Salem Haunted Happenings for Teens & Tweens

Carnival

The Derby Street Carnival features a variety of midway rides and games, from thrilling attractions to rides the whole family can enjoy together. In addition, the carnival hosts a number of classic snack vendors, and games of chance where guests have the opportunity to win some big prizes! Admission to the carnival is free, but tickets must be purchased for the rides. Single tickets are $1.50, and 20 tickets may be purchased for $25. Rides generally take between 3 and 5 tickets. The full schedule of dates for the Derby Street Carnival may be viewed on our event calendar.

For classic fair snacks, the Salem Common Food Court offers grab-and-go treats. The food court is open with vendors along Salem Common from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm through October 31.

On the Water

Mahi Mahi’s Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise allows guests to take in the seasonal views of Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, and the Misery Island, while relaxing on an open air deck or heated cabin with Halloween party music. The cruise also features Mahi’s grill with clam chowder, hot cocoa, and soft drinks, along with complimentary tarot card readings. Tickets for the Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise are $25 for adults and $15 for kids ages 4-12, and may be purchased in advance on Mahi Mahi’s website.

New for 2017, Essex Heritage hosts Eerie Stories on Salem Sound, an evening of storytelling on the Salem Sound, where your crew will entertain you with history and folklore from Salem’s dark past! Tickets ($20 for adults and $15 for kids ages 4-12) are available online.

Movie Nights

Saturdays at 6:00 pm, Magic 106.7 hosts outdoor movie nights on Salem Common. Catch ParaNorman on October 21, and Hocus Pocus on October 28, and watch the movie right where many of the scenes were filmed. Be sure to grab some hot chocolate or cider, and dress for the weather to make the most of this event!

Haunted Houses

For the thrill seekers in your family, be sure to check out Salem’s haunted house attractions, Frankenstein’s Castle, and the Haunted Witch Village. At Frankenstein’s Castle, become fully immersed in the classic horror story as you walk through dark hallways where a mad scientist has created a terrifying monster. The Salem Witch Village, is Salem’s longest running haunted attraction, and features all kinds of Halloween ghouls, goblins, and monsters, waiting to frighten those who dare to enter. Both attractions are $9 individually but may be purchased as part of a combination ticket with other attractions in the Witch Village. See the Salem Wax Museum website for complete information.

Theatrical Performances
The Salem Haunted Magic Show’s 2017 production, “HYSTERIA: Phobias!” combines thrilling Halloween scares with mind reading, dark comedy, illusions, audience participation, and more. While not too scary for the whole family, the show does offer enough scares to keep the audience guessing, along with unbelievable stunts that will have you wondering, “How did they do that?!” Tickets cost $20-42 based on seating and package options and may be purchased in advance at TheSalemMagicShow.com.

Select evenings in October, the House of the Seven Gables hosts two nighttime performances, Legacy of the Hanging Judge and Spirits of the Gables. Fans of Nathaniel Hawthorne will be intrigued as his characters haunt the historic home in Spirits of the Gables, and as Hawthorne’s great-great grandfather recalls his role in the Salem Witch Trials. Tickets are $15 for a single performance, or $28 for both, and may be purchased at 7Gables.org.

 

What could make an interactive crime mystery show during Haunted Happenings even better? What about dining with an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet while working to solve the mystery? The Haunted Dinner Theater’s presentation of “Be Witched” is an entertaining theatrical performance focusing on solving a crime based on the hit TV sitcom. The event’s location alternates between Finz Seafood and Grill, and the Hawthorne Hotel, and it is highly recommended that tickets be purchased in advance ($59.95 for adults, $39.95 for kids) through the Haunted Dinner Theater’s website.

The Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre offers experiences for every member of the family. Teens in particular will enjoy the Lost Museum, an interactive walk-through attraction through a recently discovered series of rooms below the museum that were thought to be to time. With spirits from Salem’s past and other supernatural forces hidden beneath the building, guests must work together in an attempt to escape from the museum! Tickets for the Lost Museum are $15.

While at the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre, be sure to pick up tickets for the Witchcraft and Ghost Experience. This live performance combines audience participation, with scares, special effects, and bits of Salem history. Tickets for just the Witchcraft and Ghost experience are $11 and may be purchased as part of a combination ticket with the Lost Museum or other events at the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre. See the museum’s website for complete ticket information.

Live Music

For live music without the age restriction and cover fees that come with the bar scene, the Salem Halloween Fountain Stage on Essex Street is the place to be. The stage will be home to numerous kinds of live music during October weekends, and the event even features a silent disco during Halloween weekend.

Witch Trials History
What trip to Salem would be complete without learning something new about the Salem Witch Trials? For information on the history of the Salem Witch Trials, consider visiting the following sites:

The Salem Witch Museum, features two very different exhibits on the history of the Witch Trials. The first is a presentation on the trials themselves that was compiled using historical documents to tell an accurate story using life-size sets. The second exhibit focuses on how perceptions of witchcraft have changed over time, offering information on the stereotypes witches face, why witch hunts have happened in various parts of history, and where the images of witches that we commonly see today were invented. Tickets for the Salem Witch Museum may be purchased on site for $11.

