If you’re asking where to stay in Salem, you’ve come to the right place. Salem, MA is one of the most interesting and important historical places in all of America, and we’ll cover everything about it.
The small city of Salem and the area around it have a very similar vibe. Every city looks like the other, and they’re all approximately the same size. However, Salem still stands out — it’s historically important, it has the best restaurants, and it offers accommodation options.
So, the real question should be: should you stay in Salem or stick to some of the neighboring cities? You can easily visit and see all the attractions in Salem in one day. If you’re planning a longer visit, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands to visit the neighboring cities without a problem.
You have to remember that, regardless of the fact that Salem is the center of the region, all the other cities nearby have their own specific charm and beauty, and they’re completely worth your time. This article will narrate all of their individual stories.
The 5 Best Places to Stay in Salem
The region around Salem is both small and homogenous. Apart from Salem — which is the center of everything, especially history — they offer roughly the same things. History, sightseeing, and good food.
The choice of the city depends on your preferences, but it won’t make a big difference. They’re all so close to each other that you can probably walk from one to the other (if you have a lot of time). If you’re there with a car, it practically won’t make any difference where you’re staying.
- Salem: The historic and cultural center of the area, full of monuments, memorials, and old houses, but also the best and most luxurious accommodations.
- Marblehead: A small coastal town right next to Salem with its own historical story and a lot of great seafood restaurants.
- Peabody: A small inland town, famous for its industrialist and capitalist history, with the best square and the best shopping center in the area.
- Danvers: Salem’s “competitor” in historical importance, with a lot of memorials, monuments, and museums, but also a great park, as well as the oldest tree brought from Europe.
- Beverly: Both industrial and artistic, it’s famous for its old cinema palace, great music halls, and galleries.
The Best Areas & Hotels in Salem
Salem and its area are quite homogenous concerning the accommodation options they offer. The hotel situation is practically similar in every city, and it won’t make a huge difference whatever area you choose as the place where you’ll entrench yourself.
The area is dominated by three-star hotels. In every city, you’ll find at least three or four of them, some leaning towards the budget options and some towards the luxurious type — the prices always reflect that.
Finding a mid-range accommodation option shouldn’t be a problem in the Salem area because everything here is not too expensive. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any luxury accommodation hotels whatsoever.
Salem, for example, has a lot of historic, luxurious, and quite expansive hotels and lodgings — most of them in over 300–400-year-old houses. The same holds for the other cities too, with Marblehead being the only exception.
What’s peculiar, though, is that the situation with the budget places is not so rosy. There are not many budget hotels, motels, or accommodation options in this area: maybe one or two per area if you’re ready to look really hard.
Some of them are hardly real budget hotels, being just cheaper three-star hotels that still have pools or gyms on their premises. To cut it short: if you’re ready to settle for a decent mid-range option, Salem and the cities around it are a great place to be.
The same holds for luxury options, except Marblehead. But if you want to go on a budget, you’ll really have a hard time. The Boston area is not famous for its cheapness.
1. Best Area for Culture: Salem
The city of Salem is probably the most historically opulent place in all America, with its history spanning from the early 17th century and the early settlers till today. Although it has a population of only around 45,000 people, it offers many memorable accommodations and tasty restaurants.
Salem is the center of the so-called “witch tourism” due to the infamous witch trials held there in the 17th century. Probably the best way to find out about this very important event that’s intimately connected to the city is to join one of the many tours organized by the city.
History and Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour and Salem Witches and Witch Trials Dead of Night Ghost Tour are maybe the two best ones.
The main attractions you’ll visit on this tour are the Old Burying Point Cemetery and the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, both of them sharing this dreadful story from the early history of America. That being said, not everything in Salem is so black.
The town is also the nucleus of the early American colonial experience, which is quite interesting and exciting. The special attraction is Pioneer Village, which recreates the living and working conditions of one of the first Europeans that came to America.
The historic homes — that are preserved incredibly well — are the “real thing” and the main attraction. Pickman House is the oldest of them, standing in the same place since the time of the witch trials. Gedney and Cox Houses are also not exactly new, spanning from the 17th century.
And finally, there’s House of the Seven Gables, made famous by the ingenious ghost-story novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, with its beautiful garden. Salem is a great place to stay because many of the historical houses also offer accommodation.
There’s a great variety of mid-range and luxury accommodations, but not enough budget hotels. So, if you’re on a budget, you should better choose some of the neighboring cities.
Salem Budget Hotels
- Hampton Inn is a great three-star hotel in the heart of Salem, with an indoor pool, a fitness center, and great rooms. As there are almost no budget options in Salem, Hampton Inn is the cheapest option you’ll get.
