Our 10 Best Things To Do In Salem, Massachusetts article takes a look at a city that is well known for its history of witch trials in the 17th Century. Whether one has learned the history of Salem from Arthur Miller’s famous book The Crucible or the various movies and television shows on the subject, or just basically remembers simple high school social studies, a trip to Salem Massachusetts is often anticipated with various degrees of curiosity over a place that basically put many women to death just based on accusations. When you think of it from that very realistic and true point of view, it should alter the reasons for visiting such a place. Nonetheless, most people visit Salem Massachusetts sold on sort of a Halloween adventure never really understanding what really happened there. Of course, there are places to visit that will really explain the accurate history, but its juxtaposed against a background of a city that even places cartoonish witch decal’s on buses, police cars and all town buildings. But don’t despair, this history teacher is going to recommend the 10 best things to do in Salem, Massachusetts that will help turn your vacation into not just a fun one, but an educational one too ….for the entire family!
# 10 – Salem Witch Trials Memorial
This is the place to start your trip to Salem Massachusetts. Its an instant reminder of the real reasons this city has become so famous over the years. At the memorial are the names of all the women that were put to death after being accused of being witches. Many of these accusations were based on jealousy and greed of other town people. Its a fascinating, sad and scary story. Now of course there are many that believe Salem is haunted because of these women. Whatever your beliefs are, starting you visit at the Salem Witch Trails Memorial is a place to see the truth.
# 9 – Peabody Essex Museum
Continuing with our 10 Best Things to do in Salem Massachusetts is our recommendation to visit the Peabody Essex Museum. The Peabody Essex Museum is among one of the highest-ranking museums in the United States. This is a fabulous museum which was opened in 1992 by combining multiple museums and institutes into one. Many of Salem’s most oldest institutes, societies and museums were combined to form the Peabody Essex Museum. These included the Peabody Museum of Salem, the Peabody Academy of Science, the East India Marine Society, the Essex Institute, The Essex Historical Society and the Essex County Natural History Society. So I guess you could see, there’s a lot to see at the Peabody Essex Museum.
# 8 – House Of Seven Gables
There is a lot more history to the City of Salem, Massachusetts than just the story of the witch trials. The House of Seven Gables is one of the oldest still standing mansions in the United States. The house was made famous in the year 1851 because of the novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne entitled The House of the Seven Gables. Hawthorne wrote of a the house as if it had it’s own heart. Many people describe that same sense of feeling when entering many of the home’s rooms. Just to experience what Nathaniel Hawthorne felt is well worth the trip. Check out the video below in which the legendary Vincent Price narrates the history of the house.
# 7 – Friendship Of Salem
This museum ship is actually a replica of the 1797 East Indiaman Friendship ship. It s a museum ship that is docked at the National Historic District of Salem. (One of the best places to visit) This was a legendary ship that made many perilous voyages to China, Russia, Europe and South America. The United States lost the original ship to the British who took it during the War of 1812.
# 6 – Derby Wharf Light Station
There’s so much history in Salem, Massachusetts based on the city’s location on the water. And of course all towns and cities that are based along the shore usually always maintain historic lighthouses. The Derby Wharf light station was built all the way back in 1871. The original light house used an oil lamp that shined through a Fresnel lens. That technology is one of the distant past. In the modern world, The Derby Wharf Light House utilizes solar powered light. A Trip to the The Derby Wharf Light House is another step back in time as it’s still the same structure built in 1871. But it’s not just the structure of the lighthouse, it’s also the area surrounding it that just feels so historic.
# 5 -Witch Museum
Inevitably, any one who visits Salem Massachusetts will end up at the Witch Museum. There are many wax figures inside this Museum that depict the witch trials and the hangings. I never really liked wax figures they just sort of creep me out. This place is the Pinnacle of creepiness from that perspective. The museum tries to do justice to the history of the witch trials while also being somewhat entertaining at the same time.
# 4 – Crow Haven Corner
If you like buying souvenirs, browsing through many strange items, and embracing psychic readings and casting spells than Crow Haven corner is the a place for you. The video below is a must see and will do more justice to anything that I could write here. You’ll see what I mean.
# 3 – Hocus Pocus Locations -The Roast House / Old Town Hall
Fans of the move Hocus Pocus that starred Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker will want to visit these Salem Locations as part of your things to do in Salem Massachusetts list. Two of the the three locations used in the film are available for public viewing. The Roast House and Town Hall may be vied by the public although there are fees. The third location the Max Dennison House is a private house and visitors should resect the homeowners privacy. Still, for movie buffs these are great locations to visit while in Salem Massachusetts.
# 2 – Salem Ghost Tours
There are many people who love ghost tours especially evening ghost tours at night. Almost every city has one. However if you are going to choose a city to take a ghost tour there is probably no better city besides London (The Jack The Ripper Tours are amazing) than Salem Massachusetts to book one. However, if cemeterys creep you out at nights, you might want to skip this one. And of course, Salem ghost tours are always led by a woman dressed up as a witch.
# 1 – Enjoy The Seafood
Salem Massachusetts is a Northeastern United States coastal city. And like all Northeastern coastal cities along the United States such as Boston, Bar Harbor, Maine, New York City and many more, what they all have in common is great Seafood. There are two places we recommend for great Seafood in Salem, Massachusetts. The first up would be the legendary Turner’s Seafood. That would be followed by a great favorite called The Lobster Shanty. You can’t go wrong at either of these two places.
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