For a different side of the story, visit the Witch Dungeon Museum, which showcases the conditions that those accused of witchcraft were forced to deal with while imprisoned and awaiting their trials. In addition to a guided tour of the dungeon, this experience includes a live reenactment of one of the trials. Tickets for the Witch Dungeon Museum are $9, and may be purchased on-site and/or as a combination ticket with the Witch History Museum and the New England Pirate Museum.

Cry Innocent is the most interactive way to learn about the Salem Witch Trials. For the full experience, arrive early and watch as Bridget Bishop is arrested on the streets of Salem, before taking a seat and witnessing the trial first hand. In this experience, audience members are able to become fully involved in the trial, as they examine the evidence and vote for an outcome. Tickets for Cry may be purchased in advance on CryInnocentSalem.com or as part of a combination ticket with the Spirit of Salem film.

21+ Salem Haunted Happenings

With live music, Halloween balls, and a local cidery, distillery, and brewery in town, Salem has a lot to offer the 21+ crowd this October. Read on to discover some of this year’s Haunted Happenings 21+ events, or start planning now for next year!

Live Performances

Looking to kick back with some live music this October? A number of restaurants and bars around Salem offer live music on most weekend evenings. Gulu-Gulu Café, located at 247 Essex Street, hosts local musical acts and supports Salem artists while serving up a wide selection of hard to find craft beer. At Gulu-Gulu the entertainment isn’t limited to weekends either as Wednesdays are open mic nights!

Just around the corner from Gulu-Gulu on Washington Street are Opus Underground and KOTO Asian Grill. Opus Underground, at 87 Washington Street, features karaoke on Tuesdays, live music on Thursdays, Friday night dance parties, and cover bands on Saturdays. Across the street at 90 Washington Street, KOTO hosts live music weekly and is home to events like the DARQ Gala VI and the annual Zombie Prom.

For a more relaxed live music scene, check out the acoustic music series at Far From the Tree Cider at 108 Jackson Street. Can’t make it on a Saturday? Far From the Tree has other special events planned for other days of the week including cider talks, new cider releases, trivia nights, movie nights, and more.

During this year’s Haunted Happenings festivities, Salem State University’s theatre department is showcasing a production of “The House of Macbeth,” an interactive and immersive theatre event hosted by Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, and Shakespeare’s weird sisters. Admission is free but reservations are recommended and may be made at SalemStateTickets.com.

On the Water

Mahi Mahi’s Boo’s Cruise sets sail out of the Pickering Wharf Marine select weekend nights during Haunted Happenings! Grab a costume and hop aboard for a party on the water featuring a full bar, DJ, and fresh eats from the grill, along with hot beverages including Mahi’s famous Grandma’s Spiked Cider. Tickets for the cruise are $25, and we recommend purchasing them in advance through MahiCruises.com.

Samples & Tastings

For a weeknight excursion into Pickering Wharf, stop by the Regatta Pub at the Salem Waterfront Hotel. Each week, the pub hosts Wicked Wine Down Wednesdays, where a new selection of “wickedly spooky” wines will be available in the pub. During the weekends, visit the Regatta Pub for a Sunday brunch complete with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar as part of Wicked Bloody Mary Sundays.

For samples in a more theatrical setting, plan on attending Tales and Ales at the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre. This presentation includes chilling stories of ghosts and madness recounted by Arthur Hennessey in a dark and eerie theatre. Arrive early for samples of three different local ales prior to the performance! Tickets are $24 and may be purchased in advance through GallowsHillSalem.com.

Festivals & Beer Gardens

For the largest festival on the North Shore celebrating wine, mead, craft beer, and cider, head over to the 11th Annual Salem Harvest Fest. Event takes place Saturday, October 21 at the Knights of Columbus just off the Common (94 Washington Street) and features product samples, complimentary snacks, live music, and a souvenir Harvest Fest glass for each ticket holder. Tickets to Harvest Fest are $30 when purchased in advance through SalemHarvestFest.com or $35 at the door.

On Halloween night, Alt 92.9 sponsors a beer garden and music at the intersection of Federal Street and Washington Street. Stop by between 2:00 pm and 10:00 pm to surround yourself with the action of Halloween in Salem while enjoying a festive beer garden.

Halloween Balls and Parties

For the ultimate 21+ Halloween event, start planning early and purchase advance tickets to one of the many balls hosted in Salem during Haunted Happenings. Rockafellas, located 231 Essex Street, is hosting themed balls throughout October: a Vampire Macabre on October 20, a Salsa Dance Party on October 25, a Super Heroes Ball on October 27, a Heaven and Hell Ball on October 28, and a  Monster Bash on Halloween,

Festival of the Dead hosts the annual Official Witches Ball, with this year’s theme being Signs of the Zodiac! The event includes a magical evening complete with a laser light show, DJ, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar complimentary psychic readings, photo room, live performances by Dragon Ritual Drummers and Hadiya, prizes for best costumes, and more! Tickets are $150, and may be purchased in advance at FestivaloftheDead.com.

Laurie Cabot and the Kent Hermetic Temple present the Original Witches’ Costume Ball on October 28. Celebrate the Witches New Year while the veil between worlds is at its thinnest with a night of witchy fun & majick, featuring DJ Marz, a full catering spread, cash bar, and more. Tickets and information available online.

