Where to stay in Salem, MA

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While Salem, Massachusetts, spooks even the most fearless of visitors (it’s not called Witch City for nothing), picking where to stay doesn’t have to be terrifying, at least not if you avoid Halloween’s peak when the hotel rates around town skyrocket. You have two main options: Stay in Downtown Salem to enjoy walking distance to the sights; or bed down on Salem’s outskirts to capitalize on budget-friendlier rates.

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Which is the best area in Salem?

One of the oldest cities in the USA, established in 1626, Salem cherishes its past — good or bad. To understand Salem, you need to know about the infamous 1692-93 Salem witch trials, which costed the lives of at least 25 innocent people.

Downtown Salem, orbiting around the peaceful green Salem Common and busy commercial Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, is loaded with fascinating stories. Marvel at a cocktail of enchanting buildings; some have stood since the 17th century, while others date back to Salem’s following heyday as a major trading port.

If you check in at a hotel in Downtown Salem, you can fully reap the benefits of its compactness. Within steps, you have all those sprawling mansions, from The House of Seven Gables to the Witch House, as well as the must-visit Peabody Essex Museum and soothing waterfront.

This area is also the center stage of the haunted happenings that take place every October, drawing crowds from all over America. But whether you visit around Halloween or not, witch-themed attractions, shops and tours add a unique magical spice to Salem’s cityscape.

Fun fact: During its early days, Salem encompassed a much larger area and several surrounding towns. These neighbors — including Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Beverly and Manchester-by-the-Sea — make additional options for where to stay when visiting Salem.

Shining Derby Wharf Light Station backdropped by Salem Harbor, Massachusetts
Walk from your Downtown Salem hotel to the waterfront.

7 best places to stay in Salem

Here are the best places to stay when visiting Salem, with the first five handily sitting at Salem’s heart and the final two in nearby towns.

1. The Salem Inn

The Salem Inn features 40 atmospheric units spread across three history-steeped homes. Be sure to ask the receptionist about ghosts: Paranormal sightings have been reported, and some claim that at least three ghosts roam the hotel, with room #17 especially haunted.

2. The Merchant

President George Washington stayed here in 1789; these days, you can too. Embrace a chic boutique hotel set in a federal-style 18th-century building erected as the home of Joshua Ward, a well-off merchant who imported rum and pepper from Asia.

3. Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites

On the Pickering Wharf, Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites appeals for its contemporary style. There’s an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center and, if you rather stay in, an on-site restaurant, the Regatta Pub.

4. Hawthorne Hotel

Named after the beloved local writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, this hotel has been meeting the particular needs of Salem, its guest and visitors since 1925. Expect refined rooms in timeless tones of white, grey and blue, some of which face the lush Salem Common.

5. Hampton Inn Salem

Explore the captivating history of Salem by day; then sleep like a baby in your modern hotel room at night. Hampton Inn conveniently sits within the downtown area and boasts a splashing indoor swimming pool — this is one of the best places to stay in Salem with kids.

6. The Wylie Inn

Salem’s reputation as a lovely historic getaway means that hotel rates can be steep, especially around Halloween. However, you can stretch your budget by staying at comfy The Wylie Inn in the neighboring town of Beverly, putting you within 15 minutes’ drive of Downtown Salem.

7. Harbor Light Inn

Many visitors combine Salem with Marblehead, another seaside town with a rich maritime past positioned only a 15-minute ride away. Here, the 1729 Harbor Light Inn features 20 romantic rooms reflecting the prosperity of the area’s trading past with all from oriental carpets to elegant chandeliers to hand-made furniture.

Tip: This is one of the most romantic places to stay in Massachusetts.

Where to stay in Salem FAQ

How many days should I stay in Salem, MA?

Allow at least one full day to enjoy a stress-free Salem itinerary capturing the main sights. If you have more time to spare, consider adding the nearby Marblehead and Cape Ann to your travel plans.

Which are the best places to stay in Salem, MA?

There’re hotels in Salem for each visitor. The Salem Inn is one of the best historic hotels in Salem, while the big-chain Hampton Inn caters to those who prefer something more predictable.

Which are the most unique places to stay in Salem, MA?

Bed down at the-history steeped Salem Inn, if you dare — many claim it’s haunted. Other unique historic hotels in Salem include Hawthorne Hotel and The Merchant.

Where to stay in Salem, MA, with family?

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites and Hampton Inn make visiting Salem with family effortless. Both sit with Salem’s top attraction within steps and offer indoor swimming pool, perfect when traveling with kids in tow.

Which are the most romantic hotels in Salem, MA?

Loved by couples, The Merchant brilliantly balances 18th century history with chic touches and luxurious amenities. If you don’t mind staying a drive away from Salem, also consider Marblehead’s romance-filled Harbor Light Inn.

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