5 Must-Do’s During Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Salem with the sweetest event of the year during the 16th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival! The festival co-hosted by Salem Main Streets and the Salem Chamber of Commerce features an annual chocolate and wine tasting, stunning ice sculptures, deals and promotions, and more. Get the most out of your visit to Salem’s So Sweet with our five must-do’s:

1. Ice Sculptures Around Town

Salem's So Sweet ice sculptures

Photo: John Andrews.

This year’s ice sculptures make their debut on Saturday, February 10 with themes including “Love Potion #9,” a Dragon, the Salem State University Superfan, the Gloucester Fisherman, Princess and Frog, and more! From 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, get around town with the Salem Trolley for just $2 for adults (free for children, and weather permitting). For a complete list of sculptures, and a map of the festival pick up a guide from a local shop or visit SalemSoSweet.com.

2. Special Illuminated Stroll with Retonica

Salem's So Sweet ice sculptures

Photo: John Andrews.

Stay downtown after dinner on Saturday for an evening stroll to see the ice sculptures lit up by Retonica. Grab some hot chocolate and take your time exploring as the ice sculptures will be illuminated from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

3. Golden Ticket Promotions

Salem's So Sweet Ye Olde Pepper Companie

During the festival’s Golden Ticket Promotions, make a full-priced purchase at one participating business to earn 10% off the next one! Downtown businesses will offer additional chocolate and Valentines-inspired sweets and treats during the festival. Offers are valid only February 10-11 and some restrictions apply. A list of participating locations may be found in the Salem’s So Sweet map and online.

4. Additional Events

Salem's So Sweet House of the Seven Gables

Salem’s So Sweet doesn’t stop there! Additional events around town include a pop-up event and cask beer release with Goodnight Fatty at Notch Brewing, the Pop Rocks Pop-Up Craft Market at Old Town Hall, and Dearest Dove featuring readings of love letters by Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne at the House of the Seven Gables. View a complete list of events in the Salem’s So Sweet map and online.

5. Annual Chocolate & Wine Tasting Event

Salem's So Sweet chocolate wine tasting

Tickets for this year’s event are sold out. Be sure to follow Salem’s So Sweet on Facebook to be the first to know when tickets go on sale for next year’s Chocolate & Wine Tasting. Salem’s So Sweet kicks off with a Chocolate & Wine Tasting event on Friday, February 9 at Colonial Hall at Rockafellas. Satisfy your sweet tooth with chocolate samplings and sip wine from local restaurants, stores, and sweet shops, and enjoy live music by Molly Pinto Madigan during this annual kick-off event.

Visit SalemSoSweet.com for more information about this year’s festival, and share your Salem’s So Sweet adventures by using #salemsosweet.

“Georgia O’Keeffe: Art, Image, Style” at the Peabody Essex Museum

The latest exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum, Georgia O’Keeffe: Art, Image, Style delves into the iconic artists’ work in relation to her personal fashion and aesthetic. The exhibition comes to PEM from the Brooklyn Museum where it was organized by guest curator Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History, Stanford University. It is the first exhibit on O’Keeffe to display her paintings side by side with portraits of the artist and never-before-seen handmade garments.

Tony Vaccaro, Georgia O’Keeffe with “Pelvis Series, Red with Yellow” and the desert, 1960. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Courtesy of Tony Vaccaro Studio.

O’Keeffe’s clothing when displayed in a collection of her portraits and artwork presents a deeper understanding of her public persona for contemporary viewers. As Austin Barren Bailly, organizing curator and PEM’s George Putnam Curator of American Art notes, “O’Keeffe considered her clothed body as another canvas on which to proclaim her modernism… The exhibition expands our understanding of O’Keeffe, exploring how she expressed her identity and artistic values.”

Image by Brittany DiCologero.

The pieces showcased follow O’Keeffe’s style evolution from the early 20th century when she resided in New York, to her later life when she embraced the Southwestern landscape of New Mexico. While her interest in colors and subtle design features changed geographically, the exhibit shows how she always worked certain motifs into her sense of style with sharp lines, solid colors, and understated geometric details.

Image by Brittany DiCologero.

The portraits in the exhibit create a complete image for how O’Keeffe preferred to create her personal looks based on the locations of the shoots and her signature black-and-white style. “O’Keeffe drew no line between the art she made and the life she lived,” guest curator Wanda M. Corn explains, “She strove to make her life a complete work of art, each piece contributing to an aesthetic whole.” Many of the photos shown were designed and taken by her husband Alfred Stieglitz, who is known for photographing iconic artists including Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol.