- Apartments in Salem are located in a plain and nicely furnished historic-looking house in the north of Salem, close to the waterfront and the historic district. The apartments are furnished with flat-screen TVs, and there’s access to free Wi-Fi everywhere on the premises.
Salem Mid-Range Hotels
- Hawthorne Hotel, named after the famous Salem-born author, is only 200 meters from Salem Witch Museum and Salem Common. It has an on-site restaurant, fitness center, and a souvenir gift shop.
- The Salem Inn is another relatively cheap three-star hotel. It’s located within walking distance of various local attractions, such as the place where the witch trials were held. The rooms have a fireplace, a kitchenette, and a nearby free gym.
Salem Luxury Hotels
- Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites is a big four-star hotel on the Waterfront of Salem. It has luxuriously furnished rooms, a gym, and a restaurant. The Regatta Pub Restaurant serves classical American fusion for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- The Daniels House Bed and Breakfast was built in 1667 by a sea captain, and it’s the oldest institution of its type in the area. The food and the open fireplace are just marvelous: it’ll make you feel like you’ve traveled with a time machine to the age of the Puritans.
2. Best Area for Dining: Marblehead
Marblehead is a close-knit New England coastal town just next to Salem and a 35-minute ride from Boston. Like everything in the area, it’s quite historically important — it was founded in 1629 by English colonists from Channel Island and Cornwall.
Marblehead continued the tradition of the settlers and became one of the most interesting coastal cities in this area: it brags that it’s the founding place of the American navy, and some have even called it “New England’s Best-Kept Seaside Secret.”
If you want to spend time by the ocean, Marblehead is a great place for you. It has a lot of coastal restaurants, hotels, and places where you can walk or swim — if the season is right.
Fans of marine history have to visit Abbot Hall Maritime Museum and find out the real history of the military accomplishments of this small town. Crowninshield Island is nearby too, and it’s a great place to have a stroll and maybe collect some shells or even look at some sea life along the rocks.
Obviously, Marblehead has a great story to tell — something that goes without saying when you’re visiting a small New England town. You just have to take the historic walk and look at some of the 300 houses from the 17th and 18th centuries, like the home of General Jonathan Glover, a soldier in the army of George Washington.
Other historically important things are the Old Burial Hill cemetery, dating from the 17th century, where some notable people have been buried, or the Fort Sewall (from roughly the same time), primarily built to protect the citizens of Marblehead from pirates or other invaders.
The one place neither connected to the sea nor history is the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see different types of birds and enjoy the surrounding woodlands — quite an underrated attraction!
Marblehead has a great repertoire of restaurants, especially when it comes to seafood. Foodies will have a good time in this city. Concerning the hotels, though, you’re limited to the mid-range type, with a lot of three-star hotels but almost no budget or luxury hotels.
Marblehead Budget Hotels
- Cozy and comfy, Salem and Boston, free parking in nearby Lynn is maybe the cheapest place you’ll find in the whole region. But the place is actually quite nice, with private parking and a bar on the premises.
- Sweet Retreat is relatively cheap and can only be called a budget hotel in a relative sense. It’s a holiday home with two bedrooms and a kitchen that also features a washing machine, microwave, and refrigerator.
Marblehead Mid-Range Hotels
- The Hotel Marblehead is located in a typical New-England style house in the center of Marblehead but also near the coast. The hotel has a beautiful garden, and it’s located near some great restaurants, such as Cod Tavern Seafood and Sea Salt.
- Brackett Cottage is a cute and cozy holiday home with three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. There’s also a nice place in the garden to grab a coffee or eat your breakfast. The Wi-Fi is free, and there’s air conditioning.
Marblehead Luxury Hotels
- Harbor Light Inn is located in the historic center of Marblehead, and it’s the only luxury option you’ll find in the city. It’s a great four-star hotel that serves breakfast, afternoon tea, coffee, and cordials. Some of the rooms have a fireplace in the sitting area.
3. Best Area for Shopping: Peabody
Peabody is another small city located next to Salem. It’s famous for its rich industrial history, and it gets its name from the famous George Peabody, a famous banker and the father of modern American Philanthropy.
A lovely town, it’s mostly famous for its closeness to Salem and the square in the middle of the city. Not as historically important as next-door Salem, it still holds its fair share of historical importance and monumentality.
The house of Peabody’s most important person, built in an Early Republic style at the end of the 18th century, today is quite an interesting and important museum. On the premises, you can also find the Peabody Leatherworkers Museum, which stands witness to the city’s lively industrial history.
