Welcome to Salem
A hip and historic enclave with a bustling downtown and iconic sights
Just outside Boston sits the picturesque town of Salem, an artistic, hip enclave full of stunning ocean vistas, first-class restaurants, and a charming waterfront village. Although Salem is perhaps best known for the infamous witch trials of 1692, the town has not only reclaimed its past in tribute to the women of that time, it has also been a bastion of industry and enterprise. Nathaniel Hawthorne lived and wrote here and that legacy of creative energy lives on today, as Salem embraces its thriving artist community.
A major seaport and center for trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, Salem boasted some of the first millionaires in the country – and their sprawling mansions. Today, those stunning styles and magnificent estates pepper the town, lending an air of historic elegance. The architecture in Salem is both spectacular and significant, with designs ranging from the 17th century First Period style, like Hawthorne’s famed House of the Seven Gables, stately Georgian designs, the classic Federal style, and the elegant Colonial Revival. Strolling the streets of Salem is a lesson in beauty, as well as historic architecture, with meticulously restored mansions, ivy-covered brick walls, and pristine landscaping.
What to Love
- Miles of rugged coastline
- Eclectic and creative vibe
- Rich history and culture
- Stunning historic homes
- Kitschy festivals and celebrations
People & Lifestyle
Salem’s residents are artistic, creative, and well-educated. The art and small business scene is thriving here, while nearby Salem State University makes Salem a perfect home for professors, students, and their families. Full of wild beauty and breathtaking views, picturesque Salem is an idyllic home for those who enjoy morning strolls along the beach. There is an air of mischievousness here, as well, which is fitting as Salem embraces Halloween year-round.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Salem’s artistic spirit and flair for the festive infuse its dynamic restaurant scene. The scratch kitchen at Howling Wolf Taqueria offers classic Mexican flavors and the freshest ingredients available, while the legendary Boston Burger Company is a high-energy bistro known for massive plates and inventive frappes. This local favorite is perfect for a casual dinner with friends or family.
Enjoy breathtaking views of the water while dining on fresh-caught oysters, lemony lobster rolls, and classic New England-style steamed lobster at the award-winning Sea Level Oyster Bar. Known for the finest and freshest seafood, as well as a dynamic cocktail menu and superior hospitality, this local favorite also boasts an outdoor patio for alfresco dining. Salem’s mischievous flair and high energy are on full display at Goodnight Fatty, a late-night pop-up cookie shop. With the most decadent confections in town, this sweet shop will make you feel like a kid again – which is exactly what they aim to do.
Things to Do
Known for creativity and eclectic interests, Salem offers an incredible variety of entertainment for residents, from breathtaking scenery and lush parks to cultural exhibits and, of course, Halloween celebrations. The scenic Salem Willows was named for the European white willow trees planted there in 1801. This year-round park features a seaside promenade, an arcade, a beautiful picnic area, and the best popcorn in New England.
The historic Hawthorne Hotel, with its sumptuous 1920s design, offers an elegant space for dining and relaxing. With crackling fireplaces and a cozy atmosphere, the Hawthorne invites guests to dine at Nathaniel's Restaurant, which serves American fare and an art deco vibe.
Salem’s emotional history is on display at the Salem Witch Museum, which offers an immersive experience and life-sized sets of the infamous trials, as well as art and exhibits.
Salem has reclaimed its witch trial past and turned it into one of the greatest celebrations of inclusivity and diversity in the country. Horror aficionados and those young at heart with delight in the wild ride that is Halloween in Salem. With a full month of celebrations and scares, October in Salem is exciting, deliciously scary, and full of glorious camp. Surrender to the spell of Salem and visit a psychic shop, don your costume and arrive in style at one of the many Halloween parties, wander through a haunted house, or test your courage on a nightly ghost tour. Whether Halloween is your favorite holiday or if you’re just in it for the candy, Salem is sure to entertain and delight in the magical month of October.
Salem is home to Salem State University, which was established in 1854, making it the oldest and largest institute of higher education on the North Shore.