The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Salem, Massachusetts: Treats You Need and Tricks to Avoid for a Wicked Good Time

So you're finally planning on visiting Salem, Massachusetts, but you're not quite sure where to start.

I totally get it.  There is a LOT of information out there, and it can be really overwhelming!  This guide will help you plan a successful trip to Salem any time of year, but it does include some October-specific tips as well.

If you're really into being organized, you NEED The Official Spooky in Salem Trip Planner; it pairs wonderfully with this post and will help make planning your trip to Salem a breeze. Or, if you're planning a bachelorette party or girls' trip in Salem, you'll want this one!  And don't forget to join Spooky in Salem on Facebook—or as I like to call it, your own personal Salem Google. :)

Salem, Massachusetts is full of charm, delicious food, and, of course, rich history. Its infamous history (the witchcraft trials of 1692) is what brings a lot of people in, but there has also been a massive uptick in visitors within the past 4-5ish years thanks to social media.

This surge in visitors is great for the city's tourism department, but it also makes planning a trip a bit trickier, especially in October.

As someone who considers Salem my home away from home, I'm here to help.  I've been to Salem during every season, I've gone there on school field trips, and I've taken my own students on field trips there as well.  So, I've got some pretty good insight.

HOWEVER, remember that these suggestions are purely my own.  Some of them might be considered "touristy" to a local, but that's because they are. When you're visiting a place like Salem, especially for the first time, you're going to do touristy things, especially if you're not spending a lot of time there. You're still going to love it!

Here's what I'll be covering in this post:

  • Must-see attractions (and what to skip)
  • Hocus Pocus locations
  • Places to eat
  • Places to drink
  • Sweet treats
  • Coffee shops
  • Shopping
  • Where to stay
  • Parking & bathrooms
  • Weather
  • What to expect (in October, on Halloween, & other times)

When you're done with all of this info, don't forget to grab your copy of The Official Spooky in Salem Trip Planner!  It has everything you need to plan your trip day by day, plus a visitor's checklist, an easy-to-follow map, and SO much more!

 

The Must-See Attractions in Salem, MA

The Witch House - This is the only building left with direct ties to the witch trials. You've probably seen pictures of it in Salem collages galore; it stands out in the most hauntingly beautiful way, right in the heart of the hustle and bustle. If you're a nerd like me and are fascinated by old houses—I'm always like, "People slept right there!!"—it is so worth it. It's also allegedly haunted, if you're into that stuff!

A picture of a group of students in front of the Witch House in Salem, Massachusetts

The Witch Dungeon Museum - This is a fav of mine!! There's a presentation that shares some of the history of the trials, followed by a live reenactment, and then a tour through the "dungeon," which is super fun and creepy! There's also a wooden beam from the original Salem jail mounted on the wall...it's said to be cursed, so touch with caution!

The Witch Trials Memorial - Because condemned "witches" (remember, no one accused was actually a witch) were not given proper burials, there are no actual grave sites. So, you can pay your respects here. This is also a popular spot on many guided tours.

The Charter Street and Howard Street cemeteries - While the Charter Street Cemetery is right in the middle of the action (it's adjacent to the Witch Trials Memorial), the Howard Street Cemetery is allegedly in the same area where Giles Corey was pressed to death.

Walking tours - Whether you want to learn about Salem's haunted locations or you'd prefer to stick to the history, there's something for everyone! NOTE: Please make sure you're booking with a locally owned company!  There are tours offered in Salem that are put on by national companies, and their information is often incorrect.  Black Cat Tours has quickly become a favorite of mine, and members of my Facebook group, Spooky in Salem. Lara, one of the owners, is just fantastic!

I also love a good night tour, especially ones where you can hold a candle or lantern, but there are daytime tours available as well.

During our October 2020 trip to Salem, we went with Witch City Walking Tours, and it was great. Beth, the owner, specifically added additional tours that night to accommodate, which was awesome!

Halloween Museum Salem - Need I explain? If you're a Halloween fanatic like I am, a visit here is really a no-brainer. This self-guided 3D Halloweenland takes you to many places of nostalgia.  It never gets old, and they're always adding something new.  Check out their Facebook page !