The Salem Waterfront Hotel hosts two festival parties with the annual Wicked Night on the Wharf, a costume ball on October 28 and Twilight on the Waterfront featuring Lisa Love Experience on Halloween night.

The Hawthorne Hotel, located right on the Common hosts their very popular annual Halloween Party, this year themed towards Hollywood Horror. This 27th annual celebration may be sold out for this year, but it’s never too early to start planning your next trip to Salem during Haunted Happenings! Each year this party takes over three floors of the hotel with live music, DJs, dancing, psychics, food stations, and a costume contest with cash prizes. Tickets for next year’s party will be on sale in early June at HawthorneHotel.com/Halloween.

Salem Haunted Happenings for Kids & Families

Finding kid-friendly activities during Salem Haunted Happenings doesn’t need to be a nightmare—with carnivals, harbor cruises, story-times, and of course trick or treating, there are plenty of fun things to do with kids this October!

Wicked Wednesdays
New for 2017, Salem Haunted Happenings includes Wicked Wednesdays that will be chock full of programming for kids. Bring the family for mid-week entertainment, musicians, family-friendly walking tours, and interactive events geared for the 12 and under crowd. Each Wednesday is different and offers new and unique opportunities to enjoy kid-friendly activities downtown this month.

 

Carnivals
For classic midway rides and games, bring the whole family down to the Derby Street Carnival! With family rides, kiddie rides, and thrill rides, and midway games of skill and luck, the carnival has something for everyone. This carnival takes place throughout the month of October at 289 Derby Street. See our event calendar for the full listing of dates. There is no admission fee to visit the carnival, however tickets must be purchased for rides. Single tickets are $1.50 each, and 20 tickets may be purchased for $25. Rides generally take between 3 and 5 tickets.

The SCNA Kids Carnival, which takes place select dates in October on Salem Common, is a special carnival just for kids and families! Sponsored by the Salem Common Neighborhood Association, this event features family and kiddie rides, along with photo ops, Halloween treats, special children’s activities and more! Tickets for this carnival are $3 each, or $15 total for a wristband worth unlimited rides. For the full listing of carnival dates, see our event calendar.

 

Witches & Wizards
Weekends in October, Artemisia Botanicals and the Witches Education League host Ask a Witch & Make a Wand. For a $1 donation to a local charity, guests of all ages can craft their own wands and ask questions to practicing witches to learn more about modern witchcraft in Salem.

Sundays in October, the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre is visited by Professor Wunder, a friendly wizard who brings his school of magic to children and families visiting Salem. Professor Wunder’s School of Magic is a live, interactive stage show that allows kids to experience the magic of Salem without the scares. Tickets for the show are $10 for guests ages 5 and up, and free for children under 5, and the museum suggests purchasing them in advance on the Gallows Hill website.

Each Saturday, Magic 106.7 hosts a family movie night at 6:00 pm on the Common with films like CasperParaNorman, and Hocus Pocus. To make the most out of this family-friendly classic movie experience, be sure to arrive early as other entertainment will be available on the Common starting at 2:00 pm.

 

On the Water
If you’re looking to take to the water with the kids, be sure to check out Mahi Mahi’s Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise. This cruise is filled to the brim with family-friendly fun including story-telling, Halloween party music, complimentary tarot card readings, photo ops, and a full bar for the adults and face-painting for the kids. Tickets are $25 for adults and $19 for kids ages 3-12. Tickets may be purchased in advance on Mahi Mahi’s website.

Sea Shuttle also offers a seasonal water tour on select days this October. This experience includes a tour of the Salem Sound coastal areas aboard the 45′ catamaran Endeavor. Snacks and beverages may be purchased aboard, and tickets ($25 for adults, and $18 for kids) may be purchased in advanced through Sea Shuttle’s website. Visit Sea Shuttle during Wicked Wednesdays, and learn about ocean life during the interactive Sea Creatures Great and Small events.

 

For the Whole Family
Looking for the ultimate Halloween dinner experience? Check out Haunted Dinner Theater’s latest production, “Be Witched!” This interactive crime-solving dinner show features audience participation, family-friendly entertainment, and more all based on the classic TV sitcom. An all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet covers the dinner portion of the show, which takes place at alternating locations (Finz Seafood and Grill, and the Hawthorne Hotel). For the complete schedule of dates and to purchase tickets ($59.95 for adults, and $39.95 for kids ages 8-12) visit the Haunted Dinner Theater’s website.

For spookier family-fun, get your tickets for the Salem Haunted Magic Show‘s latest performance, HYSTERIA: Phobias! Suitable for kids ages seven and up, this event features inconceivable magic,
bizarre demonstrations of mind reading, wild comedy, and interactive audience participation! Tickets are $20-42 and may be purchased online in advance.

 

Trick-or-Treating
The shops on Pickering Wharf will host “Trick or Treat on the Wharf” on October 22 between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. This annual event allows kids and families to get some trick or treating in during their visit to Salem while visiting the merchants on the waterfront.

