27+ Bewitching Things To Do In Salem MA

Embark on a romantic journey through the enchanting city of Salem, Massachusetts where history and mystique beautifully intertwine. As you explore the array of things to do in Salem MA, you’ll be captivated by the historic charm and the atmospheric tales of its 1692 witch trials. Wander the cobblestone streets to discover intimate restaurants, quaint shops, and historic homes that set the scene for romance.

Enjoy serene strolls in lush parks or along the scenic waterfront, each offering its own unique story and beauty. Salem is the ideal destination for couples looking for a blend of New England charm and intriguing history, with plenty of activities and sights worth visiting. Join us as we delve into the captivating blend of history and romance that Salem offers.

Looking for more romantic weekend getaway ideas? We’ve got 57 surprisingly romantic getaways in New England, and on our list of the most romantic getaways in the USA, there’s one in every state.

Salem Witch Museum

What Is The Bewitched Connection?

And why is Downtown Salem now Witch Central? Blame the TV show Bewitched.  Elizabeth Montgomery and her twitchy nose filmed 8 episodes in Salem in the summer of 1970, which garnered great public interest in this New England town.

Laurie Cabot – the first “official Witch of Salem” saw a burgeoning tourist market, and opened Salem’s first Witch Shop in 1971. Now, the flying witch is the town’s emblem, the football team is, yep, the Salem Witches and even cop cars sport the crone-on-broomstick.

Learning about the Witch Trials, and the tragic consequences in the very place it happened is one (but not the only reason) to visit Salem, MA. Stay to hear from real witches of today, go on a night or day walking tour, and learn how Salem MA went from a town without witches to one with 900 practicing witch residents.

When To Visit Salem MA?

To avoid the crowds that plague Salem residents, come during shoulder season and keep away in October when Salem brims with broomsticks and pointy hats. And, if you do bring the entire family, check out our friend at We3Travel.com for fun things to do in Salem with kids.

Witch Trials reenactment

Spooky Things To Do In Salem MA

VISIT: The Salem Witch Museum

A first stop for Salem MA newcomers interested in an overview of the Witch Trials, this museum accurately depicts what happened here in 1692 via an absorbing multi-media presentation.  It seems a bit like payback to locate this tragic tale of religious and gender persecution in the 1846 First Church of Salem, but the setting makes for a riveting performance.

Salem Cemetery
Salem Cemetery

TOUR: Salem Night Tour

In October, up to 1,300 tourists per night take this 1-hour 20-minute “Haunt and History Tour.” (Off-season averages 80 visitors per night). And even on a frigid 20-degree Wednesday winter’s eve, 11 people showed up (mostly from Australia) for this completely outdoor walking tour, which proves that seasonal temps have nothing on the popularity of Salem’s witch history and its purported hauntings.

While Salem Night Tour Guides are steeped in the Witch Trials and local lore, each is free to guide in his or her unique voice. One of the best is Cas, a striking 6 ft tall professed “history nerd” and ghost skeptic with a sharp, dramatic wit.

Spooky shot of Cas Salem Night Tour MA

Cas, dressed in a witch-like hooded mourning cloak, expounds on only the most documented ghost stories, as she guides you from the cemetery to former dungeon sites, to the place where a man was “pressed” to death by boulders to elicit a confession. Along the way, Cas spins chilling, spooky stories about four-year-old prisoners, evil cops, and the mystifying fire of 1914 that wiped out the town but began at the location of the Witch Hanging Tree.

Male Witch Salem MA

TOUR: The Witch Walk

Tom Vallor AKA “Tom the Tour Guide,” asserts that one is born a witch and after coming to that conclusion, and must “come out of the broom closet.” Vallor is but one of many who live in Salem. Appearing like an Amish rocker with hair to his waist and a healthy chin beard, mild-mannered Vallor begins his 90-minute walking tour asking, “Why would real witches want to flock to a place known for executing women and men who were not witches at all?”

