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Two Day Itinerary for Salem, MA

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Whether you are a fan of the supernatural or just one who appreciates coastal New England, you’ll find there are plenty of reasons to visit Salem, Massachusetts. Although there is easily enough to do to fill a week-long trip, here is my itinerary of highlights if you are taking a weekend getaway.

DAY 1: Horrifying History
Witch House

When you head into town, start your day by visiting the only structure left standing in Salem with the direct ties to the notorious trials. This home was that of Jonathan Corwin, one of the trial judges who ultimately had a direct impact on the peril of the victims. This museum costs only $9 per person, was opened in 1942, and gives visitors the opportunity to see what a seventeenth century home and furnishings looked like, providing them with a more well-rounded image of life at the time of the trials.

Hours of operation: 10am - 5pm

Witch Museum

Immerse yourself in one of the most iconic activities in Salem by visiting the Salem Witch Museum. The first exhibit, while dated with its dramatic 360 lighting of wax figurines, is informative as it walks guests through a reenactment of the trials. In the second exhibit, a tour focuses on the history of the word witch, previous trials in Europe, and how witch hunts of a different sort are still happening today. Tickets for the museum are $15 for adults, $13.50 for seniors, $12 for children, and are sold online for the same-day.

Hours of operation: 10am - 5pm

The Burying Point and Salem Witch Memorial

Among the bustling streets, sandwiched between Derby Street and Charter Street, you will find a quiet cemetery founded in 1637. Buried here lay not only judges of the trials, but also Revolutionary War victims. Attached to the cemetery is a beautiful granite memorial to those killed at the hands of the hysteria, listing each victim’s name, execution date, and means by which they were executed. The benches are often adorned with flowers from visitors.

You can enter the cemetery between 10am and 5:45pm but the headstones are eerily visible through the fence all hours of the day.

Proctor’s Ledge

While it’s outside of the central downtown, Proctor’s Ledge on Pope Street is a must visit while you are in Salem. A stone memorial on the side of the road marks the spot where the hangings took place. It is best to visit after you have experienced the museum so that you are more familiar with the names you will be honoring. The memorial is small, and it’s very likely you’ll have a moment on your own to pay your respects. Some people leave coins or small mementos, but if doing so please be sure to be both eco-conscious and respectful.

Spooky Shops

Get all of your supernatural shopping done in Salem Witch Village on Derby street, adjacent to The Burying Point, or on the nearby Essex street. Whether you are looking for authentic modern witchcraft supplies or kitschy souvenirs for friends, you’ll have plenty of options.

Some of my favorite shops: Hauswitch, Vampfangs, and The Coven’s Cottage

Ghost Tour

Induce nightmares with a night time walking ghost tour of Salem. There are a multitude of tour options from bone chilling, to family friendly, which will touch not only on the witch trials but other dark histories of the town as well. If mobility is difficult for you or your travel companions, throughout the month of October you have the opportunity to take a ride along Tales and Tombstones trolley tour. Check out these links to and to peruse the various tour options and book one that fits your taste.

DAY 2: Beyond the Scares

Ropes Mansion Gardens

Built in 1727, this home is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was also featured in a major motion picture. As you might have guessed, this house was in Hocus Pocus, acting as the home of Allison. After your photo op out front, head back to the beautiful colonial revival gardens which are free and open to the public from dawn to dusk 365 days a year.

Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum showcases art, architecture, and culture. It is a peaceful escape from the activity going on beyond its walls, with a broad range of exhibits. If you didn’t get enough of a fill on your first day, don’t worry, you are bound to learn more about the witch trials while you are here. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for those 16 and under as well as Salem residents.

Hours of operation: Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays 10am to 5pm Fridays 10am to 8pm

Yin Yu Tang House

Connected to the Peabody Essex Museum and free with museum ticket (but requiring a separate reservation) is the Yin Yu Tang House. This late 18th-century house was home to the Huang family in the Anhui region of China for over two hundred years before being transported to Salem. The stunning architecture transports you to a different time without needing a DeLorean.

House of the Seven Gables
This circa 1668 home, along with stories told by his cousin who owned it at the time, was the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel. Advanced tickets are required and at $25 provide you with a forty-five minute guided tour of the home as well as access to the gardens and grounds. If time or budget is tight, you also have the option of getting an audio guided gardens and grounds access ticket for $12, where you can view a colonial revival garden and the exterior of other historical buildings that have been relocated to the property.

Hours of operation: 10am to 6pm

Walk along the Waterfront

One of the best things Salem has to offer is its natural northeastern coastal beauty. Take in the sunset downtown with a view of Derby Wharf Light Station or take a short trolley ride to Winter Island Park where you can also explore the ruins of Fort Pickering.

Enjoy Dinner Downtown

More than just spirits walk the streets of Salem at night. In the peak season, patrons wait in long lines for delicious dinners. Some of my favorite options are Witches Brew Cafe, Finz, Gulu Gulu Cafe, and Rockafellas. End the night with a casual drink at either Notch Brewery and Tap Room or have one last go with Salem’s spirits at Deacon Giles Distillery.

This is only a short list of what Salem has to offer, and much enjoyment can come from simply getting lost walking the streets of town. Whether you are visiting in October or another time throughout the year, Salem is sure to give you chills and charm.

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