10th Annual Salem Arts Festival

The Salem Arts Festival returns for its 10th year with a weekend full of family-friendly programming devoted to the arts in our community. The event kicks off at 6:00 pm on Friday June 1 with viewings of art in Old Town Hall and live music outside in Derby Square. The rest of the Festival will be located throughout Derby Square, Artists’ Row, Front Street, and within Old Town Hall and will feature live musical performances, belly dancing, public art projects, a vibrant street fair and more.



The festival celebrates various art forms and gives attendees of all ages creative ways to create art. Featured art styles will include but are not limited to painting, photography, sculpture, installation, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theater, poetry, culinary, and visual art. Also planned for the event are local food pop-ups, a mural slam, and vendors specializing in handmade, locally sourced, and ethically crafted goods.



The Salem Arts Festival will also celebrate this year’s featured community art project: “Bee to Brick.”This installation features playful swarms of several hundred “bees” around the festival area, created entirely out of recycled plastic bottles and other reusable plastic pollution. Over the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages have created hundreds of bees in an effort to increase awareness of the critical role pollinators play in sustaining our ecosystem. After the project, the bees will be transformed to “bricks” that will be used be students from the Phoenix School for their “Bottle Brick Project.” Bottle bricks are recycled plastic bottles stuffed with trash until they are compact enough for use in building projects, such as benches or walls.



The Salem Arts Festival is organized by Salem Main Streets, and would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors and volunteers. The Salem Arts Festival is just one part of Salem Main Street’s effort to promote Salem’s downtown neighborhood as a destination for attractions, community projects, dining, shopping, and cultural events throughout the year. For more information about the Salem Arts Festival visit SalemArtsFestival.com or follow the event on Facebook.

Salem in Two Days

There is so much to see and do in Salem you can easily make a day-trip into an overnight stay. And with so much to do, we’ve broken each day of a two-day trip into two separate posts—you can get all the details for spending your first day in Salem here.

For a first day in Salem, we recommend starting at the Salem Regional Visitor Center to pick up a Salem Guide and Map and to hop aboard the Salem Trolley. Following a trolley tour you can learn the history of the Salem Witch Trials with connections to contemporary society at the Salem Witch Museum and have lunch in Pickering Wharf. End the day with a tour of The House of the Seven Gables with some time saved for shopping downtown or a walking tour and you’ll have spent one day exploring Salem!

T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America. On view through June 10, 2018.

On your second day in Salem, grab breakfast at one of Salem’s most popular restaurants, Red’s. Located on Central Street in the historic 1698 London Coffee House Red’s serves up classic breakfast and lunch entrees with specials starting at just $6.95 (and breakfast is served all day!)

After breakfast, take the short walk around the corner to Essex Street and continue to the Peabody Essex Museum. One of the fastest-growing art museums in the country, the Peabody Essex Museum exhibits art and culture from New England and around the world. Visit PEM.org to view current exhibitions or to learn more about events and programming taking place during your visit. Depending on how much you wish to see at the museum, your visit may take anywhere from one hour to three or four hours.

Sea Shuttle

When you’re finished with the museum, walk towards the waterfront passing by the Witch Trials Memorial. Here you can pause for reflection and view the memorial that commemorates the victims of the Witch Trials. Continue on towards Pickering Wharf, and you can see Salem on the water aboard one of our harbor cruises.

Mahi Cruises features a variety of cruises including sunset cruises, lighthouse and photography cruises, and a summer live music series. Sail aboard Schooner Fame to experience Salem from the decks of a replica of the 1812 privateer, or go for an excursion with Sunset Sail Salem aboard the traditional Friendship sloop Wenonah or General Patton’s historic schooner, When and If. For a hands-on learning experience with live sea creatures, continue walking past Pickering Wharf to Sea Shuttle on Blaney Street which has an on-board aquarium.

Schooner Fame

Following your harbor cruise, walk back down Derby Street towards the downtown area, passing the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites. After the hotel, take a left onto Congress Street and continue on Congress Street until Shetland Park is on your left, then take a right on Ward Street. During this walk, you’ll come across many of the murals that make up the Punto Urban Art Museum, an open air museum in Salem’s Point Neighborhood featuring murals created by artists from around the world.