On Halloween the Phillips House Museum will host Tricks, Treats, and Treasures! This event not only includes trick or treating and other interactive activities, but kids can also meet pirates and take part in sea shanties! This free event takes place from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Salem Witch Trials FAQs

Q: Did the Salem Witch Trials happen in modern-day Salem or Danvers?
A: The Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692 happened throughout the region, with accused and accusers coming from Salem, Ipswich, Gloucester, Andover, Methuen, and other communities. Salem Village is now the town of Danvers, and some of the sites associated with the trials and hysteria are in Danvers. Salem Town, modern-day Salem, is where the trials actually took place, as well as the hangings and the pressing of Giles Corey.

Q: How was the practice of witchcraft viewed in 17th century New England?
A: Under British law, the basis for Massachusetts Bay Colony legal structure in the 17th century, those who were accused of consorting with the devil were considered felons, having committed a crime against their government. The punishment for such a crime was hanging.

 

Q: What was the difference between the “afflicted” and the “accused”?
A: The “afflicted” were those supposedly “possessed” and “tormented”; it was they who accused or “cried out” the names of those who were supposedly possessing them.

Q: Were only women accused of practicing witchcraft?
A: Men were accused as well. Five men were convicted and hanged, and one man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to cooperate with the court.

Q: Were the accused “swum” to determine if they were witches?
A: Not in Salem. The practice of swimming a witch was used in Europe, and in Connecticut, but not in Salem.

Q: Were any of the victims burned at the stake?
A: Not in Salem. Burning at the stake was punishment for heresy, a crime against the church, in Europe. Witchcraft was a felony in the colonies, a crime against the government.

Q: Where are the victims buried?
A: This question remains unanswered. It is believed that the bodies were cut down and dropped unceremoniously into a crevice on the side of Gallows Hill. Tradition has it that several families came to Gallows Hill to claim their relatives and buried their bodies privately.

 

Q: Is anyone buried in the Charter Street Cemetery who was connected to the Salem Witch Trials?
A: Magistrate John Hathorne: interrogator and member or the Court of Oyer and Terminer, and great-great-grandfather to Nathaniel Hawthorne (who added the “W” to his last name).

Bartholomew Gedney: a member of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, and physician who was present during several examinations.

Mary Corey: Giles Corey’s second wife who died eight years before the Salem Witch Trials. Giles Corey was pressed to death in 1692 for refusing to stand trial and his third wife, Martha, was hanged three days later.

Reverend Nicholas Noyes: minister of Salem during the Witch Trials, he is likely buried in an unmarked grave. He eventually repented his treatment of the accused, and tradition follows that he suffered an internal hemorrhage and died choking on his own blood in 1717 (fulfilling a 1692 prophecy by Sarah Good that “God will give you blood to drink”).

Q: How is the Salem Witch Trials Memorial designed?
A: The memorial is surrounded on three sides by a handcrafted granite drywall. Inscribed in the stone threshold entering the memorial are the victims’ protests of innocence. These protests are interrupted mid-sentence by the wall, symbolizing society’s indifference to oppression. Five locust trees, the last to flower and the first to lose their leaves, represent the stark injustice of the trials. At the rear of the memorial, visitors view the tombstones of the adjacent cemetery a reminder of all who stood in mute witness to the hysteria.

FAQs courtesy of the Salem Witch Museum and Salem Award Foundation

Ride Around Salem Haunted Happenings with Zagster’s “Wicked Bikes”

Salem’s bike share program is getting a wicked twist during this year’s month-long Haunted Happenings Festival! Zagster and the City of Salem are working to expand the program with additional stations and bikes, which will include four “Wicked Bikes” that have been designed exclusively for October in Salem.

The Wicked Bikes include design features like a cauldron in place of the typical basket, a broomstick at the rear rack, wood grain graphics, spooky spokes, and motion-activated lights set to work while the wheels are turning. Visit downtown Salem during the Annual Haunted Happenings Grand Parade this Thursday, October 5 to see the bikes make their first appearance.

Riders who use the bikes during October have the opportunity to receive an additional $3 in ride credits by taking photos with them and using #wickedbikes. Double credits go to riders who are in costume! Each rider using the hashtag will also be entered into a drawing to win prizes like a bike accessory package from Salem Cycle (valued at more than $50), and $50 restaurant gift certificates to Kokeshi or Bambolina. The photo that has the most likes by the end of the month will also receive a Zagster t-shirt and candy-filled water bottle.

The temporary stations available during October will be located at the intersection of North and Orne Streets in North Salem, at the Salem State University School of Social Work Building at 287 Lafayette Street, and downtown by the Hawthorne Hotel and Visitor Center.

Start trick-or-treating early! Visit the Salem Ferry terminal on Blaney Street between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm on October 21 and 28, to trick-or-treat with Zagster representatives and learn more about Salem’s newest bike share program.

Zagster launched in Salem in May 2017, and since then the program has added stations to Salem State University’s Central Campus, Congress Street, and the Salem Willows. So far about 750 members have taken over 1,300 rides which have helped to replace hundreds of car rides from Salem’s roads.

The Salem Zagster Bike Share is funded by the City of Salem and sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Salem State University.

For contest rules and more information about the Wicked Bikes, visit bike.zagster.com/wickedbike.

Take a Self-Guided Audio Tour and Learn about Salem’s African American History

A brand new, self-guided audio tour focusing on Salem’s African American history is now available for download on your mobile device. Sponsored by the Salem Award Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice, the tour makes up one achievement of Salem’s taskforce for confronting racism, who support initiatives towards making the narratives of remarkable African Americans from Salem’s history more accessible to both visitors and locals.