An image of the brightly-colored Halloween Museum in Salem, Massachusetts

Essex Street, Washington Street, Front Street, and Derby Street - These are basically the "main" streets of Salem, and almost everything you'll want to see is either on them, or near them.  Do NOT visit Salem and just stay on Essex; you'll miss so much if you do.

The sun peeking out on Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts

Chestnut Street - So close to the chaos, but so pleasantly quiet.  Take a walk up and down Chestnut Street to escape the hustle 'n bustle, and take in some of the most beautiful architecture in Sale.

 

More Fun to Add to Your List

The only reason I separated these from the list above is because I know some people have limited time in Salem.  Mix and match or do it all!

Salem Witch Board Museum - If you love Ouija boards, this is the place for you. I personally have never played with one and don't plan to (even though I learned from the museum that they really are just toys), but I find the museum SO fascinating. There is so much to learn about how ouija boards came to be, and how people have used them over the years. Make sure to chat with the owner—he'll tell you all about how his collection started! Note: The museum shares a space with Remember Salem, discussed in the shopping section of this post; you can purchase tickets at their register.

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery - If you're a horror movie fan, Count Orlok's is an absolute must! It features props and memorabilia from some of the all-time greatest. Pictures aren't allowed, so you just have to see it for yourself!

International Monster Museum - This is inside the Witch City Mall and is part cool museum, part haunted house—expect jump scares!  So much fun.

The House of Seven Gables - Literature fans rejoice!  Take a tour of the house itself, or just tour the grounds, which are beautiful.

Daniels House - The fireside chat at the Daniels House is one of my favorite things I've ever done in Salem.  Vijay is SO knowledgeable and passionate, and it truly feels like stepping back in time.  **As of July 2024, it's rumored that the Daniels House is no longer doing tours. If this is confirmed, I'll update as needed.

Salem Willows - Worth the drive, I promise!  It's a gorgeous park that sits right on the water, with a few different food and snack spots and an arcade!  We love going to the Willows to grab some popcorn and just sit by the water.

Salem Museum of Torture - This just opened last year and is really interesting, but definitely leaves you feeling heavy.  Go, but plan something light after!

Real Pirates Salem - Real treasure, matey.  Take a self-guided tour or book with a knowledgeable deckhand.

The Witchery - Book binding and broom making!  The local UPS store has a system in place for shipping brooms, so don't worry if you're flying.

Broom making in Salem, Massachusetts
Witch Pix - Dress up (by yourself or with your whole coven) in beautiful, quality costumes and get professional photos taken on your choice of set!  Such a great Salem keepsake!

Mahi Mahi Cruises - Seasonal sunset cruises and a haunted "Boos Cruise" in October!

Schooner Fame - Daytime or sunset sails on a replica of the 1812 Fame ship!

Tiki Boat Tour - A floating tiki bar for up to 6 people.  These book FAST!

7 Seas Whale Watch - You have to go to Gloucester for this, but it's not far and SO worth it.  We've had amazing experiences every time!!

Satanic Temple of Salem - If this freaks you out, don't go.  OR, you could be open-minded and go learn a thing or two. :)

Tattoos - I've gotten tattoos at Sacred Harp and Acorn Tattoo.  There's also Witch City Ink and Salem Ink!

Permanent jewelry - from Jenni Stuart Fine Jewelry or Heart Lynx!

 

What to Skip

These are MY OPINIONS, okay?!

Salem Witch Museum - Yup, I said it.  Don't come for me.  The Salem Witch Museum's eerie grandeur pops up in "dreaming of Salem for Halloween" collages across the internet, and with good reason: the building is cool.  Buuuuut...that's where it stops.  Educational, yes, but I personally don't think it's worth it.  Many people I know, and my students, prefer the Witch Dungeon.  To be fair, all of the history-based museums could use an update, but if I'm going to recommend one, it's not going to be this one.  The gift shop though?  Very good, and you can enter separately without purchasing tickets to the museum.

