Salem, known as Witch City, is one of those destinations that beckons people with its blend of history, mystery, and charm. When you visit Salem, you feel like you’re stepping back in time. Salem’s streets are lined with historic homes and a captivating history surrounding the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Salem has so much to offer, whether you’re traveling alone, with your family, or with friends, you’ll definitely find something to do in Salem in October.
The city of Salem is the kind of place that really gets you into the spirit of Halloween. The vibrant, welcoming community streets are filled with shops, cafes, and locals who are happy to share their town’s heritage with you. You don’t want to miss out on all of the incredible things to do, so keep reading to see the top things to do in Salem in October!
When to Visit Salem, Massachusetts
The best time to visit Salem is in October when it’s booming with Halloween festivities. During this time, Salem is a storybook that comes to life. There are plenty of spooky festivities going on for all types of travelers to enjoy.
From the gorgeous fall foliage, the rich history, and charming coastal views, Salem is not just a destination – it’s an experience that will leave you wanting to return every year.
Salem sees most of its visitors during October when travelers want to come and learn about the history of the Salem Witch Trials to get into the mood of the Halloween season.
During this time, Salem can be pretty cold with a high of 62° and a low of 45°. So if you’re going during this time of year and plan to spend a lot of time outside, be sure to bring warm clothes and layers!
During the summer months, the weather stays moderate with highs around 83° and lows that reach 63°. This is also a time of year when Salem doesn’t have a bunch of visitors crowding the area for Halloween, so if you want to avoid the crowds, then this is the perfect time for you to visit.
Getting Around Salem, Massachusetts
Thankfully, Salem is a pretty compact town which makes it perfect for exploring on foot. Most of the tourist attractions are only accessible by foot anyways, making walking around the best way to get around Salem.
If you’re the type who likes to get some physical activity in during your vacations, renting a bike and cruising through the cobblestone-filled streets is always an option too.
It’s super popular to visit Salem on some kind of Northeastern USA road trip. If this is the case, you may already have a car with you which would be super helpful as well.
Salem has a trolley service that does a loop around the must-see attractions. Depending on how busy it is, sometimes you can just hop on and off at your own leisure, but you can also purchase tickets ahead of time here.
Of course, there is always the option to rent an Uber to get around town, but this might be expensive after a while so be sure to plan around that if that’s what you want to do.
1. Learn about Salem on a walking tour.
A walking tour is one of the best things to do in Salem to step back in time and learn about the mysterious history of Salem. The famous witch trials that took place in 1962 put Salem on the map, and now the town is brimming with history and ghostly legends. So whether you’re a history buff, a ghost hunter, or just love a good time, a Salem walking tour is a perfect thing to do this October.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn about 400 years of history while you marvel at the old architecture. There are many captivating stories of the infamous Salem Witch Trials to hear. Some of the most famous sights you’ll see are the Witch Trials Memorial, Witch House, and Ropes Mansion. A nighttime walking tour would be perfect for those who want to make it a little more interesting and add in some extra thrill.
2. Visit the famous Hocus Pocus movie locations in Salem.
If you’re anything like me, then you may rewatch the Hocus Pocus movies every Halloween (who doesn’t?!). There’s no better way to get into the spooky spirit in Salem than to take a tour of the Hocus Pocus movie locations.
You’ll recognize some of the famous scenes in the movie, like the Pioneer Village, Ropes Mansion, and Dennison’s House. Of course, there will be opportunities to learn about the famous Salem Witch Trials and more local history from an experienced tour guide. This guided tour is popular, so be sure to book ahead so you don’t miss your chance.
3. Witness Salem’s dark past at the Salem Witch Museum.
There is no better place to learn about the famous Salem Witch Trials than to visit the Salem Witch Museum! This museum is one of Salem’s biggest attractions. Here, you’ll learn about all of the fascinating history of witch trials that have taken place all over the world during different time frames.
One of the cool things about this museum is that you’ll be able to visit 13 life-size stage sets complete with dramatic lighting and narration. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about why the word “witch” caused such mass fear and hysteria during 1692.
On their website, they recommend getting reservations during their peak season in October. If you go during that time, expect larger crowds and longer wait times. Below is a list of the Salem Witch Museum hours, ticket prices, and souvenirs.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Sometimes in October, they stay open for longer, so you may want to check on that during your visit.
Cost: Adult ($17.50), Senior Citizen 62+ ($16.00), Children 3-14 ($14.50)
4. Take a stroll around Salem’s Pioneer Village.
You can’t visit Salem, Massachusetts without touring the Salem Pioneer Village. The village is America’s first living history museum. Built to mark the 300th year of Massachusetts, it still contains original colonial architecture.
