Don’t let the gray skies get you down! There is so much to see and do in Salem, Massachusetts even when the weather isn’t quite sunny and dry. Be sure to dress for the weather during a rainy visit to Salem, especially if you are arriving via the Salem Ferry or taking any harbor cruises as you’ll find that it is much colder on the water than on land.
If you forget your rain gear, or if the unpredictable New England weather decides to rain unexpectedly, you may want to purchase an umbrella or poncho. Pop into a local shop like Coon’s Card & Gift Shop to pick up a last-minute umbrella or poncho, or Avalanche Company Store for a sturdier jacket. Hoodies and sweatshirts are also available around town. Should the rain come with chills, sweatshirts are available at Salemdipity, Trolley Depot, and Witch Tees. You may also want to bring along an extra bag to store your wet umbrella, poncho, or jacket in, so if the rain lets up during your visit you’ll be able to comfortably carry your rain gear without wetting the rest of your belongings.
With any visit to Salem, starting at the Salem Regional Visitor Center will help you get your bearings, and learn a quick overview of what the community has to offer. While at the visitor center, you may opt to see a film screening of Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence, a 35-minute film on the history of the Salem Witch Trials.
The majority of Salem’s museums and attractions, including walking tours, are open for business rain or shine. If you are looking to minimize the time spent out in the rain, you’ll want to visit the Peabody Essex Museum. One of the nation’s fastest growing art museums, a visit here can easily last for a couple of hours or the entire day.
To learn about the Salem Witch Trials, the Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and Salem Wax Museum are all within walking distance, and all presentations and exhibits take place indoors. Also a short walk away from the visitor center is Witch Pix. Located in the Museum Place Mall, this costume studio allows you to take on the role of a witch or wizard for a memorable photo shoot experience.
You may feel like avoiding attractions that require a further walk in the rain, but luckily the Salem Trolley continues service, and can help you minimize your walk time while providing an overview of Salem’s history. Hope aboard the Trolley and take it down to the House of the Seven Gables, Ye Olde Pepper Companie, and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
The tour of the House of the Seven Gables takes place inside, though if you are up for some time outside the homes’ gardens are also a sight to see. Ye Olde Pepper Companie, and the shops on Pickering Wharf are all fully enclosed, with just short walks in between each one. Much of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site is outside however within the site’s shop, Waite and Peirce, you can learn more about site’s history while shopping for unique and authentic goods.
We may not want to believe that that the calendar is calling for soup, but warm comfort food may be on your mind for a rainy day. You may relax with a cup of clam chowder at Finz Seafood and Grill or Sea Level Oyster Bar and Kitchen, or lobster bisque from Turner’s Seafood. If you’re looking for lunch in hopes that by the time you’re finished eating the rain will have stopped, plan for a meal at Bit Bar. Before or after your meal you’ll be able to spend some time playing classic pinball and arcade games indoors. If you really want to warm up on a rainy day, the Tavern in the Hawthorne Hotel offers cozy fireside dining, or you may choose to unwind with a cup of tea at Jolie Tea Company.
However you choose to spend a rainy day in Salem, don’t let the rain ruin your plans. Even outdoor attractions like walking tours and harbor tours can usually run in the rain. By dressing for the weather and bringing along an umbrella you should be all set to enjoy a day touring downtown Salem.