Welcome to Witch City! All About Moving to Salem, Massachusetts

Whether you’re moving to Salem Massachusetts for the first time or have lived here for years, it is essential to know what to expect. It has a rich history and has been home to great people from all over the world. 

While Salem has many different areas, the downtown area is where most people live and work. In this article, we’ll discuss the things you should know before moving to Salem MA.


Salem is a city in Essex County in the United States. It is located about 25 miles (40 km) north of Boston. 

Salem is one of the North Shore’s major commercial and cultural centers. Because of this, real estate uniquely appeals to many people looking for a new home. 

If you’re considering moving to Salem MA, these quick facts from the US Census Bureau will give you an idea of its statistics:

  • Population: 44,480
  • Average Housing Cost: $379,400
  • Average Rent: $1,325
  • Number of Households: 19,094
  • Median Household Income: $66,428

Moving to Salem, Massachusetts – Things to Know Before Living in Salem

Salem is a small city that can feel like it has a lot of things going on. It’s an excellent place to start your life in the northeast. However, before moving, there are essential things that you should know.

1. Cost of Living in Salem MA

The cost of living in Salem is lower than in most major cities. This can be very attractive if you’re coming from one of those big cities, such as if you’re living in Boston.

The average rent for an apartment or home will be less expensive than the national average, and many other things are also less costly. To give you an idea, here are the prices of some necessities for single adults:

  • Yearly average cost of healthcare: $3,541
  • Yearly average cost of food: $3,511
  • Yearly average cost of transportation: $9,629
  • Yearly average cost of taxes: $7,722

2. Salem MA is rich in History

The city of Salem was founded in 1626, making it one of the oldest in Bay State. It was founded by a group of Puritans who were part of a more significant movement called the Great Migration.

The Puritan movement started around 1620 and lasted until about 1700. The settlers believed people should live according to a strict moral code based on biblical teachings. However, they also thought education was critical and advocated for an educated workforce for their colonies.

Winter Island Park is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike with its historic lighthouse.

3. Visitors Come to Learn More About Salem Witch Trials

Salem City has a rich history, and visitors are particularly inquisitive in learning more about its most famous events: the witch trials.

The Salem witch trials started in 1692 and took place over several months, becoming one of the most infamous cases of mass hysteria in history. The witch trials were caused by fear and ignorance, leading people to believe witches were real and should be destroyed at all costs.

To make matters worse, some people would falsely accuse their neighbors of being witches to get rid of them or obtain money from them through court settlements. This behavior only fueled the fire of paranoia within this historic district.

The Witch City is the Perfect Place for Halloween - Salem, MA

4. The Witch City is the Perfect Place for Halloween

If you plan on moving to Salem Massachusetts, be there in October. The weather is excellent, and a bunch of events are happening this time, including Halloween. In fact, it is home to one of the largest Halloween celebrations in the country.

The Salem Witch Museum is located at 19 1/2 N Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970, USA. It has life-size stage sets, exhibits & tours exploring the 1692 Salem witch trials, plus witchcraft today.

Every October, thousands of people worldwide flock to Salem for a weekend full of ghost tours, haunted houses, live performances known for Salem jazz, and more. If you’re lucky enough to be in this tourist town for this spooky event and the Salem haunted happenings, then you should definitely partake.

5. Proximity to Boston

When moving to Salem MA, you should know that it is actually one of Boston’s suburbs. There are many benefits of living in this part of the Bay State. For one thing, it’s an easy commute from Boston (just a 30-minute trip by car) and therefore has many of the same pros.

This includes a vibrant central area, sports teams like the Red Sox and Celtics, and amazing museums like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute for Contemporary Art. All these things come with living in Salem.

6. Getting Around is Easy

Getting around Witch City is easy and convenient. You can walk to most places or take the bus as two different bus lines run through the city.

If you need to get from one side of town to another, you can take the Salem Ferry across Massachusetts Bay and back again. Regarding traffic, it’s not a problem because there aren’t many cars on the road and parking spaces are plentiful.