Witch History Museum - I've never been to this one, but that's because many trusted locals have advised against it, so do with that information what you will.

Frankenstein's Castle - It takes about 2 minutes to go through, if that.  I recommend Chambers of Terror instead, which is open all year.

 

Hocus Pocus Locations in Salem, MA

Ropes Mansion - This was used for the exterior of Allison's house in Hocus Pocus! It's only a few buildings down from the Witch House, so you can see both in no time.  The past couple years, during the last weekend or two of October,  it's been decorated to look like it did in the movie!

There is also a beautiful garden behind Ropes Mansion that's open and free to visit all year.  When it's in full bloom, though, wow.  Nothing like it!

Old Town Hall - Only the outside and staircase are used for a shot in the movie, but who cares?  It's iconic.

Salem Common & "Jacob Bailey High School" - Max and Allison are walking along the Salem town green in the beginning of the movie. Some other outdoor scenes are shot here as well, and an old elementary school along the green (now apartments) served as their high school in the movie. Take a right out of the Hawthorne Hotel's parking lot and you'll find the "school." In October, you'll find your fair share of food trucks on the green as well!  Helpful tip: it's "Salem Common," not "Salem Commons."

Max & Dani's House - I'm choosing not to share the address of this private residence anymore, because year after year, this quiet street is inundated with people, and unfortunately, some visitors aren't so respectful.

So, my advice to you is this: if you want to go see this house (and yes, it is cool to see), go in the off-season, or park somewhere like Pioneer Village and walk over.

Pioneer Village - This "living history museum" was used to shoot the opening scenes of Hocus Pocus! Open on weekends seasonally. Check site for specific hours and events.

 

The Best Restaurants in Salem, MA

There are SO many delicious food spots in Salem. Regardless of your food preferences or dietary needs, there's something for everyone! These are just some of my favorites.  For the record, I don't eat seafood.

Rockafellas - Casual but delicious! Classics with a twist; delicious homemade chips; fun drinks...actually, some of the best cocktails in Salem, in my opinion. Truly one of my favorite places, and their seasonal drink menus are always fantastic. The mystery shot of the day is always fun, too. Indoor & outdoor seating; unique interior in a historic building!

Turner's Seafood - We LOVE Turner's. It feels a tad *fancier* but is still casual, if that makes sense. It's just such a warm and cozy environment, and everything is delicious. Fun fact: when this restaurant was called 43 Church, it was featured on Haunted History's Salem episode (S1 E7; part of the History Channel Vault) as one of Salem's most haunted places! It's also where Alexander Graham Bell made the first "long distance" phone call. How cool is that?!

Gulu Gulu Cafe - Unique and delicious light fare! Great for breakfast.  Craft beer; good drinks. Indoor & outdoor seating.

Red's Sandwich Shop - This historic little gem is a locally-loved breakfast spot, and with good reason! The portions are huge and the food is delicious. Hubs and I are eggs Benedict people, and the amount of hollandaise sauce on the benny at Red's made us instant fans! The cinnamon bread French toast and pumpkin bread French toast are just...I can't even describe them. They also have fun and festive drinks. Try the spiked iced coffee, too!

Sea Level Oyster Bar - Mouthwatering food with a gorgeous view of Pickering Wharf! This is our absolute favorite spot during the spring and summer...actually, it's one of our go-tos all the time. My husband swears by the clam strips. Indoor & outdoor seating—but really, why would you want to sit indoors when you can sit up on the deck?

Ledger - OMG. Ledger is heaven. We went for the first time in May of 2021, and it was hands down one of the best meals (including drinks and dessert) I've ever had. It's pricey, so be prepared if you're budgeting, but I can say with confidence that it's worth every penny! Definitely a great spot for a special occasion. And, like Rockafellas, it's a really cool atmosphere!

The Tavern - Whether you're staying at the Hawthorne Hotel or not, The Tavern is SO worth stopping in for food or drinks. The atmosphere is just *chef's kiss.*

The Derby - I can get happily full on appetizers here. The street corn nachos are absolutely insane. And the bacon fat biscuits, omg. I can't even talk about it.  Everything is so good!

