Five things to know before traveling to Salem Massachusetts

September 1, 2023

You’ve decided to come to Salem Haunted Happenings! Whether Salem is a dream trip you’ve been considering for years or a day trip you’ve decided on a whim, we recommend planning your Witch City journey in advance. Here are five things to know before you arrive:

frankenstein in salem1. How To Get To Salem

There are many different ways to get to Salem, but October being the busiest month of the year often makes traditional transportation inconvenient. Read on for some tips and our recommendations on how to get in and out of the city when visiting this fall.

MBTA Commuter Rail to Salem

One of the easiest forms of transportation in and out of Salem is using the MBTA Commuter Rail. Taking the Newburyport/Rockport line gives you direct access to the city and there are a few great perks to using the train. First, the price of a ticket is much lower than what you’d have to pay at any parking lot. You get to skip all the downtown traffic, and even if you’re coming all the way from North Station in Boston, the entire ride still doesn’t take longer than about 30 minutes. Another bonus is that if you’re staying outside of Salem, you can park your car at any neighboring “T” station and easily take the train downtown.

Salem Ferry from Boston to Salem

The Salem Ferry, which departs out of Boston’s Long Wharf is many visitors’ favorite mode of transportation. In just under an hour, you can get from Boston to Salem by water and enjoy beautiful views of the Atlantic as well as both city skylines. The ferry docks in Salem at 10 Blaney Street which is just a short walk from a variety of popular attractions as well as downtown Salem itself.

Free Satellite Parking and Salem Shuttles

During every weekend in October, take advantage of the satellite parking and Salem shuttles that bring you right into downtown. Park for free at any of the Haunted Happenings satellite parking locations – Salem State University’s O’Keefe Center parking lot, Salem High School, or 108 Jefferson Avenue behind Salem Hospital, and a complimentary shuttle will drive you downtown! The satellite lots offer about 800 extra parking spaces, and the shuttles seamlessly bring you downtown and back to your car.

barrio taco2. Where to Eat in Salem

When visiting Salem in October, you’re in for a fantastic culinary adventure. With a diverse and vibrant food scene that caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences, Salem offers more than enough places to eat during your visit.

The city boasts a rich seafood tradition, so be sure to savor fresh catches from the nearby waters. From succulent lobster rolls to creamy clam chowder, you can try out the flavors of the ocean. For those seeking more variety, Salem also offers international cuisine that includes Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and Thai restaurants, among others.
And, of course, October in Salem wouldn’t be complete without embracing its spooky side. Many eateries embrace the Halloween spirit with themed dishes and cocktails, making for a unique dining experience.

Whether you want a sit-down meal at a restaurant, walk around with a slice of take-out pizza, take dinner back to your hotel or sit at the bar at a pub, you will find whatever you’re looking for in Salem. Enjoy all the restaurants, bars, pubs, food trucks and more that are at your disposal during your visit!

3. Where are the restrooms in Salem?

You can locate restrooms at the South Harbor Garage (9am – 8pm), Central Wharf (10am – 4pm), Salem Regional Visitor Center (10am – 4pm), and Artists’ Row (9am – 8pm). The City also brings in banks of porta-potties for October, which can be found on Derby Street, Salem Common, Hawthorne Boulevard, Lynde Street, and outside the National Park Service visitor center. Pro tip: Use the restroom finder on the Destination Salem app!

4. Know Where To Buy Tickets in Advance

When in Salem, especially during October, there are hundreds of attractions, tours, and more for you to enjoy during your stay. Prior to making the trip to this lovely city, be sure to check whether any activities you want to participate in require tickets to be bought beforehand. Due to the surge of visitors during the fall, many attractions sell out fast, so they recommend you reserve your spot prior to your arrival. Here are a few examples of activities that might require tickets.

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Salem is home to over 20 museums, and oftentimes, you’ll need to buy tickets before to avoid waiting in long lines or being denied entrance if a particular site is booked out. All sorts of walking tours are a popular fall attraction in Salem that also require tickets to be purchased. These can be historical tours or more focused on current events and entertainment, but either way, all walking tours require prior reservations. Should you want to participate in a tour but prefer not to walk, trolley/bus tours are also available for a reasonable price.

For adults and the 21+ community, there are many late-night events that you can purchase admission for. From haunted houses, to ghost tours, as well as food and drink festivals to beer gardens. Such events occur almost every weekend in October and are definitely a huge hit. Make sure to also keep an eye out for live music and outdoor performances.

5. Get The Free Salem App

For more information about tickets and admission, visit the official websites of specific attractions, museums, or event organizers, where you can purchase tickets online. Alternatively, inquire at the Salem Visitor Center, or download the free Destination Salem App for information on various ticket options. Planning ahead and securing admission in advance will ensure a smoother and more enjoyable experience in Salem during this busy season.