Last updated 4/3/2022. Please note this blog post may contain affiliate links. To read more about that, click here.
Here it is you guys!!! My first timer’s guide to planning a trip to Salem, MA. I decided to break up common themes into categories and share links and posts to help you sort it out! Feel free to click through the everything below to check out all of the content I have written and enjoy!! <3
Let’s be friends
I post regularly on my website, Facebook and Instagram. I also send a weekly newsletter out every Sunday based around varying topics. In addition to that, you can ask questions in my FB group, plan, share resources and more, so feel free to join in with me in the following places:
- Facebook: @thingstodoinsalem
- Facebook group: Things to do in Salem
- Instagram: @thingstodoinsalem
- Pinterest: @thingstodoinsalem
- Twitter: @witchcityguide
- Newsletter sign up: Click here (<– Sign up for my newsletter and receive a discount on one of my guides!)
Get your guides to Salem
- Salem’s Other Seasons – The spring, summer and winter guide
- Things to do in Salem – The fall guide
- Countdown to Salem – The workbook
Hotels and accommodations
|Amelia Payson House|
16 Winter Street Salem, MA 01970
|The Hotel Salem
209 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970
|Clipper Ship Inn|
40 Bridge Street Salem, MA 01970
148 Washington Street Salem, MA 01970
|Coach House Inn|
284 Lafayette Street Salem, MA 01970
|The Morning Glory
22 Hardy Street Salem, MA 01970
11 Dodge Street Street Salem, MA 01970
|The Salem Inn
7 Summer St. Salem, MA 01970
|Northey Street House|
30 Northey Street Salem, MA 01970
|The Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites
225 Derby Street Salem, MA 01970
|The Daniels House|
1 Daniels Street Street Salem, MA 01970
|The Stepping Stone Inn
19 Washington Square Salem, MA 01970
|The Hawthorne Hotel |
18 Washington Square West Salem, MA 01970
- The best hotels to book in Salem, MA — My top three picks
- Which Salem, MA hotels have parking?
- Five tips on choosing your hotel in Salem, MA
- Booking a last minute hotel room in Salem in October
- Hotels near Boston Logan Airport
- Which hotels in Salem, MA are haunted?
Explore hotel options outside of Salem, MA
- Beverly, MA
- Boston, MA
- Danvers, MA
- Gloucester, MA
- Lynn, MA
- Marblehead, MA
- Peabody, MA
- Rockport, MA
- Saugus, MA
- Swampscott, MA
Parking and travel into Salem
- Which Salem, MA hotels have parking?
- Parking in Salem, MA — Five quick tips if you’re taking the car
- Travel into Salem, MA (general info)
- Getting around Salem, MA without a car
- How to get from Boston, MA to Salem, MA
- Rent a car for your Salem, MA vacation
Visiting Salem with the family
- Is Salem, MA too scary for kids?
- 10 kid friendly activities in Salem, MA
- Tips for bringing kids to Salem, MA
Logistics and planning
- What is the weather like in Salem, MA?
- A few time frames to keep in mind when planning your Salem, MA vacation
- How to take amazing pictures on your visit to Salem, MA
- Five things you should know before visiting Salem, MA for the first time
- How far in advance to book things for your Salem, MA vacation
- Visiting Salem, MA in November
- Should I visit Salem, MA in Sept. or Nov. instead of October?
- How many days do I need to visit Salem, MA?
- Salem, MA bucket list by Season
Visiting Salem in October
- Visiting Salem around Halloween when you’re anxious in crowds
- Ten things to expect during an October visit to Salem, MA
- Safety tips for visiting Salem, MA on Halloween
- 100 things to do in Salem, MA in the fall
- On visiting Salem, MA (especially during October)
- Five places to grab last minute Halloween costume props in Salem, MA
Prepare for crowds
The first thing, which should be obvious, is there are going to be crowds. Lots of them. During the day, the city is bustling, and at night it is slammed. The closer in October you are to Halloween, the more this will intensify. Roads will be closed to vehicles, parking is scarce and there is a lot going on. Don’t let this deter you, but I’d be a fool to not mention it to those who might be a little less okay with massive groups of people.
What to wear
First and foremost is comfy shoes! You’re going to be doing a lot of walking and some of Salem’s streets are uneven brick and tree roots. I’d steer clear of heeled shoes or flip flops just so you don’t get hurt.
Now, if your visit falls over October 31st, I’d absolutely recommend wearing a costume. No, it doesn’t matter how old you are, and yes everyone else will be wearing them too. Believe me, you’ll be in good company. Some of the costumes you see on Halloween are amazing and there are those who spend months putting it together before hand. If you dress up, be sure it’s something you can tolerate wearing for extended periods of time and something that will keep you warm (ish) as October is chilly. If you come into Salem over Halloween and don’t have anything to wear, I’d suggest checking out the Army Barracks for some props to throw something together.
There might be a wait…
If you’re going to be in Salem on or around Halloween, know that restaurants will be crowded and there will likely be waits. Luckily there are tons of restaurants all within walking distance of downtown Salem, so just keep that in mind.
While you are dining somewhere (and hear me out on this one), I’d suggest using the bathroom, even if you don’t need to urgently at that moment. A lot of local businesses won’t allow non-customers access to their restrooms and some businesses have restrooms that are “out of service” in October. Honestly, I can’t blame them, but this is something to keep in mind.
I’d suggest carrying light personal items as you wander (that purse or back pack is going to get heavy over the course of a day) and carry some cash. Some businesses have minimums on credit card purchases or are entirely cash only and if you’re traveling in from out of town by car, you’re going to potentially need money for tolls as well. Don’t forget your camera or cell phone in place of the camera if you prefer because some of the costumes you will see will definitely warrant photos.
Hours and timing
Be aware that not all attractions keep normal hours and some have extended hours during October. If you have your heart set on something, plan and call ahead to ensure it’s doable. Buy tickets ahead of time for anything that you can as well because this will save you time and ensure you’re able to participate.
The last tip I have for you is to book your hotel room early. Some hotels/inns have rate increases or multiple night minimums and can fill up for the October rush months and months in advance, so look around and plan ahead.
Good luck and have fun. There is no place like Salem so enjoy!! <3