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Things to Do in Salem

Salem’s notoriety is due in large part to its central role in the infamous witch trials of the 17th century. Since then, Salem has been synonymous with witches, Wiccan culture and all things black magic. The town’s high school athletic teams are the Witches, some children attend Witchcraft Heights Elementary and witch symbols emblazon the police cars. Every year, tourists flock by the tens of thousands to bask in the kitsch of a city that, for all intents and purposes, celebrates Halloween every day of the year.

The downtown area is small but constantly humming with the bustle of tourists and the more than 40,000 residents who call Salem home. Must-see attractions include the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, where 20 stone benches each symbolize an individual executed during the notorious 17th-century trials. The memorial is open to the public and provides an eerie glimpse into the town's creepy past.

Visitors looking to get beyond the typical Salem experience will appreciate the city's rich history. It played a critical role in the Revolutionary War, as well as both world wars, and military buffs will appreciate the fact that in 2013, President Barack Obama officially declared Salem the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard.

Don’t miss the House of the Seven Gables, the 1668 wooden mansion that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel of the same name, or the Peabody Essex Museum, the oldest continuously operating museum in the country. The city’s recently renovated Salem Harborwalk opened in 2010 and is ideal for strolls along the South River.
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