A Free History Walking Tour of Salem!

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Turner Street Walking Tours was founded by a history teacher in 2023. Inspired by the free tours offered in Europe's great cities, this company was designed for the visitor who wants one comprehensive history of Salem from 1626 to the present day. We believe that Salem is an overlooked American cultural treasure that all visitors should enjoy. By focusing solely on the witch trials or ghost stories, many visitors miss the incredible stories that Salem has to offer. We provide a experience that is grounded in historical truth but explores the many mysteries of human nature. Because our tours are tips-only, we work to give you the best tour every time.


Famed Salem author Nathaniel Hawthorne once asked: "Shall we never get rid of this past?" At Turner Street Walking Tours we aspire to never rid ourselves of this past. We want to explore one of America's darkest moments with you. While we have come a long way since the events of 1692, the memory is never far. We will introduce you to the surviving witnesses of this era, the buildings and landmarks of the 17th century. We will discuss the true ghosts of Salem that continue to haunt the human condition today: superstition, hysteria, fear, and persecution. 


Connected to the sea since its founding, Salem at the dawn of the republic turned again to the horizon for opportunities. With British law no longer restricting America's sailors to established trading partners, Salem's ship captains and crews trail blazed connections with new and far away lands. So prolific were Salem's ships in distant ports, the city was sometimes mistaken for its own nation. In the process of seeking these new lands, Salem became one of America's most prosperous cities, changing the character of the city and country forever. You will see the many remnants of this lucrative past. 


When Salem's maritime trade declined in the early 19th century, the city was never quite the same. Unlike its neighbor Boston, whose growth required new construction and change, Salem's wealthier days were behind it, freezing its architecture in time. That is precisely why Salem provides one of the best glimpses into colonial Massachusetts architecture that exists today. Turner Street Walking Tours will give you the keys to understanding the visual language of Salem and its homes. You will never walk a colonial American city the same way again. 


Although Salem never experienced the American Revolutionary War or the Civil War in its streets, its citizens fought in both conflicts. We will discuss some of Salem's most famous people, both those who created the intellectual foundations for these wars or those who risked their lives in service of their country. On this tour we will discuss the sacrifice Salem's people made in establishing the country and then saving it. You will hear about the patriots, politicians, privateers, and abolitionists whose character inspires us to this day.


Salem's restaurant and bars rival any establishment you can find in Boston. There are many tourist traps, however, which only a local would know to avoid. We will offer you the tips to finding Salem's best restaurants and bars. There are no financial incentives in offering these suggestions, but simply a desire for you to love the city — and its food and drinks — the way we love it. We will make sure you find authentic New England cuisine that people have been enjoying since 1626.


 Though we are a free, tips-only company, we attempt to travel-by-foot more distance than any tour, and we strive to go deeper in understanding the character of this historic city. We endeavor to show you neighborhoods of Salem that most tourists never see and discuss topics and historic residents that most tours skip. Rather than sell different types of tours and products, we provide visitors with one comprehensive Salem experience. If you value substance and truth over legend and myth, this is the tour for you. This experience is approximately 2-2.5 hours. Your spot is guaranteed with an online reservation. If you only have time for one historical tour in Salem, this is the one you want to take.