Top 30 Things To Do In Salem, Massachusetts - Updated 2024

things to do in salem ma
| 14 min read

Home of the popular House of Seven Gables and known as the “witch capital” of New England, Salem is a coastal city filled with exciting and thrilling things to do for all types of travelers. Whether you are a history buff, a hungry foodie, a witchcraft fan, an art and literature enthusiast, a ghost tour aficionado, or simply love traveling with your big family, Salem will surely have something in store for you. If you are looking for your next vacation destination that is always alive and full of color, then start planning your trip and make sure to check out the things to do in Salem, Massachusetts, listed for you!

1. Show up at the exceptional Witch Dungeon Museum

Posted by Witch Dungeon Museum on Saturday, 24 April 2010

It is the year 1692, a witch trial is happening, children are barking like wild dogs, and a girl claims she is the devil. In for a spooky and historical show? Head out to the Witch Dungeon Museum and catch the award-winning revival of the trial of Sarah Good - the beggar who was suspected to bewitch the people of Salem Town. The performance is adapted from the original transcripts of the time and is complete with realistic props, costumes, and professional actors. The mood is set and is waiting for you to join the show.

Witch Dungeon Museum

Address: 16 Lynde St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Witch Dungeon Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

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2. Head to the enthralling Pioneer Village

Regarded as America’s first live history museum, the Pioneer Village of Salem showcases a 17th-century-colonial setting in the mystical woods. Complete with dugouts, dark cottages, and Governor’s Faire House, you will surely feel like you are living in the past. Pioneer Village hosts many shows like the reenactment of the arrival of John Winthrop, Thomas Dudley, and Simon Bradstreet in the land, the ever-famous witch trials, and Militia Day Drill. The best part is, most shows are free!

Pioneer Village

Address: 98 West Ave, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Pioneer Village

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 12:30pm - 2:30pm (closed from Mon - Fri)

Price: Free

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3. Join a guided walking tour to The Witch House (from USD 40.0)

If you want to explore the ‘witch city’ by foot and in the company of other people who are as interested in the 1600s-Salem as you are, then join a guided walking tour where you get to visit historical spots including Salem Witch Trials Memorial in Liberty Street, and other nearby sites such as Burying Point, London Coffee House, Proctor’s Ledge, and Hamilton Hall. Hear stories about witchcraft, the judges in the Salem witch trials such as John Hathorne, and learn about the Native American settlement and the American Revolution. A lot happened in those days. Get to unfold each of these at every step.

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Salem History & Sightseeing Guided Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

762 reviews

4. Pay a visit to Pickering Wharf

Posted by Pickering Wharf on Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Salem is not just about witch trials, haunted houses and woods, and the American revolution. In this coastal city, one can go sailing, enjoy the nightlife, and go on a food trip. Stop by Pickering Wharf where you can find local boutique stores, gift shops, waterfront restaurants, and Salem Maritime Site. If you want to relax and take a break from all the witchcraft Salem is known for, make sure to head out to this charming shopping district of the ‘witch city’. Or extend your sightseeing to a nearby attraction called Friendship of Salem, which is a 171-foot (52.1-meter) replica of the 1797 sailing ship Friendship that now functions as a stationary museum ship.

Pickering Wharf

Address: 23 Congress St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Pickering Wharf

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 6pm; Fri - Sat: 8am- 9pm; Sun: 8am - 6pm

Price: Free

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5. See the Asian art collection at Peabody Essex Museum

Interior - Peabody Essex Museum - DSC08063
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under CC0

The Peabody Essex Museum is aptly located along Essex Street and features an impressive 40,000-square-feet (3716.12 square meters) wing with 3 floors of galleries, a high-ceiling atrium, a 5,000-square-feet (464.5 square meters) garden, and modern ambiance that is welcoming and relaxing at the same time. The stunning interiors and exteriors of this museum are not the only great things about it. It also houses broad collections and exhibits of Asian export art that showcase the region’s intricate craftsmanship. Ceramics, silks, architecture, and fashion, you can see it all.