Image by Brittany DiCologero.

O’Keefe’s interest in her own aesthetic draws parallels with today’s audience through the use of social media, where we are often able to curate our appearances and craft certain images of ourselves. Collections and curatorial staff who worked on the exhibition were fascinated with how images from the Brooklyn exhibition on social media created another kind of branded appearance based on the users taking the photos. Join the discussion and share your vision of the exhibit on social media by using #PEMOKeeffe.

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946). Georgia O’Keeffe, 1929. Gelatin silver print, 3 3/8 x 4 5/8 in (8.6 x 11.6 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1980.70.247. © Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Art, Image, Style is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum December 16, 2017 – April 1, 2018.

Holiday Gift Experiences in Salem, MA

We’ve covered local holiday gifts by price and by recipient, and this week we’re wrapping up our gift guide series with a list of Salem experiences you can give this holiday season.

Food & Dining


The Cheese Shop of Salem offers three different levels of membership for three months of wine, cheese, or both. The Wine Club includes four bottles of wine with detailed tasting notes for $80/month, the Cheese Club includes four cheeses (about 1/3 lb. each) with delicious accompaniments and detailed tasting notes for $60/month, and the Ultimate Club includes all items from the Wine and Cheese Clubs for $130/month.

For another wine club, visit Pamplemousse where the Inquisitive package includes three bottles for $30/month and the Wine Lover package includes six bottles for $60/month. Wine may be picked up instore on the first Saturday of the month, instruct your gift recipient to visit between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm for the store’s weekly wine tasting.

Salem Spice

Need to spice up dinner to go with the wine? Visit Salem Spice for salt box gift sets, made specially for the holidays. The salts included come in a variety of flavors including Jalapeno Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt, and more.

Another gift idea for foodies may be a gift certificate to a local Salem restaurant. Gift certificates are available for each downtown restaurant, and some even come with incentives to purchase (in the form of deals like “spend $50 on a gift card and get a $10 gift card for yourself”). Click here to view a complete list of downtown restaurants. Gift certificates are also available for both the Salem Waterfront Hotel and the Hawthorne Hotel, and they may be used on dining or towards room reservations.

Museum Memberships

The House of the Seven Gables

Gift a membership to The House of the Seven Gables and have your loved ones enjoy unlimited admission to the museum and hour tours, special rates on lectures, exhibits, and events, discounted admission to the annual gala, Taste of the Gables, and access to member-exclusive events like author meet and greets, behind-the-scenes tours and more. Membership at the Gables also includes a special invitation to Celebrate the Fourth of July with the perfect view from the Gables Seaside Lawn.

Members of the Gables also receive 10-20% off in the museum shop—if you are thinking of becoming a member yourself you may even be able to save some extra money on holiday shopping! Lastly, gifting a membership to the House of the Seven Gables helps to support the site’s dual mission of education and preservation.

Phillips House

Another membership option for history buffs may be found at Historic New England. A membership to Historic New England includes admission to two historic houses in Salem, the Phillips House and the Gedney House, along with dozens of other homes across the New England states, programs and events that are free to members, and more while supporting a mission to preserve the region’s history.

Art lovers will love a gifted membership to the Peabody Essex Museum, which includes free admission to the museum along with invitations to exhibition previews and receptions, admission to PEM/PM evening parties, curator-led gallery talks, and member-exclusive museum shop sales and event. The sponsor level and above also includes admission to over 660 North American reciprocal museums, and all levels support PEM’s mission to “celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind and stimulate the senses.”

Psychic Readings & Healing Sessions


Give the gift of spiritual guidance with a certificate for a psychic reading from HEX: Old World Witchery or OMEN Psychic Parlor & Witchcraft Emporium. Both shops offer readings in Tarot, palmistry, spirit mediumship, clairvoyance, astrology, and past lives. For guidance on love, gift a reading and love potion from Crow Haven Corner with Lorelei, Salem’s famous love clairvoyant. Additional readings like Animal Energy Tarot Readings, and healing sessions including reiki, shamanic rituals, and chakra balance are available through HausWitch and NOW Age.

On the Water

Schooner Fame

Though it’s a little too cold to go for a sail during the holidays, you can always purchase a gift certificate to enjoy a maritime experience when the 2018 season starts back up. Both Schooner Fame and Mahi Cruises offer gift certificates for cruises and events beginning in May 2018. Sea Shuttle offers season passes, which can be used for Salem Sound Tours during the season in 2018.