The answer comes slowly, circuitously, throughout the tour, which begins with a quick ritual. Expect a Circle of Magic (“Like a Star Trek force field”), using burning sage, a sword, and magic words. It ends after a visit to the 1637 Burying Point and Salem Witch Trials Memorial.

Along the way, Vallor tells tales about Salem in the 1600s, and the habits of the Puritans, and stresses the fact that real witches have been vilified wrongly throughout history. When it comes down to it, Tom’s tour is a lesson in tolerance and levelheadedness.

VISIT: The Witch House

The Witch House is the only surviving structure from the period. And, though it’s been painted black (from a nice pea-green), and no witches were ever accused or brought here, the home has one tie to the Trials. It belonged to Witchcraft Trial Judge, Jonathan Corwin.

A guided tour brings you through rooms decorated as they would have been in the 17th century. Each room provides information on the Witch Trials, superstitions, and midwifery, and offers a good idea of women’s lives at the time.

Witch Pix Customer with point hat and crystal ball
Author as Witch

DO: Witch Pix Costume Studio

This is no “saloon gal” dress-up tourist trap. For anyone – male or female – who comes to Salem for the witch history, a portrait studio session at Witch Pix and the resulting photos are the best souvenirs you can buy.

The experience itself is a hoot. Witch Pix is beloved by families, bachelorettes & entourages, engagements-to-be, High School Grads, Game of Thrones fans, and drag queens alike. Have fun with lots of sequins and sparkle, faux fur “pelts”, and um, leather get-ups for a certain demographic.

Owner Hope Hitchcock stocks her studio with a huge variety of capes, dresses, and artisanal pointed hats that customers can choose to don (over clothing) for their portraits. The act of choosing is amusing enough (and yes, you are helped). But it’s in the photo studio itself that things get really camp, with props like glowing crystal balls, flying brooms (and requisite fan), cauldrons, and skulls.

This is one of our 10 Quirky Places to Propose in Massachusetts.

DO: Tarot Card Reading

It only takes 15 minutes to discover your destiny, according to the nice clairvoyant, Leanne Marrama. Salem Witch and Italian Strega, Leanne, reads your Tarot Cards, asks a few questions, and then asks about your concerns.

An “intuitive,” Marrama couches everything in the positive. So even a crisis might offer a challenging opportunity. This is a great exercise, even for people who don’t believe in these things, as it leaves you with a sense of optimism – or at least a course of action. Especially after a parting hug.

Voodoo Candles

SHOP: Hex Old World Witchery

For all your Voodoo, Dousing, tea, and witch’s cape needs.

Tim Maguire, owner, Wynott's Wands Salem MA
Tim Maguire, owner, of Wynott’s Wands Salem MA

SHOP: Wynott’s Wands

Moved from the waterfront to this Essex St. location next door to Remember Salem, and, though now owned by Tim Maguire, still keeps the Wynott’s name. Are you an aspiring Harry?  Need a specific wand?  Choose among the largest selection of wands this side of Diagon Alley.

Remember Salem souvenir shop Salem MA

SHOP: Remember Salem

The meeting place for the Salem Night Tour. Back in the 70’s the TV show, Bewitched, drove a good percentage of Salem tourism. The Harry Potter books and movies are inspiring a whole new generation to visit the country’s center of witchcraft and wizardry.

Crow Haven Corner Salem Witch Walk
Crow Haven Corner Salem Witch Walk

TAKE: More Spooky Salem Tours

Bewitched Statue Salem MA

SEE: The Bewitched Statue

Due to a mysterious studio fire in Hollywood, production of the hit TV show, Bewitched, moved to Salem for three weeks in 1970.  Known as the “Salem Sagas” the show’s presence here brought national attention to Salem and kicked local tourism into high gear.  It’s been high-flying ever since.

Look for the Bewitched Statue, a Salem Landmark, at 235 Essex Street, where it’s open to the public 24/7.

