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Witchy Travel Guide SALEM: Lodging, Shops, and Restaurants

Are you a witch and planning a trip to Salem, MA? The Witch City is a quaint, fun place to visit for witches and muggles alike. There are plenty of things to do, places to visit, and awesome witchy souvenirs and metaphysical items to buy. Let our witchy travel guide to Salem inspire your upcoming magical pilgrimage to the place that has drawn the mystics and history buffs for centuries. We will cover the best in lodging, restaurants, and witchy shops.

WHY Visit Salem and WHEN is the Best Time to Go?

First of all, I shouldn’t have to convince you to visit Salem, MA. If you’re a witch, particularly an American witch, you already know the history and the draw to this place. But, in case you don’t know, I’ll lay it out for you.

Salem, MA is known as the Witch City here in the United States. It is the site of the historic Salem Witch Trials of 1692, a terribly sad event that occurred during Colonial times in which many women, men, and children were accused of witchcraft. Over a hundred were thrown in jail. At least twenty were executed and some died in jail. And while most of us know that the majority of these victims (if not all) were likely not “witches”, this event has inevitably fascinated us and pulled us to this place from all corners of the world.

It has also inspired many books, plays, and films over the years including The Crucible, which was originally a play that was adapted to film. Or perhaps you’ve seen the cult classic Hocus Pocus, which is loosely based in Salem, MA and was filmed in a couple places throughout the city.

Because of its history, Salem has morphed into a town for witches and those who are interested in the occult. There are dozens upon dozens of witchcraft, metaphysical, and botanical shops throughout the city where you can purchase everything from a psychic reading to a charged spell candle. Amulets to statues to herbal teas. And beyond. In addition, the seafood in Salem is enough to make any foodie’s mouth water. And the ambiance is just plain magical, if you ask me.

House of the Seven Gables

Consider Visiting Salem in the Late Spring

First, let’s discuss when to visit in our Witchy Travel Guide to Salem. So, when is the best time to visit? You would figure it would be in the Fall and around Halloween time, right? And sure, I would say that makes sense. But I think the truly magical time to visit Salem is in the late Spring. First, because it’s not that busy. If you’re anything like me, I prefer to visit places when it’s not their busy season. I don’t like waiting in lines just to go into a witchy shop or having to reserve a table for every single meal.

I also really appreciate a bit of spontaneity, and when you visit Salem in the Fall, you don’t get to be very spontaneous. You have to reserve things way ahead of time and plan it all out. Otherwise, someone else will. Being a solitary witch myself, I prefer my space.

So Salem in the late Spring? Way less crowded and the flowers are starting to bloom! What a beautiful place to visit and the weather is decent. While we were there, it was a bit cold (for us, since we live in the subtropics) but a high of 50s to 60s during the day was perfect. Plus, you’re not running into the Summer crowds at this time!

Kitty Fields, Otherworldly Oracle, in Salem

Where to Stay in Salem, MA: A Witches’ Lodging

Next up in our Witchy Travel Guide to the Witch City…lodging! Like anywhere else in the U.S., you have a couple choices on lodging in Salem, MA. You can go the Airbnb route and stay in a flat, apartment, or old home. Or you can book a room at a local hotel. If you choose to stay at a hotel, there are a couple in the heart of Salem that provide you with comfort and the perfect location that’s central to everything in town.

My daughter and I stayed at the Salem Inn West House on Summer Street in Salem when we visited and loved it. The room was clean, large, and we had a great view overlooking the street. We were able to see down the street both ways, including the Witch House right on the corner! Plus, the tree just outside our window was blooming and birds were keen to sit in it making for a lovely view in the morning and evening.

We booked Room #14, the Edgerton Room, but if you want to go for something more spooky consider booking Room #17. It’s name is the Haunted Room and is famous for its resident lady ghost. Be warned! This lady ghost isn’t a fan of men but will tolerate you if you give her offerings of alcohol before staying the night. We didn’t see any ghosts while we stayed there, but I’m sure if you go looking, you’d likely find one!