The tour features 24 stops based on the legacies of African Americans throughout history from Tituba during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 to the present day with contemporary author Stephen Hemingway. The stops along the tour may be completed in any order and in any amount of time. To access the tour, download the UniGuide smartphone app (it’s free!) and select “Salem’s Black Heritage.” UniGuide provides users with a way to access self-guided tours for free. Consider keeping the app after you finish your tour, as additional Salem materials, as well as over 100 tours from around the country, are also available using the app.

The Salem’s Black Heritage Audio Tour made its debut during this year’s first Trails & Sails Weekend. Trails & Sails, hosted by Essex National Heritage, connects North Shore visitors and residents with over 150 free events celebrating local culture. To learn more about Salem’s African American history during Trails & Sails, take the Remond Family, Salem’s Early Abolitionists Walking Tour. Also sponsored by the Salem Award Foundation, this 90-minute walking tour discusses the lives of the Remond family members and how they became central in Salem’s abolitionist movement. Visit EssexHeritage.org/TS to learn more about both the Salem’s Black Heritage Audio Tour and the Remond Family Walking Tour along with events during Trails & Sails.

Spend Labor Day Weekend in Salem, Massachusetts

Fall may be just around the corner but there is still time to catch up on our favorite summertime activities this Labor Day weekend in Salem.

The Salem Willows Arcade remains open for the season through the end of September. Stop by for some classic boardwalk-style arcade games, show off your pinball skills, or soak up the oceanfront views with an ice cream, popcorn, or the famous chop suey sandwich. The Salem Willows Arcade is open on Labor Day weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Salem Willows Arcade

Learn about Salem’s literary and maritime history with a guided tour of the House of the Seven Gables, and stick around after the tour to spend some time in the site’s beautiful seaside gardens. These colonial gardens have as much history as the house itself, and information and maps for the gardens specifically are available at the Gables and online.

For another garden escape while in Salem, visit the Ropes Mansion. The mansion is part of the Peabody Essex Museum’s collection, and free self-guided tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm through October. The Ropes Mansion’s garden is open year-round and offers a picturesque change of pace from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Planning on visiting the museum too? The Peabody Essex Museum is open regular hours on the weekend, and on Monday for the holiday. Stop by to see Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style before it sets sail on October 9.

What better way to send off summer than with a picnic? Pick up a sandwich or salad from Milk and Honey, or a pizza from either Flying Saucer Pizza Company or Essex’s NY Pizza, and find a spot to have lunch outside. Bring a blanket to Salem Common, walk down to Derby Wharf, or ride the Salem Trolley and hop off at Winter Island for a scenic picnic spot.

Immerse yourself in Salem’s history with a daytime or evening walking tour with Black Cat Tours. Daytime historical tours cover various parts of Salem’s history from the Witch Trials in 1692 to the spice trade and more. On the tour, learn about Salem’s famous historical residents and see the architecture that is associated with them today. In the evening, join Black Cat’s Ghostly Night Tour to hear ghost stories from around town and learn about the dark sides of Salem’s past. Bring your camera and see if you can capture any images of paranormal activity yourself.

On Sunday, take to the water during a sail with Mahi Cruises. The last Sunday Funday Brunch Cruise of the season takes place this Sunday, September 3. Each cruise comes complete with live music, a brunch spread, and a tropical mimosa and Bloody Mary Bar. To purchase tickets and view additional cruises that continue through October, visit Mahi’s website.

Want even more to do this Labor Day weekend? Check out our events calendar or create your own adventure to build an itinerary that’s made just for you.

5 Reasons to Take the Salem Harbor Shuttle

Looking for a quick and carefree way to get around Salem? The Salem Harbor Shuttle offers stops near the Salem Ferry landing on Blaney Street, right downtown at Congress Street, and at Winter Island and the Salem Willows. Tickets ($7 for adults or $4 for kids) may be purchased onboard, and special rates are available when transferring from the Salem Ferry or for Salem residents. Take in the coastal views and maybe even a sunset as you cruise to your next destination with the Salem Harbor Shuttle.

 

 

Take the 9:30 am shuttle from your campsite at Winter Island to Downtown Salem
Visiting Downtown Salem while camping at Winter Island is can be convenient and scenic aboard the Salem Harbor Shuttle. Hop on the 9:30 am shuttle from Winter Island and plan to disembark at the next stop at Congress Street. Enjoy beautiful views of Salem Harbor as you sail into downtown and prepare for a day full of history, culture, dining, shopping, and more.

Take the 10:00 am shuttle from Congress Street to the Salem Ferry
Getting to Boston with the Salem Ferry has never been easier. With the Salem Harbor Shuttle, you can go from downtown Salem to the ferry landing on Blaney Street in just 20 minutes. By reaching the Salem Ferry landing at 10:20 am, you’ll have plenty of time to purchase ferry tickets, and stock up on brochures and maps to help plan your day-trip to Boston. The ferry transfer rate for the Salem Harbor Shuttle is only $4, and discounts for the ferry are available for both Salem and North Shore residents.

