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!
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.
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.
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.
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.