things to do in Salem

Salem is a must-see destination for travelers seeking history, spooky fun and cultural delights.

The city is best known for the events of 1692, where 20 local people were tried for witchcraft and executed. Salem embraces its past and the “witches” that were once feared are now celebrated, even being made the official symbol of the city.

There are plenty of historic sites to visit with well-preserved examples of early American architecture. Visitors will also find some of the oldest and foremost museums in the country. Those looking for thrills and chills will be spoiled for choice amongst the many spooky attractions and stores, especially during the month of October.

But if you can’t visit in October, don’t fret! There are plenty of incredible activities to soak in any time of the year. Hop on a sunset sailing tour, spot the filming locations for Hocus Pocus, or get a dose of history at the Pioneer Village for a peak at Colonial America.

Discover some unusual things to do in Salem and start planning what will surely be a fun trip.

1 – Discover the city’s dark history at the Salem Witch Museum

Salem Witch Museum, Massachusetts

The witch trials of 1692 are one of the most well-known events in Salem’s history. The Salem Witch Museum uncovers what created the witch-hunt hysteria and how the community justified its persecution of innocent people.

Explore thirteen life-size recreations of historic events and witness the drama first-hand. Discover the history of witches and how their depiction has changed over time. A visit to the Salem Witch Museum is an absolute must while visiting the city.

2 – Take a haunted walking tour

walking tours in Salem

Dare you venture out on a spooky walking tour of the city? Visit all the major sites and discover Salem’s gruesome past. Take an evening tour by lamplight and see the city’s elegant architecture while you hear eerie tales of witches and hauntings.

Walk the old cobbled streets of the city and see famous sights such as the Town Hall and First Church of Salem. See the controversial Bewitched statue and the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall. These haunted walking tours are definitely one of the most fun things to do in Salem.

3 – Meet an actual witch at Salem Witch Village

Salem Witch Village

For a kitsch delve into the city’s witchy history, it’s worth checking out the Salem Witch Village. While it definitely focuses more on entertainment, it has some factual stuff in amongst the scares and souvenirs.

Hear about the history of witchcraft and separate the myth from fact. Tours are guided by a real-life practicing witch. Expect ghoulish things that go bump in the night, spooky shenanigans and a whole host of frightful fun.

Directions in Google Maps

4 – Discover amazing art at Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem

The Peabody Essex Museum is one of the country’s foremost art museums and one of its oldest. The museum’s collection contains more than 840,000 pieces of historic, artistic and cultural artifacts from all over the globe.

The museum also owns a number of historic houses in the area representing every major American architectural style. The John Ward House dates from the 1600s and is historically significant as one of the only surviving examples of its type. It sheds light on previously unknown features of early New England architecture.

5 – Get to know the city on a trolley tour

Trolley tour in Salem

The Salem trolley tour is a city institution and has been running since 1982. The hour-long tour gives visitors the chance to see all the city’s most important sights and hear historical and entertaining facts on the way.

The tour covers eight miles around the city center and stops at 14 different locations such as Charter Street Cemetery, Salem Witch Museum, House of the Seven Gables and the attractive waterfront area. Get on and off as many times as you like and explore at your leisure. These tours are not to be missed.

6 – Get some sea air at Salem Willows Park

Salem Willows Park

Salem Willows Park is a great place to hang out in the city. It’s situated right by the ocean and has over 35 acres of picnic grounds and sports facilities with a few beaches thrown in for good measure. The Kiddieland area has some small rides including a carousel that dates back to 1905.

The park is also home to the Willows Arcade which is sure to keep everyone amused. The arcade is packed with traditional arcade games like Pac-Man, Asteroids and Skeeball and also houses the popular restaurants, Peppy’s Pizza, Clam Shack and Cappy’s Seafood.

Directions in Google Maps

7 – Experience a schooner sailing tour

sailing tour in Salem

Salem was once one of the most important ports in the country and its historic harbor is still very active today. Explore the coast of Salem on a private sailing tour and see how the sailors of old navigated these waters.

Take part in a unique and unforgettable adventure aboard a historic sailing ship where you can be part of the crew for a day. Hear tales of the city’s history and the privateers that defended the country and brought back valuable supplies.

