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5 Tips To For Navigating Salem, MA as a Newbie!

Updated: Apr 16, 2018


So you’ve come to Salem and you’re wondering where should I go? What should we do first? Is this attraction worth my time and money? There are so many things to do in Salem during the busy season (August through November 1st) it’s hard to even make a good list on what to do, and perhaps even more importantly.. what to avoid!

One thing you absolutely want to avoid is Anywhere that is not designated as commercial tour areas. This means please avoid going into neighborhoods where Salem’s 43 thousand + residents live. Locals in Salem are usually very welcoming and very familiar with the seasons festivities. Please respect their privacy, their neighborhoods and their property. A lot of Salem residents live in historical homes, some of which have significant pasts and stories connected to them. The majority of these buildings are private homes. Please respect that.

You want to make sure you stay within the mapped areas during the Haunted Happenings festivities. These include Essex, Washington, Lynde, Bridge, Derby and Summer Streets. Along with Hawthorne Blvd and Pickering Wharf. These locations are populated with restaurants, hotels, and more attractions than you’ll know what do with.


It’s difficult to go to Salem, especially as a first timer and not check out our famous landmarks. These include (and are not in order of importance as each is so unique they’d deserve their own list.

1. The Salem Witch Museum - 19 1/2 N. Washington Sq. Salem

2. The Salem Haunted Magic Show - 24 St. Peter St. Salem

3. The Peabody Essex Museum - 161 Essex St. Salem

3. The Witch Dungeon Museum - 16 Lynde St. Salem

4. The House of the Seven Gables - 115 Derby St. Salem

5. The Witch House - 310 Essex St. Salem

6. The Salem Willows - 165 Fort Ave. Salem

7. The Gardner-Pingree House - 129 Essex St.

8. The Salem Witch Village & Memorial - 282 Derby St. Salem

9. The Witch History Museum - 197 Essex St.

10. The New England Pirate Museum - 274 Derby St. Salem


Ok so parking in Salem has always been an issue for the Halloween season. However the city has gone through some incredible renovations and have added more parking and different laws regarding where to park.

St Peter's Church is the home of the Salem Magic Show
St Peter's Church Parking Lot Directly Behind Church

Places to Park:

1. The lot at the corner of St. Peter St. & Church St. (metered parking)

2. St Peter’s Church Parking Lot (limited spaces - paid parking $20)

3. Museum Place Mall Parking Garage (hourly in the early season then $20 per day)

4. Bridge St. Parking Lot - 252 Bridge St. Salem

5. Waterfront Garage -10 Congress St. Salem

6. Sewall St. Lot - 8 Sewall St. Salem


Our favorite hotel has an probably always will be the Hawthorne Hotel. A historic federal style hotel with so much history you’ll need a couple weeks there. However, it’s VERY popular as you might guess so reservations are recommended at least 1 YEAR in advance! They only have a limited number of rooms and they fill up quickly!

Here’s a quick list of the best hotels in downtown Salem:

1. Hawthorne Hotel - 18 Washington Sq. W - Salem

2. The Hotel Salem - 209 Essex St. Salem

3. Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites - 225 Derby St. Salem

4. The Salem Inn - 7 Summer St. Salem

5. Northey St. House - 30 Northey St. Salem

6. Clipper Ship Inn - 40 Bridge St. Salem

7. Boston Marriott - 84 Centennial Dr. Peabody, MA - 5.5 miles from Essex St. in Salem

8. Harborlight Inn - 58 Washington St. Marblehead, MA 4.3 miles from Essex St. in Salem

9. Wylie Inn & Conference Center - 295 Hale St. Beverly, MA 3.9 miles from Essex St. in Salem


There are so many amazing places to eat in Salem and in the surrounding towns. We’re going to list a few of our personal favorites. These offer a range or budgets, and types of food!

1. Turner’s Seafood @ Lyceum Hall - 43 Church St. Salem $$$ (amazing seafood in a historic & some say haunted building)

Just down the street from the Salem Haunted Magic Show is the best seafood in Salem!
Turners Seafood

2. Opus - 87 Washington St. Salem $$ / $$$ (small plates & sushi & great drinks!)

3. Flying Saucer Pizza - 118 Washington St. Salem $ (probably the best pizza in Salem! Get the garlic knots as well!)

4. Rockafellas - 231 Essex St. Salem - $$ (classic American with constant live entertainment!)

5. The Village Tavern - 168 Essex St. Salem $ / $$ (Our favorite comfort food in the city and now they have a games room!)

6. Red’s Sandwich Shop - 15 Central St. Salem $ (quick, inexpensive and delicious. Don’t pass it up when you’re looking for lunch!)

7. Finz - 76 Wharf St. Salem - $$$ (another fabulous Salem seafood staple. Located right on the water! Great views, great people, and Great food!!)

8. Scratch Kitchen - 245 Derby St. - $$/ $$$ (literally from Scratch! Get the bacon dusted fries! You’ll thank us later.)

9. Nathaniels - 18 Washington Sq W. Salem - $$$ (located in the Hawthorne hotel - elegant New England meals!)

10. Front Street Coffehouse - 20 Front St. Salem - $ (awesome coffee, snacks and teas. Our morning ritual!)

the salem tour company with salem's best live tours
Front Street Coffee House

11. Jaho Coffee Roaster & Wine Bar - 197 Derby St. Salem - $$ (coffee yes, but we love the huge variety of craft and artisan beers! Pumpkinhead is a fav!)

12. Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub - 300 Derby St. Salem $$ (great drinks, & simple delicious lunch and dinner meals!)

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