Salem is best experienced, in my opinion, over the course of a few days. Having a night or two stay over in the witch city makes it easier to get in everything you wanted to see and allows you to plan a nicer visit. However, I know that isn’t always possible. Sometimes it’s for financial reasons, sometimes timing with work, etc. We can’t all visit for more than a day and I have received many messages along those lines asking how to cram the most in. So here we go, for today’s blog post: how to cram as much Salem as possible into one day. I hope this is helpful!
Keep in mind, these are just my suggestions. Someone else might give you a completely different list of “must-see” items and send you on a very different route. This is purely personal opinion and is subjective. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular attraction or business, I’d strongly suggest calling ahead to check hours and availability. Some attractions are seasonal or might keep off hours when it’s not peak season through the fall.
So here we go…
Park in the lot behind the Witch City Mall, the one on Church street.
Stop into Fountain Place or The Ugly Mug Diner for a breakfast sandwich to go. Eat this while you walk to save some time. There are tons of awesome breakfast places in Salem, but if you only have a few hours, getting breakfast to go will help.
Stop for a quick picture at the Samantha Statue. You can find her at the intersection of Essex street and Washington street in front of Lappin Park.
Related: My top five Instagrammable places in Salem, MA ; The most Instagrammable places in Salem, MA — Part II
Begin walking down Essex street and hit any shops along the way that catch your attention. I’d suggest Wicked Good Books, Wynott’s Wands and The Coven’s Cottage.
Once you’ve made it to the little intersection where the Salem Visitor’s Center is, pop into Brew Box for some coffee and then hop onto the Salem Trolley. There are usually Trolley workers in the grassy area/Armory Park area next to the Visitor’s Center who can sell you a ticket and you can hop on board right there. The Trolley is a good option because it is only an hour long and takes you around to many popular places in Salem. This includes the Ropes Mansion which was a filming location in the movie Hocus Pocus, The Witch House, the wharf, the historic (and gorgeous!) Mcintire District and more. Once the tour is over, you’ll be dropped back off in the same place, the intersection by the Visitor’s Center.
Related: The one Salem, MA attraction that I recommend every time
Continue walking down towards the intersection of Essex street and Hawthorne boulevard, the same way down Essex you were going before the trolley ride. If you’re interested in wandering the Salem Common (which is a large park), go to the left, it’s on the other side of the Hawthorne Hotel (which is the huge hotel you’re seeing at that intersection). If you don’t want to go to the Salem Common, consider checking out Artemisia Botanicals which is the shop to the right. Their loose herb selection is one of my favorites ever. Once you’re done in there, walk down towards the water, towards Derby street. Once you’re at the intersection of Hawthorne and Derby, go left towards the wharf.
The wharf is home to some really good restaurants, so grabbing some lunch in this area could be a good call. I’d suggest a burger at Brodie’s Seaport!
At the wharf, a walk up to the lighthouse at the end is always nice. You can also tour the Friendship if you’re into all things nautical or hop on board the Schooner Fame if you have time.
If you’re not in the mood for that, I’d suggest you continue on down Derby towards the House of the Seven Gables. This is one of my favorite spots in Salem, I’ve been on the tour many times and have never regretted it. The grounds are gorgeous and I also really like their gift shop.
Across the street from the House of the Seven Gables is Ye Old Pepper Companie. They’re an old fashioned candy shop, so be sure to stop in for a sugar fix.
Once you’ve sufficiently suggared up, walk back the way you came, this time past Hawthorne boulevard and continue on, towards Salem’s Witch Village. Up the alley way that is Witch Village, past the shops and attractions is the Old Burying Point which has a nice memorial for the witch trials. This little spot is always worth a stop.
Once done there, you can actually cut through the gardens on the walk way behind the Peabody Essex Museum which is to the right of the burying point (if you’re facing it from the entrance in the Witch Village) and that will cut you right back onto Essex Street.
From this location, you’re a short walk back to the car in the lot behind the mall.
If you’re tired and need a little caffeine hit or a snack before wrapping it up, walk towards the Hawthorne Hotel again and past it (hotel on your left) to Jolie Tea Co. Their teas are delicious and I love their chocolate chip cookies.
Bonus stops if you have time: The Peabody Essex Museum, Artists’ Row, drinks at Olde Main Street Pub or The Roof (atop the Hotel Salem), cookies from Goodnight Fatty.
I hope this helps! Feel free to comment with your own suggestions below. Enjoy!! <3