Take the 11:00 am shuttle from Congress Street to the Salem Willows for pinball and a chop suey sandwich
Spend the afternoon at the Willows showing off your pinball or skeeball skills, or wander the grounds and enjoy the coastal views. Grab a chop suey sandwich for lunch or snack on popcorn and ice cream before catching the 5:15 pm shuttle to return downtown.

 

 

Take the 2:00 pm shuttle from the Salem Willows to Blaney Street and take the 3:00 pm tour of the House of the Seven Gables.
Head to the Willows first thing in the morning for some fun arcade games, a quick lunch, and maybe even some time at the beach before boarding the 2:00 pm shuttle to Blaney Street. From Blaney Street, walk down to the House of the Seven Gables, and view the exhibit, Life and Labor Over Four Centuries at The Gables, which is on view through September 30. Learn about the various aspects of personal life and work through the lives of former residents of The Gables before embarking on a tour of the historic property.

Take the 4:00 pm shuttle from Blaney Street, and enjoy a harbor tour for just $7!
The 4:00 pm shuttle docks at every stop, allowing you to relax with a 90-minute ride along Salem Harbor for just $7 (or $4 if you transfer from the Salem Ferry or happen to be a Salem resident). Prefer to hop on and off throughout the day? Day passes for the shuttle are also available for $15.

Visit SalemFerry.com to view complete schedules and rates or request more information about the Salem Harbor Shuttle.

It’s Alive! Classic Horror & Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection at the Peabody Essex Museum

Rock On, 2017. R. Kikuo Johnson. www.rkikuojohnson.com

The Peabody Essex Museum’s latest exhibition, It’s Alive! Classic Horror & Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection, relates classic 20th-century movie posters and props as objects of fear and forms of creative expression that continue to inspire artists today. The 135-piece collection that makes up the exhibition belongs to Kirk Hammett, who is best known for his role as the lead guitarist in Metallica. While Hammett has been collecting horror art since he was just six years old, It’s Alive! is the first major exhibition of his collection.

The entire exhibit appeals to our interest in fear and the unknown. When designing advertisements for horror films, artists needed to combine their eyes for detail with captivating storytelling in a way that would make audiences want to see more. A walk through the exhibit will reaffirm the strange relationship that we all have with fear, as a feeling that obviously alarms us but still makes us want to continue watching a film or in this case viewing the film’s artwork or listening to music.

Roland Coudon, Frankenstein, about 1931, produced by Universal Pictures, printed by Etabts Delattre, France, lithograph, 63 x 94 in. (160 x 238.8 cm). Courtesy of the Kirk Hammett Horror and Sci-Fi Memorabilia Collection and Universal Studios Licensing, LLC.

Many of the posters from Hammett’s collection were originally created by the hundreds or thousands, though unfortunately little care was taken to preserve them when it was time to replace them with new advertisements. As a result, some of the pieces in the collection are now either the only ones or one of just a handful of the pieces known to exist today.

Some of these posters may be noticeably unlike their respective films, which became a fairly regular occurrence in the mid-20th century. During this time, film studios would often design posters first to see how much interest there would be in the general concept for the piece before actually planning or shooting any of it. As a result, many posters ended up advertising films that were entirely different than what was actually produced.

Themes of the exhibit showcase the different themes within the horror realm and how they can be understood from posters alone. Most familiar are the themes focusing on aspects of The Undead (as in Dracula, The Mummy, or Frankenstein), Classic Tales, and Other Realms, which focuses on subjects like Aliens and The Deep. The exhibit goes on to include motifs on Women and Power in horror, and the use of eyes in horror artwork, Mad Science, Zombies, and even Horror Spoofs.

Nosferatu, about 1931, produced by Prana Film, Germany, printed in Spain, lithograph, 42 1/4 x 29 1/8 in. (107.3 x 74 cm). Courtesy of the Kirk Hammett Horror and Sci-Fi Memorabilia Collection.

Hammett’s music and the inspiration he derives from horror art is laced throughout the exhibition with a display featuring six of his horror art-themed guitars. Daniel Finamore, PEM’s Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, who led the research and design of the exhibit relates Hammett’s work to the characters in these classic films: “Like the monsters in his posters, Hammett knows what being a cult icon is about. Just as fans of his music follow him, he unabashedly throws himself into the cult fandom through his voracious collecting activity.”

“It’s Alive! Classic Horror & Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection is on display at the Peabody Essex Museum until November 26, 2017. The exhibition celebration will take place on Saturday, September 23, and will feature a heavy metal yoga class, horror writing workshop, guitar art demonstrations, a film screening of Frankenstein, and more.

A Day in Salem for $50 or Less

A day-trip to Salem doesn’t have to break the bank. From free events and tours to reasonably priced attractions and restaurants, there is so much to see and do even with a tight budget in mind. Continue reading to learn tips for planning your next low-budget visit to Salem, Massachusetts:

Getting here

Parking costs in Salem ranges from $.25 to $1.00/hour at garages and metered spots. We recommend parking at the Museum Place Garage at 1 New Liberty Street, which is conveniently located across the street from the Salem Regional Visitor Center.

Public transportation to Salem is accessible through the MBTA commuter rail’s Newburyport/Rockport line which extends from cities north of Salem to Boston’s North Station. Ticket prices range from $3.25 – $7.50 (one way) depending on where you depart from. (Note: The Newburyport/Rockport line will not run on weekends through September 30 due to required maintenance and repairs. During this time shuttle service is offered to/from Salem for $10 roundtrip).

