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Destination Salem Blog

Start planning your 2013 Salem trip today!

Salem is a city that toasts Valentine’s Day with chocolate and wine, fetes Independence Day with an orchestra, and offers 31 days of Halloween.  Our vibrant downtown boasts more than one hundred shops and restaurants, world-class museums, an excellent local theater scene, and ever-expanding night life. 

While every day is a good day to visit and explore Salem, here is a schedule of 2013 Annual Festivals and Special Events.  This is just the tip of the iceberg! Explore the calendar on for more events. 

11th Annual Salem So Sweet
February 8 – 14 (note weather changes here)
Brush off the winter blues at this annual celebration of chocolate, ice sculptures, and wine.  Kicking off with a Wine and Chocolate tasting, the festival continues through the weekend with more than a dozen ice sculptures installed around downtown Salem.  Downtown businesses offer promotions, events, tastings, and great shopping through Valentine’s Day. Don’t miss the Golden Ticket drawing for fabulous prizes!,


Salem Film Fest
March 7 – 14
Salem Film Fest is Massachusetts’ premier, invitation-only, documentary film festival.  Come to Salem, see the world!


Spring Restaurant Week
March 17 – 21, 24 – 28
Salem Restaurant Week is the perfect time to dine out at the dozens of excellent eateries.  There will be a wide variety of delicious foods, including steak, seafood, Italian classics, contemporary cuisine, American favorites and exotic ethnic treats.  Restaurants will offer multiple choices for appetizers, entrees, and desserts.


Massachusetts Poetry Festival
May 3 – 5 
Celebrate poetry with poets from around Massachusetts and the country. Readings, lectures, workshops, and a small press fair will be held in locations around downtown, including the Peabody Essex Museum.

Salem Arts Festival

Salem Arts Festival
June 7-9
For three days each summer, this free festival transforms downtown Salem into an opportunity for the local arts community to showcase their talents.  The 2011 festival was attended by more than 5,000 people, featured more than 80 artists, a juried art show, outdoor performance at the East India Square Stage, interactive art presentations, and artists located in 20 downtown businesses.  People of all ages and backgrounds enjoyed viewing art, participating in art making and purchasing art.


Fabergé Revealed
June 29 – October  6, 2013
The name Fabergé is synonymous with refined craftsmanship, jeweled luxury and the Russian imperial family. Over 230 singular treasures created by the House of Fabergé in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are featured, including enameled clocks, gold cigarette cases, hardstone carvings, ruby encrusted brooches and four signature imperial eggs made for Nicholas II and the Romanov family.  This exhibition, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, explores ideas of luxury, innovation, entrepreneurship and imperial patronage while providing insight into Peter Carl Fabergé's life, business and legacy.


Second Annual North Shore Pride Parade
June 29
More than 80 nonprofits, local businesses, faith groups, and community organizations are set to participate in the second annual North Shore Pride Parade and Festival in Salem, MA. All are welcome to attend this day-long event celebrating unity in the community.


Salem Celebrates the 4th!
July 4
For thirteen years residents and visitors have gathered on Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to celebrate Independence Day.  Featuring a Pops concert performed by the 42-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra, a Kid Space play area, and fireworks launched over Salem Harbor, this is a quintessential celebration of the 4th of July.

Salem Maritime Festival, photo by Michael Kish

Salem Maritime Festival
August 2 - 3
Celebrate ships, sailors, sawdust and song at this annual free family festival. Hosted by the National Park Service, the festival features live music, historical re-enactors, tall ships, demonstrations, and interactive programs and crafts for families.


Salem Heritage Days
August 2 - 11 
Celebrate the past and the present during the annual Salem Heritage Days. Featuring food, fun, and activities for all ages, highlights include the Essex Street Fair, the Ice Cream Bowl, and the Car Show on Chestnut Street.


Salem Jazz & Soul Festival
August 17 - 18
The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival recreates and renews the vibrant jazz scene that began at the Salem Willows in the 1920s, when Duke Ellington and other musicians from the Big Band era played at the seaside park in Massachusetts.  The festival builds on this rich jazz history — adding soul, blues and funk to the mix – and shining the spotlight on talented musicians from Boston’s North Shore and beyond. 

2012 Antique and Classic Boat Festival

Antique & Classic Boat Festival
August 24 - 25
The flash of polished bronze and gleam of varnished wood across the water will be the order of the day as elegant antique and classic yachts sail into Salem for the 30th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival.  Mostly wood, primarily private yachts and aesthetically stunning, the vessels will be on display to the public over the weekend at Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina.


32nd Annual Salem Haunted Happenings
October 1 – 31
A festive celebration of Halloween and fall in New England, more than 250,000 people come to Salem Haunted Happenings each year.  Events include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights on Salem Common, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations.


Fall Restaurant Week
November 3 – 7, 10 - 14
Salem Restaurant Week is the perfect time to dine out at the dozens of excellent eateries.  There will be a wide variety of delicious foods, including steak, seafood, Italian classics, contemporary cuisine, American favorites and exotic ethnic treats.  Restaurants will offer multiple choices for appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

Claude Monet,

Impressionists on the Water
November 9 – February 16th
The exhibition explores the Impressionists' and Post-Impressionists' fascination and personal engagement with boating as a subject for their art and also a novel and innovative pastime. Artists including Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Signac, Caillebotte, and others, were avid yachtsman who appreciated technological advancements in the sport as well as its expressive possibilities in art.


Salem Holiday Happenings
November 29 – January 1, 2014
Celebrate, shop, and dine in Salem during the holiday season.  Festival highlights include Historic Salem, Inc.’s annual Christmas in Salem Historic House Tour, Christmas at the Gables, and Santa’s arrival atop the Hawthorne Hotel!


Posted by Kate on 02/11 at 08:17 AM Permalink