Don’t forget that many of Salem’s retailers have online shops! If you can’t make it downtown before the holidays, visit our Shop page for a complete list of stores with their websites and contact info.

Find Gifts for the Whole Family in Salem, MA

Still shopping for the holidays? Salem’s shops are here to help with gifts for him, her, the kids, and even pets!

For Him

Clothing & Accessories

For high-quality winter weather clothing items like jackets, vests, hats, gloves, and more, visit Avalanche Company Store. Additional men’s clothing options can be found around downtown Salem with Ocean Chic Boutique’s recently launched men’s collection, an assortment of ties from the Peabody Essex Museum Shop, and Emporium 32’s variety of men’s accessories including aftershave, soaps, mustache combs, brass tie clips, formal and casual hats, and more.

Books & Gifts

Literary fans can find gifts for him at The Marble Faun Books & Gifts, which stocks books featuring literary cocktail recipes and Shakespearean editions of Star Wars. You may also find gifts for the beer or spirits enthusiast in your family with gift cards, apparel, or glassware from Notch Brewing and Deacon Giles Distillery.

Home Décor

Decorate a man cave with a locally-made fish print from Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints, or gift a printing class to learn how to create fish prints. Additional nautical décor and pieces based on a series of rotating art exhibits may be found at the Peabody Essex Museum Shop. For the history buff, shop at Waite & Peirce and find items based on Salem’s maritime history, or pick up a candle from the men’s collection at Witch City Wicks.

For Her


Shop for jewelry for her around Salem at local boutiques and jewelry shops like Clever Diva, RJ Coins and Jewelry, and the Peabody Essex Museum Shop. For a gift you won’t find anywhere else, check out RJ Coins and Jewelry’s Roman Glass sterling collection, which features pieces all made with 2,000-year-old glass excavated from archaeological sites in Israel.


From memorable souvenir tees to contemporary sweaters, clothing for her may be found at a variety of different retailers. To remember a trip to Salem, pick up a tee or sweatshirt from Witch Tee’s, Salemdipity or Trolley Depot. For a more high-fashion gift, look to J. Mode or Curtsy, or shop for beachy fashions at Ocean Chic Boutique and Waterbar.


Give the gift of relaxation with bath salts, candles, and soap. Shop for rose and lavender soaps at The Marble Faun Books and Gifts or pick up an all-natural soap or clay facial mask from Artemisia Botanicals. Include some ritual bath salts and candles from HausWitch Home + Healing, and you’ll have the perfect gift for an at-home spa day

For Kids


Pick up a historical children’s or young adult books at Wicked Good Books, or at a favorite attraction like the Salem Witch Museum Store or The House of the Seven Gables Gift Shop or let the kids’ creativity run wild with a coloring book from the Peabody Essex Museum. Planning on coming back to Salem or visiting some National Parks? The Salem Regional Visitor Center and Waite and Peirce stock Junior Ranger passport books so the kids can collect stamps and complete activities for each park they visit.

Toys & Games

Classic board and card games with a Salem twist, replica colonial games, puzzles, and more may all be purchased at local attraction gift shop and Waite & Peirce. Find gifts for family game night, add a new plush animal to the kids’ collection, or plan to work together on a puzzle after your holiday celebrations.


Salem’s shops include gifts for the youngest members of the family as well. Shop for little ones with baby toys, clothing, and accessories at Curtsy, or pick out a Salem onesie from a variety of colors at Coon’s Card and Gift Shop.

For Pets


Shop for pets at Coon’s Card & Gift Shop/Penelope’s Pet Boutique, and find a variety of dog toys and clothing for your furry friend at home. For locally-made dog biscuits, visit New England Dog Biscuit Co. and pick up a box of holiday dog treats. Shopping for a cat instead? New England Dog Biscuit Co. also carries cat toys and treats.

For more shopping tips this holiday season, check out our holiday gift guide by price.

Salem Holiday Gift Guide by Price

The holiday shopping season has officially begun in Salem, and to help you find something for everyone on your list, we’ve outlined some of our favorite local gift ideas by price.

Under $100

Outerwear & Sweaters


As the holidays approach, outerwear and sweaters are always at the top of the list for winter gift ideas. Many of Salem’s downtown clothing retailers stock high-quality jackets and sweaters, along with all the accessories you are sure to need to stay warm this winter. For just under $100, shop for weather-resistant outerwear at Avalanche Company Store or pick up a cozy sweater from J. Mode.



