Salem, Massachusetts- The real life Halloween town, most famously known for the Salem Witch Trials. As someone who absolutely loves Halloween, this is somewhere I've wanted to go for years now, but have never gotten around to doing until this past October...and let me tell you, I was not disappointed! While people visit Salem all year round, of course its most popular time is the month of October while they have the additional Halloween displays, and activities. In this post, I'm going to talk about how to spend a long weekend in Salem, Massachusetts, specifically during spooky season, but these places are open year round! (I recommend going on a weekend, as most of the museums are only open Fri-Sun) I want to also preface that I live about 5-6 hours away from Salem, so by the time we got there Friday, it was about dinner time, so we only did one bigger thing that day, however, we packed the other 2 days full of tours/attractions, so those could easily be spread out with more time!
Day One: Arrive in Salem, Explore Essex Street, and Do a Witch Walk
Arrive in Salem, Massachusetts and depending on what time of the day you get there, check out some of the cool places to grab food. Take some time to walk around the city, and pop into some of the different shops along Essex Street. Essex Street is lined with shops ranging from Harry Potter themed to crystal/magic shops.
After taking some time to explore the shops, when it starts to get dark head over to the Crow Haven Corner, located at 125 Essex Street to do a Witch Walk Tour. I will do another post solely about the museums and attractions I visited while there, and break down everything from ticket details to what the museums entail! The witch walk lasted a little over and hour, and starts with a traditional witch circle dance before starting the actual walking tour. After the witch circle, the tour guide will take you on a walking tour throughout different parts of the town and talk about different aspects of witchcraft, and of course learn all about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials as you encounter different spots throughout the town.
Day Two: Explore the Town Commons, Check out the Pickering Wharf Marina & Get a Palm Reading
During the month of October, the town commons is lined with the Halloween Happenings Marketplace, where artisans and vendors come to set up their work for people to check out and buy. Since I've only been there in October, I'm not sure if anything is set up in the town commons during other months of the year, however, you can easily google Salem Town Commons events for a full calendar of events! After checking out the town commons and all that the marketplace has to offer, head over to the Pickering Wharf Marina where you will get to check out all of the boats along the harbor, and explore some more traditional gift shops.
At night time, the Town Commons displays a string of lights, which made for some cool sights, and some neat pictures. After a day of exploring, a cool activity (and I know this doesn't appeal to everybody, which is completely fine) is to stop into one of the many shops along Essex Street that offers Psychic Palm Reading. We personally got ours done at Crow Haven Corner, and I thought the workers there were awesome!
Day Three: Visit the Fort Pickering Lighthouse & Museums, Museums, Museums
Fort Pickering Lighthouse is a quick little stop that offers a beautiful view of the harbor and of course the historic Fort Pickering Lighthouse, one of the few lighthouses in Salem, Massachusetts.
After spending some time walking around the Lighthouse area, head back into town to check out all of the different museums the town has to offer. There truly is a museum for everybody there, some self-guided, some tour-guided, however, I liked that all of the museum tours were fairly short in that you still could take in all it had to offer without wasting your whole day at one spot. Before you head to Salem, do some research on the museums / attractions you want to check out. We personally went to the House of Seven Gables, The Witch House, The Halloween Museum, The Witch Museum, and Count Orlock's Nightmare Gallery.
On top of doing actual tours, and going to museums, simply just walking around the town and explore is also very fun to do, and is what we did during our free time! There are shops, food places, etc. lining every street, and of course, one of my favorite parts, the buskers! Buskers are the street performers who walk up and down Essex Street, mainly during the month of October dressed as your favorite Horror Movie or Halloween themed characters. The thing I loved about the buskers is they let you approach them, they act the part, let you take as many pictures as you want, and they don't beg for money like some other cities. We saw Jack Skellington, Michael Myers, the Addams Family, Frankenstein, Jason, the Sanderson Sisters, and Pennywise the Clown while we were there, but I know there's so many others, and it just adds to the overall experience!
Overall, Salem, Massachusetts was such a fun experience, and I cannot wait to go back, and check out anything I may have missed the first time. I definitely recommend checking this town out for a long weekend. Thanks for reading, and as always, there's always more to be explored!