Best known for the Salem Witch Trials, Salem is a historically significant city located close to Boston. It is a popular day trip location, though fans of history and the macabre might enjoy a longer visit in town.
Whether you are there to learn about the witch trials, revolutionary history, or architectural significance of the city, there are a variety of great tours to help you experience Salem.
These are the 15 best tours and experiences in the city.
1. Salem Witch Museum Admission Ticket
If you are visiting Salem for its key role in the witch trials, this should absolutely be your first stop in the town.
The Salem Witch Museum is packed with interesting exhibits that take on an interactive twist allowing visitors to really step back in time and experience the trials.
The stages where women were trialled have been recreated with voiceovers narrating the proceedings. There are also exhibits depicting the history of witches, and the reasons for the witch trials.
This is a great ticket if you are visiting during peak season as it allows you to skip the lines.
2. Boston to Salem 1-Way and Round Trip Ferry Tickets
If you are staying in Boston and plan on visiting Salem, this is a quick and easy way to travel between the cities.
Likewise, it is also a great option for visiting Boston if you are based in Salem. The relaxing boat journey allows you to take in the views of the harbour from both towns.
If you are heading towards Boston, you can also enjoy a boat tour along the Charles River with this ticket where you can take in the major sites of the Boston Skyline. This ticket can be bought in one direction or as a return journey.
3. The Salem Night Tour
As a town famous for its dark past, a night tour can be a great way to learn more about the haunted stories of Salem.
This tour takes you to the key sites made infamous by the witch trials, as well as through some of the most haunted locations in the United States.
The knowledgeable local guide will tell you about the most well-known ghost stories across the town, as well as the dark history that still shapes the local area to this day. It is a 1.5 hour walking tour, making it a perfect option if you are looking for something simple to do after night falls.
4. 2-Hour Salem History Walking Tour
If you would rather embark on a tour during daylight, this walking tour gives you a comprehensive overview of the history of the city and the important sites around Salem.
Whilst it does take you around the witch trial areas, it also gives you information about other parts of the city’s history. These include the London Coffee House, revolutionary monuments, and even parts of the area’s Native American history.
At 2-hours long, this is a great way to get a general idea of the main attractions in the city. It is also excellent if you are only in Salem for the day.
5. Experience Salem Combo: Two Afternoon Tours and One Haunted Evening Tour
This combo tour allows you to pick the aspects of the city you are most interested and dive a little bit deeper into the history and the culture of the area.
You can choose two tours out of the four on offer – History, Cemeteries, TV and Movie Locations, or Witch Trials.
The ticket also includes a haunted evening tour, giving you three excellent tours for the price of two. The daytime tours are all around an hour long, and the evening tour is around 1.5 hours long.
6. Salem Excursion: Half-Day Walking Tour
If you have a little bit longer in the city, this half day walking tour is a great way to pack in a lot of attractions in six hours.
You will be taken on the regular day tour, as well as tours of the witch trial areas, cemeteries, and historic attractions. Each segment has a different guide, allowing you to hear about the history and culture of the town from experts in each field.
In winter, the final portion of the tour will take place after dark, adding to the spooky vibe of the city. There is a lot of walking involved, so be sure to come prepared.
7. Salem Combo: Wax Museum and Witch Village
The Salem Witch Village was the epicentre for the witch trials, and an important historic district in the city.
Here you can experience the most haunted buildings in the city, as well as see the second largest burial ground in the United States. At the wax museum you will be able to see realistic recreations of Salem’s most notorious residents – including Tituba and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
There is also an interactive exhibit at the end of the museum where you can experience life in a jail cell and make your own rubbing from a replica tombstone.
8. Salem On Foot Walking Tours
This walking tour is a great option for visitors to Salem who are on a budget.
This is a 1.5-hour tour that tries to steer away from the gimmicks of the usual touristy ghost and history tours, instead giving you an insight into the local character of the city.
You will still get the chance to visit the Witch Village, however the guide will tell you about some of the lesser known local stories and myths.
There are two tours to choose from – one in the afternoon and one in the evening. These allow you to pick what kind of experience you want, as well as tailor it to your own itinerary.
9. Salem Ghost Tour
This is another great ghost tour, with a slightly more authentic twist.
Rather than focusing on the more popular folklore, this tour takes you around the haunted sites in the city and tells you about the lesser known facts of hauntings in Salem.
The tour is very well researched and aims to break many of the misconceptions surrounding Salem and its history.
There are two options depending on how long you would like your tour to last. All tours will take you to at least eight locations, and the longer two takes you to another four for some more off-the-beaten path experiences.
10. Witch Dress-Up Photo Experience in Salem
For the ultimate souvenir of your time in Salem, this experience is very well produced. You will be given a personal stylist to help you find your inner witch or wizard as you select from their wide range of costumes and props.
This also allows you the opportunity to learn more about the folklore surrounding witches and consider your own place in history.
A professional photographer will then take your photo against a series of well-designed backdrops, and you will be provided with a wide range of photos to take home.
11. Salem Christmas Krampus Tour for Adults
Christmas doesn’t have to just be for kids, and this tour is a great experience for adult groups visiting Salem during the holiday season.
Taking on a Krampus theme, this tour allows you to explore the pre-Christian winter solstice traditions that shaped modern Christmas celebrations, and were directly intertwined with local fears about witches.
You will learn about Pagan rituals, and the importance of the solstice to followers of the religions associated with Paganism.
12. Magic Lantern Tour
This is an excellent experience if you are visiting the city around Halloween. The experienced guide brings life to this night time tour, where you can learn about the city’s dark past and the pagan rituals that shaped the local area.
As a special Halloween twist, you will also be treated to a Magic Lantern show along the way as historic and witch-themed images are projected along the walls of the route.
This is a great tour if you are looking for something a little more interactive.
13. Black Cat Historical Day Tour
No witch would be complete without their black cat, and this tour is a great way to delve even further into Salem’s witching history.
It also allows you the chance to learn about the pirates and religious figures that shaped the city, as well as its involvement during the revolutionary period. This is an unscripted tour, so is usually customised to the wishes of the group.
It also focuses on some of the less crowded areas of Salem, giving you a more intimate experience with the tour group.
14. Historic Overview of Salem Walking Tour
This is another excellent option if you are on a budget, particularly if you are interested in getting a more general overview of the history of Salem.
You will not only learn about the witch trials but be taken through four centuries of history that impacted the city.
At only an hour long, it is a great starting point for your time in Salem, allowing you more free time to explore the spots that interest you most after the tour.
The tour also takes an interactive approach, inviting guests to actively participate.
15. Historical Salem Cemetery Walking Tour
If you are more interested in the people who shaped the city, this tour takes you through the oldest cemetery in Salem.
You will learn about the stories of the famous residents that were buried here and get an up-close look at their place in the history of the city.
Like the historic overview tour, this tour is very interactive and invites audience participation in the stories being told.
It is one hour long, which is perfect for making your way around the cemetery and understanding the context of the most visited tombstones.