Want to experience Salem like the characters in Hocus Pocus? Follow this post for a spooky itinerary as you spend one day in Salem Massachusetts.
As someone who was raised to hate Halloween, I never thought I would be writing a post about the beloved town of Salem and the Disney film Hocus Pocus. The town and the film go hand in hand together as they commemorate the holiday of All Hallows’ Eve. In fact, as someone who’s been to Salem multiple times, the town never fails to lose its spooky charm and witchy atmosphere. So, if you’re planning a day trip to Salem and don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This itinerary will help you have an amazing time in town as you spend one day in Salem, Massachusetts.
New England Bucket List Series
P.S. This is a post in my New England Bucket List Series. Here is the complete series:
Road Trips: 30 Best Road Trips From Boston
Ice Skating: The Top 7 Places for Free Ice Skating in Boston
Fall Foliage: 12 Best Places for Fall Foliage in Boston
Thrift Stores: The 7 Best Thrift Stores in Boston for Vintage
Stop 1: Get breakfast at the Fountain Place Restaurant (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 232 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970
Located right along Essex Street, Fountain Place Restaurant is an ideal breakfast spot for one day in Salem! In its menu, it has a wide array of breakfast dishes that range from egg benedicts all the way to breakfast sandwiches. The egg benedicts at the restaurant can be served with a choice of home fries or fruit. The breakfast sandwiches, however, can be served on any choice of bread like wheat, white, light rye, dark rye or gluten-free.
In addition, the Fountain Place itself is a site steeped in history! This alone is because the fountain in front of the restaurant was actually the first water pump for the town of Salem. The fountain itself was even immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne in a short story.
Overall, the Fountain Place Restaurant in Salem is a breakfast spot worth checking out! In fact, if you don’t believe me, feel free to read this review here:
Stop 2: Head to Old Town Hall on Derby Square (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 32 Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970
Located on Derby Square, the Old Town Hall in Salem is where the Halloween party took place in Hocus Pocus. It’s also the place where the Sanderson sisters performed their popular hit, “I Put A Spell On You”. This song is still a fan favorite for many viewers and by visiting the Old Town Hall you’ll have the opportunity to recreate the scene yourself.
In fact, besides being a filming location for the film Hocus Pocus, Old Town Hall is still used year-round for many different celebrations and events. For example, the first floor of the hall right now operates as a museum. It gives visitors an accurate depiction of Salem’s grim history which is blanketed by the witch hysteria. The second floor, in addition, is where visitors can catch a reenactment play of the Salem witch trials. It focuses on Bridget Bishop in particular and how she was accused of being a witch.
Stop 3: Take a Stroll around the Salem Common (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: N Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970
Made up of nine acres, Salem Common is a historic city park in Salem that was used as another filming location for the movie Hocus Pocus. In the movie, you can find the Salem Common in the scene where Max follows Allison on his bike after school. In fact, if you end up watching the movie again, you’ll also notice that many of the outdoor scenes throughout the film were shot at the Common as well.
In the past, the park was even once a hilly, swampy area that was home to five ponds and a creek. The colonists even used the Common as a grazing area for their livestock as well as a training ground for their local militia. So, as a result, the Common was commonly referred to as the pen or the town swamp historically.
Today, the Common is now a wonderful playground surrounded by beautiful homes and fall foliage in autumn. You’re welcome to visit it at any time during your trip for the purposes of strolling, relaxing, or playing.
Stop 4: Check out Philips Elementary School aka Max and Allison’s High School (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 86 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
Situated near the Common, Philips Elementary School was another filming location for the movie Hocus Pocus. In the movie, you can find this school used in the scene where Max and Allison’s teacher spoke about the history behind the Sanderson Sisters to their class. In addition, it was also used in the scene where Max, Allison and Dani lured the Sanderson Sisters inside the school as a trap. This trap led the witches all the way to the school’s basement where they ended up getting burned alive. This however didn’t work out so well in the film but the tritagonists did what they thought was best.
Today, the building that was used for Philips Elementary School has now been converted into a condominium complex for disabled adults and children. In fact, even though there’s no present tour of the building today, you’re still welcome to walk around and view the complex from the Common.
Stop 5: Grab lunch at Olde Main Street Pub (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
Located in the heart of Downtown Salem, Massachusetts, Olde Main Street Pub is the ideal lunch spot for contemporary dining in a cozy-like atmosphere. In its menu, it has a wide array of lunch appetizers that include but are not limited to smoked gouda & goat cheese fritters, Korean style duck wings, and Cajun blackened shrimp.
The smoked gouda & cheese fritters in particular are basically just cheese balls with a crispy outer coating. The Korean style duck wings, in addition, are wings with a little Asian flavor to them. So, as a result, you can expect them to be spicy with a crunchy outer coating. Lastly, the Cajun blackened shrimp appetizer is pretty much straightforward. The only thing I would note about the dish is the choice behind the word “blackened”. Although it’s easy to assume “blackened” in this case means burnt, “blackened” for this appetizer actually means that the shrimp is coated in a special spice blend that makes it appear black in color. So, if you’re weren’t aware of this term before…you’re welcome!