FAMOUS FESTIVAL: Salem Haunted Happenings

If you don’t mind elbow-to-elbow crowds, join thousands of visitors for thousands of events from October 1st to Halloween, including Ghost Tours, Pirate Forays, and other ghoulish attractions.

SHOP: Witchy Things

Three shops offer everything an amateur or professional witch may need.  Crow Haven Corner, Hex Old World Witchery (see above), and Omen are all witch-approved. There are potions, spell kits, crystals, alters, and poppet dolls galore.

Shell Dress Peabody Essex Museum
Wedding dress made of shells.

Things To Do In Salem MA without Witches

VISIT: Peabody Essex Museum (PEM)

Heralded as one of the top 20 museums in the USA, the Peabody Essex is also the oldest continuously operating museum in the country; with the nation’s first collection of Asian Export artifacts, one of the best maritime collections, and a top-ten children’s interactive museum.

Having gone through its third major expansion, you can spend a weekend in a slew of galleries, participate in a selection of innovative programs, and only scratch the surface. People move to Salem specifically because this museum is here.

But why Salem? Following Independence, American ships were barred from most European ports, necessitating more far-flung expeditions. Our young and intrepid citizenry set a course for unexplored lands. These exploits led to trade with China and India, creating fortunes for many.

PEM Origins

In 1799 a group of young merchants and explorers met over drinks to discuss the establishment of a museum to showcase artifacts collected from their worldly travels.

The original Greek Revival Mariner’s Hall, built in 1825, still displays these early gleanings. One of the most curious is a taxidermied penguin with a long, goose-like neck. In the early 1800’s, the taxidermist, like everyone else in the New World, had never seen a penguin. Assuming that the dead creature’s neck had shrunk in transit, he made the proper “adjustment.”

PEM curators are masters of the obscure and have put on display some incredible artifacts. Stare agog at a wedding dress made completely from shells, and a shimmery gossamer Andalusian cape created out of sea-lion intestines.

Do not leave before touring the Yin Yu Tang Chinese House: a 250-year-old 16-room family complex from a remote China village. It was shipped stone by stone, carved wall by carved wall, and then rebuilt intact on PEM grounds. Astounding.

SHOP: Peabody Essex Museum Store

The PEM Museum store is huge, colorful, creative, and magnificently “curated.” You’ll find everything from jewelry to books, clothing, home goods, and accessories at reasonable prices. This is, in my opinion, the best shopping in town for unique gifts.

Sandwiches on Salem Food Tour

TOUR: Salem Food Tour

Yes, there is a food scene in Salem.  I was skeptical, too, when I first covered this tour in 2013. Karen Scalia, SAG Actor and foodie extraordinaire is still at it, taking groups of up to 12 (8-10 is her “sweet spot”) on a four-hour, five-stop, eye-opening cultural, epicurean, and historical walking tour of Salem. FYI – you will be well fed. 

Start on Pickering Wharf, part of the Salem Maritime Historical Site. Learn about Salem’s role in the Spice Trade, and of course try a few said spices at David Bowie’s shop, Salem Spice, to wake up your senses.  (Yes, David Bowie, but not that one.)

“Seventy-five percent of what we taste is through the nose,” Scalia states, as she opens the door to AromaSanctum Perfumes.  There, guests are encouraged to sniff apothecary bottles filled with musks, florals and undetermined scents.

Next onto some of Scalia’s favorite restaurants, visits with chefs, and a kitchen tour and quick cooking class. 

House of the Seven Gables | Salem, MA

VISIT: House of the Seven Gables

Nathaniel Hawthorne did not live here. But he visited his cousin who did. And these visits informed his classic book, The House of the Seven Gables.  Hawthorne’s actual home (from birth to 4 years old) was originally down the street but transported to Seven Gables property as part of the museum complex.

Kids love the secret staircase. Literary types might enjoy a bit of Hawthorne Family Witch Trial history.