The Peabody Historical Society is also an interesting place to find out about the history of the last three centuries. Peabody Square is definitely the most important and lively place in this town.
The downtown around the square is full of restaurants and shops, and it’s quite nice for pedestrians and potential shoppers. The best time to visit the square — and the city in general — is in September, when the International Festival is being held.
Tens of thousands of people come to Peabody at that time of the year to listen to some music, hang out, check out the local artisanry, and grab a bite. Food is at the center of the festival, bringing different cuisines from all around the world.
Northshore Mall is the city’s center for shopping, with more than 160 shops and services. Here you can shop in Foot Locker, Sephora, The North Face, Forever 21, and other famous brands.
The food court is also nice, as Peabody is all about getting your stomach full. The hotel situation is not very different from the rest of the region. Mid-range hotels dominate the Peabody area, with some budget options on the periphery.
However, there are also a bunch of quasi-luxurious but quite decent chain hotels. People who want to spend their time in a decent hotel and travel the region should have a good time in Peabody.
Peabody Budget Hotels
- Plaza Inn is located off Route 1, so the location is not too great. The rooms are plain and simply furnished, only having a television and a refrigerator. However, the price is quite low, and it’s quite worth it if you’re on a budget.
- Extended Stay America Suites is a decent accommodation, with rooms especially furnished for a longer stay. The kitchens are equipped with a stovetop, microwave, and a fridge, and the hotel offers laundry and ironing services. There’s breakfast, too.
Peabody Mid-Range Hotels
- Boston Marriott Peabody is a mid-range hotel that leans towards the luxurious. King-sized beds and working desks are provided in every room, and there’s an inside pool with a hot tub, as well as a fitness center on the premises of the hotel.
- Hampton Inn Boston/Peabody is another place located between Wakefield and Salem, especially suitable for couples. Having an indoor pool and nicely furnished rooms, it’s a great place if you have a car.
Peabody Luxury Hotels
- Homewood Suites Boston Peabody is a great three-star hotel located just between Peabody and Wakefield. It’s especially suitable for couples and offers breakfast on the premises, a gym, an indoor swimming pool, and an in-house shop.
- Holiday Inn & Suites Boston Peabody, an IHG Hotel from the Holiday Inn chain of hotels, is another beautiful three-star hotel. It has a fitness center, a business center, an indoor pool, and an Italian restaurant and grill on the premises.
4. Most Historic Area: Danvers
Danvers is another small town in close proximity to Salem. Known in the past as Salem Village, it’s closely related to Salem’s history, especially to the infamous witch trials from the end of the 17th century.
Namely, Danvers was the starting point of the ongoing hysteria: that’s why this is the place — aside from Salem itself — where you’ll find out about the history and the misdeeds of the early Puritans.
The historic district in Danvers is the so-called peripheral center of the history of Salem’s witch hunts. Visiting Rebecca Nurse Homestead should be the first thing on the list. An old woman of 71 she convicted and executed in 1962.
The house that stands there (a replica of the original house which was raised) is a witness and a symbol of the whole story. While you are scratching through the history of Danvers, don’t forget to visit other locations as well. The Witchcraft Victims’ Memorial is located in the original place where the presumed witches were questioned.
Israel Putnam House is a nicely preserved original house from that time, owned by a member of the family that was closely related to the horrible happenings. Not everything is connected to the dark history of Salem.
Endicott Pear Tree is supposedly the oldest brought fruit tree from Europe, growing for more than 400 years. It’s probably the oldest cultivated tree in all of America. Glen Magna Farms is the most beautiful piece of architecture (and gardening) in the whole region, and it’s definitely worth seeing.
Concerning things to do unrelated to history in Danvers, we suggest the following two. First, Endicott Park Danvers is the main green space in the city, great for relaxation, recreation and children.
Second, the Water Park of New England, located near Danvers, is a great place simply to have fun and, for a moment, forget the calamities of history. Accommodation-vise, Danvers is typical of the area. Nicely balanced, it mostly offers mid-range hotels.
There are some budget options, but even the two-star hotels are better than average. There are not many luxury options, but the existing ones are quite nice. The restaurant situation — again, typical for this part of America — is great, boasting both quality and versatility.
Danvers Budget Hotels
- Knight’s Inn Boston/Danvers is a cozy, decent motel that has a restaurant on its premises, where the guests can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The rooms have a working desk, refrigerator, and satellite TV.
- Motel 6-Danvers, MA – Boston North is a spacious, pet-friendly motel that offers free Wi-Fi and satellite TV in every room. It also has an indoor swimming pool inside the premises.
