Halloween Capitol of the World - Anoka MN vs Salem MA

The Best Tours to Take in Salem

Salem, Massachusetts is most famous for the notorious witch trials that took place there in 1692. Today, Salem is a popular tourist destination, especially in October for Halloween.

The city offers a variety of historical and ghost tours that tell the story of Salem.

We were in Salem this past October and had the pleasure of doing a few. While I’ll tell you they all touch on the Witch trails and Hocus Pocus, the tours differ greatly based on your interests. And the knowledge base of the guides varies too.

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Here are some of the best tours to take on your visit

Salem Witch Trial Walking Tour

The Salem Witch Museum offers a great choice to learn about the key events and sites related to the 1692 witch hysteria: the Salem Witch Trial Walking Tour.

Guides show you places related to the witch trials, like the Witch Trial Memorial and the burial site of accused witch John Proctor.

They also take you to the homes of past victims of the trials.

You can visit Rockafellas Restaurant, the original site of the First Church of Salem, even though many other historic sites no longer exist.

The guides to an amazing job of telling the stories of the victims. You really get a good understanding of the hysteria started and spread.

This 1.5-hour tour. It’s an easy walk, and suitable for all ages. This is probably one of the most informative tours on the list.

Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour

Charter Street Cemetery

For a spookier look at Salem, book the Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour from Salem Night Tour.

The 90-minute evening walking tour visits Salem’s most haunted locations and sites connected to the witch trials. You’ll hear chilling tales of the supernatural.

The passionate guides truly enhance the drama and suspense. It’s an entertaining way to explore Salem’s shadowy side.

You will visit Ropes Mansion, Old Burying Point Cemetery, John Ward House, the Witch House, and Rockafellas Restaurant to hear about a murder.

I’d leave the kids at home on this one.

Salem History Lovers Walking Tour

If you are looking for something that encompasses more than just the dark side, you’ll want to do a Salem History Lovers Walking Tour.

You’ll learn about the history and architecture of the area. You’ll pass by three Hocus Pocus filming locations, find out about the puritans and the Witch Trials, the Maritime trade, the early American Revolution, Hamiliton Hall and some of the great restaurants in the area.

The tour lasts two and a half hours, covering a lot of ground. It might be a little long for young kids, but those with the stamina will be experts in all things Salem.

Salem Hocus Pocus Movie locations Tour

If you are a fan of the original Hocus Pocus, you’ll love this tour. The original movie spent two weeks filming onsite at different locations around Salem, giving it its authentic feel. The second movie was filmed in Road Island.

This tour takes you to five of the different filming locations. Admission is included at all places.

You’ll see the Salem Commons, the Old Salem Hall where the parents dance party was, the Ropes Mansion and Garden (Alison’s Home), the Broad Street Cemetery (where the kids defeated the witches) and Pioneer Village, where the opening scene is filmed.

It includes a lot of the history of the area as well. It’s a 3-mile walk so make sure you are up for it! The starting location and ending location are not the same, so plan for transportation back.

Salem Trolley Tour

If you are hoping to get off your feet all while getting the lay of the land, the Salem Trolley Tour is a great option. They start off in the middle of town, and take you around the sights of the town.

You’ll quickly learn the town is a lot more than Hocus Pocus or the Witch Trails. The guides are all locals and love the city.

One thing that I found was that this tour was more about the culture and less about this history. I found myself asking, but why, and they didn’t have the time to answer before we were at the next stop. Could have been just the individual tour guide.

This is a great tour for those that are looking to see more and don’t mind a little independent research. This is normally a hop-on/hop-off tour, but in October it doesn’t stop.

Salem Trolley Tickets are available in person only. The only way to get online tickets is to pair it with the Ferry. If you get the combo ticket, they’ll pick you up at the ferry, saving you an extra 0.8-mile walk both ways. For that alone, I recommend it.

What Salem Tour is Best for you?

The streets of Salem are filled with stories and secrets just waiting to be uncovered. Depending on your interests, there is a tour for you. None of these tours are too hokey. If you really want, you can find them.

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to history and prefer to know the facts and not tall tales.

If you are visiting Salem, I highly recommend taking one of these tours. If you are planning an October trip, make sure to plan ahead. The place gets crazy and tours fill up.

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