Salem, MA is best known for the 1692 Witch Trials, but today’s Salem Offers many more reasons to visit. Only a thirty minute train ride from North Station in Boston, the city of Salem is packed to the brim with some of the best restaurants, bars, and historical activities in the state.
Salem is a bedrock of New England history and charm. You can feel it as you walk the streets and talk to the locals!
Here are some of the best places to eat and things to do on your next day trip to Salem, Massachusetts. Check out the links below.
Where to Eat & Drink in Salem, MA
Authentically New England, Turner’s serves up fresh, local catch of the day. The family sources seafood from their docks in Gloucester
This spot in Salem is also home to the city’s only seafood market, so it’s a great place to source local, fresh ingredients!
Massachusetts chef and owner Matt O’Neill opened his second restaurant in Salem (his first, The Blue Ox, is in Lynn) and it’s a destination restaurant for sure. Ledger is housed in the former Salem Savings Bank building (circa 1818). He currently serves up dinner and weekend brunch.
The food is progressive New England, with creative twists throughout the menu. Everything from the Lobster Scampi to the Yodel dessert is perfection!
Asian street food, noodles, and soups can be found at Kokeshi, a distinctly Asian restaurant ran by New England chefs, sourcing as locally when possible.
Their dedication to creating the best Asian-style dishes is worthy of applause and you can taste it as soon as you take the first slurp of their Kokeshi broth.
Rich and decadent, this meaty broth will warm you up from head to toes and is the perfect meal if you’re visiting during the winter months.
Hand crafted, wood fired pizza that’s made using all the rules of pizza Neapolitana. The 00 flour, the San Marzano tomatoes, the roaring hot oven – it all goes into creating some of the best pizza I’ve had outside of Italy.
Try their ode to New England pizza, the Clam Oreganata, made with local clams, garlic cream, oregano, Fresno pepper, mozzarella, parsley and grilled lemon!
This is the spot to get your seafood fix – everything from grilled oysters, raw Littleneck clams, intricate sushi, lobster rolls, chowder, and so much more.
Finz is a classic New England harbor view restaurant but with exceptional food. They serve some of the best clams and oysters we’ve ever had.
Innovative and sustainable, all while serving up delicious food!
Things to Do in Salem, MA
Food tours are the best way to get the lay of the land when you arrive in a new city. I always recommend you take a food tour as soon as you arrive. The Salem Food Tour, led by Karen Scalia, is an award-winning tour that will delight all your senses. Tours are varied and can be customized.
On our tour we visited an aromatic spice shop, a savory cheese shop, a seafood restaurant, a fresh bakery, a sweet chocolate shop, and a wine & beer shop. Everywhere we visited was delicious with samples and tastes. We also met the local shop owners and learned about the food history of Salem.
Peabody Essex is a gorgeous museum packed with incredible art and history from all over the world. Exhibitions such as: Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment; Japanomania! Japanese Art Goes Global; MegaCity: India’s Culture of the Streets; and Double Happiness: Celebration in Chinese Art.
This museum will fill you with insight and wonder.
If you love literary history and books, a visit to the House of Seven Gables is an absolute must.
Take a tour and walk around this historic home and learn about its inhabitants. If you haven’t read The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the tour will inspire you to pick up a copy as soon as the tour is over!
Salem is about much more than witches, but it is critical to respect its history and learn from it.
That’s why the Salem Night Tour is one of the best. The tour guides aren’t sensationalists. They’re incredibly respectful of the history and explain it well. Taking the tour, you’ll realize the story of the Witch Trials is much sadder than it is scary.
The Salem Witch Museum is yet another interesting museum – entirely devoted to the history of the witch trials of 1692. Learn about the trials and what happened to these innocent folks. It’s definitely an interesting museum, unlike any other you’ll explore!
More Fun Bites From Fresh New England
AJ King Artisan Bakers – A delicious bakery offering fresh bread, pastries, homemade sandwiches and more, this homey spot now has two locations.
Caramel Patisserie – The owners of this local pastisserie hail from France and create incredible breads, pastries, croissants and beautiful French desserts. Macaroons, mousse and more!
Jolie Tea Company – Jolie Tea is an independently owned and European inspired tea shop in the heart of Salem. Pop in for a personalized tasting.
Harbor Sweets – is a luscious indulgence full of homemade chocolates and gift ideas. Be sure to try our favorite, the Sweet Sloops. Sweet Sloops are Almond Buttercrunch Toffee covered in White Chocolate, dipped in Rich Dark Chocolate and Pecans And shaped like sailboats. Perfect for this seaside village.
The Custom House – This may be the geek in us but we love the Salem Custom House. It began collecting taxes in 1649 on imported cargos first for the British Government during the Colonial period, then for the American Government. It’s a beautifully designed building and Nathaniel Hawthorne worked here to boot.
Friendship of Salem – Salem was in important maritime port. The Friendship of Salem is a 171-foot replica of an early merchant ship. It’s a fully functional Coast Guars certified vessel and it’s worth seeing when it’s docked in the harbor.