Sail Ship

Spend The Holidays In Salem, Massachusetts 

December 1, 2023

Few communities offer the rich historic legacy, cultural offerings and welcoming characteristics as  Salem, Massachusetts. While most visitors associate the City of Salem with the historical events of the Witch Trials of 1692 or its maritime history, it is also a destination vibrant with events and activities throughout the year, including the Salem Holiday Happenings from late November til the start of the New Year. 

Whether you enjoy sipping hot cocoa as you stroll down cobblestone streets, enjoying the twinkle of holiday lights, or prefer the sounds of storytellers as they spin their tales by the fireplace at Daniel’s House Inn, Salem has something for everyone young and old alike. 

Explore Salem and learn a little more about this dynamic city throughout the holiday season. 

Take Part in Salem Holiday Happenings

The annual Salem Holiday Happenings events aim to bring a little extra joy, warmth and festivities to the downtown Salem area throughout the season. Starting with tree lighting on Salem Common and a visit from Santa the weekend after Thanksgiving and ending with a New Year’s celebration, Salem’s Holiday Happenings are fun and family-friendly events. 

Sponsored by the City of Salem and Salem Main Streets, this annual event is one that everyone can enjoy. The streets come alive with twinkle lights and holiday decor while the Salem Fire Department delivers Santa for the kick-off of the Tree Lighting Event on Salem Common. 

House of Seven Gables

Take a Salem Historic Home Tour 

Sponsored by Historic Salem, Inc. and held annually, these Salem Historic Home Tours are a can’t-miss if you love getting in the spirit while enjoying eloquently decorated historic homes. Held annually the first weekend in December, Christmas in Salem inaugurates the holiday season, bringing thousands of visitors to see historic homes in a different neighborhood each year all while enjoying the city. 

Visit a Salem Winter Market

If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet – or even started it – we suggest visiting one of the many Salem Winter Markets. At the annual Salem Winter Market at Finz Seafood on Derby Wharf featuring 30 vendors to the Salem Holiday Market at Old Town Hall, there are so many opportunities to find a unique or handcrafted gift for that special person. 

Salem Trolley

Take a Salem Trolley Tour 

This is not your typical Salem Trolley Tour, but rather the Salem Trolley & The Gallows Hill Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” tour based on Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale. This unique twist on a classic tale allows audience members to ride along with Scrooge on the Salem Trolley as the iconic holiday story is brought to life in a completely unexpected way.

Looking for something more child-friendly? The annual Trolley Tour entitled “Let’s Catch the Gingerman” is right up every child’s alley. Join the Good Witch of Salem on a quest to find the Gingerbread Man aboard the Holiday Trolley! 

Attendees will take part and interact with the story through the use of motions, props, and baking tools. After storytime is complete, the tour discusses how Gingerbread Cookies are traditionally made. Then guests should be on the lookout because one of the adorable Gingerbread Men may come alive and run off into the streets of Salem! Once he’s spotted, all will board the Holiday Trolley to find that fast little cookie!

Enjoy the Salem Window Decorating Contest

If strolling the streets of Salem as you window shop is more your style, you will absolutely adore the Salem Window Decorating Contest held every year. Enjoy how small businesses transform their front windows into a winter wonderland as you enjoy the shops, food, and sounds of Salem in wintertime. 

Celebrate Launch! Salem’s NYE Party

Come ring in the New Year in downtown Salem! The City of Salem and Salem Main Streets are teaming up to throw a New Year’s Eve party- Launch!, with live music and family-friendly activities. There will be an early countdown promptly at 6 p.m. 

There is so much to see and do in Salem and it doesn’t need to be October to enjoy it! Visit the Real Pirates Museum while you’re downtown and see what we have in store for the holidays or take a tour of our latest pirate finds!