Museums & Attractions

The Visitor Center is home to two films that can give some context for Salem’s history before you head out to explore. Where Past is Present is a free 27-minute film that gives an overview of Salem’s history. Salem Witch Hunt presented by Essex Heritage is a 38-minute film that focuses specifically on the Salem Witch Trials and costs only $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for seniors and kids.

 

The National Park Service Rangers and volunteers at the Visitor Center can also help the kids complete Junior Ranger Programs, and brochures for various self-guided walking tours of Salem are available all free of charge. Salem’s Heritage Trail offers a free self-guided walk to many local historic sites, and the National Park Service also offers free guided and self-guided tours of the Custom House and Narbonne House on Derby Wharf.

Learn about the Salem Witch Trials by taking a tour of the Witch House. The home of Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin, the Witch House is the only building in Salem today with direct ties to the Witch Trials. Admission ranges from $8.25 for adults and $6.25 for kids for the guided tour and $6.25 for adults and $4.25 for kids for the self-guided tour.

Adjacent to the Witch House is the Ropes Mansion. Currently owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, the Ropes Mansion is open on Saturdays and Sundays for free self-guided tours. The Ropes Mansion (c. 1727) is a beautiful Georgian Colonial that was home to four generations of the Ropes Family. The Mansion contains original furnishing a variety of 18th and 19th-century artifacts including ceramics, glass, textiles, and more.

Moving on to the 20th century, guided tours of Historic New England’s Phillips House are available for just $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors and $4.00 for students. Built in 1821, the Phillips House houses the collection of five generations, while presenting information on the lives of both the Phillips family and their domestic staff during the turn of the century.

 

Visit the Salem Wax Museum to learn more about the Salem Witch Trials and Salem’s maritime history. View exhibits with London-made wax figures from Salem’s and visit the museum’s interactive area to learn nautical knot-tying and gravestone rubbing. Admission to the Salem Wax Museum is $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for kids, and combination tickets with neighboring attractions are available for select dates.

From the Wax Museum, cross the street to Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery. This monster movie museum is home to life-size figures and props all designed by Hollywood special effects artists. Admission to Count Orlok’s is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids.

Events

Salem celebrates with a different festival each month of the year, many of which are free or inexpensive to attend. Coming up next is the Salem Jazz & Soul Festival which happens at Salem Willows August 19-20. This free event features live performances by local Jazz, Blues, and Soul artists from around the North Shore, local craft and artisan vendors, music education workshops, and more. (While the festival is free, donations or purchases of festival merchandise help support music education causes and additional free concerts on the North Shore).

The Antique & Classic Boat Festival takes place August 26-27 at the Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina. For a $5 entry fee (kids 12 and under are free), you’ll be able to spend the day meeting with skippers and crew from rare vintage motor yachts and sailboats. Enjoy boat rides, craft markets, and music, and close out the event with the Blessing of the Fleet.

Flying Saucer Pizza Company

Fall festivals include Trails & Sails in September and Salem Haunted Happenings in October. A full list of annual festivals is available here, and all events may be viewed on our online calendar.

Dining

Grab and go lunches in Salem can help save you time and money. To pick up lunch on the run, grab a sandwich or salad from Milk & Honey, or stop for pizza at Essex’s NY Pizza and Deli or Flying Saucer Pizza Company.

Low-budget lunch does not always have to mean eating on the run. KOTO Asian Grill offers sushi lunch specials, bento boxes, and noodle dishes for about $12.00/person or less. Red’s Sandwich Shop serves up all-day breakfast, sandwiches, pasta, salad, and classic entrees like meatloaf and macaroni and cheese many for under $10.00/person. Another great downtown lunch spot is Thai Place, where specials start at $6.95 for adults and $2.95.

You can visit every attraction listed here (and enjoy a $10 lunch) for $50. For more budget-friendly fun, check out our picks for the Top 10 Free Things to Do in Salem or create your own adventure.

The History Buff’s Guide to Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts is a history lover’s paradise. With colonial and maritime history, and the history of the Salem Witch Trials, along with spectacular architecture dating from the 17th to early 20th centuries, Salem offers a host of historical museums, attractions, and even restaurants and shops. Make history during your visit to Salem by checking out all there is to do, eat, and shop, or by following our suggestions below.

Upon arriving in Salem, visit the Salem Regional Visitor Center to get your bearings and catch a short introductory film. The Visitor Center offers two films that provide background information for your visit to Salem: Where Past is Present a 27-minute film covering the general history of Salem, and Salem Witch Hunt, a 35-minute film presented by Essex Heritage that focuses exclusively on the Salem Witch Trials.

 

 

Before leaving the Visitor Center, pick up a brochure or two for a free self-guided walking tour on a topic like Architecture in Salem or African American Heritage Sites in Salem. For another way to make your way to Salem’s historical sites on foot, catch the red line on the sidewalk and follow the Salem Heritage Trail. If you do not have time to complete an entire self-guided tour, pull out the guide when you happen to be near relevant sites to learn more on the go or break up the tour across multiple days.