All Souls Lounge - Quite possibly the best grilled cheese I've ever had. All Souls just has the COOLEST speakeasy-type vibe. Just love it there!

Mercy Tavern - I think I've had Mercy's mac and cheese in my dreams.  So there's that.

O'Neill's - Casual bar food, good beer, fun decor, and live music on certain days! O'Neill's was our "teacher tradition" for lunch every year on our field trip. Also, their loaded tater tots are to die for. I personally recommend beer, cider, wine, or simple cocktails from O'Neill's...and syringe Jell-O shots in October!

Essex NY Pizza & Deli - We love stopping in here for a quick slice as a hold-me-over snack.  Their pizza is SO good!!  Located inside the Witch City Mall.

Longboards - I can't say enough good things about Longboards, especially now that they've reopened in a bigger location.  The food is great, the drinks are great, the atmosphere is great, and if you're feeling super daring, you can order a scorpion shot, complete with a real scorpion.  My psychotic husband and his friend have done it THREE TIMES.

Two scorpion shots at Longboards in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem's Retreat - You'll need to drive or Uber here, but it is soo worth it.  One of our favorite breakfast spots!

The Babe Salem - This new spot is a viiiibe!  Technically walkable, but I recommend driving.

Crave - The North Shore is hands down the best breakfast sandwich I've ever had.  Try a Vietnamese iced coffee too!  Not a sit-down place, FYI.

Rivalry - Another newer spot downtown!  HUGE space with two levels and two bars, great menu options, and themed brunches!

Olde Main Street Pub - Tiny little place, but with great food and cozy atmosphere.  If you're there in October, try a Drunken Pumpkin!

 

Where to Grab a Drink in Salem, MA

These are in addition to Rockafellas, ONeills, Longboards, and All Souls, which all have great drinks!

The Roof at Hotel Salem - You can not beat this VIEW.  If you can, go around sunset!  I personally don't recommend the food here, but I love going up for a drink.

The Roof bar in Salem Massachusetts

Bit Bar - SO much fun!!  Grab a drink and play arcade games.  What more could you want? 21+ after 8pm.

Notch Brewery & Tap Room and East Regiment Beer Co. are both breweries! Notch is right on the water, and East Regiment is right across the street from Turner's. Couch Dog Brewing Co. is new in 2024!

Far From The Tree - I'm a cider girl. I like beer, but cider definitely has my heart. FFTT has soo many amazing ciders!! I've never had one I didn't like. My personal favorites are Rickey and Patch! You also just have to try a cider slushie flight when it's available! I recommend taking an Uber here. It IS walkable, but it's definitely easier to Uber.

Deacon Giles Distillery - Also not walkable, but worth a visit.  Their cocktails are so pretty and so good!

Pamplemousse - Okay, this is a liquor store, BUT, we like to stop here before we leave to stock up on some of our local favs to bring home!

 

Hey, you're halfway done with this post.  Have you grabbed your Official Spooky in Salem Trip Planner yet?

 

Snacks and Sweet Treats in Salem, MA

Caramel Patisserie - I am actually so annoyed at the fact that I have to write about Caramel without being able to GO to Caramel. It is home to the best macaron I have ever eaten. Any time I go somewhere that offers macarons, I try one, only to be let down by the fact that they never, ever compare. They also have other delicious looking pastries, but to be super honest, I only go for the macarons. Two dozen each time and badabing, gone in sixty seconds. Well, not really, but also kind of. They're just...they're just SO perfect.

Macarons from Caramel in Salem Massachusetts

Goodnight Fatty - Cookies. Big, warm, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. They feature a few flavors a day, and are served hot. Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Melt Ice Cream - The shop at this location used to be called the Salem Screamery, and I really appreciated the pun. Anywho, Melt's ice cream is so good! Classic & unique flavors; they offer vegan flavors, too!

Whimsy's Sweet Life - Also really good ice cream!

Curly Girl Candy Shop - A cute, classic-style candy shop featuring pre-packaged candy and build-your-own bags.