Peabody Essex Museum

Address: 161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Peabody Essex Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 12 - 20 USD

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6. Pop in the historic Ropes Mansion

2007 Ropes SalemMA 794957440
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nick Ares used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Just a few blocks away from the Peabody Essex Museum is the Georgian mansion built in 1727. The Ropes Mansion has housed three generations of the bloodline and has undergone major style renovations. Today, this mansion of one of the richest residents of Salem is included in the list of the National Register of Historic Places. It has also been featured in the film “Hocus Pocus”. This mansion also features a massive Colonial Revival garden that is open to the public for free!

Ropes Mansion

Address: 318 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Ropes Mansion

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed from Mon - Fri)

Price: Free

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7. Take a tour of Fort Sewall

Fort Sewall Stockade
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fletcher6 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Fort Sewall is a historic fortress built in 1644 that has withstood the 1742 French invasion and the Civil War. The iconic landmark also played a vital role in history when the U.S. Navy’s Constitution was furiously sought after by British frigates. Today, Fort Sewall is open to the public as a parkland that offers beautiful views of the Marblehead harbor. Bunkers and underground rooms can still be seen in the fort that was used as cells for detained prisoners back then. Fort Sewall is also a frequent venue for reenactment shows like the Atlantic Revolutionary War. If you are a big fan of war history, then take note of adding Fort Sewall to your itinerary.

Fort Sewall

Address: 8 Fort Sewall Ln, Marblehead, MA 01945, United States

Website: Fort Sewall

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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8. Sign up for Myths and Misconceptions Walking Tour

Posted by Essex National Heritage Area on Saturday, 15 October 2016

When you hear the word ‘witch’ surely some crooked nose, a flying broom, potions and poisons, and an old lady may come to your mind. You might know Sabrina, the Wicked Witch of the West, the dynamic trio of Hocus Pocus, and other witches from books, movies, and Broadway. But did you know that some 300 years ago, real-life witches walked the earth? Do they have superpowers? Do they chant some undecipherable prayers? Find out in a walking tour that will debunk myths and misconceptions about the witches of Salem. At the end of it, you will surely have clearer views of them.

Myths and Misconceptions Walking Tour with Essex National Heritage Area‎

Address: 2 New Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970-3732, United States

Price: 6 - 13 USD

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9. Hike the beautiful Misery Islands

Posted by Coast to Coast Paddle on Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Not convinced to go to Misery Island? Do not be fooled by its name, because this island actually offers its visitors an impressive landscape with a mix of historical ruins from the 20th century. Go for a hike and immerse yourself in the beautiful creatures that live here. Catch the sunset and enjoy warm hues of orange and red that glisten over the waters of the island. With all these picture-perfect sceneries, you might be intrigued by why this island is named as such. That is something you will find out along your way to Misery Island!

Misery Islands

Address: Salem Sound Salem, MA 01970

Website: Misery Islands

Price: 3 - 5 USD

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10. Relax at High Rock Tower Reservation

High Rock Tower, Lynn, Ma USA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pilgrimsong used under CC BY-SA 3.0

High Rock Towers was owned by the Hutchinson family who was known to lobby radical ideals during their time. Prior to this, the Pawtucket natives owned the property where Gothic Revival cottages were erected and soon got burned down by the end of the Civil War. Today, the tower offers a nice view of the Atlantic Ocean and other surrounding areas as it is seated at the top of a hill in Lynn. At this notable landmark, you’ll learn a bit of history while enjoying a picturesque view of nature.

High Rock Tower Reservation

Address: 30 Circuit Ave, Lynn, MA 01902, United States

Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)

Price: Free

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11. Pay a visit to Old Burying Point Cemetery (from USD 40.0)

Known as the oldest cemetery in Salem, the Old Burying Point better known as Charter Street Cemetery was established in 1637 and is still open to the public to this day and age. This cemetery serves as the final resting place of some well-off and well-known residents of Salem. See tombstones of the Gothic era and recognize the dark history of each person buried under the grounds of the Old Burying Point in a walking tour guided by professionals. Aside from this, visit nearby attractions like the Witch Trials Memorial and the London Coffee House along the way.

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Salem History & Sightseeing Guided Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

762 reviews

12. Check out the green spaces at Breakheart Reservation

04-1358-breakheart reservation-lake
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joseph Reagle used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Salem has rich open green spaces and parks for the public to enjoy. One of which is the Breakheart Reservation which features a massive forest and two pristine lakes. Go for a little outdoor trip with the family at this park where different activities are available for you. Hike the area and be rewarded with impressive views, or swim at Pearce Lake which is kid-friendly, or gain new knowledge through the park’s educational program. Breakheart Reservation has tons of facilities and amenities that will make your day trip hassle-free.

