To most people who have the pleasure of driving through Salem, Massachusetts it seems like a quaint little seaside New England village. But, for those in the know, Salem has some of the most fascinating (and spooky) history in the country.

Salem was settled in the mid 1600s and is probably best known as being the site of the infamous Salem Witch Trials, where women who were accused of being witches were burned at the stake!

Because of the history of Salem, this beautiful former bustling merchant trade town has a ton of spooky and scary history that is ripe for exploring.

Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts

If you love all things Halloween, then Salem is a bucket list hotspot. Known as “Halloween City” the area is chock full of special parades, dinners and events that are offered in the days leading up to the end of October.

To sample the best of Halloween in Salem, try your best costume and head to the Official Witches Halloween Ball, get spooked at Count Orlock’s Nightmare Gallery, or wander the Old Burying Point Cemetery. Go all in on the experience, and stay at the Hawthorne Hotel and ask for one of the haunted rooms (reportedly 612 and 325)!

Salem Witches House

Things to Do in Salem, MA

Of course, while Salem relishes its spooky history, there is also a lot of great sites to see in the city as well.

Since practically the beginnings of Salem, there has been a rich maritime history, and any trip to the area should experience some of it. The Salem Maritime National Historic Park is a great start, followed by a little fun at the New England Pirate Museum. Then, head to Pickering Wharf to stroll along the waterfront, take in a few local shops and grab some fresh seafood.

Finally, for the history buffs out there, the two must see sights in Salem have to be The House of Seven Gables, which inspired the book of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Peabody Essex Museum is another favorite, showcasing rotating exhibitions that goes from avant garde art to New England History.

It’s pretty easy to see that Salem has it all. It’s a perfect spot to spend a few days exploring, or if you are short on time, it’s a quick drive from Boston. If you don’t have a car available, take the Commuter Rail straight from downtown, or during the summer and fall take a scenic ferry!