At the Salem Pioneer Village, you’ll explore thatched roof cottages, Governor’s Faire House, and culinary and medicinal gardens that give an indication of what early colonial life resembled. If you’re a history buff, this is definitely one of the top things to do in Salem during the fall season.
Opening Hours: Saturdays & Sundays from 12 PM – 4 PM from June 10 – October 29
Cost: $5 per person
5. Visit the famous Salem Witch House.
The Witch House is one of the most famous tourist spots in Salem during October. The house belonged to the Corwin family back in 1675 and later in 1692, the Corwin family would play a part in the famous Witch Hunt.
If you’re interested in digging deeper into the architecture, furniture, and family life during colonial times, you’re going to want to visit the Witch House. You’ll be able to gain a deeper understanding of the Salem Witch Trials by learning the latest research on how the trials began, what happened during the trials, and what brought the trials to an end.
Just like most of Salem’s attractions, the peak season for visiting the Witch House is during Halloween, so be sure to reserve your tickets to ensure that you get a chance to visit. You don’t want to miss your chance, because this is one of the top things to do in Salem in October.
6. Go on a ghost tour, where the past comes to life after dark.
If you’re interested in the sinister history of Salem, then a nighttime ghost tour is perfect for you. When the sun goes down, get ready to walk through what is considered one of America’s most haunted places.
The licensed guide will take you through dimly lit streets and share with you stories of the witchcraft, murder, and chaos that took place in 17th-century Salem. Many people claim that the spirits still lurk within Salem’s historic homes and graveyards. It’ll be up to you to find out!
This is a top-rated tour and sells out fast, so I recommend booking your tickets in advance so that you don’t miss out on this spooky opportunity.
7. Marvel as nature’s masterpiece unfolds in Salem’s fall foliage.
New England is one of the most spectacular places to experience the gorgeous, intense colors of fall. There’s nothing better than the warm feelings of comfort and optimism that fall foliage brings out in everybody.
Salem is the perfect place to go for foliage peeping during the fall. The peak season is in October, with the most vibrant oranges and reds coming out in mid-October. If you’re visiting during that time, be on the lookout for some of these amazing views!
8. Tour the private residence of The Daniel’s House.
The Daniel’s House is easily one of the oldest houses in Salem, Massachusetts. Visiting the Daniel’s House is one of the best things to do in Salem. Built in the late 1600s, the house is now one of Salem’s most historic sites.
When you visit the house, take note of the detailed interior. Occupied by shipbuilders and carpenters, the house has intricate features of many generations.
The Daniel’s House has also had reports of being a haunted house, so visit at your own risk. There are definitely spooky vibes, but it’s definitely worth a visit regardless!
9. Reflect on Salem’s History at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a special location in Salem. It’s been determined that this location, Proctor’s Ledge, is where innocent people were executed during the tragic events of 1692.
The memorial itself is made with a stone wall featuring engravings of the names of each victim. This is one of the best places to visit if you want to pay your respects to those ones who came before you. Depending on the time of year and what seasonal events are going on, the memorial can get crowded, so plan your visit accordingly.
10. Be captivated by the magic of the Bewitched Statue.
The Bewitched Statue has become a legendary Salem landmark. It pays tribute to the famous TV sitcom “Bewitched,” which filmed its last season right in Salem.
If you’re a fan of the show, be sure to stop by and get a picture of the statue. This is a great place to visit in Salem in October to get your trip started and put yourself in the mood for spooky season!
11. Unearth the cultural treasures of the Peabody Essex Museum.
The Peabody Essex Museum has a lot of artistic and cultural creativity. They’re committed to offering a culturally rich environment that engages the mind. Every exhibit is unique to itself and is meant to stimulate conversation.
Their hours of operation are Thursday through Monday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and kids 16 and younger are able to get in for free. After your visit to the museum, consider taking a short walk down Essex Street. Made of historic cobblestone, this street has dozens of attractions, museums, shops, restaurants, cafes, and more.
12. Visit the Witch Dungeon Museum.
The Witch Dungeon Museum has to be one of the coolest attractions in Salem. The setting is Salem Village in 1962 and you‘re going to get to experience the Salem Witch Trials in a unique way. With the purchase of a ticket, you’ll be able to enjoy a performance of a witch trial, complete with historical transcripts.
The Witch Dungeon Museum is open April through November from 10 AM – 5 PM. During October, they have extended hours. This is a great place to go if you want to learn about the Salem Witch Trials, so don’t miss your opportunity to visit this attraction.