In addition to the Salem Inn, there are a couple other hotels that were recommended to us including the Hawthorne Hotel, The Merchant, and the Hotel Salem. I would say if you want a more affordable choice, go with ours at The Salem Inn. But this will also depend on the season in which you are going. Remember, if you go during the Halloween spooky season, you’ll likely run into higher prices and harder-to-find lodging (unless you book far in advance).

The Salem Inn, a haunted and cozy spot

Best Witchy Shops in Salem (According to a Witch) Ranked Highest to Lowest

You wouldn’t have a thorough witchy travel guide without the shopping. I’m going to be totally honest with you all and admit that I did a lot of shopping in Salem. It’s nice to have so many witchy shops all in one area! However, I will also say that some of the shops felt rather gimicky. Many are owned by witches, but I believe a few are simply souvenir shops just capitalizing on the fame of the Salem Witch Trials. I don’t hate on anyone for wanting to make some money though. But fair warning, you will find some of this there. The city is called “Witch City”, after all, and even the fire department and sheriffs have uniforms that say so. On to the legitimately nice shops in Salem:

1. Emporium 32

My daughter pushed to have us visit this vintage retro shop and I am SO glad we did. In fact, we actually visited the shop twice just so we could get a good look at everything they offered. Stepping into Emporium 32 is like stepping back in time to the 1920s or 1930s. Literally everything from the floor to the ceiling looks authentically vintage. They have gifts, posters, hats, gloves, purses, jewelry, books, even fancy journals, stationary, and tarot cards. There is definitely an element of the witch in this vintage store. And I highly recommend visiting it. The owners were extremely friendly and sweet too. Which always makes it easier for me to shop. I like spending my money on small businesses ran by nice, friendly people who deserve it. 5 stars!

2. Coven Boutique

Are you looking for a gothic witchy clothing boutique? Check out Coven Boutique down on the Wharf in Salem. This was hands down my favorite clothing shop in Salem. Everything in black, witchy, with accessories and ambient decor throughout. I would have purchased more than I did, had I had the extra cash. However, I did purchase a soft tee that says Coven and has the store’s logo on it…super adorable and comfy! Highly recommend this Salem boutique.

3. Blackcraft Cult

Blackcraft Cult is a goth (Satanic?) clothing and accessory store in Salem that boasts the town’s largest witch figure. Just walk in the door and look up! She’s flying high above your head as you shop. The staff here is super warm and welcoming (even to me and I’m an ordinary basic mom witch!) They also have a coffee shop in the back. Lots of dark gothic goodies like t-shirts, platform shoes, bags, and much more. The fact that this store resides in a former old timey bank just adds to the ambiance (high ceilings and vaults at the back!)

4. The Ossuary and Die with Your Boots On

My daughter was pumped to visit both of these goth clothing stores. At Die With Your Boots On, we picked up a pair of holographic creepers that I’ve never seen on the market before. Super cool and different. In addition, the same company owns a newer boutique store at the wharf called The Ossuary with more elegant, formal goth dresses, corsets, capes, and the like. We would recommend checking out both if you like goth stuff.

5. Crow Haven Corner

Now onto one of Salem’s most famous witchy shops…Crow Haven Corner. This shop was the original witch shop in town opened by Laurie Cabot back in the day. Lorelei, more famously known as Salem’s Love Witch, has taken over and now runs this quintessentially witchy storefront. The black and purple aesthetic will draw you in immediately. The witch balls on the ceiling are so unique and make for a neat experience while shopping.

To be fully honest, majority of the products in the store are just about the same as other shops in town – intention candles, oils, crystals, and the like. I am a big fan of handmade, authentic items that stand out from the others. However, there were some spell cords handmade by Laurie and Pennie Cabot that were absolutely gorgeous. And the staff was quite friendly. Definitely pay a visit to Lorelei’s store while you’re in town.