8 – Visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Witch Trials Memorial in Salem

Aside from its more lighthearted witch attractions, the City of Salem has a somber memorial to the 1692 witch trials and most importantly the 20 people that died. The land, aptly located at Proctor’s Ledge beside the Old Burying Point Cemetery, was purchased in 1936 but the memorial wasn’t constructed until 2016.

The witch trials memorial is a stone wall with benches dedicated to the individual victims. Visit this quiet and peaceful memorial to the innocent victims of the 1692 witch hysteria.

9 – Oggle booty at New England Pirate Museum

New England Pirate Museum, Salem

The Pirate Museum has loads of fun and factual info on the real-life pirates that lived around the city of Salem. Follow the stories of infamous pirates like Captain Kidd and Blackbeard as you see actual pirate artifacts and treasures.

Travel to the pirate’s world as you visit recreations of a colonial-era port, a pirate ship and a treasure cave. Take a short guided tour where you’ll learn about many of the area’s most infamous swashbucklers. Discover the interesting and unknown history of pirates on America’s “Gold Coast”.

10 – Make a splash at the Water Park of New England

Water Park of New England, Salem

Just over 20 minutes from Salem city center is the Water Park of New England. This mostly indoor attraction has a bunch of thrilling water slides as well as rapids, pools and slides for younger kids and aquatic play areas.

Float along the Coconut Grove Adventure River or relax in the outdoor whirlpools for a delightfully tropical experience. The park also has onsight dining, a gift shop and a coffee bar to enjoy when you’ve worked up an appetite in the water.

11 – Get to know the life of a pirate at the Real Pirates Salem

Real Pirates Salem, Massachusetts

Dive into the fascinating story of the youngest pirate in history at the Real Pirates Salem Museum! Learn about “Black Sam” Bellamy, dominator of the seas of the east coast in the 1700s.

This family-friendly activity allows all to enjoy different exhibits, including learning about how some of the objects in the museum were preserved throughout time. From coins, jewelry, and other artifacts, the items that are exhibited in the museum are authentic from the ships.

Pro tip: Make sure to book your tickets ahead of time and receive a free VIP pirate photo during your visit!

12 – Attend a trial at the Witch Dungeon Museum

Witch Dungeon Museum, Salem

No prizes for guessing what this attraction is! That’s right, the Witch Dungeon Museum recreates the atmosphere of the 1692 witch trials with live actors and stage sets. Follow a witch trial from its beginning to its gruesome end.

Hear genuine accounts from historical transcripts and learn about the superstitions of Salem’s people at the end of the 17th-century. Take a guided tour of a replica dungeon that would have housed those awaiting sentence. The Witch Dungeon is one of the best and most chilling ways to experience the mood of the time.

13 – Go-kart at Castle Creek Adventure Land

Castle Creek Adventure Land, Salem

Castle Creek Adventure Land is a great attraction for older kids and adults alike. Race with friends and family around the electric go-kart track, play a round of mini-golf, or try one of the park’s 50 ice cream flavors.

The imaginative 18-hole mini-golf course is one of the best on the North Shore and you’re sure to enjoy putting your way through the enchanting landscape of castles and waterfalls. For the serious golfer, the park also has a driving range where you can practice your swing under the direction of a professional. This has to be one of the most fun places in Salem.

14 – Explore The Witch House

The Witch House in Salem

The Witch House is the former home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges of the 1692 witch trials. The house was built in the early 1600s and is the only building remaining in the city with direct ties to the witch trials.

It now serves as a house museum and visitors can take a self-guided tour to see how wealthy people of the time lived. Originally the house stood further towards the street but was moved in the 1940s. The Witch House is definitely worth a visit during your time in Salem.

15 – Check out Salem Wax Museum

Salem Wax Museum

The Salem Wax Museum takes a fun and spooky look at local history. With wax figures depicting scenes from the infamous witch trials as well as the city’s maritime history, the Salem wax museum is great fun.

It also has a comprehensive gift shop selling everything thing from t-shirts, books and supplies for casting your own magic spells. The Wax Museum along with the Witch Village hosts the Haunted Neighborhood throughout October which includes six attractions that are sure to deliver thrills and chills.

