Haunted Happenings 2023 FAQs

How do we get to Salem?

Salem is located just 16 miles north of Boston. Find directions to Salem plus information on train and ferry service here. Getting to Salem on busy October weekends is easy with the MBTA Commuter Rail. Take the 30-minute train ride to Salem via the Newburyport/ Rockport lines from Boston North Station. There is also ample parking in and nearby Commuter Rail stations (Beverly) so you can catch the train to Salem from there. Visit mbta.com prior to your visit to confirm schedules and updates.)

Salem Ferry

Where should we park?

We recommend taking the train or ferry to Salem to avoid downtown traffic. Salem is accessible via the MBTA on the Newburyport/Rockport line of the Commuter Rail and the Salem Ferry runs between Long Wharf in Boston and Blaney Street in Salem. You may also want to consider parking at a nearby train station and riding one or two stops into Salem. If you must drive, you can find a list of lots and garages here. Avoid downtown parking and traffic! Use the weekend shuttles which run September 30 – October 1, October 7 – 9, on Indigenous Peoples Day, October 14-15, 21-22, and 28-29 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. between three free satellite parking lots and downtown Salem. More information can be found here.

Destination Salem Visitor Information Center

I’ve never been to Salem before. What should I do? Where should I start?

If you’ve never been to Salem before, we recommend choosing 2-3 attractions per day to visit, in addition to any special events you may be interested in. Purchase tickets in advance for events and tours you’re interested in, and be sure to leave a couple of hours for shopping and lunch (and maybe breakfast and dinner, too.)

What are the must do’s?

It depends what you’re interested in. Stop into the Destination Salem Visitor Information Center to start your trip. The knowledgeable Information Specialists are on site daily from 9am to 5pm to answer all of your Salem, MA questions. If you are most interested in the Salem Witch Trials, you may want to visit the Salem Witch Museum or Witch Dungeon Museum, see Cry Innocent, and stop at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. For modern Witch experiences in Salem, you may want to check out our Witch shops and psychic fairs, and book a reading. For Salem’s spookier side, you could take a ghost tour, walk through a haunted house, or take an evening harbor cruise with Mahi Cruises or Essex Heritage. We recommend starting with the events calendar to see what events are scheduled during your visit and planning your attractionsshops, and restaurants from there.

How long does it take to visit Salem?

Salem is an excellent day trip and an even better overnight stay. Most museums and attractions are 1-2 hour experiences. If there are four sites you want to visit, you can probably do those, with time for lunch, in one day. If you have more than four must do’s on your list, stay overnight to ensure you have plenty of time!

How big is Salem?

Historic Salem’s downtown is just over one mile wide, and almost everything is within a 20-minute walk. The Salem Skipper and Bluebikes are also available downtown.

First Church, Salem MA

What is the weather like in October?

Average temperatures for October are a high of 62 degrees and a low of 45 degrees. Being New England, it could be 75 degrees and sunny or 32 degrees and snowing. Prepare for anything by dressing in layers.

What is the line drawn on the sidewalk?

That is the Salem Heritage Trail! It connects Salem’s historically significant sites and neighborhoods. We recommend following it in conjunction with a map like the one in the Guide to Salem Haunted Happenings. Or you can access the mobile site here.

Events

Haunted Happenings Food Court, Salem Common

What events are planned for kids and families?

The Haunted Happenings Grand Parade returns this year in a new format, along with Mayor’s Night OutWicked Wednesdays at the Phillips House, and more. Browse the event calendar to see what is happening during your visit, and consider attractions like Mahi Cruises’ Haunted Happenings Cruise, the Salem Trolley, and more.

When is the parade?

This year’s Haunted Happenings Grand Parade takes place on October 7 at 6:30 pm in a new format! With the theme “Upside Down and Inside Out,” the floats and performers will be stationed around down and spectators can walk the parade route to view them. Learn more here.

Museums & Attractions

Salem witch museum with salem trolley

Salem Witch Museum

Which witch museum should I go to?

Each of Salem’s witch museums offers a different experience with a unique focus on an area of Witch Trials history- Choose the museum(s) that sound most interesting to you:

  • The Salem Witch Museum features a presentation with life-sized sets and a narration based on original documents from the Witch Trials, followed by an exhibit on the evolving perceptions of Witchcraft over time.
  • The Witch Dungeon Museum has a live reenactment of a witch trial followed by a tour of a recreated dungeon.
  • The Witch History Museum shares the history of the Trials through a guided tour of life-sized sets interpreting Salem in 1692.

Do I need advance tickets?

It depends on the attraction. We generally recommend purchasing advanced tickets for anything that takes place at a set time, like events on the calendar if they offer advance tickets and Salem walking tours. Some museums and attractions may still have limited capacities or be requiring or recommending advance tickets. Please confirm availability and ticket information with the attractions you are planning on visiting.

Are there any deals, discounts, or combination tickets?

Contact individual businesses to see what may be available during this year’s event.

Restaurants

Regatta Pub at Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suits

Should I make reservations/which restaurants take reservations?

Many restaurants in Salem do not take reservations during October. We recommend checking with the restaurants you are interested in directly.

Will outdoor dining and takeout be available this year?

There will be outdoor dining in select locations during October, as well as takeout. Please confirm availability with the restaurants you are interested in.

Accommodations

Are there haunted accommodations in Salem?

There are not any hotels, inns, or B&Bs in Salem that promote themselves as haunted. But if you ask their guests, it’s a whole different story. Without anything official, we leave you, the visitor, to tell us: Were your accommodations haunted?

How far in advance should I book a room for October?

Some accommodations in Salem fill up about a year in advance. We recommend booking your accommodations as soon as you are able to, or planning your stay midweek as you may find more availability then.

I’m having trouble finding available accommodations, can you help?

If your travel dates are flexible, you may find more availability midweek or earlier in the month. You can also find places to stay in neighboring towns here.