Learn More About Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a unique community in a diverse region; known for its rich maritime history, as being the birthplace of the National Guard and for the infamous Witchcraft Trials of 1692. It is also a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly City where its residents, and over a million tourists annually, can easily visit historic architecture, unique attractions, world-famous museums and an eclectic mix of shops and dining options. And, with easy access to public transportation – including our own ferry – Salem is a great city to live, work and play. Many consider Salem the jewel of Massachusetts’ vibrant North Shore, and businesses here benefit from its rich mix of history, culture and natural serenity.
Particularly important to existing and prospective Salem business owners, the city offers an exceptional opportunity for business development and guidance. The City of Salem’s Department of Planning and Community Development, Salem Chamber of Commerce, Salem Main Streets, Enterprise Center at Salem State University, and SBA Small Business Development Center offer excellent counseling programs and guidance to get your ideas off the ground. Please see Salem’s website for businesses at www.salemforbusiness.com.
Today, with restored enthusiasm and enterprise, our community is alive with development and growth. In fact, Salem is experiencing over $1.7 billion worth of investments in public and private projects over the next few years – we invite you to be a part of it.Priority Development Sites
Cultural Institutions & Attractions:
While Salem boasts of a wealth of museums, historic sites, tours, attractions, festivals and events that can be discovered at Destination Salem, the city is also home to a wide variety of restaurants and retailers, as well as a lively artist community.
Dining includes outdoor cafes, ethnic eateries and fine dining establishments. For more information about dining, visit Destination Salem Food & Drink and Salem Chamber of Commerce Restaurants, Food & Beverages.
For shoppers, there is a mall, a pedestrian corridor lined with shops, a waterfront village, as well as a downtown retail district; department stores and large retailers are located along Salem’s Highland Avenue commercial corridor. For more information about shopping, visit Destination Salem Shopping and Salem Chamber of Commerce Shopping & Specialty Retail.
For those seeking art and culture, please visit our Arts & Culture page, which will provide a glimpse into the diverse and vibrant community of Salem. World famous collections are displayed at the Peabody Essex Museum and you can learn about the extraordinary people and amazing stories behind Salem at the Salem Museum. The work of local artisans can be found displayed in many unique downtown shops, including Artists’ Row. Additionally, art markets, workshops, shows, private events, and more take place throughout the year at historical Old Town Hall. CinemaSalem and the Salem State Center for the Arts provide entertainment and learning opportunities to residents and visitors alike. There is also The Salem Arts Association, Inc., a volunteer-run nonprofit arts organization that seeks to bring art, in all its forms, to the community and bring the community, in all its diversity, to the arts in Salem. Visitors can also experience art by walking through the PUNTO Urban Art Museum, located just outside of the downtown area.
Charter Street Cemetery/Old Burying Point: 51 Charter Street. Founded in 1637, Salem’s oldest cemetery is the final resting place of several notable Salem residents. The Charter Street Cemetery Welcome Center is now open in the 17th-century Pickman House next to the memorial. To learn more about Charter Street Cemetery, go to www.charterstreetcemetery.com/cemetery.
Historic New England’s Phillips House: 34 Chestnut Street. In 1821 four intact rooms from an earlier house were transported by ox sled to Salem’s fashionable Chestnut Street to form the core of a new Federal-style mansion being built by Captain Nathaniel West. Nearly a century later, Anna Phillips bought the house and launched a fourteen-month renovation in the Colonial Revival style. When Anna and her husband Stephen Willard Phillips, and their five-year-old son moved in, they brought with them a family collection that spans five generations and blossomed during Salem’s Great Age of Sail. To learn more go to www.historicnewengland.org/property/phillips-house/.
Local Historic Districts: The City of Salem has four local historic districts: the McIntire District, the Derby Street District, the Layfayette Street District, and the Washington Square District. These districts are overseen by the Salem Historical Commission and are one of the best methods of protecting historic buildings and structures from demolition and inappropriate alterations. To see maps of each of these districts go to www.salemma.gov/historical-commission/pages/individual-local-historic-district-maps.
Old Town Hall: 32 Derby Square. The earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, Old Town Hall has always been used as a public hall and is still used as such today. Many events are housed within its walls, the farmers market (during the off season), annual fashion show, fundraisers, parties, weddings, and much more. History is still being made within the Old Town Hall. To learn more go to www.salemma.gov/old-town-hall.
