Salem, Massachusetts has become synonymous with the infamous witch trials that took place there over three hundred years ago. The city has somewhat embraced its sordid past, and it has become a haven for all things witchy, making it the perfect spot to visit in the fall, especially in October as Halloween nears. We’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Salem this fall. Put on your favorite tall boots, chunky sweater, scarf, and get ready to experience the quintessential New England fall trip.
Salem Witch Museum
See what Salem is all about by visiting the Salem Witch Museum. Discover the history of the Salem Witch Trials, as well as the “evolution of the image of the witch over time” as you walk through the exhibits. The museum is rather sensationalized, yet is a fun way to learn about the history of the city.
The only remaining Salem structure with direct ties to the witch trials of 1692, the Witch House was home to Jonathan Corwin, one of the trial’s examiners. Visitors get a glimpse of what every day life was like during the late seventeenth century, as well learn more about the trials.
House of Seven Gables
Visit the house that inspired Nathanial Hawthorne to write his novel of the same name. The House of Seven Gables is rich with history, was built in 1668 for Captain John Turner I, and was eventually occupied by Hawthorne’s cousin, whom the author visited frequently, inspiring him to write the famous novel. Climb a hidden staircase, learn some history, and of course, buy a few trinkets at the gift shop!
It should be no surprise that Salem is filled with amazing shops to fit all of your witchy needs—all perfect for Halloween (and for every day items!) Get a wand at Wynott’s Wands, visit Salem’s oldest witch shop, Crow Haven Corner, where you can stock up on crystals, spell kits, books, and even crystal balls. If you are looking for something a little less kitschy, but still within the “witchy” side, try HausWitch Home + Healing, which is a “modern metaphysical lifestyle brand and shop.” Stock up on all things Tibetan at Tibetan Arts and Healing, which has a wide variety of singing bowls and other ancient healing items.
Tours of Salem
There are several different tours to choose from when you are in Salem, some catering to specific topics that may interest you. For those who like to be spooked, try the History and Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour, or the Salem Voodoo, Vampires and Ghosts Walking Tour. If you are not looking to get spooked, the Salem Witch Trials Historical Walking Tour probably more your speed. For Hocus Pocus fans, you’ll want to go on the Hocus Pocus Movie Locations Tour, to see some familiar spots of the cult classic.
Salem Witch Trials Memorial
For a more reflective way to pay your respects to those who lost their lives during the witch trials, visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. Simply walk around the park, reading the names of victims, or have a seat on one of the twenty benches, each representing a person killed.
Old Burying Point Cemetery
Located directly behind the Witch Trials Memorial, the Old Burying Point Cemetery is the final resting spot for many notable Salem residents, and is the oldest cemetery in Salem. Visit the graves of notable witch trial participants like John Hathorne and Bartholomew Gedney.
The Halloween Museum won’t take you too long to get through, but it is perfect for anyone who loves all things Halloween! The entire museum is decorated with Day Glow Paint and uses blacklights, and every guest gets 3-D glasses to wear to enhance their experience. If 3-D isn’t your thing, don’t worry, you can still enjoy the exhibits without the glasses!
Gallows Hill Museum
If you are ready to be spooked, try the Gallows Hill Museum. Most shows and exhibits run only in the month of October (and a few days in late September), making it a truly Halloween experience. Explore the Lost Museum, which is an underground, interactive haunted adventure the entire family can enjoy! See Salem in a different light with the Ghosts and Legends Trolley tour, or participate in Guilty! A Salem Witch Trial, where the audience is on trial for witchcraft. No matter what you choose, Gallows Hill will give you just what you are looking for this Halloween.
You almost can’t visit Salem without getting a psychic reading. Salem has long been a gathering ground for psychics, and you likely will not be disappointed when you get a reading! Several of the stores along Essex Street offer psychic readings, but you should do your research before choosing a reading. Some top reviews include Kelly Spangler at Omen, readings at the Coven’s Cottage, and Magika- Chapel of Archangel Michael.
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