Salem Armory Visitor Center

VISIT: Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Established in March 1938, this 9-acre compound on the banks of Salem Harbor, was the nation’s first National Park Historic Site. It tells the story of Salem’s far-flung maritime achievements and trading. Start at the Salem Armory Visitor Center before exploring the houses of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, as well as the multiple stores, lighthouse, and three historic wharves. 

GO: Winter Island Park

Winter Island Park, a serene coastal retreat in Salem, is steeped in history as the site of Salem’s first tavern and first shipyard, adding a layer of historical intrigue to its natural beauty. Visitors can explore the remnants of the past while enjoying panoramic views of Salem Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean from this picturesque maritime park. Along with its historical significance, the park offers picnicking and scenic walking trails that showcase the area’s wildlife and native plants. The beach is a perfect spot for a quiet day by the water.

Harbor Sweets Salem MA

TOUR: Harbor Sweets Factory Tour

Come to Harbor Sweets, home of the original “Sweet Sloop” – to get a gander at how this specialty chocolate factory enrobes triangles of decadent butter crunch in white chocolate. And then hand dips each in dark chocolate and nuts. 

Don a hair net and watch ironically svelte employees mold, dip and wrap each piece. Known for its unique packaging and custom candies, Harbor Sweets has a very loyal customer base. Though I’d wager most have never been here. 

Come for a Factory Tour, savor a free sample, and you may walk out a loyal customer too. 

El Punto Outdoor Art Museum Salem MA

TOUR: El Punto Outdoor Art Museum

How do you revitalize a depressed neighborhood? Well, start with boffo murals and bring tourists to see them. That’s what’s been happening in this section of Salem just a few minutes’ drive from downtown. El Punto features over 50 large-scale murals by 18 world-renowned and 20 local artists within a 3-block radius. Check the website, and see the work of these tremendously talented artists.

GO: Salem Willows Park

Salem Willows Park is a scenic seaside park and a delightful stop on any Salem itinerary. Located at the city’s historic waterfront, this picturesque park offers breezy, panoramic views of Salem Harbor, along with ample space for picnicking, strolling, and soaking in the coastal ambiance. It’s famed for its antique arcade games, classic willow trees, and the lively atmosphere of its waterfront promenade.

Kakawa Chocolate House Salem MA

SHOP/DRINK: Kakawa Chocolate House

Named for the first known word for cacao or cocoa, Kakawa, first at its flagship store in Sante Fe NM, and now right next door to the Peabody Essex Museum, creates historically inspired chocolate recipes from scratch.

Kakawa is famous for its drinking chocolate elixirs, based on recipes recreated from historical sources, ranging from intense Mayan and Aztec to colonial American to modern-day concoctions. So you’ll find hot cocoa recipes attributed to recipes that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington might have enjoyed, along with confections, ice cream, and milkshakes made with the purest of ingredients.

Bringing back obscure chocolate recipes rich in spices – such as the Fall Spice Blend TZUL (like drinking a chocolate-pumpkin pie), Chili-enhanced drinking chocolate, and other “Mesoamerican Elixirs,” Kakawa is not your father’s candy shop.

Even vegans will be impressed with the American Hot Chocolate made with Almond Milk and other Gluten Free/Dairy Free Truffles, Caramels, and Bars. This is a special place and worth a try. You’ll be hooked.

Cheese Shop of Salem MA

SHOP: The Cheese Shop of Salem

Owner, Peter Endicott, loves being a “cheesemonger.” He was “in construction” before finding this new career while “apprenticing” in a cheese shop in Concord MA. Endicott opened the Cheese Shop of Salem in 2015. And recently, his daughter, Kiri, who grew up fixated on The Food Network, joined him in educating patrons about the best cheese, wine, beer, sake, charcuterie, and other specialty foods.

On Saturdays, Endicott serves his famous Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with balsamic onion jam to an increasing number of in-the-know food enthusiasts.