7. Salem Residents are Friendly and Welcoming

As a newcomer, don’t be afraid to talk to people. Most residents are friendly and willing to help out new folks in town.

In fact, they may even be the ones approaching you first. It’s part of being a resident in Salem MA. There aren’t many strangers around (except on Halloween days), so we all have to get along somehow.

8. It Has a Beautiful Environment

Salem is a beautiful city with many parks, historic buildings and landmarks to visit, and water views. There are several parks around the city, such as Salem Willows and Derby Wharf, where you can enjoy the scenery or participate in fun activities like mini golfing.

You can also see some of its many museums and historical sites like the Witch Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and the House of Seven Gables, which have been here since it was first built in 1668.

9. It is a Pedestrian-Friendly City

The city is a great place to live if you decide to live a greener lifestyle. It’s easy to walk around, and plenty of parks and green spaces encourage walking and cycling.

There are also many shops and restaurants within walking distance, and public transportation, making it easy to get what you need without driving. So if you want to live somewhere that encourages walkability, living in Salem MA is a wise choice.

10. Food is Excellent

The food scene in Salem is excellent, with a wide variety of restaurants and eateries to choose from. If you’re looking for something casual, plenty of restaurants offer take-out or delivery to your door.

For those looking for more fine dining options, finding a place with table service is easy, where you can enjoy the company of your family. You’ll be able to find everything from Thai food at Noodle Street Thai Restaurant & Bar to Italian food at Salvatore’s Italian Grill & Bar.

All About Salem MA

11. The Public Schools are Subpar

A big concern for many residents is the quality of the public schools in Salem MA. While it’s true that most of these institutions in the city don’t perform well compared to the state’s average, there are still some exceptional ones.

Here are some public schools you may want to consider:

Elementary Schools

  • Carlton Elementary School
  • Saltonstall School
  • Bates Elementary School

Middle Schools

  • Saltonstall School
  • Collins Middle School

High Schools

  • Salem’s High School
  • New Liberty Innovation School

However, due to a lack of money, expect these institutions to have staffing and funding issues. This often results in learners being unable to stay on track with their learning priorities due to a shortage of teachers or poor facilities.

12. It is Home to Salem State University

One of the most significant factors in choosing a place to live is if there’s a college or university in the area. Fortunately, Salem State University proudly sits here. This public university, founded in 1854, has more than 5,000 students. 

It’s one of the largest and best universities in MA. It has been consistently ranked by US News and World Report as one of the best regional colleges in New England. Below are some of the essential things you need to know about this university:

  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • SAT Range: 1010-1160
  • Tuition Fee: $19,704 / year
  • Students Receiving Financial Aid: 97%
  • Student Faculty Ratio: 12:1

13. Jobs are Few

Salem MA might not be the best choice if you decide to make a career move. It lacks the high-paying jobs that other towns of the Bay State boast.

The area’s economy revolves around healthcare, education, and tourism, and these industries typically don’t offer many positions that pay high salaries. In fact, according to most recent census data, Salem’s unemployment rate was higher than the national average.

14. The Weather Fits the City

The weather in Salem MA is a perk, especially in summer. The temperatures are mild in the summer, but they also get cold enough to snow during the winter.

The best time to be here is during July and August, when you’ll find sunny skies without humidity or excessive heat. This makes it much easier to enjoy all the city has to offer.


Salem MA is a great place to live if you’re looking for an affordable and excellent quality of life. The city’s proximity to Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, makes it an ideal location for young professionals who want to pop into the city for work or fun.

With its charming central area and beautiful beachside community of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Salem is also an excellent place for families who want access to both nature and urban amenities.

If you’re considering moving to Salem Massachusetts, HOMES by ARDOR has the resources and connections to help you find the right home. We have trusted agents throughout the state ready to assist in your relocation. If you’re interested in any of our properties, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to hear from new clients!

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