Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Happy (almost) Halloween travel friends! Random subscribers? My mom? I appreciate you all the same.
As any 90s street kid would know, Salem Massachusetts is the sacred ground of the film Hocus Pocus. Traveling here was a non-negotiable stop with my boyfriend (to his delight) on our recent New England road trip. A quick 30-minute drive from Boston, Salem is the perfect first destination when taking a fall leaf-peeping adventure.
October is far and away Salem's most busy season, so my goal today is to equip you with all the information you need as not to run "amuck" and have another glorious morning. How many Hocus Pocus lines can I throw in here? Makes me sick! (Hang in there, people).
This is your full Hocus Pocus travel guide to Salem and major filming locations!
Before we jump in, I want to note that traveling from out of state (New England residents excluded) requires a COVID test 72 hours before departure. Did they pull us aside at the airport to check? No. However, I have heard that they have done this with people traveling to the East Coast. However, we did need the test for entry into the Peabody Museum, which I discuss later in the post. Overall, my take on travel with COVID is to be respectful of state mandates and not put others or yourself in a position to spread the virus. Wear a mask, people!
Walking the Streets of Salem
The streets of downtown Salem are clad with cobblestone and old school charm. For a real estate fanatic like myself, this includes beautiful architecture and classic homes to admire on your walk around town. If you visit in October, a stroll in the downtown vicinity with thousands of your closest friends is more the reality of downtown Salem.
The parking situation is a complete nightmare, so I recommend bringing comfy shoes and parking far from the downtown area. Parking far away is also a great way to see the local homes decorated for Halloween, clearly photographed above. Plus, you are going to avoid a lot of traffic that riddles the downtown Essex area. Residents and community members have signed posted everywhere stating what is local parking or not, so pay attention to where you end up parking. We ended up parking as far up Broad Street as possible (street parking, no signs) and walked about ten minutes to downtown Essex Street. The great thing about this spot? The location was incredibly close to the first destination, Allison's House.
318 Essex Street (c/o "Hocus Pocus" Filming Locations)
Also known as the Ropes Mansion, this is a must-stop on your Salem journey. This house was the one featured in the movie when Max & Dani go trick-or-treating. My experience included a crowd of people taking photos, so an earlier or later time may suit when visiting this historic spot.
Next, we ventured to Essex Street, which is the heart of downtown Salem. There are so many places to visit in downtown Essex. However, a couple of my favorites were Wicked Good Books (where I purchased a historical book on witches), The Peabody Essex Museum to admire art, and learn more about the Salem Witch Trials (see my COVID disclaimer), and Hex Old World Witchery.
If you can go during the week, I definitely would as the lines/crowds were vast on a Saturday!
Old Town Hall
32 Derby Square
Venturing around the corner to Front Street, you'll find the Old Town Hall where the 'party' scene was filmed from the outside. It is actually an incredibly beautiful square that is perfect for sitting and enjoying good weather and maybe even "I Put a Spell on You." Incredibly cheesy. Here we are.
Salem Witch Museum
This museum is at the forefront of learning and experiencing the Salem Witch Trials. I was incredibly upset when I realized that you needed to purchase tickets for this in advance, and they were completely sold out! Visit the Salem Witch Museum website to purchase ahead of time! Same-day ticket sales go on sale after midnight the same day, and tickets are limited.
Max & Dani's House
4 Ocean Avenue
After we finished in downtown Salem, we walked back to our car and headed to this epic location. This home is incredibly iconic for many reasons, including the memorable 'book light' tower & the ocean views that I am 100% sure Bette Midler flew over.
Incredibly, a family lives in this home, so be mindful when walking up and taking photos!
Salem Pioneer Village
(Image by https://www.pioneervillagesalem.org/)
98 West Avenue
After Max & Dani's house, round out your Hocus Pocus tour with a 4-minute drive to Salem Pioneer Village. Thackery (did anyone else think his name was Zachary for 20 years? Because I did) Binx's home and that of the Sanderson Sister's home reside here and is a great last stop on your spooky season tour.
We did not have the opportunity to visit, but would if we had time! You can purchase tickets online here for $5.
Booking your trip yet? Does Max like your yabbos? Wishing you and yours the best spooky season yet!