Choose from 5 Fun Things to Do in Salem
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The 1692 Salem Witch Trials are an important part of the early history of America. Twenty people were found guilty and executed as part of the infamous Salem Witch Hunt. Today, travelers can visit the Salem Witch Museum to learn more about the historic event. The museum is located across from Salem Common, not far from the Derby Wharf.
The Salem Witch Museum guides visitors through exhibits based on actual trial documents. You’ll have to the opportunity to see and hear how neighbor turned against neighbor during this turbulent time in American history.
There is a second exhibit at the museum, which looks more into the perception of witches today. You can see how the real-life witches exist versus the stereotypes we may be used to seeing, and how witch hunting is still around today. There is also an on-site store where you can purchase items related to the Salem Witch Trials, as well as local handcrafts.
Salem can be reached from Boston via the Salem High-Speed Ferry, or consider visiting as part of a bus tour day-trip. The Salem Witch Museum is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Closing time is 7 PM in July and August, and there are extended hours in October as Halloween approaches.
Address: Salem, Massachusetts, USA
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Closing time is 7 PM in July and August, and there are extended hours in October as Halloween approaches.
From $ 12
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial preserves a moment in history, when 17th-century residents of colonial Massachusetts tried and executed women and men accused of witchcraft. The site, a small grassy area surrounded by stone walls and locust trees, is just one of the many witchcraft hysteria attractions in the historical town of Salem.
Enter the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, a small park, through the stone threshold where the accuseds’ statements of innocence are inscribed. Then feel the palatable history as you rest on one of the 20 granite benches, each inscribed with the victim’s name and date of execution. Designed by Maggie Smith and James Cutler, the memorial is based on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC.
Salem is chockablock with witchery reminders, and guided tours often combine the Salem Witch Trial Memorial with visits to the 1637 Burial Point, downtown Salem, and the Salem Witch Village. Many visitors come as a day trip from Boston, only 30 minutes away, and spend time exploring the town of Salem, which is compact and very walkable.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a must for anyone into witchy, spooky history.
- The memorial does not offer any services but is close to facilities at the Salem Witch Village and the Salem Wax Museum.
- The Salem Village Witchcraft Victims Memorial, distinct from the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) away in Danvers, Massachusetts.
- The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is on Liberty Street between Charter and Derby streets. Many of the town’s historic sites, hotels, and restaurants are within a few blocks. Parking is available for a fee on public streets and in the town’s many parking lots. Direct train service from Boston to Salem is available daily on the Newburyport/Rockport line from North Station.
When to Get There
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is open year-round, and is outside so best to visit when the weather is pleasant. Many nearby attractions have limited (if any) hours in winter, which means fewer lines but cold toes. The town hosts events all year, including events for the new and full moons. October, the season of the witch, brings Halloween, the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball, and many other events in tune with the season.
The Witch Trials, Then and Now
The Salem Witch Trials, held in 1692, began with the hanging of Bridget Bishop at Proctor’s Ledge near Gallows Hill, also in Salem. John Hathorne, the judge of the Salem Witch Trials, died in 1717 and is buried at the Old Burying Point Cemetery next door to the memorial. The witch trials’ tercentenary, celebrated in 1992, featured a dedication speech by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.
Address: Liberty Street, Salem, Massachusetts, USA
From $ 14
A visit to the Salem Witch Village includes a 15-minute guided tour by a practicing witch, who will bring you through an indoor maze in which you can trace the history of witchcraft and the stereotypes surrounding it. If you are wondering why witchcraft is associated with flying broomsticks, black cats, and devil worship, you’ll find out the history in the Salem Witch Village.
The Salem Witch Village tour includes a timeline of the different persecution periods in the history of witches, included the Salem Witch Trials and Burning Times in Europe. You’ll also find out what it means to be a witch today.
After a guided tour, visitors can stop in the Salem Witch Village’s gift shop, complete with authentic Pagan and Wiccan supplies, New England handicrafts, and other souvenirs.
Salem can be reached from Boston via the Salem High-Speed Ferry. You can buy a combined ticket that includes a tour of the Salem Witch Village as well as the Salem Wax Museum. During October, the attractions are especially busy, so it’s advisable to book your tickets in advance.
Address: 282 Rear Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts 0197, USA
From $ 14
Salem Wax Museum is a chance to walk through the history of Salem. The museum features 50 lifelike wax figures made in London, depicting pivotal figures and scenes from the history of Salem.
The Salem Wax Museum includes exhibits surrounding the founding of Salem in 1626, the Salem Witch Hunt and Salem Witch Trials of 1692, as well as the maritime merchant trade and New England piracy of the 18th century. Visitors will get to see such notable figures as the author Nathanial Hawthorne, Tituba, the accused “witch” who sparked the 1692 hysteria, and Colonel John Hawthorne, who presided over the trials.
Aside from the wax galleries, there is an interactive area where you can learn nautical knot tying, do a grave rubbing on a headstone recreated from Salem’s Charter Street Burying Point, and experience what the accused witches went through during their detention during the Witch Hysteria by being locked in a life-size recreated cell.
During October, the Salem Wax Museum is the centerpiece of the Haunted Neighborhood, which also includes the Salem Witch Village and other attractions.
Salem can be reached from Boston via the Salem High-Speed Ferry. You can buy a combined ticket that includes the Salem Wax Museum as well as a tour of the Salem Witch Village. During October, the attractions are especially busy, so it’s advisable to book your tickets in advance.
Address: 288 Derby St, Salem, Massachusetts 01970, USA
From $ 14
Also known as the Charter Street Cemetery, the Old Burying Point of Salem is the second oldest burying ground in the United States. It is estimated to date back to 1637. Victims of the infamous Salem With Trials were convicted nearby to the site. Jonathan Corwin and Jonathan Hawthorne, who were both Salem witch trial judges, are also buried here.
As Salem was once a major shipping port for “the New World,” this cemetery is particularly historic. A Mayflower pilgrim, one of the first to enter the United States, was claimed to be put to rest here. The grave of former governor Samuel Bradstreet can also be found. The old tombstones remain in tact and uniquely carved from the 1600s, presenting a bit of history that has been preserved since that time. A visit is an opportunity to learn about colonial era history, including burial practices and the lives of some of the important figures laid to rest here.
The Old Burying Point cemetery is located on Charter Street in central Salem. It open from dawn to dusk and is free to visit. Visitors are asked to act respectfully.
Address: Charter Street, Salem, Massachusetts, USA
Hours: Dawn to dusk
From $ 12