If revisiting Hocus Pocus is making you want to plan a trip to Salem, you’re not alone. In fact, we actually did fly to Salem to run amuck and visit all of the filming locations from the 90s classic. We also explored everything else Witch City has to offer. Now we’re spilling the tea on everything we saw, did and learned along the way!
The Best Way to Plan Your Visit to Salem
We mapped everything out and did (what we thought was decent) research. We definitely had a few hiccups along the way, though. Most people we spoke with said that one day in Salem was plenty of time to see everything. Spoiler alert: it’s not. We tried to do it all but it’s next to impossible, especially if you’re on foot. Time is an issue so we highly suggest getting to town as early as possible. Then, if there’s time left over you can simply explore.
We decided to visit in mid-September, right before peak halloween season. We wanted to avoid the crazy crowds. While we did accomplish that, we also ran into some pre-seasons issues. Stores closed early, fall decorations weren’t fully up yet and we were too early for any fall foliage. So take those things into consideration. A local also told us that once Halloween is over, Salem turns into a ghost town (no pun intended). So, plan accordingly. He did, however, share a pro tip: the first weekend following Halloween is a great time to visit because all the decor is still on display!
But first, where to stay…
While there are a lot of great hotel options in Salem, we wanted to be able to enjoy Boston as well. There are so many easy ways to get to Salem like rideshare, renting a car or even taking the ferry, so this choice just made sense. We ended up booking the Hilton in downtown Boston which was an excellent choice.
The Hilton Downtown is a 1920’s Art Deco skyscraper in Boston’s Financial District. With must-see attractions like Faneuil Hall only a five-minute walk away, it should definitely be at the top of your list of places to stay in Boston. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with great views and there’s a restaurant and coffee shop that you can access though the lobby. Staying here is kind of a no-brainer.
We did a variety of things in Salem and Boston but that’s an article for a different day. Today we’re focusing on the Hocus Pocus filming locations. Our tip for seeing them all is to map it out beforehand so you don’t have to go back and forth or miss something before it closes. Keep in mind that there will definitely be lines for photos at the filming locations, which can set you back time wise.
Now, grab your broomsticks, here are all the Hocus Pocus filming locations in Salem, Massachusets!
Please note that Hocus Pocus 2 was actually not filmed in Salem. The filming locations below are from the classic 1992 film.
Allison’s House | 318 Essex Street
In the movie Max and Dani stop by a Halloween party at Allison’s house while trick-or-treating. The iconic house used as the exterior is the Ropes Mansion. One of the most prominent 18th-century homes in Salem, The Mansion is owned by the Peabody Essex Museum. There’s a beautiful garden in the back that is free and open to the public! Definitely check that out. Oh, and PS, it’s located just a few doors down from The Witch House os if you plan accordingly, you can hit that too.
Old Town Hall | 32 Derby square
Remember the infamous “I Put A Spell On You” scene where the sisters sing at the town’s annual Halloween ball? That took place at Salem’s Old Town Hall, which now serves as a museum for all things Salem witchcraft.
Dani and Max’s House | 4 Ocean Avenue
Remember Max’s weirdly cool room layout with the stairs up to a rooftop patio? We’re kind of jealous of the family that lives in the actual house used for filming. That said. it’s a private home in a residential area so while taking photos is encouraged please be courteous to the residents. Also, please note that this locate is not walkable from the town center. Perhaps plan to have your driver stop on the way into town to snap this locale.
Max and Allison’s High School | 86 Essex Street
Phillips Elementary School, which was John Bailey High School in Hocus Pocus, is no longer in use but luckily it still stands. This historic building is prominently featured in the film, especially during the Sanderson Sisters’ chase to retrieve Winifred’s spellbook.
Thackery Brinx’s House | 98 West Avenue
The opening scenes featuring Binx as a human prior to his cursing as a cat, were filmed in Pioneer Village. It’s a living history museum located at Salem’s Forest River Park. Pioneer Village was built in 1930 and is America’s first living history museum. Tours of the village are offered seasonally June through September, but make sure you have time for it as it closes at 5 pm. The Village is also only open on certain days and is not nearby the town square.
Town Park | 30 Washington square
Many of the outdoor scenes in the movie were filmed at Salem Common, where ironically enough, the film is shown each year during the annual Haunted Happenings event. The most noteworthy scene filmed here is the one when Allison hands Max back his own note containing his phone number. He then rides his bicycle through the commons on his way back home. We recommend visiting during autumn once the leaves change color to truly capture the Hocus Pocus aesthetic.
The Sanderson Sister’s House
The house shown in the movie is unfortunately not real. Set Decorator Rosemary Brandenburg says, “We built the interior and exterior of the gabled house, based on an amalgam of 17th Century New England domestic architecture such as the House of Seven Gables, onstage at Disney Studios.” But because of the release of Hocus Pocus 2 they have recreated the Sanderson Sisters house and made it an Airbnb. The house is located in Piorneer Villiage which is a few miles from Salem. Inside there’s everything a Hocus Pocus fan could ask for, including a large bubbling cauldron in the middle of the room! While Airbnb is not hosting a contest, only two lucky people get this once in a lifetime opportunity and for only $31. We’re trying not to be bitter towards the people who get this chance but we’re finding it difficult.
We loved exploring the Hocus Pocus filming locations and we highly recommend a trip to Salem for any Hocus Pocus fans!
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