Salem has plenty of shops to help you find the right jewelry gifts this season. The Peabody Essex Museum Shop features pieces designed after current and past exhibitions as well as various motifs in the art world. Thinking of purchasing some jewelry but aren’t quite sure where to start? RJ Coins and Jewelry can help with ring-sizing, wish lists, and refreshments during Wish List Wednesdays (weekly through December 20).


Sweets & Treats


Tis the season to indulge in your sweet tooth, and what better way to do so than with some locally made chocolates? Candy gift sets are available from both Harbor Sweets and Ye Olde Pepper Companie, and a variety of sweet treats and gift items may also be found at Maria’s Sweet Somethings. For a more savory treat, visit Pamplemousse for a specialty gift basket or bottle of wine, or purchase a set of spice blends from Salem Spice.

Under $50


Salem’s shops offer something for everyone on your list in terms of hats, gloves, scarves, handbags, and more. Whether you’re shopping for fans Harry Potter at Trolley Depot or a Lilly Pulitzer at Ocean Chic Boutique and Waterbar, you’ll find all the accessories you need to complete your holiday shopping this season in downtown Salem.


Art & Home Décor

Whether you’re shopping for the new homeowner, art enthusiast, or modern witch, you can come across everything you need with a walk through downtown Salem. Handcrafted witch balls like the one shown above are sold at Crow Haven Corner, Artemisia Botanicals, Salemdipity, and the Witch History Museum Gift Shop, and additional witchy décor pieces like statuary, prints, and candles may be found around town at HausWitch Home + Healing, HEX: Old World Witchery, and Nu Aeon.

Original art and reproduction prints are available at the Peabody Essex Museum Shop and Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints. The shops on Artists’ Row also create beautiful décor pieces, accessories, and original paintings and prints. You can keep up with each shop’s hours and products online at the Artists’ Row Facebook page.

Under $25


Add a personal touch to your family’s tree with a Christmas ornament from your visit to Salem. Remember a visit to your favorite attraction with an ornament from The House of the Seven Gables Gift Shop, the Salem Witch Museum Store, or the Salem Maritime National Historic Site at Waite and Peirce or browse through a variety of styles from Halloween to Christmas themes at Partridge in a Bear Tree.



Stay under $25 and impress the coffee and tea lovers on your list with uniquely “Salem” mugs. Pick up the Witch City mugs featured above at HausWitch Home + Healing, or find just the mug to go with your attraction ornaments at the Salem Witch Museum and The House of the Seven Gables.



Score the sweetest stocking stuffers with made-in-Salem snacks! Pick up a couple of bags of popcorn from Popped! Gourmet Popcorn, or shop for candied treats gummy worms and “catch of the day” candy fish from Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie.

Can’t make it to Salem to shop in time for the holidays? Many local retailers have online shops in addition to their downtown storefronts. Visit our Shop page to view a complete list of retailers and learn more.

2017 Salem Restaurant Week

Salem Restaurant Week kicks off just one week from today! Organized by the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Restaurant Week allows guests to enjoy specially crafted pre-fixe menus from 17 local favorite restaurants. This year’s event runs from December 3 to 7, and menus and contact information for each are available online. Prices per person are $20 or $30 and do not include beverages, tax, or gratuity.

Participating restaurants include Adriatic Restaurant and Bar, Aurora Restaurant & Wine Bar, Bella Verona, BonChon, Finz Seafood & Grill, Ledger Restaurant, Longboards Restaurant & Bar, Nat’s at the Hawthorne Hotel, Opus, Regatta Pub at the Salem Waterfront Hotel, Rockafellas, Salem Beer Works, Sea Level Oyster Bar, Smokin’ Betty’s BBQ + Bar, Thai Place, Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall, and Victoria Station & Vic’s Boathouse. Complete information is available online at Salem-Chamber.org, and reservations are recommended.

Fall & Winter Fun in Salem, Massachusetts

Explore Salem this holiday season and make your own magic with holiday attractions, special events, comfort food, and pop-up shops.

Museums & Attractions

The House of the Seven Gables

This winter, learn about the 1668 mansion that inspired the famous novel and explore four centuries of Christmas celebrations in New England. The House of the Seven Gables is open year-round for guided tours with the special Four Centuries of Christmas Tour offered November 24 through December 31.