When you reach the end of Ward Street, turn right onto Lafayette Street (you may want to cross to the other side of Lafayette Street to get a better view of some of the murals). To learn more about the murals, visit PuntoUrbanArtMuseum.org where you can view upcoming events and sign up for walking tours.

For a late lunch (or early dinner), take a left when you reach New Derby Street and visit Howling Wolf Taqueria. This popular restaurant serves fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine alongside award-winning margaritas.

Punto Urban Art Museum

Next, cross the street and walk through Artists’ Row towards Old Town Hall and the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, and stop at some of the shops along the way. The makers on Artists’ Row regularly host demonstrations and events, and with all of these items made right here in these shops you’ll be able to find gifts to bring home that are uniquely “Salem.”

After 5:00 pm, check our events calendar to see which special events are happening during your visit. On the calendar you can often find live music events, special pop-ups, craft nights, trivia, and more. Many shops around town continue to offer psychic readings after 5:00 pm, so if you are planning on booking a reading during your visit to Salem you may opt to do so later in the day.

Staying in Salem for another day? You can view accommodations here, or get ahead on your planning by requesting a FREE visitor guide

10 Things to Know About Salem, Massachusetts

With a festival or celebration every month of the year, a robust local theater scene, active nightlife, and ever-changing museum programming, you will always find something to do and explore in Salem. To start your adventure, here are 10 things to know about Salem, Massachusetts:

10. Salem is a small city

Chestnut Street Car Meet, Heritage Days

With a population of about 42,000 people, Salem is a small city located just 16 miles north of Boston. In Salem, you’ll find a bustling downtown area full of museums and attractions, shops, and restaurants, along with historic districts, a neighborhood that features murals painted by local artists, and 18.5 miles of tidal shoreline that include 7 public beaches.

9. Our busiest season is October during the Haunted Happenings Festival

Things to Know About Salem

Salem Haunted Happenings, photo by John Andrews

Salem Haunted Happenings is a month-long celebration, encompassing everything from family-friendly magic shows, to costume balls, psychic readings, haunted harbor cruises, ghost tours, and more. Whether you come to Salem seeking history, spooks, shopping, or even a vibrant food and “spirits” scene, you are sure to find your own adventure each October.

8. Salem hosts dozens of festivals throughout the year

Salem’s So Sweet, photo by John Andrews

Haunted Happenings may be the biggest, but it’s just one of dozens of festivals during the year in Salem. Salem’s So Sweet in February, Salem Film Fest in March, Salem Arts Festival in June, Heritage Days in August, and Holiday Happenings in December are just a few others! We’re also home to regional events that take place annually including ArtWeek in April/May, the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in May, the North Shore Pride Parade & Festival in June!

7. Salem is a walkable city

Wear comfortable shoes because Salem is a very walkable city and we encourage you to park your car for the day to explore our historic streets and waterfront on foot. Downtown Salem is only about a mile wide (from the Phillips House on Chestnut Street to the Salem Ferry on Blaney Street). You can learn about Salem’s history by walking the Salem Heritage Trail, or by taking a guided tour on any topic ranging from food tours with tastings, to ghost tours, and modern witch walks.

6. The National Park Service offers self-guided walking tours

There are several self-guided walking tours available through the National Park Service. Grab a brochure and explore The McIntire Historic District, Architecture in Salem, African American Heritage Sites in Salem, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Salem, or Bowditch’s Salem. Prefer an audio tour? You can download the (free) Salem Black Heritage Audio Tour right to your smartphone by searching for “UniGuide” in your app store and selecting the tour.

5. Parking costs between $.75/hour and $20/day

The cost of parking in Salem varies depending on the space, garage, lot, or season. During October weekends, City garages and lots along with most private lots cost $20 (cash on entry) to park for the day. You can find long-term parking in one of the City garages, or by downloading the Passport Parking App to feed your meter from your phone.

4. ”Pop-ups” and special events happen all the time!