Popped! - I LOVE POPCORN. Do you hear me? I am ObSeSsEd with popcorn. If you are, too, you have to go to Popped! So many flavors. So good.

Ye Olde Pepper Companie: This cute little place is the oldest candy store in the US! Fudge, classic confections, and more!

Hobb's Popcorn - Located at Salem Willows, this is classic old-fashioned popcorn, and it is freaking delicious.

Holy Cow Ice Cream - Also located at Salem Willows.  Try the Ritzy AF and thank me later.

Dairy Witch Ice Cream - WORTH THE RIDE I PROMISE.  Go there, and go to Black Veil while you're at it.

Funhouse Donuts - What started as a donut popup (Speakeasy Donuts) is now a brick and mortar donut shop!  Really freaking cool flavor combos and insane decor!

Coffee Time Bake Shop - HUGE selection of donuts and pastries.  Coffee.  All the good stuff!

 

The Best Coffee Shops in Salem, MA

Odd Meter Coffee - My favorite coffee shop in Salem! I love the vibe, the drinks are delicious, and the staff is SO nice!

Brew Box - Try the cereal milk iced latte!

Front Street Coffeehouse - Soo many yummy options! Almond Joy anything is a win in my book. BRB, drooling.

Blackcraft Coffee - Located inside the Blackcraft Store on Essex Street.  They continue to outdo themselves!

Jaho Coffee & Tea - Probably the biggest menu of all the coffee shops in Salem.  I go here when I want an over-the-top flavor combo.

 

The Best Shops in Salem, MA

Shopping in Salem is obviously subjective, so I'm recommending my personal favorites—many of which also happen to be fan favs as well.  Part of the fun is just popping in and out of shops as you walk the streets!

Coven - Coven is, hands down, my favorite store in Salem.  It has all of my favorite things: cute clothes (when I say "cute" in this case I mean alt/dark/witchy/goth); a HUGE selection of purses; plus jewelry, makeup, and SO much more.  If you've ever seen a picture of the "I put a spell on you" sign and wondered, "What store is that?"  It's Coven.  Also: the owners, Alex and Bernie, are some of our favorite people!

Nocturne - Another breathtakingly beautiful store.  I kind of want to live there.  So many beautiful handmade pieces, so little time.

Ascend Crystals - For those who are into the crystal-loving, light-and-airy vibe, you will LOVE Ascend.  It's not JUST crystals (although their selection is fantastic)!  I highly highly recommend getting an aura photo there too!  And the staff?  Top notch.

A couple's aura photo taken in Salem, MA

Witch City Wicks - Hand-poured soy candles that smell absolutely diviiiine. Find other cute Salem-eqsue gifts here, too.  My absolute favorite candle of all time, Sleepy Hollow, comes out during Halloween each year.  Yes, there is a Salem candle too, but the Sleepy Hollow Scent is my ultimate favorite.  I also live for the Sleepy Hollow room & body spray, which I wear from September through November.

Vampfangs - Just another must if you're looking for spooky/witchy/goth clothes and accessories.  And, of course, don't forget to take a picture in the throne!

Emporium 32 - It's hard to figure out how so much charm can be squeezed into one little shop, but Emporium 32 is just that.  Super cute steampunk vibes!

Die With Your Boots On - If you're into alt fashion and wild boots, this is your store! 

Hive & Forge - I can't really explain Hive & Forge to you, because I wouldn't do it justice. You just have to go. If you're into taxidermy, oddities/curiosities, and/or supporting independent artists, Hive & Forge is the place for you.

Blackcraft - Did you even go to Salem if you didn't go into Blackcraft and see Nydia, the giant witch?  Do I even need to explain Blackcraft to you?  Come on now.

Zitelle - Customize your own spooky beanie OR grab a pom-pom witch hat and more in this super cute shop!

Salem Bespoke Boutique - A woman-owned shop featuring women-made products.  We love to see it!

Wolf Moon - A gorgeous little hidden gem inside the Witch City Mall.

Modern Millie Vintage - The most incredible selection of bright, bold, and beautiful dresses, skirts, and accessories!

