Just a few short steps from our Salem hotel's front door you can explore America's oldest continually operating museum, hear tales of intrigue and mass panic, and stroll the decks of a reconstructed 1797 merchant ship.
1. Peabody Essex Museum
Dating back to 1799, this historic museum houses both contemporary and historic international art collections that provide an unrivaled view into New England’s diverse heritage. You can easily spend an afternoon taking in the diverse exhibits, with a stop for a snack or lunch in the light-filled Atrium Cafe or Garden Restaurant.
2. Harbor Cruise
See the sights of Salem from the water on a boat tour with Mahi Mahi Harbor Cruises. Departing from the calm, protected waters of Salem Sound, you’ll glide past the historic lighthouses and luxurious estates that dot the shorelines of Salem, Marblehead, and the secluded Misery Islands. The onboard grill serves up burgers and dogs complemented by a full cocktail bar. Private tours with customizable routes are also available.
3. Stroll down Chestnut Street or around the Salem Common
Just a few blocks from The Merchant is Chestnut Street, considered to be among the most beautiful and historic residential avenues in the country. Download the architectural walking guide and get strolling! In the opposite direction, past the downtown area is the Salem Common. If you looked up the definition of a New England town green, the Common would likely be the accompanying picture. This lush green space is surrounded by stately Federal-style homes, many of which date from the 1700s.
4. Witch Museum
For some, the name Salem is synonymous with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, a tragic but important part of the town’s - and our country’s - history. Visitors to the Salem Witch Museum can experience the drama and intrigue of that dark time by walking through exhibits, life-size stage sets, and trial reenactments. Learn the details of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 at the Salem Witch Museum, the Wax Museum of Witches & Seafarers, The Witch Hose and the Witch History Museum. You can become a part of recreations of the trials at the Witch Dungeon or Cry Innocent.
5. House of the Seven Gables
Built in 1668 right on the harbor, this majestic and mysterious historical home is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. Take a guided tour of the 2.5 acre estate, including the spectacular seaside gardens, that inspired famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his legendary novel of the same name.
6. Salem Maritime National Historic Site
The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is open for exploration year round and taking one of the free tours is one of the best ways to learn all about the city's maritime history. Tour the Custom House and a special ship trade exhibit, which is hidden just behind the Custom House. During the spring months, we suggest taking a walk on the wooden walkway to see the gardens behind Salem's first wealthy merchant's houses, the Derby House (which you can tour while you're there).
7. Fort Pickering
Winter Island Lighthouse, established in 1871, is the main attraction at Fort Pickering - unless you count the unparalleled Atlantic views. The lighthouse was refurbished and now serves as a private navigation aid, and the Winter Island Park is open to the public year round.
8. Essex Street Pedestrian Mall
Explore a plethora of unique small shops, museums, and galleries as you meander down this pedestrian-only walkway on Essex Street. Kitchy souvenir shops aside, this stroll is a great way to take in a little slice of Salem’s lively culture while indulging in some retail therapy.
CinemaSalem is more than a film-lover’s movie theater; it’s also a café, art gallery, live music venue, and home to one of America’s largest all-documentary film festivals (held in February).
10. Salem State University Center for Creative and Performing Arts
Nearby Salem State University Center for Creative and Performing Arts stages more than 100 high quality music, dance, arts, and theater events each year featuring students and world class artists.
11. Two-Wheeled Tour
Step right outside the front door of The Merchant and head to the nearest bike rack to find a bike, courtesy of Zagster bike share. Explore Salem and the North Shore with the ability to park your bike anywhere! Did we mention it's only $3/hour to use a bike?
12. Salem Food Tours
With Salem's rich history, there is no shortage of historical tours but if you're looking for an "out of the box" tour, we suggest. the Salem Food Tours. They are 5-star experience and offer both sweet and savory tastings often paired with wines and Salem micro-brewed beers or distilled spirits.
Just outside Salem...
Drive or take the train up to explore the vibrant communities of Beverly, Manchester by the Sea, Gloucester and Rockport
Cranes not only has miles of shorelines but also offers boardwalks and nature trails that'll take you through salt marshes and sand dunes. If you're looking to enjoy a classic beach day, snack bar included, head to Manchester's Singing Beach. We offer parking for guests in downtown Manchester, which is about a 10-minute walk to the beach.
2. Whale Watching
When in season, one of our favorite activities is to venture out on a whale watch in Gloucester. Why? 7 Seas Whale Watch guarantees a whale sighting or your money back
3. Grab a Bite
Some of our favorite restaurants in Beverly range from A&B Burger, offering a mild club vibe with large garage doors that open up onto the street and a wide selection of gourmet burgers (voted best in the North Shore), to Tartine Kitchen & Eatery, a European style bistro offering light, healthier fare, think a smoked salmon salad, greek yogurt bowl and nut butter toast, to Atomic Café, which has a large variety of sandwiches, small plates and a wide selection of coffee items, beer and wine.
Some of our Gloucester recommendations include Duckworth's Bistrot, own and run by locals, this bistro offers French-inspired cuisine with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Halibut Point, dating back to 1900, has that warm and inviting atmosphere that one might expect at a pub. Experience the real taste of Gloucester with laid-back classics like clam chowder, surf and turf or the Halibut Point special.