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The Best of Salem: A Three Day Itinerary

Explore the must-sees of Salem, MA with this three-day itinerary.

Salem is a magical place. It has beautiful architecture and houses from the start of America all the way up to the present day. 

No doubt Salem’s claim to fame is largely due to the historic witch trials, but the little town is so much more than that.

Besides the rich history, Salem offers numerous restaurants, bars, and cafés. 

If you enjoy the macabre or witchy things this is definitely the place for you. There are plenty of metaphysical shops, psychics, ghost tours and mediums for you to get your fix.

If you are a fashion lover there are several boutiques with adorable and unique clothes.

If you are an art lover, Salem is home to the very first art museum in the United States: the Peabody Essex Museum. 

The quaint town has something for everyone.

After visiting, my boyfriend and I absolutely fell in love with this spooky New England town. So much that I plan to make another visit to Salem at some point in my life.

If you’re visiting Salem on as a first-timer or as a returning visitor I’ve compiled the perfect three-day itinerary for you to see and taste the best parts of Salem. 

Day 1 

Pioneer Village

Head over to the Pioneer Village to get an idea of what life would have been like for the settlers of Salem. 

BONUS: this is a film location for the famous movie Hocus Pocus and was the home of Zachary Binx before he was turned into a cat. 

When we visited it was rainy and the place was quite run down. But our tour guide was awesome and funny so that made up for the dreary weather. 

The Best of Salem: A Three Day Itinerary

The Witch House

This is the only standing structure in the present-day that had any ties with the Salem Witch Trials. The home was owned by Judge Jonathan Corwin who investigated the trials.

The Best of Salem: A Three Day Itinerary

Dinner at Boston Burger, Howling Wolf Taqueria or Red’s Sandwich Shop

We mostly ate at our Airbnb to save money but there were places I wanted to try if we had more time. These include the Boston Burger Company, Red’s Sandwich Shop, and the Howling Wolf Taqueria.

Evening Walking Tour

The Best of Salem: A Three Day Itinerary

Take a walking tour to get acquainted with Salem and an overview of its history. 

I did not want to go on a ghost tour or anything super cheesy or touristy so I booked a tour with Hocus Pocus Walking Tours.

I am so glad I did because our guide Susan and her husband were friendly and courteous. They also provided historic information and insight on more than just the witch trials and gave an overall history of the town. 

Ice cream at Melt

Seriously, the best ice cream ever and it’s homemade!

Day 2

Salem’s Maritime Historic Site

This historic site along the harbor features 8 buildings associated with Salems Maritime history as well as the Friendship of Salem which is a replica tall ship.

The Best of Salem: A Three Day Itinerary

Jaho Coffee & Wine Bar

This was recommended to us by our tour guide at Pioneer Village and he didn’t disappoint!

This is also right next to the Salem Maritime site.

The coffee was great and I picked up a pastry that was delicious! 

BONUS: They have wine…need I say more.

House of Seven Gables

This 17th-century house was made famous from the National Hawthorne novel “The House of the Seven Gables (also conveniently located near the Salem Maritime Historic Site).

The house was built in 1668 for Captain John Turner I, the head of one of the most successful maritime families in the New England colonies

Also on the property are other homes that range from the 17th – 19th centuries. 

Dinner at a Seafood Place

When you are near the sea you have to eat seafood. We ate at Sea Level Oyster Bar and it was good. But we were told by our walking tour guides that Turners is the best seafood in Salem. Next time that is where we will be heading.

Salem Willows Park & Arcade

Head over to Salem’s front park and hit the arcade. This is a decent-sized arcade and the prices were fair. They also have pizza, popcorn and ice cream on-site. 

You can also take a walk through the park and head out to the pier. 

Day 3 

Ugly Mug Diner

This was the BEST BREAKFAST I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE!! Really, I mean it. It was packed so prepare to wait. Also, the coffee was so good I started ordering it and shipping it to my home in Pennsylvania. You can order it from Atomic Coffee here.

Peabody Essex Museum

I have to admit that I did not get a chance to go to the museum when I visited, but I really wanted to! I am an art nerd so this is right up my alley but alas I didn’t have time. 

Walk the Salem Heritage Trail and Do Some Shopping

I like walking and window shopping so between the consistent rain during our stay we did walk through the town a little bit. 

I didn’t get to do as much shopping as I wanted to but I didn’t find a unique top at a boutique that I really like. 

Other Things To Do…That I Didn’t Get Time For

Of course, there are other things I didn’t get to do while I was in Salem besides more food and visiting the Peabody. Hopefully next time I can get to some of these but in the meantime, YOU can check them out on your trip!

Schooner FAME Boat Ride

Take a boat ride on an 1812 pirate schooner replica. Really bummed I missed this one too since I am such a history nerd. 

Ropes Mansion Tour

Another Hocus Pocus film location. This was Allison’s house in the movie. I didn’t make it to the mansion because they have limited tour schedules. 

The Pickering House

If you haven’t guessed by now I really love house tours so this is one I wouldn’t mind checking out.

See a Psychic

I am ashamed to say that while I was in the Witch City I didn’t see a single psychic or Tarot reader. This is one I regret and will not miss if I get another chance. 

The Black Veil Studio of Tattoo & Art

I found this shop on Instagram and was blown away by how talented these artists are! You do have to schedule in advance which is why I didn’t get a chance to get some ink done. 

The Satanic Temple

I know this isn’t for everyone, but if you have an open mind the Satanic Temple has an art gallery and a huge life-size statue of Baphomet that you can sit on for some wicked photo ops

Tourist Trap and Spooky Tacky Attraction Warning

Word to the wise…there were a lot of what I would say tourist traps and cheesy attractions/tours in Salem. In my opinion, there are more tacky tourist traps than legitimate attractions so just because of not wasting money or time on these. 

Let me know what you think of these tops spots in Salem in the comments below.

Till next time,


Visiting Salem, MA
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  • Reply Sarah

    I think you meant Nathaniel Hawthorne. Autocorrected to national Hawthorne.<3

    October 30, 2021 at 11:47 pm
  • Reply Aimee N

    I was super excited to read your article. I have been wanting to take a trip to Salem. With limited time off this sounds just perfect! And skipping the cheesy and touristy traps is exactly what I want to miss. Thank you!

    September 30, 2023 at 3:39 pm
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