16 – Listen to some ghost stories at The Salem Haunted Magic Show

The Salem Haunted Magic Show, Massachusetts

Get spooked as the incredible storytellers and illusionists take the stage to bring the audience for a wild ride, in the interactive Salem Haunted Magic Show.

Expect the unexpected when a magician reads your mind, as you listen to some of Salem’s most grueling ghost stories, and be careful with those sneaky jump scares!

The show is created for all ages to attend, but don’t think for a minute that it’s just any kid’s magic show. Don’t be scared, and book your tickets ahead of time to reserve your spot in one of the creepiest shows in Salem!

17 – Look for the filming locations for Hocus Pocus on a film walking tour

Salem Common Park

Quote the famous 1993 Disney movie as you arrive at the different filming locations throughout Salem on this fun and nostalgic walking tour!

While walking between the Dennison House and Pioneer Village, you’ll also be learning fascinating historical facts about Salem’s history with witches, architecture, and movie trivia of course.

Gather up your childhood friends, reminisce on the iconic movie, and get your Halloween dose as you take in the beautiful corners of historic Salem!

The tour lasts approximately a little over 2 hours, so make sure to bring your walking shoes to this tour.

18 – Scream for mercy at the Chambers of Terror

Chambers of Terror, Salem

Straying far from historical accuracy, Salem’s Chambers of Terror is the city’s best-loved horror house. Prepare for a scare as you travel through the city’s darkest corners encountering ghouls, demons and weapon-wielding psychopaths.

Step inside a nightmare world where it is Halloween all year long. Hair-raising fun awaits all who dare venture inside. The Chambers of Terror is definitely not for the faint of heart.

19 – Take the Salem Ferry to Boston

Salem Ferry

Salem Ferry is a high-speed catamaran that runs from Boston’s Long Wharf straight into the heart of Salem. The journey takes less than an hour and offers fantastic views of the shoreline.

The ferry is a great alternative to driving and has onboard bars serving a variety of snacks and drinks. Sit back and enjoy the journey and then arrive in the city relaxed and ready to explore. This is without doubt the best way to travel between Boston and Salem.

Check out our selection of fun things to do in Boston.

20 – Get a psychic reading at Crow Haven Corner

Crow Haven Corner, Salem

The number one witchy magic shop in Salem is Crow Haven Corner. It was the very first of its type opened and has been in business for over 35 years. Its owner, Lorelai, is somewhat of a local celebrity and offers psychic readings and spell castings as a self-proclaimed “Love Clairvoyant”.

Crow Haven Corner is pretty much your one-stop shop for occult books, jewelry, spell kits and candles. For everyone else, it’s just great fun to look around.

21 – Meet two-toed sloths at Stone Zoo

Stone Zoo, Salem

Just 40 minutes from Salem is the 26-acre animal park Stone Zoo. The zoo is home to a wide variety of common as well as rare and endangered species from the U.S and further afield. The park has big cat species like Jaguars and Cougars, many reptiles including alligators, snakes and iguanas and exotic bird species like flamingos and rhinoceros hornbill.

Stone Zoo offers exciting behind-the-scenes experiences where visitors can view the park’s two-toed sloths up close. It also has a gift shop and cafe to check out.

22 – See the real The House of Seven Gables

The House of Seven Gables, Salem

The House of the Seven Gables is one of America’s best-loved buildings. It was the inspiration for the 1851 novel of the same name by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. The house was constructed in 1668 and changed hands many times eventually ending up in the possession of the author’s cousin.

Visitors can tour the house and see its well-preserved 17th-century architecture. This large timber-framed mansion is one of the few surviving examples of its type in North America. This is a must-see for lovers of history and literature.

23 – Go camping at Winter Island Park

Winter Island Park, Salem

Winter Island was once home to the city’s first boatyard and from 1643 to 1930 it had an active fort that helped defend Salem Harbor from capture. The park is now a recreational area with seasonal campgrounds, beaches and boating facilities.

Visitors can explore the ruined Fort Pickering and the nearby Winter Island Lighthouse. Winter Island Park is on the Salem Trolley Tour and has a camp store and gift shop.

Directions in Google Maps

24 – See the colorful Punto Urban Art Museum

Punto Urban Art Museum, Salem

Salem’s El Punto neighborhood has some of the best urban art around. The Urban Art Museum is an initiative to regenerate the area and build a sense of local pride. It includes 75 large wall murals painted by local and international artists.