The House of the Seven Gables is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The museum is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and closes at 2:00 pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Visit 7Gables.org for admission rates and additional information.

Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum’s latest exhibit Georgia O’Keeffe: Art, Image, Style opens on December 16 and runs through April 1, 2018. The exhibition will explore O’Keeffe’s impressive garments in the context of photographs and her paintings, some of which have never been displayed to the public before.

For an immersive experience into light and graphic design, visit XYZT: A Journey in Four Dimensions, which runs through April 22, 2018. This immersive exhibition is made up of virtual galleries where your movement interacts with light to change the art around you.

Break from your holiday prep and spend the evening at the museum during December’s PEM/PM After Hours Party: Cup of Cheer. Wear your favorite ugly sweater, create your own snow globe, enjoy small plates and festive cocktails, or hit up the dance floor. Event takes place on December 21, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Admission to PEM/PM events is $12, or free for members, college students, and Salem residents (with ID).

The Peabody Essex Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Admission rates and exhibition details are available on PEM.org.

Salem Witch Museum

The Salem Witch Museum provides a year-round opportunity to learn the history behind the Salem Witch Trials with a presentation designed using actual trial documents, and an exhibition focusing on the changing perceptions of witches over time.

The Salem Witch Museum is open until 3:00 pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The museum closes for annual maintenance January 2 – 5 and January 8 – 12. If visiting during this time call before you visit to confirm operating hours. Admission rates are available at SalemWitchMuseum.com.

Witch Pix

Witch Pix offers year-round photoshoot experiences to embrace your inner witch or wizard, with special Awkward Holiday photoshoots. With a variety of backdrops to choose from including sleigh rides, cozy living rooms, and wintery lights, along with festive holiday sweaters and accessories, Awkward Holiday shoots at Witch Pix offer winter fun for the whole family.

Awkward Holiday photo shoots are available November 5 – December 31. Witch Pix is open from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Tuesday – Sunday in November and December, and Thursday – Sunday January – March), and is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Appointments are encouraged and walk-ins are welcome, visit WitchPixofSalem.com for details.

Walking & Tours

To learn more about Salem’s history, take to the streets on a walking tour. Year-round walking tours like Hocus Pocus Tours and Salem Night Tour offer historical tours with information on the Salem Witch Trials, maritime history, Revolutionary history, and more, while Salem Food Tours offers A.M. Coffee Walks and tours focusing on Salem’s foodie scene and spice trade history. The Salem Trolley also runs from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Friday – Sunday during Thanksgiving weekend. Additional tours are offered on select dates in the winter months, so be sure to check our tour grid while planning your visit.

You can also embark on your own tour by following the Salem Heritage Trail or by picking up a self-guided walking tour brochure from the Salem Regional Visitor Center. During the winter months, the visitor center is open Wednesday – Sunday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, and visitor information is also available Waite and Peirce at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, which is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Self-guided tour brochures can also be viewed online at NPS.gov/SaMA.

Special Events

Festivals take place all year in Salem! Salem Holiday Happenings take place November 25 – January 1, 2018, and include the annual Christmas in Salem Historic House Tours, Santa’s Arrival, and Launch! New Year’s Eve Celebrations. January brings the Salem Comedy and Spirits Festival which features stand-up comedy by the best local comedians and locally made spirits, and February features Salem’s So Sweet, Salem’s annual Valentines celebration with chocolate, ice sculptures around town, and more. View our Festivals page to see what’s going on each month in Salem.


Salem’s restaurants are open year-round, with many offering seasonal entrees perfect for a winter outing like warm soups, comfort food, hot teas and chocolate, and more. Check websites or contact restaurants in advance to confirm winter or holiday hours before your visit.

Bring your appetite with you for Restaurant Week! Organized by the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Restaurant Week runs December 3 – 7 and offers guests the opportunity to dine at local restaurants and enjoy multi-course meals at a pre-fixe price. Warm up throughout winter by embarking on your own hot chocolate crawl through downtown Salem or by reserving a holiday-themed high tea experience at Jolie Tea Company.


Get some holiday shopping done at some of Salem’s local small businesses during Small Business Saturday, or shop the Salem Winter Market for your favorite winter-season farmers’ market finds. Salem Main Streets organizes Festive Fridays, which encourages shops to stay open late each Friday in December to help with your last-minute holiday shopping, and holiday pop-up shops can be found throughout the season at Ocean Chic Boutique and Waterbar, Jolie Tea Company, J.Mode and Curtsy, and you can also visit the Peabody Essex Museum’s gift shop during regular museum hours and Mondays in November and December.