Clam Soap Hive and Forge Salem MA
Clam Soap at Hive and Forge

SHOP: Hive and Forge Craft and Curation Collective

You’ll find Happy Clam Soap (soap derived from the clam mud flats of Maine), Cinder Soap, and a slew of other never-seen-before body cleansers among the jewelry, clothing, art, and home goods at the 28 Artisan Collective known as Hive and Forge (across from Turner’s Seafood).

Maker of said soaps, Rachel Chandler, owns Red Antler Apothecary, and in addition to soap cakes cut to order, she sells tinctures, teas, and herbs. As a holistic practitioner “trained as a science and evidence-based herbalist,” Chandler also conducts “consultations on the fly.” Perhaps the moisturizing “Sage Against the Machine” or “Iron Milk Maiden” soaps will be just the thing to soothe your winter-worn skin.

TOUR: Salem Trolley

Don’t have a lot of time and are just here for an overview of Salem? Take the narrated 8-mile one-hour trolley tour, and take note of the places to which you’d like to return.

Coffee Time Bake Shop
Coffee Time Bake Shop

Restaurants In Salem MA

SHOP/EAT: Coffee Time Bake Shop

Just a half mile from the center of Essex Street, this baker-owned shop is famous for real cream Paczkis and Bismarks – sweet Polish stuffed donuts – one of the most decadent desserts you’ll ever try. No matter when you go, there’s a line.

Asian Nachos Turners Seafood Salem MA

EAT: Turner’s Seafood

Turner’s Seafood is located in the original Lyceum, where Alexander Graham Bell presented the first public demonstration of a long-distance telephone conversation following the first dispatch of the news to the Boston Globe. That in itself is a reason to soak up the atmosphere here.

But, as Turner’s is family owned, by a “fishing family out of Gloucester” at that, you’ve got to come for the freshest of sea creatures. “Turner has his fish-processing plant on the Gloucester docks, and every day he chooses the best fish.

He’s known as ‘Mr. Re-Turner’ because he’ll bring back the catch if it’s not up to his standards,” says one employee. The Asian Nachos, tuna tartar with fried wantons and Asian slaw, are outstanding. As is the Award-Winning Lobster Bisque. You really can’t go wrong here.

EAT: Adriatic Restaurant

This Italian restaurant hits all the high notes: great service, excellent food, pretty ambiance, and reasonable prices. The Eggplant Parm is a pleasure to eat – sliced thin, lightly breaded, and sautéed, it’s a signature favorite that doesn’t sit heavy in the stomach.

The more robust Tagliatelle Bolognese is another favorite, as are the perfectly seasoned Lamb Lollipops and incredibly priced Filet Mignon. Besides tried and true traditional dishes, add on something unique like the lobster/corn/scallion fritters called Bag of Munchkins, or the “opa!” pan-fried Cheese on Fire.

Finz Restaurant

EAT: Finz

Oyster lovers will adore “Oh So Hip Seafood “ Finz.  Select from an extensive oyster menu (85% come post haste from Cape Cod) and get them naked or doused in wasabi and Stoli.  Follow up with the Fish Tacos or Finz Seafood Paella.

EAT: Life Alive Organic Cafe

Owners of this crunchy kale and granola fast-real-food café want to “connect you to where your food comes from” and  “put you in touch with your senses.”  They achieve this brilliantly through bowls of vibrantly hued raw or blanched veggies that come to your table within four minutes.  A signature dish, The Goddess, with Ginger Nama Soya sauce, is a satisfying, healthful combination of colors, flavors, and textures – enhancing Mother Nature just a tad.

Reds Sandwich Shop Salem MA

EAT/LOCAL HANGOUT: Red’s Sandwich Shop  

Once the 1698 London Coffee House, a Patriot meeting place before the Revolution, and now a Salem institution, Red’s serves up fluffy omelets and lunch specials (like Shrimp Scampi) diner style.