Visitors can take educational tours of the paintings, take part in workshops and even sponsor a mural. This colorful neighborhood is really something special to see in the city, don’t miss out!

25 – Explore Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

The Salem Maritime National Historic site was the first of its kind in the whole country. It covers nine acres of land on the city’s waterfront and includes 12 historic buildings and a replica of a late 18th-century ship.

The area is significant as a trading hub and has numerous wharves, warehouses and sites related to the maritime industries. For a look at the real historic Salem, this place is an absolute must.

26 – Play a round of golf on Salem’s finest courses

golf in Salem

If you like to play a nine-hole game, Olde Salem Greens can’t be beaten. This municipal course is well maintained and has enough challenging shots to keep you on your toes. The Greens also has an excellent snack bar that serves breakfast and lunch.

For a longer game, The Kernwood Country Club and Meadow Golf Course both have great 18-hole courses. The nearby Salem Country Club is a very traditional private club that has hosted numerous professional tournaments.

27 – Win big at Salem Willows Arcade

Salem Willows Arcade

Salem Willows Arcade is the place to be to grab your retro arcade game fix, right by the ocean. With some classic video games, such as Pac-Man, Asteroids and Galaga as well as more modern games like Fruit Ninja and Temple Run there’s something here for everyone.

Take a spin on the bumper cars or shoot some baskets. Try your hand at Skeeball or play a classic pinball machine, Salem Willows Arcade offers good old-fashioned fun.

28 – Travel back in time at the Salem Pioneer Village

Pioneer Village in Salem

The Pioneer Village was built in the 1930s and is one of the city’s oldest attractions. It is also the country’s first living history museum and features examples of colonial-era buildings that early settlers would have lived in.

The buildings range from larger homes, thatched cottages, wigwams and a blacksmiths shop. There is also a garden with vegetables and herbs showing what were the staples of New England’s early pioneers. This historical attraction is definitely one of the most fun things to see in Salem.

29 – Visit the historic Old Town Hall & Derby Square

Old Town Hall & Derby Square in Salem

Salem’s Old Town Hall is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. It was constructed in 1816 and for a short time housed the municipal offices on the upper floor and the public market on the first floor. This attractive building is still used for public celebrations and events including the occasional wedding.

The area in front of the Town Hall is called Derby Square after the rich and influential Elias Hasket Derby who owned the land in the 1700s. Through the summer months, the square hosts a weekly farmers’ market and monthly flea market.

Directions in Google Maps

30 –  Meet the monsters at Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, Salem

If you thought you had seen all of Salem’s Haunted House attractions, think again! Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery is a museum to all things monster. This unique collection of horror and science fiction creatures and movie paraphernalia is too much fun to pass up.

Expect the gamut of Universal Monsters, Hammer Horror legends, 80’s psycho-slashers and even the original movie monster, Nosferatu himself. This is definitely one of the most unusual places to visit in Salem. An absolute must for horror fans.

31 – Sunbathe at Singing Beach

Singing Beach, Salem

One of the most popular attractions on the North Shore, Singing Beach is just a short drive from Salem. It gets its peculiar name from the fact that the sand makes a sound when it is stepped on, it doesn’t exactly sing though it’s more of a squeaking sound.

With golden sand and a picturesque view of the bay, Singing Beach is a great place to take a swim or do some sunbathing, though it can be crowded in the summer months. It is found in Manchester-by-the-Sea to the North of Salem and dogs are permitted outside of the summer season.

Directions in Google Maps

32 – Be bewitched by the Elizabeth Montgomery Statue

Elizabeth Montgomery Statue, Salem

They love their witches in Salem. This statue to Elizabeth Montgomery, star of the hit 1960s TV show Bewitched, is possibly the most unusual. It does have some relevance to the town’s history though. In 1970, three episodes of the show were filmed on location in Salem after its regular studio set was destroyed by fire.

It’s a fun and cheerful monument amidst the more serious witch-based locations in Salem. Check it out if you’re nearby.

