Salem, MA is an enchanting town not too far north of Boston. Salem, along with neighboring Danvers, is known for the infamous witch trials of the late 17th century, where many were accused of practicing witchcraft and put on trial, leading to 20 executions. Today, Salem is full of whimsical shops, delicious restaurants, and classic New England charm. True to its roots, Salem hosts a month-long Halloween celebration in October. Despite the crowds that this draws, October is the best time to visit Salem, MA. Here’s my suggested itinerary for a weekend in Salem, MA.
Before You Go
October is the busiest month for tourism in Salem, MA. Be sure to book your hotel FAR in advance. For a quintessential Salem, MA experience, I recommend the Hawthorne Hotel. If you’re craving waterfront views, I recommend Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites. Lastly, for a classic New England bed & breakfast experience, I recommend Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast.
If you’ll be attending one of Salem’s many Halloween-month parties, be sure to get your costume or outfit on lock-down well ahead of your trip. Halloween is a big deal in Salem, MA, so don’t hold back. This is going to be the most epic weekend in Salem, MA! P.S. Pictures or it didn’t happen.
Fly into Boston’s Logan International Airport. From there, follow either the Car or Public Transportation directions.
From Boston, take MA-1A N straight to Salem. Bonus: Not only is this the quickest way by car, it’s also the scenic route!
From Logan Airport: Take the Blue Line toward Wonderland station. Get off at Wonderland and take the 450 Bus to Salem Depot. This is not convenient + takes up far too much time, in my opinion. You’re better off either taking an Uber straight to Salem OR taking an Uber to North Station (see directions below).
From North Station: Hop on the MBTA Commuter Rail’s Newburyport/Rockport line. You’ll need a Zone 3 ticket, which you can get from a kiosk inside North Station or via the MBTA app. Get off at the Salem station, which is the 4th stop from North Station.
Check in to your hotel, then head out on an adventure. I recommend Tales & Ales, a beer tasting with a master ghost storyteller or Salem Spirits Trolley, a local booze tasting tour aboard a trolley. Afterward, head to Bit Bar for dinner and good ol’ fashioned arcade games.
Saturday Morning + Afternoon
Get your coffee and breakfast on at Coffee Time Bake Shop. Then soak in Salem’s history with a visit to a few of its wonderful museums. A few of my favorites are The House of Seven Gables, the Salem Witch Museum, The Witch House + the Peabody Essex Museum. After museum hopping, stop for lunch at a locally owned cafe or restaurant. I recommend Gulu Gulu Café, Red’s Sandwich Shop or Scratch Kitchen.
Salem, MA really comes alive at night, especially in October. Take a stroll down Salem’s historic Essex Street. There’s tons of fun shops and vendor stalls to explore. You’ll also see tons of people in costume and lots of classic New England architecture. You might even catch a live band! Soak it all in and take lots of pictures.
After exploring Essex St., get ready for some spooky fun! Hit up a haunted house, such as Chambers of Terror, partake in a haunted tour from Spellbound Tours, marvel at the artwork of special effects artists at Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery or get spooked at Gallows Hill’s The Lost Museum.
Sunday Morning + Afternoon
Continue your tour of the magical town of Salem, MA with Salem Food Tours’ AM Coffee Walk. After your food tour, visit a magic shop, such as Hex, Magicka or Omen and enjoy a reading with a psychic. Fill up your afternoon with shopping in downtown Salem, MA or hit up more of Salem’s fun museums before heading back home.
What’s on your agenda for a weekend in Salem, MA?
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