Breakheart Reservation

Address: 177 Forest St, Saugus, MA 01906, United States

Website: Breakheart Reservation

Opening hours: 6am - 8pm (daily)

Price: Free

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13. Go camping at Winter Island Park

Spending the holidays with your family? What best way to bond with them than going camping in the great outdoors? Winter Island park in Salem is open to all types of campers. Whether you want it in the comfort of an RV or in a more immersed yet comfy tent, this interactive campsite can deliver that to you. Within the vicinity, there is a public swimming beach which is also great for fishing or kayaking. You’ll also spot Historic Fort Pickering Lighthouse and some dainty shops in the area. If you are decided to visit here, make sure to book your reservation on their website six months in advance so they could prepare the best experience for you and your family.

Winter Island Park

Address: 50 Winter Island Rd, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Winter Island Park

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

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14. Explore the unique Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

Posted by Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery on Sunday, 12 August 2018

Are you a fan of thriller and horror movies like The Exorcist, House of Wax, Legend, Land of the Dead, and Fright Night? You will surely love Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery with a massive collection of life-sized horror movie characters we loved to loathe and who made us jump in every suspenseful scene from the early 90s to the present! Known as the only monster museum in Salem, this spooky gallery in Essex Street not only pays tribute to the art of film and all the people behind it but also to the fans of this kind of genre.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

Address: 217 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

Opening hours: Sun: 10am - 5pm; Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm

Price: 5 - 9 USD

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15. Tour the magnificent Historic New England Phillips House

Stephen Phillips House
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fletcher6 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Built in 1821 by Captain Nathaniel West and renovated by Anna Phillips a century later, the Historic New England Phillips House is seated at the glamorous Chestnut Street in Salem. At present, this historic house of the rich showcase Colonial Revival architecture and is the only home open to the public on the said street. Explore the private life of the rich Phillips family and of the people during the early 20th century when you walk through the alleys of this 19th-century structure.

Historic New England Phillips House

Address: 34 Chestnut St #3129, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Historic New England Phillips House

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 4pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 7 USD

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16. Eat local food with Salem Food Tours

Another good way to explore a new place is through its food. Go on a Salem food tour with other foodie travelers and taste the flavors that this place has to offer. Devour Salem’s best cuisines prepared by locals and enjoy every sip of wine that is made better over time. Salem’s food scene is embraced by rich history and culture so expect to get a little taste of that as well!

Salem Food Tours

Address: Salem, Massachusetts

Website: Salem Food Tours

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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17. Enjoy kayaking with Salem Kayak

things to do in salem ma | enjoy kayaking with salem kayak
Source: instagram

Looking for an extreme water sport to try in Salem? Kayaking may be just that since Salem is a coastal city. Be trained by professionals and challenge yourself to exceed your limits in this very adrenaline-seeking sport. If you want to take it slowly, pool sessions are available and if you want to go all out, specialty tours are also available where you can ride rapid currents and test your strength. Book your reservation now because slots are selling out fast!

Salem Kayak

Address: 50 Winter Island Rd, Salem, MA 01970

Website: Salem Kayak

Price: 25 - 125 USD

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18. Explore the Hammond Castle Museum

**We Are Sold Out!** There are still a few tickets left for tonight's A Tasting At The Castle! Don’t miss your chance to...

Posted by Hammond Castle Museum on Sunday, 6 October 2019

The Hammond Castle features a gothic style of architecture and showcases an authentic European castle design that was built in the 1920s by a very unconventional genius, scientist, inventor, and self-made art connoisseur - Sir John Hays Hammond Jr. This masterpiece features a massive balcony that overlooks the sea, an open space for festivities, a canopy, and big rooms for guests. Because of this elite ambiance, the waterfront mansion can also be rented for special occasions, especially weddings. Travel back in time and feel one of the rich and famous of the 1900s on your trip to Hammond Castle.