Directions in Google Maps

33 – Appreciate macabre art at Salem Art Gallery

Salem Art Gallery

It’s rare that you find an art gallery that is also the international headquarters of an occult organization, Salem Art Gallery is just that. The gallery is home to The Satanic Temple and an eight-foot bronze statue of the goat-headed idol, Baphomet.

You won’t find any works by Monet or Picasso here but the gallery has interesting multimedia exhibitions often with macabre and magical leanings. It also hosts lectures, rituals and other events related to The Satanic Temple.

34 – Examine Salem deeper in a scavenger game

scavenger games in Salem

What better way to discover the city than by taking a scavenger hunt! Team up with friends or play against them as you explore the city’s most notorious landmarks. Simply download the app and follow the instructions on these entertaining self-guided tours.

Decipher clues and answer trivia to uncover your next location. Explore burial grounds, historic buildings and sculptures as you uncover what’s beneath the surface of the City of Salem.

35 – Visit the Historic New England Phillips House

New England Phillips House, Salem
credit to New England Phillips House @Facebook

The Philip’s house museum is notable not only for its historic architecture, which dates from the late 1700s but also for its furnishings. Four of the mansion’s rooms were moved from another site and used as the base for the current house.

The house was bought by the Philips family in 1911 and remodeled in the colonial style. The family brought with them treasures collected over five generations that visitors can view in their original setting. The collection includes a beautifully preserved 1929 Model A Ford.

36 – Get your witch-on at Witch Pix

Witch Pix, Salem

Have you ever wanted to dress up in witch clothes and pose for arty photographs? Of course you have! Witch Pix has a wide variety of costumes and locations to choose from including a witch cottage, 1692 Salem Village and a magical avenue and graveyard scene.

The costumes include the obligatory black and pointy hats and even pink outfits for good witches. This is one of the most fun and unusual experiences in Salem. Great fun to enjoy alone or with friends.

37 – Follow the Salem Heritage Trail

Salem Heritage Trail
end of the Heritage Trail at the Ropes Mansion Museum

It’s lots of fun to follow the Salem Heritage Trail through the city, a good place to start is the Visitor’s Center at 2 New Liberty Street. Follow the thick red line on the pavement this will guide you past all the most important historical and cultural sites of the city.

See the Peabody Museum, Witch History Museum, Old Burying Point, The House of the Seven Gables and the stores and boutiques of Essex Street. The Heritage Trail is the best self-guided tour you can take in Salem.

38 – Discover the historic Fort Pickering

Fort Pickering, Salem

Fort Pickering was first built in the early 17th-century and guarded Salem harbor until it fell out of use in the 1930s. It had a number of names until in 1799 it was christened Fort Pickering after U.S Secretary of State Timothy Pickering.

The remains of the fort contain three ammunition bunkers that were constructed in the 1800s as well as some sections of the Civil War-era building. This is a great place to visit for those interested in the military and maritime history of the city.

Directions in Google Maps

39 – Read the headstones at The Old Burying Point

Old Burying Point in Salem

The Old Burying Point, also known as Charter Street Cemetery, is the oldest cemetery in the city and one of the oldest in the United States. Some notable Salem residents are buried there including Judge John Hathorne and Bartholomew Gedney who presided over the infamous 1692 witch trials.

It is a picturesque cemetery to visit and a peaceful place to take a walk. There are some interesting inscriptions to read on the old graves including poems and prayers.

Directions in Google Maps

40 – Enjoy spooky fun at Gallows Hill Museum Theatre

Gallows Hill Museum Theatre, Salem

The historic Gallows Hill was long thought to be the site of the hangings in the Salem Witch Trials. It is now believed more likely that Proctor’s Ledge was the site of execution. Needless to say, there are some fun spooky attractions to visit on Gallow’s Hill.

Gallow’s Hill Museum Theatre uses holograms, projections and live actors to produce dramatic recreations of “historic” events. Expect an entertaining journey through Salem’s past full of enough ghosts and witches to scare a puritan stiff.

41 – Have a fun time at the Misery Islands

Misery Islands, Salem

What’s in a name? Misery Islands may sound dour but is actually a lovely place to visit with picturesque views of the North Shore and mixed habitats of forest, meadows and coasts. The islands were named, maybe unfairly, in the 1600s when Captain Robert Moulton was stranded there over three days in the midst of a winter storm.