Veggie and Tomato Gourmet Pizza with medium thick crust

EAT: Flying Saucer Pizza Co

Find sustainable locally sourced chewy-crust pizzas, fourteen local beers on tap, and inexpensive wine in this funky space. Monday night is “Nerd Trivia Night,” just in case you were wondering.

Hotels In Salem MA

STAY: Hawthorne Hotel

Money, raised via Public Stock Offering in 1925, was used to build lodging in Salem upscale enough to entertain clients of the Hy-Grade Electric Co. (which became Sylvania). Thus was established the Hawthorne Hotel, now a member of Historic Hotels of America.

You’ll find brass chandeliers, flat-screen TVs, and luxury-level bedding in recently renovated antique-filled rooms.

In the morning, soft classical music plays while you sip coffee on overstuffed lobby chairs.  It’s so grandeur-of-a-time, that you may be surprised to find that the Hawthorne was one of the first hotels to have a blog (soon to be revived).  This is partly because it is a pet-friendly hotel; monkeys, dogs, and even a box turtle have checked in

STAY: Boutique Hotel In Salem MA

Lots of boutiques are cropping up as of late in stodgy-no-more-Salem.  Salem Waterfront Hotel was the first near the waterfront. Lately, two stylish Lark Hotels – Hotel Salem on Essex Street and The Merchant – have been winning raves.

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  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen and Sandra Foyt

    Travel experts Malerie Yolen-Cohen and Sandra Foyt share all-in-one destination guides for the best romantic getaways. Although they generally publish independent articles, this is their collection of collaborative posts. Malerie’s focus and specialty is the Northeastern USA, and she is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. Originally from the Caribbean, but based in New York's Capital Region for over twenty years, Sandra specializes in warm-climate destinations.

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5 thoughts on “27+ Bewitching Things To Do In Salem MA”

  1. My high school girlfriend and I were in Salem on the day that some of the “Bewitched” cast was leaving, after filming wrapped up. A limo was outside of the Hawthorne Hotel, “Samantha”, “Endora”, and “Darren” stood beside it, waving to the crowd, and suddenly a man ran up to actress Elizabeth Montgomery, and ran off. The Salem PD then made an announcement via a megaphone: “Would the person who stole Miss Montgomery’s purse please bring it back?” A reddish curse on him and his descendants forever! 🙂

  2. A curse indeed! Thanks for this great memory, Nick, and for leaving a comment! Malerie

  3. Hello,

    We also have a tour called the Salem Smugglers’ Tour that we would like added to your page if you would be so kind! We offer tours at 3 pm and 8 pm 7 days a week. On The More than Witches Tour we go over how Salem made America’s first millionaires through a series of smuggling tunnels. These millionaires then went on to shape our government and our daily lives to this day! We have stories about the first drunken elephant in America, the murder the game Clue is based on, and how one man from Salem almost controlled the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the National Bank!

    To find out more info please visit http://www.salemsmugglerstour.com.

    We also work with Angelica of the Angels’ 30th Love and Passion Psychic Faire with over 8 psychics throughout the month. They are the home of the Salem Love Psychic, Rev. Barbara. They are offering a group psychic reading for over 3 people at discount rates that a whole BFF Gang can sit with one psychic at the same time. They can make it like a party. Then they also have a great one on one services to help anyone find their way to love, or at least passion.

    They can be reached at http://www.salemloveangels.com.
    Thanks for your time and consideration.

  4. This post provides an extensive and detailed guide to exploring Salem, Massachusetts, highlighting a wide range of attractions, activities, tours, shops, and dining options for visitors. It covers everything from historical sites like the Salem Witch Museum and the Witch House to modern-day experiences such as tarot card readings and unique shopping opportunities. The recommendations for places to visit, things to do, and where to stay in Salem offer a comprehensive overview for anyone planning a trip to this enchanting city. Overall, it’s a valuable resource for travelers seeking a blend of history, romance, and mystique in Salem, making it a great reference point for planning a memorable visit.

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