L'appel du Vide - This new shop just opened last summer, and it is a perfect fit!  It's also where you can get a hand-poured Witch House candle.

Black Cat Curiosity Shoppe - A hybrid shop + exhibit featuring real movie props!  Owned by Lara and Dan of Black Cat Tours.

Diehl Marcus and Co. - This store looks like a house, so don't miss it!  A HUGE tea selection, among other gifts!

Quintesstential "witchy" shops: Crow Haven Corner, Coven's Cottage, Enchanted

Best shops for classic souvenirs: Trolley Depot, Moon's Card & Gift Shop, Moody's Home and Gifts, Witch Tees, District Trading Co, Twilight House Salem

Black Veil Shoppe of Drear and Wonder - Okay, listen.  You can't walk to Black Veil (I mean I guess technically you could), but if you don't have a car with you, it is one million percent worth the Uber trip.  I'm sure you've seen pictures, but I can tell you with confidence that the pictures do it zero justice.  The first time I walked in I was absolutely speechless.  You CAN go in and shop—it's not just a tattoo studio!

Wynott's Wands & Remember Salem - A must for Harry Potter fans! Conveniently located right next to each other, these fun HP-inspired shops might have you forgetting that you're not actually at Hogwarts!

 

Where to Stay in Salem, MA

If you're planning on staying overnight in Salem in October, you're going to want to book your trip as far in advance as possible, as hotels book more quickly than you'd imagine. Most hotels start booking out for the following October on Nov 1. If you're planning a last minute trip, though, don't fret! You just might have to stay nearby and Uber in.

I know a lot of people think that staying outside of Salem is best because it's "cheaper," but when you stay IN Salem, you park your car and don't touch it unless you're going to one of the few places that aren't within walking distance of everywhere else. Transportation adds up!

Hawthorne Hotel - Charming, historic, and right in the heart of downtown! Some rooms are allegedly haunted! We personally haven't experienced anything paranormal during any of our stays (or have we?), but reserve at your own risk. ;) The Hawthorne offers special packages throughout the year, AND—this is big—has some rooms with 1.5 or even 2 bathrooms, which are soo ideal for traveling with groups!! Don't forget, the Tavern is located right inside the Hawthorne, and they also have Nathaniel's! PARKING: Free, on-site.

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites - More modern than the Hawthorne with newly renovated rooms.  Within walking distance to everything. Several packages to choose from! Indoor pool.  PARKING: Free, on-site.  Pictured below is my friend Sam!  Follow her on IG for more Salem adventures!

Salem Waterfront Hotel

The Hotel Salem - Modern and chic, located right on Essex Street. Rooftop drinks/dining. Military discount Sun-Thurs. NO PARKING; must pay (hotel does not cover parking fees) & park in local garage or lot.  No drive-up access.

Hampton Inn Salem - Brand new, very modern; breakfast included.  Indoor pool. PARKING: On-site, additional fee (which I think is crazy if you're already paying to stay there, but what do I know?)

The Salem Inn - Cozy and cute; also allegedly haunted.  Multiple buildings to choose from.  PARKING: Free, on-site.

The Merchant - Upscale boutique hotel; another that's allegedly haunted!  PARKING: First-come, first-served; otherwise, parking varies.

The Cove - Salem's newest, coolest hotel!  Modern remodeled rooms and ridiculously detailed themed rooms.  Who wouldn't want to stay in a themed room?!  PARKING: Free, on-site. **Not the most walkable, but not super far.**

The Coach House - Another absolutely gorgeous boutique hotel.  Not within walking distance to downtown, but close to the water and close to the Hocus Pocus house.  PARKING:  First-come, first-served lot; street parking.

For a true "inn" experience: Stepping Stone Inn or Daniels House!

Salem hotels sold out? Check out nearby towns and Air BnBs!  Try staying in a down that's along the MBTA line so you can take the train into town without worrying about traffic and parking.  Do NOT stay at the Motel 6 in Danvers.

