Salem, Massachusetts; site of the infamous Salem Witch Trials, is one of the oldest and most historical cities in the United States of America. It’s just 20 minutes to the north of Boston by convenient train, and was initiated in 1626. Along with being one of the most iconic places in the world to celebrate Halloween, Salem is home to the first planned street in America, the first church in America, and charts the residence of America’s first millionaire. Salem is monstrously full of historical richness!
With so many stories to tell, you might misunderstand that Salem, Massachusetts is a haven for magical and mystical things to do. In fact, it is with great lamentation, we report that this is a place where quantity over quality reigns supreme. While there are numerous things to wander from and participate in, after your first stop you’ll discover, regrettably, the hype is deserved of persecution. Even during the Halloween season, when Salem’s wicked past is highly celebrated, flaunted and profited on, this is a little more than a circus stop on a loop of repetition.
► Ranking: #stinkydiaper
Like the Chinese Theater, in Los Angeles, California, the main square is full of ghosts and goblins that will chase you down for a dollar. The hysteria from 1692 has not ceased. They will do their best to frighten you, and if they succeed, they will recite incantations until you pull out your wallet. It’s common to see many people dressed up as you walk through Salem, Massachusetts so unless they are shaking a coffee tin in your face, they probably aren’t a sideshow. Don’t forget to bring lots of dollar bills.
Of the copious attractions offered as a jaunt through Salem’s past, there are few that are noteworthy. Bundle 3 attractions together, and you can either save up to $8 per person, or waste $20 depending on how you look at it. Each attraction offers the exact same historical perspective, information, and stories; pay for one, and you’ve done them all. Each ritual offers less than a half hour of entertainment. The attractions are drivel, a mix between being frozen in time and hokey commercialization. It’s shocking how poorly done they are and what little pathetic effort is put into them. One of the best suggestions we were given was to remember the terrible events of 1692 as a free activity.
With all that said, there are a few bewitching parts of Salem, Massachusetts, and it’s definitely worth a trip! This is one #stinkydiaper you still want to come visit. The architecture is charming and dramatic. The history is undeniably alluring, but, when it comes to activities, never before has the adage ‘choose wisely’ need be heeded so fervently.
As a whole, Salem was simply underwhelming. The sad part is, it doesn’t have to be. The entire city itself, is a remarkable monument that is unfortunately covered in a glaze of cheap paint. It has the potential, and the bones (literally) to be a stalwart and imposing feature of American history. If you can look past the veener, you’ll be able to see through the cracks.
► For Kids: This place can be either a fun place to visit, or a scary one. It depends on the activities you choose, and the spook level of your kids. It’s a charming city in its own way, and it offers both the dynamics of history and perspective. It is an excellent world schooling stop in regards to American history, culture and the American judicial system. Each link below will provide more detail on what to expect, particularly when it comes to the scare factor.
We celebrated our baby’s 3rd birthday in Salem, Massachusetts and spent one full day here. We were able to cover a lot of soil. Here is our rundown of things to do, and not do, in Salem:
Sites and Attractions:
Restaurants and Eateries:
Caramel French Patisserie
Red’s Sandwich Shop
► Nap-Time Version: All the do’s, and do not’s, in Salem Massachusetts.
Check out all the fun places we visited in Boston, too!