The larger island, known as Great Misery, is 83 acres in size. It was a resort in the early 1900s with golf and tennis facilities, a clubhouse and a swimming pool. The smaller island, Little Misery, is only four acres in size.

Directions in Google Maps

42 – Try a Salem Gibralter at Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie

Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, Salem

You wouldn’t go to Salem and miss the chance to visit America’s oldest candy company. Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie has been a family business for four generations and traces its roots back to 1806.

Some of its most popular confections are Salem Gibralters and Blackjacks, which were both invented in the city over 200 years ago by the Spencer and Pepper families. They have since branched out into chocolates and sell a whole variety of old-fashioned candies.

43 – Have breakfast at Red’s Sandwich Shop

Red’s Sandwich Shop, Salem

Way more than just a sandwich shop, Red’s has one of the best breakfast and lunch menus in town. This is one Salem eatery that likes to keep the atmosphere casual and provides generous servings at reasonable prices.

Located in the Old London Coffee House, Red’s serves classic diner food including pancakes, waffles, omelets and grilled sandwiches. It also has gluten-free, vegan and veggie-friendly options. Due to its popularity, it can be busy at peak times.

44 – Go shopping at Essex Street Pedestrian Mall

Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, Salem

One of the most fun places to shop in Salem is on Essex Street. Visitors will find plenty of interesting and sometimes outright weird boutiques and stores here not to mention stalls and street performers.

Many of the shops are tailored to tourists and sell books, gifts and items related to witchcraft and magic. There are also major institutions like the Peabody Museum and a bunch of good cafes, restaurants to try out.

Directions in Google Maps

45 – Enjoy a drink at the Village Tavern

Village Tavern, Salem

The Village Tavern is located right opposite The Peabody Museum on Essex street. With a changing menu throughout the day and a separate kids’ menu, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for. The drinks selection is huge with 78 types of beer and quality Scotch and Brandies.

There is live entertainment most evenings including trivia quizzes, darts tournaments, DJs and live bands. There’s also a games room with skeeball, air hockey, pool and darts. Just what a village tavern should be.

46 – Try the Clam Chowder at Turners Seafood

Turners Seafood, Salem

For some of the finest New England seafood around, check out Turner’s Seafood. The company has been in Salem since 2013 and has two other locations in nearby Gloucester and Melrose.

The menu is huge but popular dishes include, fish with fries and slaws, clam chowder and the  New England haddock dinner. Turner’s is a popular spot to eat in the city so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

47 – Attend a show at the historic theater – The Cabot

The Cabot, Salem

Dating back to the 1920s, The Cabot is a historical performing arts theater located 8 minutes away from Salem. Since its opening, the theater has been the center of all things entertainment in Salem, from silent movies to modern-day music concerts.

Attend a comedy show, or live concert from some of the biggest names in the music industry, or step in for a free event such as the Art as Activism Film Fest.

Whatever show floats your boat, you can buy tickets directly from the theater’s website, or buy them in person at the box office.

48 – Take an evening stroll at Pickering Wharf

Pickering Wharf, Salem

Pickering Wharf is home to the replica tall ship, the Friendship of Salem. The area has attractive waterfront views, small shops to browse and cafes to relax in. The wharf is part of the Maritime Historic site.

Pickering Wharf is conveniently located nearby other famous spots like the House of Seven Gables and Essex Street but is usually much quieter. Especially on warm evenings, It’s a picturesque place to take a walk and see the lights surrounding the bay.

Directions in Google Maps

49 – Brace yourself for the ultimate Halloween celebration at the Salem Haunted Happenings

Salem Haunted Happenings and Halloween festival

Get ready to celebrate Halloween big time, at the largest celebration of Halloween in the world!

The Salem Haunted Happenings Halloween Festival is a city-wide celebration of this iconic American holiday, consisting of various parties, fairs, karaoke tents, walking tours, museum activities, parades, and much more.

A Halloween celebration of this size is bound to have some of the best Halloween decorations, so make sure to look out for them throughout the city, from homes to businesses!

Pack your best black and orange clothing, this festive event takes place the whole month of October.

