Introduction to Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts, in Essex county, is 4 miles NE of Lynn, Massachusetts (center to center) and 13 miles NE of Boston, Massachusetts. It's a residential area and a popular tourist destination. The city is well known for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Salem has numerous impressive mansions and homes from the colonial era. It has an excellent collection of Federal, Victorian, Post-Medieval, Greek Revival and Georgian architecture.

Salem History

The town was established in 1626 along the mouth of the Naumkeag River by a group of fisherman. The majority of people accused during the well known Salem Witch Trials lived in the close by Salem Village. The witchcraft accusations began with Abigail Williams, Betty Parris and some of their friends. By 1790 Salem was one of the largest cities in the nation. It had a renowned seaport and was very active in the China trade.

Due to the prosperity of the city, a large number of mansions were constructed during the colonial era. Nathaniel Hawthorne worked in the customs house located close to Pickering Wharf; which was the setting for his famous book The Scarlet Letter. The Great Salem Fire of 1914 destroyed over 400 homes.

Salem Attractions

  • The Salem Maritime National Historic Site was the first National Historic Site designated by congress.
  • Corwin House/Witch House is the only structure leftover from the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.
  • House of the Seven Gables is a wooden mansion from the 17th century and is well known due to the Nathaniel Hawthorne story.
  • The Pickman House is one of the oldest houses in Salem.
  • McIntire Historic District is a popular tourist destination.
  • Peabody Essex Museum features art, including an excellent collection of maritime art. It features architecture and culture regarding New England and the world. The Philips Library has the original court documents of the famous Salem Witch Trials.
  • Burying Point is the oldest cemetery in the city.
  • Chestnut Street is regarded as one of the most architecturally attractive streets in the country. It features impressive historic homes.
  • Trolley tours of the city are available.
  • The New England Pirate Museum includes numerous relics.
  • Phillips House is a Federal Style mansion and includes a variety of artifacts.
  • Pickering House showcases a variety of antiques.
  • Pickering Wharf is a recreation of the past and includes numerous shops with items from all over the world.
  • The Friendship is a notable tall ship reconstruction.
  • Pioneer Village is a recreation of an old English community.

The city features other noteworthy attractions including the Nathaniel Bowditch House, Salem Witch Village, Salem Wax Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, Hamilton Hall, Old Town Hall and the Ropes Mansion Garden.

Salem Common offers concerts and a variety of community activities. Salem Marketplace includes shops, restaurants, art galleries and nighttime entertainment. North Shore Music Theatre is a popular venue.

Salem Activities

The Forest River Park is popular with families and includes beach areas. Cruises are available for touring the historic lighthouses and islands. The Salem Willows Amusement Park offer children's rides and games and provides scenic views of the harbor. Salem Woods, also known as Highland Park is popular with bird watchers and with nature enthusiasts. The city attracts a large crowd during Halloween and provides a vast number of Halloween related events during October.

Salem Higher Education

The city is home to Salem State College which offers undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs. The university also licensure programs where you can learn how to become an elementary school teacher.

Salem Transportation

Air Travel is provided at the Logan International Airport, located in Boston. A commuter rail and the Salem High Speed Ferry provide transportation to Boston.


Total Population 42,321
Male Share of the Population 46.5%
Female Share of the Population 53.5%
Senior Citizens 13.1%
Employed Population 16+ 22,176
Age of the Population 37


% of people married 35.8%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 38.1%
Median Earnings25+ $42,203
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $18,438
Median Earnings With High School Degree $32,681


Median Family Income $68,932
% Above Poverty Level 85.6%
% Below Poverty Level 14.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 29 minutes
% Working from Home 4.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work 7.1%
% Using Public Transportation 12.3%


People Living Alone 37.5%
Median Gross Rent $1,082
Median House Value $303,100


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 25.8%
US/American 0.2%
English 9%
Irish 24.8%

Salem Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 4 miles NE of Lynn, Massachusetts (center to center)
Nearest Large City 13 miles NE of Boston, Massachusetts
County Essex
Standard Zip Codes 01970
P.O. Box Zip Codes 01971
Phone Area Codes 978
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 42.519
Longitude -70.897

Salem Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.1 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 37 F
Apr Temp 38 to 57 F
Jul Temp 63 to 82 F
Oct Temp 45 to 62 F
Annual Precip 45.5 inches
Distance 8.3 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 38 F
Apr Temp 37 to 58 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 45.3 inches
Distance 12 miles
Jan Temp 16 to 35 F
Apr Temp 35 to 58 F
Jul Temp 60 to 83 F
Oct Temp 39 to 62 F
Annual Precip 48.3 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Beverly 40,370 $96,514
Danvers 27,075 $97,853
Lynn 91,289 $56,253
Marblehead 20,163 $125,833
Peabody 51,868 $81,967
Swampscott 13,912 $120,301

Salem Public Libraries

Salem Public Library
Salem, Massachusetts
(978) 744-0860

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Salem Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(978) 741-1215
Emergency Service: Yes

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Salem High Schools

Serves 1,343 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.8

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Historic Salem


Doorway of old Custom House c1906

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Doorway of old Custom House c1906

Old Witch House c1906.

Assembly House between 1910 and 1920

Additional Resources
Info for Salem Government Officials

Are you an official in the Salem government or quasi-government agency such as the chamber of commerce, visitors bureau or economic development council? If so, visit our information page for government officials to see how CityTownInfo can support you.

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