Ropes Mansion: 318 Essex Street. The stately Ropes Mansion was home to four generations of the Ropes family and is recognized as one of New England’s most significant and thoroughly documented historic houses. You can’t visit the Mansion without being dazed by its garden. The original landscape design was created in the Colonial Revival style by John Robinson in 1912. It calls for nearly 5,000 annual flowers to be planted each year. Today, the garden is maintained according to Robinson’s original notes, including guidance on perennials and annuals. There is also a beautiful historic greenhouse and potting shed nearby. Open from dawn to dusk, this secret feeling space is visited by dog walkers, book readers, picnicers, painters and nature lovers of all ages. To learn more go to www.pem.org/visit/historic-houses/pem-walks/ropes-mansion.
Salem Heritage Trail: What’s that line on the ground? It’s the Heritage Trail, and it connects all of Salem’s main sites. The Salem Heritage Trail guides visitors from around the corner and around the world through over 400 years of Salem history. The themes of the trail bridge connections from the land’s earliest settlement to the Salem we see today with focuses on local Indigenous Peoples, Colonial Salem and the Witch Trials, the Age of Sail, Industrial Heritage, Abolitionism and African American Stories, Immigrant Experiences, Religious Diversity, and Contemporary Salem. To learn more go to www.salemheritagetrail.org.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site: 160 Derby Street. Established on March 17, 1938 as the first National Historic Site in the United States, Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of nine acres of land and twelve historic structures along the Salem waterfront, as well as a downtown visitor center. Located in the urban setting of Salem, the park preserves and interprets over 600 years of New England’s maritime history and global connections. To learn more go to www.nps.gov/sama/index.htm.
Winter Island/Waikiki Beach: 60 Winer Island Road. In addition to the public beach, Winter Island offers seasonal RV and tent camping sites and boat ramp. To learn more about Winter Island, go to https://www.salemma.gov/winter-island-park.
Dead Horse Beach: Located on Memorial Drive at Salem Willows Park, Dead Horse Beach faces the Beverly harbor. It is one of the larger sandy beaches at The Willows and can be accessed by the public year-round. A great place to start a kayaking trip. Free parking.
Collins Cove Beach: 31 Collins Street, Collins Cove Beach provides access to the Danvers River and generally provides calm waters to paddle in (except when the winds are hard out of the northeast). The beach is sandy and frequented by sunbathers, toddlers and swimmers during the summer months. The beach is next to the City of Salem’s Collins Cove Park and Playground which has swings a slide a baseball diamond, tennis courts and a basketball court. There is a walking/bike path and grassy area along the beach and cove. On-street parking is available.
The Essex Coastal Scenic Byway is a 90-mile coastal roadway through the North Shore of Massachusetts. The route provides a peaceful drive that connects the communities of Lynn, MA to Salisbury, MA and passes through Salem. Along the way, coastal byway travelers pass through some of New England’s best scenic areas, such as long stretches of sandy beaches, sprawling marshlands, and picturesque oceanside spots. For those who want a closer look, there are countless hiking, walking, and biking trails right off the Byway. Additionally, the many local watersport rental shops allow travelers to get out onto the waters themselves, exploring the many coastal rivers, sounds, and harbors. To learn more about this scenic byway, go to https://coastalbyway.org/.
Municipal Golf Course:
Public Golf Course:
Olde Salem Greens – Built in 1933, Olde Salem Greens is a nine-hole golf course on 75 of the 275 acres at Highland Park. Yardage is 2,847, with a par 35. Olde Salem Greens dress code requires all golfers to wear collared shirts. No jeans, sweatpants or gym shorts are allowed. Soft-spike shoes only. Golf carts are available. To learn more, go to https://www.salemma.gov/recreation/pages/public-golf-course.
Private Golf Course:
Kernwood Country Club – Established in 1914 by a group of Boston business leaders, Kernwood Country Club is rich in history with the likes of Walter Hagan, Francis Ouimet, and Donald Ross himself present for grand opening exhibition matches. Today, Kernwood remains one of the most beautiful and endeared 18-hole clubs in the Northeast.
The club strives to provide family-oriented recreational and social activities that are not only enjoyable, but that foster friendship and fellowship. Ownership prides themselves on their fine dining services, and the warmth and hospitality of their loyal staff.