Hammond Castle Museum

Address: 80 Hesperus Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930, United States

Website: Hammond Castle Museum

Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 7pm - 11pm (closed from Sun - Thu)

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19. Relax at Singing Beach

Singing Beach is an enormous vacation spot available to the public that features a bathhouse that was built in the 1920s. Enjoy the warmth of the sand between your toes and the calming breeze from the shore that speaks of much-needed rest. A visit to this beach will not be a hassle because snack bars, restrooms, shower and changing rooms, and 120 parking spaces are all available. Enjoying a quiet afternoon with a good book and good company at this beach destination is also worthwhile.

Singing Beach

Address: 119 Beach St, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944, United States

Website: Singing Beach

Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)

Price: 7 - 20 USD

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20. Bob up at New England Pirate Museum

The New England Pirate Museum is also run by the same operators as the Witch Dungeon Museum. Special prices and packages await you if you visit all three museums and this is all treats and no tricks! Imagine the year 1692, a massive pirate ship is docked at bay, and a suspicious cave is seen afar. If you are a fan of pirates and their mischievous journeys, experience this guided tour at this museum in Derby Street.

New England Pirate Museum

Address: 274 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: New England Pirate Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

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21. Explore the city's history with Salem Trolley

Open since 1982, Salem Trolley is a fun and unique way to stroll around the ‘witch city’. Giving exceptional service and experience is their mantra in the industry so expect nothing but the best from these guys. Enjoy your long stretch of a tour from the Old Burying Point all the way to the enigmatic Chestnut Street. One more reason to book your tour with Salem Trolley is that their trailers are wheelchair accessible and their staff will gladly assist you. Just make sure to give them a heads-up if you need special assistance.

Salem Trolley

Address: 8 Central St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Salem Trolley

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 10 - 21 USD

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22. Swing by The Satanic Temple

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Are you ready for The Devil’s Dinner Party? Only a few tickets left! 7 courses and an unforgettable surrealist evening....

Posted by The Satanic Temple of Salem on Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Salem is no stranger to things outside of the box and The Satanic Temple, also known as the Salem Art Gallery, is one of these. The Satanic Temple is a “non-theistic religious organization” with its headquarters seated in Salem. Aside from being the major rendezvous point of its members, it is also an art gallery that houses compelling and intriguing pieces. Their exhibit mainly focuses on witch hunts, satanism, and moral panics. If you are enticed to have a little peek into their world, check out their website for events.

Satanic Temple (Salem Art Gallery)

Address: 64 Bridge St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Satanic Temple -Salem Art Gallery

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 12pm - 8pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 7pm (closed on Sun)

Price: 12 USD

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23. Head to Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Posted by Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Monday, 19 March 2012

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in this city. A visit to this famous Salem spot is surely worthwhile as you’ll get to see a total of twelve maritime artifacts and replicas that commemorate New England’s good old seafaring days. History buffs will love to learn about the triangle trade that dates back to the colonial period, the American Revolution, and other historical events that happened on Salem waters through guided tours and educational programs. A visit to this popular destination is not just pleasing to the eyes but also to the mind as you get to appreciate the region’s maritime history.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Address: 160 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 3 - 5 USD

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24. Stroll the Marblehead's streets

Marblehead is a quaint little town in New England that offers a lot of individuality and picturesque man-made and natural sceneries. Boasting its suburban atmosphere with its crooked lanes, irregular houses, and love for seafaring, Marblehead gives you a little step back to what life was like back then with every alley and paneled wall. Aside from this, Marblehead is the center for recreational water sports like boating, sailing, kayaking, and even fishing. This is because this lovely town used to be the fishing capital of Massachusetts. Although a small town in vibe, it has big-town activities and an unending list to do in store for you!

Marblehead's streets

Address: Marblehead, Salem, MA

Website: Marblehead’s streets

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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25. Taste handmade candies at Harbor Sweets

Ready for some sweet treats? Harbor Sweets Chocolates serves you just that! It is Halloween all year round in this store that gives you top-quality chocolates in varying shapes, sizes, and flavors! This local store prides itself on creating hand-crafted chocolates and sweets in small batches making sure that each is made with love and passion. They also make use of the freshest and finest local ingredients, which is why each flavor oozes out at every bite you take. Harbor Sweets incorporates the beautiful landscapes of New England in their treats making every piece extra special. Try a box of their deliciously sweet masterpiece and expect a surprise of flavors melting in your mouth.