Plan your winter in Salem by creating your own adventure using the icons on our homepage or view a full list of seasonal hours by business.

Celebrate the Holidays with Santa’s Arrival and the Holiday Tree Lighting

Start the 2017 holiday season by catching Santa’s arrival and the annual holiday tree lighting with Salem Main Streets and the City of Salem. Santa arrives at the top of the Hawthorne Hotel at 6:00 pm on Friday, November 24 with assistance from the Salem Fire Department. Arrive early for the best view of Santa’s arrival and to enjoy carols and other family-friendly festivities.

Following Santa’s arrival, join the procession down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall to the holiday tree lighting at Lappin Park. Bring a lantern to carry during the procession (electric candles recommended) and join Santa and Mayor Kimberley Driscoll in lighting the holiday tree.

New for this year’s event, Salem Main Streets welcomes Angie Miller to lead holiday songs during the tree lighting. A North Shore native, Miller now resides in LA and is enjoying musical success under the name Zealyn, following her position as a finalist on American Idol.

View our events calendar for a complete listing of this year’s holiday events in Salem.

Salem Main Streets thanks the City of Salem, the Hawthorne Hotel, Gigi Gill, Remix Church, and the many other community partners who make these special events possible. This year’s tree was graciously donated by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Francis of Salem in memory of Joseph R. Ingemi III, and secured and decorated by the City of Salem Tree Department, with assistance from Mayer Tree Service and Spencer Contracting with transportation and installation. Lights and decorations for the Holiday Tree were made possible by individual contributions and donations from a number of local businesses, including significant donations from Salem’s October visitors via Gigi Gill. The tree topper was created by Salem artist Scott Froeschl.

Happy Thanksgiving

Salem MA Witch House Salem MA Witch House

Best wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving from Destination Salem
to everyone who made Salem a great place to visit this year!
We are grateful for our visitors, our businesses, and our partners
who love the history, promote stories old and new,
and believe in the magic of Salem.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Small Business Saturday 2017 in Salem, MA


Salem, MA will celebrate Small Business Saturday with the support of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Salem Main Streets, and a number of local small businesses. On November 25, head downtown and get some of your holiday shopping done at local small businesses, where you’ll be able to support the community while stocking up on some freebies and using discounts that are exclusive to this shopping event.

Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 as a way of helping small businesses receive support from their communities during the holiday shopping season when many consumers are shopping at larger chain stores. In recent years, Small Business Saturday has also become part of a larger movement against Black Friday, the holiday shopping event that tends to run earlier into Thanksgiving each year. By shopping during Small Business Saturday instead of Black Friday, we are able to spend more time with our families on Thanksgiving while also supporting our community. For more information on the Shop Small movement, visit ShopSmall.com.

Many retail locations in Salem will be offering various discounts and promotions throughout Small Business Saturday. Shoppers can save 10% on homemade dog biscuits at New England Dog Biscuit Company and apparel purchases from Deacon Giles Distillery, 20% on gold and platinum jewelry from RJ Coins and Jewelry, and 10% on their total purchase from Ye Olde Pepper Companie with mention of their Facebook page. For even more Small Business Saturday fun, get the family together an awkward sweater photoshoot at Witch Pix. Be sure to check out the full list of retailers at Salem-Chamber.org/Small-Business-Saturday! In addition to discounts and seasonal items, select retail locations including the House of the Seven Gables Gift Shop, are providing samples of holiday treats for guests.

A number of restaurants in Salem have joined retailers in promoting Small Business Saturday. Dine at Flying Saucer Pizza Company and enjoy a complimentary Spaceballs appetizer with your meal, or head next door to Gulu-Gulu Café and purchase a gift card with a 10% discount. Visit Jolie Tea Company to enjoy a free pumpkin spice madeleine with your order, and enjoy a free candy following your meal at Thai Place. To give the gift of dining in Salem with some extra savings, pick up a gift certificate for KOTO Asian Grill where you’ll receive an extra $10 with a $50 gift card purchase, and $15 with a $75 gift card purchase.

For more information on Small Business Saturday in Salem, including a complete list of participating businesses, please visit Salem-Chamber.org, and view the complete events calendar for the holiday weekend here.

Salem Haunted Happenings for Teens & Tweens


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.