13. Enjoy the Haunted Happenings throughout the month.
During the month of October, Salem comes alive with the spirit of Halloween! All of the haunted happenings are a reminder of the town’s eerie history. You’ll explore the historic streets and admire all of the whimsical decorations.
The community of Salem welcomes travelers from all over to join in on the Halloween festivities. Getting to know the locals, hearing their personal stories, and enjoying their events are some of the best things to do in Salem during the Halloween season.
You can enjoy activities like magic shows, Halloween festivals, role-playing events, plays, pumpkin harvests, street performers, and more!
14. Embrace the enchantment of Salem Common.
Known as the heart of Salem, the Salem Common is one of the best things to do during your visit to Salem. If you’re looking to have a relaxing picnic or a walk, then you can’t miss your opportunity to visit this public park. It’s a beautiful 8-acre park that has been the heart and soul of Salem since the 17th century.
As the seasons change, you’ll witness gorgeous blooming flowers and fall foliage all around the park. Visiting the Salem Common is the best way to be a part of special events that the town is hosting. If you go on the right day, you might experience some live music or community festivities!
15. Discover the secrets beneath the ancient tombstones at Old Burying Point Cemetery in Salem.
Old Burying Point Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Salem and one of the oldest in the United States. This cemetery is of historical significance because it has endured the dark legacy of Salem’s past. Plenty of Salem’s significant historical names lay eternally there at Old Burying Point Cemetery.
The gravestone styles of this cemetery are elaborate with intricate details of colonial-era art. Like many old cemeteries, Old Burying Point has legends and ghost stories attached to it. Many visitors have reported experiencing paranormal activity here.
Touring Old Buring Point Cemetery is one of the best things to do in Salem if you want to learn more about those buried there and the history of Salem.
16. Marvel at the beautiful seaside port while visiting the House of Seven Gables.
The House of the Seven Gables was built in 1668 on Salem’s Harbor. It’s now recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its historical significance and literary connections.
When you visit, you can explore the gorgeous mansion and its beautiful seaside setting. The house is filled with furniture and artifacts from different periods of time, as different owners have occupied the home and decorated it to their own taste.
If you’re interested in visiting, the House of 7 Gables is open daily from 10 AM – 6 PM. The tickets are priced differently depending on when you’re visiting, so be sure to check if this is an activity you want to do.
17. Challenge yourself to stay somewhere haunted during the Halloween season in Salem.
You can’t go to Salem without wanting to explore something at least a little bit spooky, and there’s no better way to experience that than to stay somewhere that is notoriously haunted. Salem has a mysterious past, so staying somewhere haunted is one of the best things to do in Salem in October.
Salem Inn has had reports of paranormal activity even before it opened to the public. After it opened, guests and staff reported having strange occurrences. If you’re seeking a little thrill during you’re time in Salem, consider staying at the Salem Inn.
Guests of The Daniels House Inn have also reported paranormal activity during their stay there. Staff and visitors report seeing a man in black Puritan attire. If you stay there and you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get to see the phantom yourself!
Guests have deemed the Hawthorne Hotel as another allegedly haunted hotel in Salem. Visitors report strange activity in rooms 325 and 612. Apparently, there is a ghostly woman walking around in the halls. In 2007, Ghost Hunters featured the Hawthorne Hotel on their show. If you’re brave, spend a few nights there and see what you might be able to experience.
18. Step into Salem’s spellbinding world of Halloween Decorations.
When October rolls around in Salem, it’s no surprise to see this charming town transform into a mysterious delight. Consider spending an evening walking around enjoying all of the pumpkin lanterns, cobwebs, skeletons, spooky storefront displays, local costumes, and more. Don’t miss out on exploring this delightful haunted haven!
19. Get a psychic reading at Crow Haven Corner.
Crow Haven Corner is a charming local shop located in the heart of Salem. When you enter, you’ll get to explore a bunch of potions, crystals, and spell books. The ladies who own the place are just as enchanting as the shop itself and are ready to greet all of their visitors.
If you’re interested in psychic readings, you’ll be able to do this at Crow Haven Corner. The psychic specializes in Tarot cards, palmistry, and mediumship.
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Maddie is the traveler behind A One Way Ticket. She has been traveling internationally for over 10 years and has visited 75+ countries on 6 continents. In addition to traveling herself, she’s been helping others plan their own travel for 6+ years. Maddie eats, sleeps, and breathes travel and loves to help others discover that same wanderlust!