50 – Try the Spaceballs at Flying Saucer Pizza Company

Flying Saucer Pizza Company, Salem

Tucked away just off Essex Street near Lappin Park is the Flying Saucer Pizza Company. If you like pizza, adventurous flavor combinations and an overdose of sci-fi references you’ll love this place.

The decor is very space-age kitsch with movie memorabilia decorating every flat surface and hand-painted signs and murals. It offers a good selection of toppings and plenty of main menu options for vegan and gluten-free customers. Check it out if you’re feeling adventurous.

51 – Drink and play classic video games at Bit Bar Salem

Bit Bar Salem

Derby Street’s Bit Bar breaks the mold as far as watering holes go. This bar, restaurant and old-skool arcade could be just what you need for a fun night in Salem. The owners created this space to indulge their love of retro video games and pinball machines as well as the local craft beer scene.

Rediscover classics like Donkey Kong and Mortal Kombat II and get acquainted with new favorites like the Rick and Morty Bloodsucker pinball machine. Don’t miss Bit Bar on a night out in Salem.

52 – Check out the city’s best bars

best bars in Salem

If you’re looking to make a night of it Salem there are plenty of great bars to choose from. Longboards, on Wharf Street, is a favorite local spot to grab a drink and one of the trademark flatbread pizzas. For a cozy atmosphere and delicious food check out The Witch’s Brew which has a bar and restaurant.

During the summer months, The Roof is an open-air venue with some of the best views in Salem. The Lobster Shanty is a long-standing favorite of locals and visitors alike serving great food and drinks with a casual atmosphere.

53 – Stay at the Hawthorne Hotel… if you dare!!

Hawthorne Hotel, Salem
credit to Hawthorne Hotel

Salem’s Hawthorne Hotel first opened in 1925 and has hosted presidents and movie stars alike including Bill Clinton, Vanessa Redgrave and Robert De Niro. The hotel is named after local author Nathaniel Hawthorne and has 93 guest rooms over six floors.

It has also gained the unfortunate title of fourth most haunted hotel in America, with some guests and staff reporting spooky shenanigans. It hosts a yearly Halloween Ball, notable for its attendees’  impressive and inventive costumes.

Where to stay in Salem?

Enjoy your stay in Salem when you book a room at Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites. Offering guests a variety of amenities for a comfortable stay, perhaps the winning factor of this hotel has to be its beautiful views of the Atlantic from almost every room in the hotel.

Sleep in a historic home at The Salem Inn. From the exterior to the interior decor, feel like you’ve stepped back in time to Colonial America, as the hotel is set in the U.S.’s oldest seaport. The hotel may be old, but it’s equipped with modern amenities and bright and well-kept rooms.

Hampton Inn Salem features a modern stay in Salem and is raved highly for its close location to all the main sights in town. The pet-friendly hotel offers American-style breakfast every morning, although the hotel is near many great cafes and restaurants to take advantage of.

Where to go next?

After you’ve explored all the incredible things to see in Salem, be sure to wander to some of the other main cities and sights on the east coast.

Head south to Boston, and get an immersive dose of American history, from setting foot inside the USS Constitution Museum to walking the Freedom Trail with a local and passionate historian.

Get nerdy on a campus tour of Harvard and MIT – some of the most prestigious schools in the country. If all that walking gets you hungry, set your sights on the food buzz at Quincy Market!

A visit to the east coast cannot be completed without a stop in Portland, Maine for a delicious lobster roll, and a ride on an authentic lobster boat with some whale watching.

Greet a new day arriving over the Atlantic at Peaks Island, or give a proper send-off to the day from the magnificent Portland Head Light.

Final thoughts

From creepy ghost stories, authentic celebrations, and a city drenched in maritime history mixed with colonial charm, Salem surely knows how to keep the curiosity alive, and its travelers on their toes.

Have you spotted what you want to see on our list of things to do in Salem? Let us know what caught your eye the most down below!

Happy travels!

Benjamin Halliday is a seasoned content writer for TourScanner. Based in the UK, Benjamin's wanderlust has taken him across Europe and the US, with a transformative 7-year sojourn in Portugal adding depth to his tales. Beyond his written words, he's a gifted musician who revels in sampling, creating, and playing enthralling tunes. Whether through captivating articles or mesmerizing music, Benjamin's creations always promise an unforgettable journey.