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.
What to Know Before You Take a Trip to Salem, MA
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.
How to Get to Salem, MA
How to Get to Salem by Air
Fly into Boston’s Logan International Airport. From there, follow either the Car or Public Transportation directions.
How to Get to Salem by Car
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!
How to Get to Salem via Public Transportation
How to get to Salem From Logan Airport Using Public Transportation
Take the Blue Line toward Wonderland station. Get off at Wonderland and take the 450 Bus to Salem Depot.
This is not convenient and takes up far too much time, in my opinion. You’re better off either taking an Uber or Lyft straight to Salem OR taking an Uber or Lyft to North Station (see directions below).
How to get to Salem From North Station via the MBTA Commuter Rail
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.
What to Do on Friday Night in Salem, MA
Check in to your hotel, then head out on an adventure.
Afterward, head to Bit Bar for dinner and good ol’ fashioned arcade games.
What to Do on Saturday During the Day in Salem, MA
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.
What to Do on Saturday Night in Salem, MA
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.
End the night with dinner at Firenze Trattoria for delicious Italian fare or Turner’s Seafood for classic New England seafood. For a dining + entertainment option, check out Dining in the Dark, which challenges you to dine blindfolded, or Haunted Dinner Theater, which includes a buffet dinner at the Hawthorne Hotel or Finz Seafood & Grill.
What to do on Sunday During the Day in Salem, MA
Continue your tour of the magical town of Salem, MA with Salem Food Tours’ AM Coffee Walk. If you’re more into history than food, check out the Morning Stroll Historical Tour. After your 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.
Don’t forget a costumes for your trip to Salem, MA!
If you’re visiting Salem, MA in October, a costume is a must! Salem throws a month-long Halloween party and tons of people dress up when visiting. Why not join in on the fun? Check out my favorite costumes below. For even more costume ideas, check out my posts on Disney-inspired Halloween costumes or travel-inspired Halloween costumes.
What’s on your agenda for a weekend in Salem, MA?