Whether you are a resident or visitor, Salem offers entertaining and educational activities scheduled throughout the year. The community calendars below, provided by local newspapers and non-profit agencies, list numerous activities and events sponsored by local businesses, non-profit agencies and religious groups. For city sponsored and non-profit events, please see the events calendar. For events provided through the City of Salem Department of Park, Recreation and Community Services, please see the recreation calendar and the youth events calendar. There are also free workshops and performances at Artist Row.
Salem, the “City of Peace”, is a small city with a big history. It is the second incorporated city in Massachusetts (April, 1836) and the second oldest settlement in New England (settled four years before the settlement of Boston). While Salem has been long known as the “Witch City” due to the notable witch trials of 1692, Salem also played a prominent part in Revolutionary times and was an active leader of several Massachusetts’ industries. In the early part of the 19th century, Salem’s ships were pioneers in the India trade and opened up commerce with Africa, China, Russia, Japan and Australia. In Salem will you find mansions of some of the country’s first millionaires and the birthplace of celebrated author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Salem’s 18.5 miles of tidal shoreline includes 7 public beaches.
Location and Access
Salem is located approximately 16 miles (30 minutes) north of Boston and is bordered by Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Marblehead, Peabody, Swampscott and the Atlantic Ocean. Major routes through the city are 1A, 107 and 114 (connects with Routes 128, 95 and 1). Boston & Maine Railroad serves Salem with freight service, and the MBTA maintains a commuter rail stop and inter-/intra-city buss service. Air service is available from Beverly Airport (5 miles away) and Logan International Airport (16 miles away). Access is also available by water from Boston on the Salem Ferry.
Salem has a wide variety of restaurants including outdoor cafes, ethnic eateries and fine dining establishments. For shoppers there are malls and department stores, an open market, a waterfront village, as well as a downtown retail district. Salem boasts of a wealth of museums, historic sites and attractions. For more information about dining, click here for SalemMassDining or click here for Salem Chamber of Commerce restaurant members. For a list of Salem Chamber of Commerce retail members, click here.
Salem also boasts of an up and coming artist community. There are many local artists and musicians whom have shops and inhabit the City streets. On a nightly basis, one can stop in at a local restaurant or nightspot and listen to some of the most creative music north of Boston. World famous artwork is displayed at the Peabody Essex Museumand 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 downtown shops including Artist Row.
The City of Salem has long had a committment to the promotion of art and culture. The Salem Cultural Council is a local agency of Salem residents that supports public programs and educational activities in the arts, sciences and humanities. Each year, this group awards grants to local artists and cultural organizations. Local artists and theaters, such as CinemaSalem, the Salem Theatre Company, the Salem State College Center for the Arts, the Griffen Theater , The Rebel Shakespeare Company and the Salem Jazz & Soul Festival provide entertainment and learning opportunities to residents and visitors alike. The Salem Arts Association, Inc. is an entirely volunteer-run nonprofit arts organization. The SAA seeks to bring art, in all its forms, to the community and bring the community, in all its diversity, to the arts in Salem, Massachusetts.