Crow Haven Corner in Salem

6. Ye Olde Pepper Company

My daughter is a big candy lover (who isn’t?) and so we had to pay a visit to one of the country’s oldest candy stores, Ye Olde Pepper Company. It’s in an adorable old building and has a cute, old aesthetic when you walk in. The only downfall was that my daughter was expecting to see taffy being made or candy being made and there was no real activity when we walked in. Just a woman putting out more bagged candy in the middle of the store. Still a cute shop and the candy was decent.

7. Hex Old World Witchery

Well, now this one. People probably aren’t going to like me for saying so, but I got some bad energy vibes entering Hex Old World Witchery. Which is sad, because I’ve heard such great things about the store. Perhaps I was picking up on another shopper in there, but who knows? There’s quite a bit of Voodoo and Conjure items for sale, which I find odd since the owners are not of that tradition. But I’m not here to judge. Moving on, the rest of the items in the store were somewhat unique but I ended up not buying anything. I think I’ve just hit a point in my craft where I don’t want to buy something I can make myself (i.e. candles, oils, sprays, etc.)

8. Witch City Consignment and Thrift

My daughter and I love going to thrift and antique stores and scouring through old stuff to find treasures. And what would be better than old things from Salem? Anyway, we found a few tshirts and postcards. And I discovered a bin of old polaroids and photos from the early 1900s (1930s mostly). I ended up visiting the store a second time and offering to buy the entire box of photos. The owner didn’t want to sell the entire box to me, sadly. I plan to put these in a vintage style grimoire soon! Speaking of grimoires, have you seen we offer custom handmade practical magic style grimoires? Check it out:

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Witchy Travel Guide: Our Favorite Salem Restaurants

This witchy travel guide wouldn’t be complete without talking about the food. I’m sure if you’re a Salem local, you probably have all the tea on what restaurants, cafes, and eateries are the best in town. Keep in mind, if you are Vegan, all organic, or gluten-free, many of the cafes and restaurants in town offer entire menus or menu items for these dietary choices!

But as far as a tourist goes, here’s our favorite places to eat ranked highest to lowest:

1. Turner’s Seafood

The first night in Salem, we decided we had to have lobster rolls so we went to Turner’s Seafood Restaurant. The ambiance is super cool in an old building with decorative ceilings. The staff, particularly the owner, is friendly and welcoming. And it seems to be a place locals might frequent. The lobster rolls were absolutely top notch and my daughter also discovered the building was originally the Salem Lyceum Hall in the 1800s.

When we looked it up, we found that it was where the first long distance telephone call was made by Alexander Graham Bell! And not only that, but the ground on which the restaurant sits was once land owned by the first accused Salem victim, Bridget Bishop! In addition, the place is reportedly haunted and has been investigated by numerous TV shows and paranormal experts over the years. Highly recommend visiting this restaurant!

Turners Seafood in Salem: Witchy Travel Guide
Turners Seafood

2. Finz Seafood on the Wharf

The second day in Salem, my daughter and I decided to walk down to the wharf, which took about 20 to 25 minutes total. It was a bit chilly that day, so we bundled up but were quickly warmed by all the walking. By the time we made it down to the wharf, it was lunch time (we stopped and did the Salem Witch Museum tour first), we were starving. And we decided to eat at Finz Seafood.

I have a feeling this place is considered a more touristy spot, but we enjoyed our crab nachos so much that once our actual lunch came we didn’t have any room. We still tried our best to munch on the Fish and Chips and the Crab Cake sandwich we had ordered. Everything there was delicious and fresh. And the server was sweet and accommodating. Great spot right on the water with a great view!

3. Gulu Gulu Cafe

Last on our Witchy Travel Guide recommendations is the Gulu Gulu Cafe. This little spot is right behind the famous Bewitched Statue in the heart of Salem. It has an outside seating area, as well as inside. They brew up some fabulous coffee and tea drinks including a delicious London Fog that I couldn’t get enough of. In addition, their food is delicious. My daughter got the Belgian waffles and I ordered a pesto sandwich. Definitely a fun and casual eatery for breakfast or lunch while you’re out and about in Salem.

If you’re wondering where our recommendations for museums and historic sites are in our witchy travel guide, please check out our next article (coming soon).

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