things to do in salem, october 2021 in salem ma

Hi everyone! Happy Monday and welcome back to the blog. For today I wanted to touch on a few things to keep in mind if you’re visiting us this month. We have been seeing insane crowds already so the following may help you make the most of your visit.

Book directly

This is a big one that I don’t see mentioned nearly enough. If you are browsing TripAdvisor or another similar website and find an attraction you want to book, click over to that company’s website and book it directly through them. Websites like TripAdvisor take a percentage of the sale. By booking right through the website of the attraction/tour/etc., you’re keeping more money in their hands and in Salem.

Not all walking tours are created equally

If you’re going to book a walking tour, make sure it’s a business that is based in Salem and licensed by the city of Salem. There are unfortunately companies not even from the area that are popping up overnight and trying to cash in while they can. Pick a company from Salem itself so you know the tour will be of good quality and your money will be supporting Salem. Not a fly-by-night company or app with incorrect history, etc.

They’re heeeeeeeeere

Crowds are already insane, guys. Weekends are packed already, Halloween weekend is going to be bonkers. Have patience, book everything ahead if you haven’t already and prepare for waits.

Grab your fall guide

My fall 2021 guide is available right here in the shop on my website and is an instant digital download. Plan your heart out and get information on the most commonly asked questions I get about visiting Salem all in one place.

Tip outrageously

Last Saturday while I was sitting in O’neill’s waiting for my lunch¬† I overheard my waitress talking about a customer who had just screamed in her face and sworn at her, flipping out because his meal was taking a minute to be prepared. I have also seen a post floating around social media from a local restaurant where a tourist didn’t tip at all and wrote profanity on the receipt for the server. HAVE PATIENCE AND TIP OUTRAGEOUSLY IF YOU ARE ABLE TO. There is already a shortage of workers in food service and the crowding is making this way harder. Even if you experience less than great service or have to wait a long time, have empathy. Your server only has two hands and is likely being run into the ground.

Book ahead and make reservations

I have been saying this for the last like six years. Book everything ahead and make reservations. Most restaurants are already on wait times over an hour by the late morning/early afternoon. Walking tours are booked up. Don’t expect to be able to just show up and walk into a restaurant or grab last minute tickets to attractions. This applies 100x over to this year. (See above comments about crowding.)

fall 2021 guide to salem ma

Download the Salem app

Destination Salem has an app which is super helpful for planning and also gives you alerts regarding parking. Visit the app store on your phone and download it before you visit for real time updates and info.

COVID-19 guidelines

The city of Salem DOES have guidelines and restrictions in place regarding COVID-19. Keep up to date with both the city of Salem and the state of Massachusetts for updates as you approach your travel dates as things may change.

Parking in Salem

If you’re going to drive into Salem, parking can be tricky. Get into the city early to land a spot if you are bringing the car. I’d highly suggest taking public transportation or utilize the October shuttle. Traffic and parking are already bonkers.

Tipping is for the buskers, too.

We all love Salem’s buskers. Seeing them in full costume on the streets is so much fun and they bring a very unique and magical element to the city. If you take pictures with them, be sure to tip! Most of them have a bucket or something for cash and a bunch have Cash App or Venmo handles as well. Please keep them in mind!

Now for some rapid fire Q&A…

My Facebook group sees a TON of the same questions asked over and over. Here are a few answers to the common ones.

  • Do people dress up all month long?
  • Are the buskers/street performers out every day?
    No. Check the social media accounts of the busker you’re trying to find to determine when and where they will be.
  • Are there any good mediums/psychics/tarot readers in Salem?
    Yes, tons. The most common recommendations I see are readers at Hex, Omen and Pentagram.
  • What hotel is close to all of the action and good to stay at?
    I always suggest the Hawthorne. More options for you can be found here.
  • Is Salem dog friendly?
    Generally, yes.
  • Why can’t I get tickets for the Witch House?
    Tickets are available day of, not in advance.
  • Help, I can’t figure out the trains!
    Try this tool here.
  • Is there still stuff to do on the weekdays?
    Yes, however most larger events and happenings are on the weekends.
  • Is it less crowded on the weekdays?
    Much less, yes.
  • Do tattoo shops allow walk ins in October? Can I get a last minute tattoo in Salem?
    Most shops are pretty booked out however you’d need to check with the shop you want to use directly.

I hope this helps. Stay safe everyone and have fun. <3

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fall 2021 guide to salem ma