Furthermore, if you’re looking for a main dish to eat for lunch, I highly recommend the caprese po’boy. It’s a traditional Louisiana sandwich made up of heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil pesto with a simple salad or house fries served on the side. The reviews here are also very helpful if you need some further insight on what to get!
Stop 6: Head to the historic Ropes Mansion aka Allison’s House (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 318 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
Known as the Ropes Memorial, the Ropes Mansion in Salem was another filming location for the movie Hocus Pocus. In the movie, the mansion was used as Allison’s home and it was also where she caught Max and Dani trick or treating. Max and Dani had no idea it was Allison’s house at first but they were lured by the extravagant Halloween decorations and candy.
Today, the Georgian Colonial mansion is now owned by the Peabody Essex Museum and open to the public. If you’re interested in booking a tour of the mansion, I highly recommend doing so here. The tour is completely free of charge and you can walk around the garden too.
Stop 7: Make your way over to Max and Dani Dennison’s House (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 4 Ocean Avenue, Salem, MA 01970
Known as the Hocus Pocus house, this private residence on Ocean Avenue was another filming location for the movie Hocus Pocus. In the film, the residence was used as Max and Dani’s house after recently relocating from California. In fact, there’s even one scene in the film where Max goes up to his top floor bedroom after having a bad day at school. He even made his way all the way to the sweet lookout at the top near the roof.
So, if you’re interested in visiting the Hocus Pocus house for the first time in Salem, I highly recommend it. In addition, since a family is currently residing in the home, please be respectful and courteous at all times when visiting the property. But, given the history of the home, they’re most likely used to seeing tourists around the area.
Stop 8: Go to Salem’s Pioneer Village aka Thackery Binx’s House and Village (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 98 West Ave, Salem, MA 01970
Known as America’s first living history museum, the Salem Pioneer Village was also another filming location for the movie Hocus Pocus. In the film, the village was used in the opening scene to represent Thackery Binx’s home and neighborhood. Thackery, in the movie, was in this village when he realized his little sister, Emily, had been kidnapped. She was taken by the Sanderson Sisters in the middle of the night but he courageously went after her.
In the past, the village was originally built to mark the tercentennial of Massachusetts. Now, the village sits on three acres of land, comprising various forms of colonial architecture. These forms of colonial architecture include but are not limited to dugouts, wigwams and thatched roof cottages.
A dugout is a type of shelter that’s partially below ground. A wigwam is a domed or cone-shaped house used by Native Americans, and lastly, a thatched roof cottage is a cottage with a roof built from dry vegetation such as straw, water reed or palm branches.
So, if you’re interested in visiting the Pioneer Village for the first time in Salem, I highly recommend it! Admission is $6 per person and tickets can be purchased at the gate or online.
Stop 9: Finish the day with a burger from Boston’s Burger Company (one day in salem massachusetts)
Address: 133 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970
Originating from Boston, the Boston Burger Company is a casual American restaurant that focuses on creative burgers, shakes and gourmet fries. Even though it started with three locations in the city, Boston Burger Company was able to expand to the North Shore by opening a location right in the heart of Downtown Salem.
In its menu, you can find a wide array of hefty burgers that include but are not limited to the MAINE-aic burger, WTF, and the Alpine. The MAINE-aic burger is a burger made with Maine blueberry compote, bacon, goat cheese, caramelized onions, garlic mayo and mixed greens. The WTF burger is a burger made with mac n’ cheese, pulled pork, onion rings, Grillos pickles and bbq sauce, and lastly, the Alpine burger, my favorite, is a burger made with garlic parmesan mushrooms and swiss.
So, if you’re interested in visiting the Boston Burger Company for the first time in Salem, I highly recommend it! In addition to the burgers, you’re also welcome to order the appetizers and frappes too as seen below.
One Day in Salem Massachusetts FAQs
To end this spooky itinerary, I thought I would finish it off with a beautiful Hocus Pocus GIF and some frequently asked questions about Salem! 🙂
#1 – Is one day enough for Salem MA?
Yes, one day is definitely enough for Salem, Massachusetts. The town is very small and all of the tourist attractions are close together.
#2 – Is Salem a walkable city?
Yes, Salem is absolutely a walkable city! It’s even known for having a Salem Heritage Trail that you can follow along for a self-guided walking tour. However, if you’re not the walking type, the Salem Skipper is also available for ride shares.
Overall, I hope you enjoyed this one day itinerary for your trip to Salem, Massachusetts! Please let me know in the comments down below which stop you liked the most. I would love to hear from you!
P.S. If you’re looking for some more content on Massachusetts, check out this post on the 30 best road trips from Boston.