From the Visitor Center, walk down Essex Street towards Washington Street. Pass the statue of Samantha from Bewitched and continue to the next intersection until you come to the Witch House. The building was home to Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin, making it the only remaining structure in Salem today with direct ties to the events in 1692. Take a tour of the house (guided or self-guided) to learn about Judge Corwin and his role in the Witch Trials as well as 17th-century architecture and home life.

 

 

 

Around the corner from the Witch House you will find the Ropes Mansion, which was built in 1727 and renovated in 1894. The architectural style of the building is detailed in the Architecture in Salem guide you may have picked up from the Visitor Center. The mansion is currently owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, which offers free self-guided tours of the interior on Saturdays and Sundays through the fall.

Walk back towards the Witch House to turn right onto Summer Street and take another right onto Chestnut Street going until you find #34, Historic New England’s Phillips House. Built in 1821, by Captain Nathaniel West, the home was later inhabited by the Phillips family, whose collection is on display for guests to view today. Tours of the Phillips House, which begin every half hour, offer insight into what day-to-day life was like in the early 20th-century for both the Phillips family and their staff. The building is designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style and is one another of the stops in the Architecture in Salem guide.

 

 

When you’re ready for lunch, continue back down Essex Street crossing the street by the beginning of the Pedestrian Mall and take a left. Continue down Washington Street until you come to Church Street on the right, and visit Turner’s Seafood for lunch. Turner’s location within the Lyceum brings allows guests to dine in the building where in 1877 Alexander Graham Bell completed the first long distance telephone call while enjoying a menu of fresh, locally sourced seafood dishes.

After lunch, return to the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall to visit Bewitched in Salem and pick up the Bewitched Historical Tour. This informative two-hour walking tour brings you to various sites where you will learn about Salem’s colonial history along with the history of the Salem Witch Trials, maritime lore, present-day Salem and more.

 

 

Following your walking tour, visit the House of the Seven Gables to learn not only about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel but also about the site’s architecture and local maritime history. Take a guided tour through the home, and visit the seaside gardens and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace. To take some of Salem’s history home with you, visit the House of the Seven Gables Gift Shop. The shop features literary-themed goods as well as historical treasures to remember your visit to Salem from home.

Do some more shopping for yourself or the history buffs you have waiting at home on your way back to the downtown area by stopping at Waite and Peirce on Derby Street. Waite and Peirce is home to authentic and recreated goods from Salem’s past and the shop is also a great place to pick up some additional information about the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Want to make your “History Buff” day trip into an overnight stay? Book a room at one of Salem’s local historic inns, or at the Hawthorne Hotel, which is a Historic Hotel of America constructed in 1925.

For even more to see and do during your next visit to Salem, create your own adventure using the icons on our homepage.

Summertime in Salem Day-Trip for Families

To make the most of your summertime day-trip to Salem, plan to arrive early to park and make your way to your first destination. Information on parking and directions to Salem is available here.

Upon arrival in Salem, visit Waite and Peirce at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to learn how to become a Junior Ranger. The National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program allows kids to learn about their National Parks while completing fun activities.

Once the kids are officially Junior Rangers, walk down Derby Street until you reach the House of the Seven Gables on your right. Most known for its connections to Nathaniel Hawthorne and his novel named after the mansion, the House of the Seven Gables also has an expansive maritime history. The whole family can learn about the Gables’ fascinating stories by participating in the Family Navigation Game and by visiting Kids’ Cove at the Counting House.

Continue walking down Derby Street in the same direction, until you see Blaney Street on your right. Follow the sidewalk to the Salem Ferry landing, and take a tour aboard Sea Shuttle’s catamaran Endeavor. Sea Shuttle features a water tour and an onboard touch-tank, allowing you to interact with live sea creatures during your trip around the harbor.

 

 

Following your cruise, pick up the Salem Trolley, and take it back up to the Salem Regional Visitor Center. (The Salem Trolley features a one-hour tour, and you can hop on and off throughout the day). From the Visitor Center, walk down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall on your way to lunch. Cross Washington Street and walk past the statue of Samantha from Bewitched (or stop to take a selfie with Samantha!). Stop for lunch at Flying Saucer Pizza Company, which features fresh and locally grown ingredients and offers a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, as well as craft beers for the grown-ups in the family.

 

 

After lunch, cross the street returning to the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall in time for a performance of Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop. This live performance begins on Essex Street with the arrest of Bridget Bishop, followed by a reenactment of her trial, where the audience is able to interact with the actors and determine their own outcome for the case. Once you’ve played your part in history, continue back down Essex Street towards the Visitor Center to pick up the trolley.

Hop off the trolley at the Salem Willows, and enjoy spending time in the arcade, kiddie land rides and carousel, or on one of the two beaches. (Be sure to keep track of the time, as the last trolley pickup will be at 4:25 pm).

Return to the Salem Regional Visitor Center via the trolley and do some last minute shopping along Essex Street. Pick up hats, t-shirts, and other souvenirs for the whole family (and maybe the pets you have waiting at home), at Witch Tee’s, Trolley Depot, or Coon’s Card & Gift Shop/Penelope’s Pet Boutique. No summer day-trip is complete without ice cream, so grab a cup or a cone from Maria’s Sweet Somethings before heading back to the car.

Salem.org