem. These crowds range from the normal tourist to the weirdo dressed as a vampire dripping fake blood from his mouth; yes we did see this and were a bit disturbed.
We prefer to viist in the Summer months when the "Halloween" crowd is not out in droves.
Tourist primarily park at the Visitor's center garage but we found some on the street parking available. The spots are metered. It is important to keep track of the time, we saw many a ticket being issued for expired meters.
Salem is generally safer than the average American city.
Having said that, Salem does have (according to crime stats) a problem with personal theft (shoplifting, pickpocketing) and auto theft. In those two categories, this city is well above the average in violations.
Just be sure to keep your car doors locked, keep your money in a money belt and your wallet out of sight, use the latch-chain on the hotel room. Simple common sense things like those suggestions will keep you safe and happy for your vacation here.
The Purple Scorpion is a tattoo and piercing shop on Derby Street near The House of Seven Gables. It opened a few years back shortly after tattooing became legal in Massachusetts (it was illegal to get a tattoo in the state for a long time). A friend of mine who lived in Salem for years and years went and got a tattoo here, and I have to say it was the worst tattoo I have ever seen. I ended up taking her to the guy who did my foot to have it fixed, and it cost her almost $200! This was a few years ago, so maybe they have improved their skills by now, but I wouldn't recommend getting a tattoo from anyone you don't have a good reference for anyway.
Do take care what you laugh at as some of those people like to be taken as serious WITCHES.
Some of the shops sell things that....well things.
They may take it seriously so be careful.
If they turn you into a TOAD its your own fault.
I mean really crowded...you can't move in a sea of people crowded...you're herded along like a bunch of cattle crowded. Usually this type of thing is unbearable for me, but Lou made it fun. He would take my hand and just barrel through at top speed while I yelled back an apology to the people he bumped into as I was being whisked through the crowd. The whole experirence had me giggling.
Salem Point ( 20 block area towards the end of lafayette street) can be dangerous at night. There have been occasional gunshots but there have been more instances where wanderers have run into trouble with violent youth.
The only warning I would give is to be very careful crossing the streets. Traffic is crazy and even if the pedestrian has the right of way drivers didn't seem to care. Other than that, we didn't have any problems at all during our visit and we were even out very late walking the streets and visiting the cemetaries.
Watch what neighborhood you're strolling around in; there are some sleazy tenements on the sidestreets if you get too far south along Lafayette Street.
Ok Ok so its not a bad warning or danger, but once you visit this wonderful place you just might not want to be anywhere else ever again!!:)