 

Where to Park in Salem, MA

While street parking is available, it's not recommended (actually, in October, a lot of street parking isn't available, and do not think you won't be ticketed if you stick your car where you shouldn't). If I'm spending the day in Salem, the Church Street lot or Museum Place Garage are my go-tos, unless I get there early enough to grab a free spot along the Common.  Parking is also available at the MBTA garage and at the Hampton Inn garage.  Find more parking info here!

You can also download the Destination Salem app, which provides real-time updates on which lots/garages are full, and which streets are closed.

 

Where to Find Bathrooms in Salem, MA

If you're not a patron of an establishment, you will NOT be allowed in just to use the bathroom.  This is a huge reason why I always tell people that staying IN Salem is so worth it; you're guaranteed a bathroom at all times.  My main recommendation is to use the bathroom every single time you're in a bar or restaurant.  Otherwise, there are port-o-potties in several locations, and there are bathrooms on Artists' Row and at the Salem Visitor Center.  Bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer in October (I'm not kidding).  Do not, under any circumstances, use the bathrooms in the Witch City Mall. You have been warned.

 

What to Expect When Visiting Salem, MA

In October: Traffic. Crowds. Lots and lots of crowds. And lots of waiting—for attractions, shops, and restaurants. Bring patience, snacks, and toilet paper with you, and go with the understanding that you probably won't get to see/do everything on your list—but hey, that's just a reason to go back another time. You can still have a great experience!  Weekdays are less crowded than weekends; try to visit Tuesday through Thursday if you can.

On Halloween: I have never been to Salem ON Halloween, and probably only plan to do that once in my life, if ever. Traffic is nearly impossible—I'm talking HOURS just to get into town, let alone find parking—and the streets shut down early. In recent years, even cell phone service has been affected by the volume of people. Think Mardi Gras in NOLA. Christmas in New York. So, yeah. Enter at your own risk.

The rest of the time: There is always something to do in Salem!  Very few attractions are only open seasonally, and most shops will just adjust their hours.  From April to November, pretty much everything is open, and there's events happening all the time.  My personal favorite time to go to Salem is in the summer, because I LOVE a good old New England shore town (Dinner on a patio, next to the ocean, on a warm summer evening at sunset?  Is there anything better?!).  Late spring is also pretty, but early spring can still be cold.  Christmas time is absolutely beautiful!  I'd say January-March are probably the least ideal times to go, unless you're going on Salem's So Sweet weekend, which is usually around Valentine's Day.

Every time: LOTS of walking. I can't stress comfy shoes enough. You might think that pair of witchy, heeled boots is perfect for the ~*aEsThEtiC*~ you're going for in Salem, but you will regret it. Die With Your Boots On is a great store, but you don't want to live the name. If you're spending the day walking around, belieeeve me, you want to be comfy. 

 

Weather in Salem, MA

One of the most popular questions in Spooky in Salem is "What's the weather like?" As a born-and-raised New Englander, I can tell you the simplest answer is "Great question!" Obviously we have our averages, but averages don't always mean much. If you're driving to Salem, you have a bit more leniency in terms of packing (for example, if I don't want 18 bags, I'll throw an extra pair of shoes or a puffy winter coat in the car just in case), but if you're flying, obviously you're limited. My biggest recommendation is to follow Wunderground for Salem leading up to your trip.

These two pictures of the Witch House are from February 2022 during the Salem's So Sweet ice sculpture festival on Valentine's Day weekend. Saturday was unseasonably warm (aka we walked around without coats and ate lunch on the deck at Sea Level), and Sunday we woke up to snow. Mother Nature is her own beast in New England!

 

You should be ready to visit Salem now!

Phew, that was a lot, wasn't it?  But I really hope you found it helpful. I had so much fun putting it together (and updating it over the years), and I just love sharing my favorite things about my favorite place with as many people as I can!

Now that you've gone through this post, don't leave without your Official Spooky in Salem Trip Planner (or your Salem bachelorette party planner).  It's the finishing touch to make planning your trip to Salem an absolute breeze.

And, of course, don't forget to check out our Spooky in Salem merch collection!

Thanks so much for reading, and as always, stay spooky!

 

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