Danvers Mid-Range Hotels
- Sonesta Select Boston Danvers has a great location on the side of Danvers, and it’s close to Salem — a ten-minute ride to the city of witches. It’s a pet-friendly three-star hotel with a great lawn, business center, and a gym.
- Best Western Plus North Shore Hotel is the Danvers’ version of the Best Western chain. The three-star hotel has a swimming pool and a garden. It also offers breakfast in the buffet area; it’s particularly suitable for couples.
Danvers Luxury Hotels
- Residence Inn Boston North Shore/Danvers is a pet-friendly hotel with an outdoor pool and a gym. All the rooms have a separate sitting area and a kitchen, working desks, and ergonomic chairs. Although it’s listed as a three-star hotel, Residence Inn is quite a luxurious package.
- DoubleTree Boston North Shore Danvers is the only four-star hotel in the area, and it’s a real blast. Full-service spa, indoor pool, gym, various breakfast and dining options — the hotel has it all. Also, the premises are completely pet friendly.
5. Most Artistic Area: Beverly
Located north of Salem, Beverly is one of the places where the Industrial Revolution in America Began. Very early in its history, it started to distance itself from the superstitions of Salem and entrenched its identity in science and industry.
Also, it’s in an ages-long dispute with Marblehead about the beginnings of the American Navy. In a few words: Beverly is a small city with a big heart, trying to build its individual identity, surrounded by historically important neighbors.
The first two things you just have to see are the memorial of Beverly Cotton Manufactory and John Cabot House. Beverly Cotton Manufactory was the first cotton factory in the whole of the USA, and John Cabot was one of its co-founders. Sadly, the factory no longer stands, but the house is as strong as ever.
The house is a marvel itself, but it’s also full of exhibits witnessing the early industrial history of America. Paradoxically, regardless of its industrial nature, Beverly is quite an artistic city. Its biggest specialties are movies and music.
The Cabot is an old-school movie palace — one of the last of its kind in America. It’s around 100 years old, but it’s still completely functional and loyal to its primary mission: to project movies in style.
If you’re more of a music fan, Beverly’s going to be a blast. Larcom Theater Music and Performing Arts, built in 1912. Mainly concentrated on music, today it hosts many different cultural projects as well. North Shore Music Center is your second option.
Located on the outskirts of Beverly, it hosts musical events with high-class entertainers all over the year. Finally, if painting is your forte, Porter Mill Studio is the place for you. It is both historic (1895 is the founding date) and active in the present, hosting more than 50 studios of individual artists.
Besides painting, here you’ll find exhibitions of photography, sculpture, installations, and much more. Concerning the hotels and accommodations, Beverly is very much like the other cities on this list.
It has a lot of decent (and sometimes more than decent) mid-range hotels, a few four-star accommodations, and almost no budget options. The situation with the restaurants is more than satisfying — in short, you won’t stay hungry in this small city.
Beverly Budget Hotels
- The Cabot Lodge has air-conditioned rooms with a shared lounge and flat-screen TVs. It’s a decent place located on the corner of a street, on the edge of Beverly’s downtown.
Beverly Mid-Range Hotels
- Quaint Beverly Townhome Walk to Beach and Downtown is a great three-star hotel. Its rooms are equipped with a full kitchen — microwave and refrigerator — and flat-screen TVs. There’s air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi all over the place.
- The Beverly is a great place for couples. It boasts free Wi-Fi in the hotel and free parking. The rooms are suitable for a longer stay, as they have a fully equipped kitchen.
Beverly Luxury Hotels
- In RiverView you get the whole house to yourself, which means: five bedrooms, a full kitchen, and two bathrooms. Its location is great, 2–3 kilometers from almost every important memorial in Salem. The place is indexed as a four-star hotel.
- The Wylie Inn and Conference Center at Endicott College is a great four-star hotel with a very famous conference room, a 100-year-old fountain on the premises, and a perfect location. It opens directly to the beach, and at the same time, it’s a ten-minute ride from Salem.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
Coming to the end of this guide, let’s do a quick recap and answer in clear terms the question: where should you stay in Salem? As we showed, it’s not that hard a question to answer. Let’s recap:
|🏹 Best for Cultural Experience
|🦞 Best Area for Restaurants
|🛍️ Best for Shopping
|🏰 Most Historic Area
|🎭 Most Artistic Area
However, regardless of which location in which you choose to stay, you’ll be greeted with gorgeous scenery, ample history, amazing food, and more sights than you can possible see in one trip. Happy travels!