Harbor Sweets

Address: 85 Leavitt St, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Website: Harbor Sweets

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

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26. See the unique Herb Mackey's Metal Sculpture Yard

One more from my recent trip to Massachusetts... the doors to Herb Mackey's Metal Sculpture Yard. Mr. Mackey has a...

Posted by Jill Jasuta Photography on Thursday, 2 May 2019

Herb Mackey’s Metal Sculpture Yard is a haven for metal sculptures and figurines created by Salem’s local artist. See his rustic masterpieces where his imagination takes the form of metal art and how his hobby turned into something useful and creative. From small intricate doorknobs to spacious benches, all his works are made from recycled and reused metal materials. For sure, you have seen nothing like these, so take this opportunity to appreciate Mr. Herb’s art when you visit Salem.

Herb Mackey's Metal Sculpture Yard

Address: 10 Blaney St, Salem, MA

Price: Free

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27. Spend some time at Salem Willows Park

Restaurant Row, Salem
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fletcher6 used under CC BY 3.0

If you are out for a lovely dinner, this attraction has a wide variety of good food that will satisfy your cravings. Those who are looking to relax can enjoy the sunset by the docks and feel the warmth of the breeze by the seaside. Just across the street, at the Salem Willows Arcade, you can enjoy a family game night through the bumper cars, arcades, and classic games. What’s more, prizes are up for grabs in the games. Whatever you have in mind, Salem Willow Park might just have the right spot for you.

Salem Willows Park

Address: 167 Fort Ave, Salem, MA 01970, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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28. Look around the historic Beauport

Visit Beauport before we close for the winter! Our last day is Saturday, October 19. Guided tours are offered on the hour Tues - Sat, 10am - 4pm.

Posted by Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House on Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Beauport, known as the Sleeper McCann House, is the summer home of the wealthy family of Henry Davis Sleeper who was one of the first interior designers in America. Undoubtedly, this beautiful mansion reflects the artistry of Sir Henry that features collections such as folk art, glass art, china, and literary masterpieces. The house has around forty rooms that are decorated with distinctive themes and unsurprisingly, no rooms are alike. After the death of the family, Mr. Charles McCann acquired the property and left the house the way it is. Presently, this exquisite and historical house is open for the public to explore and adore.


Address: 75 Eastern Point Blvd, Gloucester, MA 01930, United

Website: Beauport

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: 8 - 15 USD

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29. Drop by Salem Witch Museum (from USD 13.0)

New England’s long and rich history is always tied to witchcraft, trials, and witch hunts. With its fair share of history of witches, Salem is known as the “witch city” of the region. If you find yourself enticed to learn more about the witch-centered history of Salem, be sure to include a visit to the Salem Witch Museum in your itinerary. Go back to 1692 and hear the stories of the accused witches of Salem and how their trials turned out. The events are well depicted via stage plays that showcase great craftsmanship and acting. Aside from an astonishing performance, a self-guided tour, educational materials, and a souvenir shop are available to explore. Salem Common, a grassy public park downtown, is just within walking distance from this museum.

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Salem Witch Museum Admission

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

9 reviews

30. Stop by the remarkable House of Seven Gables

stop by the remarkable house of seven gables

You might have read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous gothic novel which was set in this very mansion. You’ll relive each paragraph written in the book once you set foot here. Well, you can finally do that at the House of Seven Gables in Salem! Gone are the days of witch trials and burning at stake but the renovated compound will give a glimpse of the early 1600s. Explore the historical and infamous sites of the ‘witch city’ in a fun Segway guided tour for a memorable time in Salem, Massachusetts.

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Witch City Segway Tour

A vacation for the modern-day witch

Salem is not called the ‘witch city’ for nothing. If you watched too much Sabrina the teenage witch, have read the gothic novel “The House of Seven Gables“, are intrigued by haunted happenings, or own some tarot cards and crystal balls, you will surely enjoy every corner of Salem. Aside from these, you get to embark on ghost tours and learn about the 1600s, Asian arts and culture, and American history in the lands of Salem. Surely, whatever you might want to do, Salem will give it to you. Feeling excited but do not know where to start? Fret not and check out these things to do in Salem.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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A Filipino travel enthusiast who is passionate in experiencing life to its fullest and in going beyond her horizon. She has traveled to some parts of Asia, especially the islands of the...Read more

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