Discovering Salem – A Guide to the City’s Best Attractions

When it comes to things to do in Salem, OR, the city’s historical attractions are a must-see. The Salem Witch Museum, in particular, stands as a solemn reminder of the infamous Salem witch trials. Through interactive exhibits and detailed narratives, visitors gain an insightful look into this dark chapter of American history. A trip to Salem is incomplete without paying homage to this significant site.

Adjacent to the Witch Museum is the historic House of the Seven Gables. Built in 1668, this black Colonial-style house is not only architecturally fascinating but also steeped in literary history, having inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel of the same name. Exploring its creaky attic, secret staircases, and period rooms is among the fun things to do in Salem, OR, offering a blend of history and spine-tingling adventure.

Cultural Experiences

The Peabody Essex Museum, a cornerstone of Salem’s cultural scene, presents a mix of art and history. Home to one of America’s largest collections of Asian artifacts, the museum offers a comprehensive look into various cultures, intertwined with Salem’s maritime past. Visitors can spend hours admiring the diverse exhibits, making it a top thing to do in Salem.

In addition to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem’s specialty museums offer unique experiences. The Wax Museum, for instance, is a short but delightful gallery featuring wax statues of iconic movie monsters. It’s a fascinating stop for both art enthusiasts and those interested in cinematic history, making it one of the intriguing things to do in Salem.

Outdoor Adventures

Salem’s outdoor activities are a blend of scenic beauty and historical exploration. One of the free things to do in Salem, OR, is visiting its historic walking areas. These areas, such as the House of Seven Gables and the Derby Waterfront District, offer a picturesque stroll through Salem’s past, with beautifully restored colonial buildings and waterfront views.

For those seeking more adventurous things to do in Salem, OR, jet boat rentals provide an exhilarating experience. Gliding across the waters of Salem at high speeds is a thrilling way to enjoy the city’s beautiful landscapes and is perfect for adrenaline seekers.

Family-Friendly Activities

Family-friendly activities abound in Salem. The Salem Willows Amusement Park, with its array of classic rides and arcade games, is a fun destination for families. It’s a great place to enjoy a sunny day, offering various amusements that cater to all ages, making it one of the fun things to do in Salem, OR.

For educational family activities, Salem’s historic sites offer engaging tours. These tours, often led by knowledgeable guides, provide fascinating insights into Salem’s history in a manner that captivates both adults and children. This blend of education and entertainment ranks high among things to do in Salem with family.

Shopping and Dining

Shopping in Salem is a delightful experience, especially on Essex Street. This charming street is closed to vehicles, making it perfect for a leisurely stroll among the souvenir shops, cafes, and magical goods stores. It’s an essential stop for anyone looking for unique things to do in Salem, OR.

Dining in Salem also offers a variety of experiences. From historic eateries like Red’s Sandwich Shop to modern cafes, the city boasts a range of dining options that reflect its rich culinary heritage. Enjoying a meal in one of Salem’s historic buildings is certainly among the must-do things in Salem, OR.

Spooky and Supernatural

Fans of spooky thrills will find Salem brimming with ghost tours and haunted houses. These tours delve into Salem’s haunted past, offering a chilling yet exciting experience. FoR more deeper chills, explore Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, a unique dive into the world of horror and fantasy films. Amplify the eerie atmosphere with specialized ghost hunting equipment and truly immerse yourself in the mystery.

Unique Local Experiences

Experiencing local flavors is a key part of visiting Salem. Harbor Sweets offers a delightful range of handmade candies, famous throughout the region. The art scene in Salem is vibrant too, with public art spaces and live performances showcasing local talent. Engaging with these local experiences is among the most rewarding things to do in Salem, OR.

Seasonal Events

Salem’s Haunted Happenings during Halloween is a city-wide event that celebrates its witchy history in a festive atmosphere. Throughout the year, Salem hosts various seasonal events that reflect its cultural heritage. These events offer a unique perspective on local traditions and are among the most exciting things to do in Salem, OR.


Exploring Salem’s less-touristy spots can be just as rewarding as visiting its main attractions. These hidden gems offer a quieter, more intimate experience of the city’s charm and history. Discovering these off-the-beaten-path locations is among the most fulfilling things to do in Salem.

Day Trips and Excursions

The city’s location makes it perfect for day trips to nearby attractions. Visitors can explore scenic New England countryside or visit neighboring towns like Marblehead and Gloucester. These excursions offer a chance to see more of the region’s natural beauty and historical sites, making them popular things to do in Salem, OR.

Accommodations and Stay

Salem’s range of accommodations caters to various preferences, from quaint historic inns to modern hotels. When booking your stay, consider the location’s proximity to major attractions, the unique character of the lodging, and the amenities offered. Staying in a place that captures Salem’s historic charm is one of the key things to do in Salem, OR, enhancing the overall experience.

Travel Tips and Resources

Navigating Salem is straightforward, with various transportation options available. The city’s visitor information centers and online guides are invaluable resources for planning your trip. Utilizing these resources will help you discover the best things to do in Salem, ensuring a well-organized and enjoyable visit.


In summary, Salem, OR, has firmly established itself as a multifaceted destination that appeals to a wide range of interests and ages. The city’s rich blend of historical significance, cultural richness, outdoor adventures, and family-friendly activities makes it an attractive place for tourists and locals alike. Whether it’s exploring the historic witch trials, enjoying the local art scene, or indulging in outdoor activities, Salem offers an array of experiences that are both educational and entertaining.

Interestingly, this appeal has not gone unnoticed by those looking to relocate. Movers Salem, Oregon, have reported an increased interest from people wanting to make this vibrant city their home. This uptick in relocation interest highlights Salem’s growing reputation as not just a place to visit, but a desirable place to live. 

With its unique charm, rich history, and thriving community, Salem is more than just a travel destination; it’s a city that people are eager to call home. This trend is a testament to the allure of Salem, showcasing its ability to enchant visitors and residents alike with its myriad of attractions and quality of life.

For anyone considering a visit or even a move, Salem, OR, is a city that promises an array of enriching experiences and a welcoming community. It’s a city where history is alive, culture is celebrated, and there’s always something new and exciting to discover. So, whether you’re planning a short visit or considering a longer stay, Salem is sure to offer you an unforgettable experience and maybe even a place to call home.

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