Salem Willows

Must-Visit Attractions in Salem, Massachusetts

November 15, 2023

Salem, Massachusetts’ tagline is “Still Making History.” Truer words have not been spoken. 

If you love to shop, explore art and culture, travel through history at world-class museums, or just people-watch by the waterfront, Salem has something for you. 

Once you arrive in Salem, your biggest problem will be deciding how to spend your time. While there is plenty to keep you busy, it’s all up to you and your interests. We do have some suggestions of places you will want to put on your list as a “must-visit” destination in Salem. Here are just a few of the amazing places you’ll want to take in. 

Head To The Waterfront 

Since Salem played such an integral role in maritime history during the Colonial and Revolutionary War eras, it makes sense that one of the first things visitors might want to do is to take a harbor tour or head to Pickering Wharf to explore a little bit of that maritime history. 

For maritime history enthusiasts, a visit to the Salem Maritime National Historical site is a must. You will have a chance to view the Schooner Fame on the water and take a look at the replica of the Friendship, a replica tall ship, docked at Derby Wharf. Talk to rangers and sign up for a tour for a more in-depth exploration of the maritime history of the region. 

Visit the Nation’s Oldest Museum 

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) on Essex Street in the heart of Salem is the nation’s oldest continuously operating museum. In operation since 1799, the PEM hosts a vibrant array of African and Native American art and three centuries of New England art. It also is home to a cache of Asian art and cultural artifacts that include the only complete Qing dynasty house outside China. With 150,000 visitors a year, the world-class museum attracts locals and people from around the globe. If you are in Salem, be sure to reserve your ticket to explore on your own or book a tour. 

Take In the Witch Landmarks & Attractions

Salem’s history is most notably associated with the 1692 Salem Witch Trials that ended in the deaths of 20 people and the accusation of more than 200 people of being witches. 

  • The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a must-see. It is located on Liberty Street between Charter Street and Derby Street and is open from dawn to dusk.
  • The Salem Witch Museum, located at Washington Square North, brings the Witch Trials to life through 13 stage sets, life-size figures, and narration. Choose a staff-guided tour that focuses on witchcraft more broadly or reserve a group tour. 
  • Enjoy some spooky Halloween-type fun at the Salem Wax Museum and Salem Witch Village
  • Visit the Bewitched statue on Essex Street. 

House of Seven Gables

Explore the House of Seven Gables 

This iconic mansion is one of America’s most beloved homes with its gables, amazing architecture, and connection to the literary world as the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

The House of Seven Gables offers tours through November for those who like to avoid crowds in October but still want to view and learn more about the history of our nation. For more information about this historic home and to book a tour or take part in the events held at the mansion, visit their website to get connected. 

There is so much to see and do in Salem, but we hope you also take the time to visit us at the Real Pirates Museum on Derby Street in downtown Salem, Massachusetts.