...and you've never been to Salem before, here's how to do it.
1. Check in to the accommodations of your choice! Whether you like the personal touch of a B&B, the elegance of a historic hotel or inn, or the modern amenities of a new property, Salem has an option for you. Visit Salem.org for accommodations listings and information.
Park your car and leave it. You don't need it for your visit.
2. Get on a trolley. Don't wait. Do it first. If you've never been here before, you need the complete tour. You may not know that Salem once had more than 40 wharves extending into its harbor, or that we have two light houses, or that there is an amusement park at Salem Willows, or that Chestnut Street was the first planned street in America, or that Roger Conant, whose statue stands in front of the Salem Witch Museum, is not a witch - he founded Salem, or that the name Salem is from the Hebrew Shalom, and it means peace.
You need to take a trolley tour so you can learn these and other facts about Salem, see all of the attractions, museums and sites, and get the lay of the land.
Best part is, your trolley tickets are good all day, so you can use it as a shuttle from site to site.
3. Buy a combo-pass and save some dough. There are three combo passes in town: The Discover Salem Passport, the Land of Witches & Pirates, and the Salem Wax Museum / Witch Village. Each one will gain you entrance to more than one attraction, and each combo pass is completely different.
Your visit can focus on a few themes: Salem Witch Trials, Maritime Heritage, Art & Culture, Architecture, Literary Salem, or combine a little bit of it all and do a Salem Sampler.
4. You're going to get hungry, so make sure to check out the restaurant options - we have 3 restaurants with water views and outdoor seating, we have lots of al fresca dining inland, cuisine that ranges from creative to casual.
5. After dinner, take in a walking tour. Tour options range from history to haunted, so pick the one that works best for you.
Sleep tight, because you'll be tired after all of that exploring and eating!
6. On day 2, eat a hearty breakfast and head out to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. See one or both of the films (there is a free 27 minute film, Where Past is Present at the Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, and a 20 minute film, To the Farthest Ports of the Rich East, at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site Orientation Center), tour the Custom House where Nathaniel Hawthorne Worked. Tour the tall ship Friendship (check that she is in port on the web site, because she is traveling a bit this summer).
Chances are you didn't get to all of the museums you wanted to see on day one, so now is the time to finish up that combination pass, and add to it. There is a full list of attractions and museums on Salem.org.
7. And then it's time to shop for the perfect souvenir. If you haven't already filled your bags in the excellent museum shops, head out to window shop along Pickering Wharf, Front Street, Essex Street, and Derby Street. From spells to soaps, malt balls to witches' balls, t-shirts to travel mugs, there is a keepsake for you!
(By the way - The first souvenir spoons were manufactured and sold in Salem by the Daniel Low Company. They had a flying witch on the handle.)
8. If you did fresh seafood for dinner on the first night, take in one of the fabulous ethnic restaurants on night two - Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Chinese... there is a lot to choose from! After dinner, check out the live music scene at Gulu Gulu Cafe, Rockafellas, or the Lobster Shanty.
Now that you've spent two days and two nights exploring Salem, you're a pro. On your next visit, plan to spend two nights in Salem and take the Salem Ferry into Boston for a day, drive up the coast to Rockport and Gloucester for a day, or travel due North through farmland to the beaches of Ipswich and shopping in Newburyport.
There's so much to do! Start packin'!