Finz Seafood & Grill, Photo by Jared Charney

Be sure to allow time for the unexpected since there is always something happening in Salem! You may find a cookie “speakeasy” down an alley, an artisan market at a brewery, or the Farmers’ Market in Derby Square! You can always check out events happening during your visit on our events calendar.

3. Salem is a dog-friendly destination

We have lots of dog-friendly restaurants that allow you to dine on their outdoor patios for you and your pet, with some locations even offering special ‘doggy menus.’ Salem is even home to a number of pet-friendly accommodations, walking tours, and shopping experiences. We even celebrate Halloween with furry friends during the annual Howl-o-ween Pet Parade each October!

2. Combination tickets are available for select attractions

Witch Dungeon Museum, Photo by Jared Charney

Visit The Land of Witches & Pirates with a combo ticket to the Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and New England Pirate Museum. The Salem Hysteria Pass includes the Salem Wax Museum and Salem Witch Village. The Visit 1692 Pass includes the Salem Witch Museum, Witch House and the Rebecca Nurse House in Danvers, and includes discounts at The Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie and Goodies Ice Cream (Danvers).

1. You can start planning your Salem adventure today!

Request your FREE Visitor Guide or join our list to start planning your visit to Salem today! Love the cover of the 2018 Salem Guide as much as we do? You can enter to win your very own signed limited edition print of the cover art featuring an original design of The House of the Seven Gables by local artist, Elissa Von Letkemann of Windows of Salem. We’ll be randomly selecting one winner each month during 2018!

Where to next?

Spend Mother’s Day Weekend in Salem, Massachusetts

Celebrate mom this week in Salem with thoughtful gift ideas, Mother’s Day events and dining options, and special offers to make your visit an overnight stay.


Mother's Day Salem, MA

Salem is the perfect place to shop for Mother’s Day! Find gourmet food, gifts, and wine and of course specialty cheese at the Cheese Shop of Salem. For more local gourmet items, visit Pamplemousse and pick up some rosé to complete your Mother’s Day gifts.

Shop for home décor gifts at Moody Interiors, or seek out locally made candles at Witch City Wicks. For Mother’s Day jewelry, stop at RJ Coins & Jewelry, and find clothing and accessories at Curtsy, J. Mode, or Ocean Chic Boutique & Waterbar along with vintage-inspired finds from Modern Millie.


Mother's Day Salem, MA

Enjoy a Mother’s Day Brunch with the family at the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites or the Mother’s Day Grand Buffet at the Hawthorne Hotel. The Salem Waterfront Hotel is serving their spread of appetizers, entrees, and desserts from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Hawthorne Hotel’s Grand Buffet runs until 4:00 pm, and includes brunch or dinner entrees along with a carving station and desserts. Learn more about dining on Mother’s Day on our calendar, or call either hotel to make reservations.

Prefer to spend the day at sea? Mahi Cruises opens for the season Mother’s Day Weekend and hosts a brunch on Sunday. Mahi’s two-hour brunch cruise includes baked goods like bagels and muffins, along with fresh fruits, finger sandwiches, caprese kabobs and more (including a full bar with Bloody Mary’s and tropical mimosas). Learn more and purchase tickets at MahiCruises.com.


Mother's Day Salem, MA

Spend Mother’s Day on land at Bit Bar where moms can enjoy $5 worth of free game tokens. Bit Bar is not 21+ until 8:00 pm, so bring the kids along for games and lunch in honor of mom. Take a more relaxing turn and make a reservation for a patisserie tea at Jolie Tea Company (by reservation only, see details at JolieTeaCo.com).

For a mother-daughter outing with little ones, visit Salem on Saturday and craft a fairy house together at Artemisia Botanicals. HausWitch Home + Healing hosts a workshop perfect for mothers and adult children that features guided meditations all about the divine feminine archetypes, Maiden, Mother, and Crone.


Mother's Day Salem, MA

Make a weekend out of it and stay in downtown Salem at The Hotel Salem. Use the “Step into Spring” special to take 10% off stays of two consecutive nights or more. Can’t make it to Salem this weekend? The offer runs through the end of June, and a stay in Salem can make for a memorable Mother’s Day gift! See all the details at TheHotelSalem.com.