An Interactive Guide to Traveling to Salem with Toddlers (Gluten Free and (mostly) Vegan!)

I have always loved Salem. I grew up just one town over and as kid I would ask my mom to go to the museums every weekend. I was fascinated by the witch trials and couldn't get enough. As I got older, Salem was the place to go hang out and walk around with friends. I loved going into the Wiccan Shops and read up on love spells. In college, I even took a class on the witch trials and I loved looking at the witch trials from different angles. By the end of college, Salem was the place to be with all the cool bars. I spent my 20s going out in Salem at night and met my husband for the first time in Salem, too. Two months after meeting him, I moved into his Salem apartment with him and we've been here ever since. It's been such a vibrant community to live in with so many good restaurants and different things going on every weekend in the summer. We also love that it's an inclusive and progressive little city. I mean, it has its own Pride Parade!

I didn't think we'd stay here after having kids, but I can't imagine living anywhere else. There is so much here for kids and I am so excited to share all of my favorite tips.

I'm not going to cover any of the witch museums or haunted houses. My kids are too young for those so I can't attest to their kid friendliness and as far as haunted houses go, I am not a fan.

But there is one museum that I can't say enough good things about and that is the Peabody Essex Museum. They have a great room for kids to explore and they're stroller friendly so parents can explore other exhibits as well. And if you're here on a Wednesday, their PEM Pals program is the best story time that I've ever seen. It's fun and interactive and they do  an adorable and unique craft after.

If you happen to be in town on a Thursday between June and October, the Salem Farmers Market is definitely worth checking out. There's almost always music along with great local produce and if you're in the mood for a gluten free, vegan or dairy free treat, Kim Gregory's Pure Pastry booth is the place to go. Kim Gregory makes the best pastries that I have ever had. She is an artist.

The Ropes Mansion Gardens are a great place to stroll around. Just outside of downtown, the gardens are gorgeous and mostly fenced so your little ones can stretch their legs safely. And the actual Ropes Mansion was Allison's House in Hocus Pocus!

Another way to see Salem is on the Trolley. The trolley takes you all over town and is narrated by a tour guide. I've done the trolley a few times, and I think I want to be one of the tour guides someday. They all are total Salem experts and add their own brand of humor to each ride! I wasn't sure how well the trolley would hold Judah's interest but we've done it with him twice and both times he has been captivated. I mean, no seat belts and open air windows, what more could you ask for? You can also get on and off throughout the day and they go as far as Salem Willows which is another fun, yet somewhat hokey, attraction that is very toddler friendly!

If you happen to be in town on a Monday, you should check and see if the National Park is offering their Preschoolers in the Park program that day. They do a great job teaching very young kids about the importance of our national parks and what they do, with a focus on the maritime history of Salem.

There is always something going on in Salem from pirate festivals to unique flea markets, so be sure to check the calendar before your visit to see what's going on around town!

Kid Friendly Places to Eat with Vegan and Gluten Free Options:

Flatbread Pizza and Flying Saucer both have gluten free crusts and vegan cheese.

Bambolina also has a gluten free crust. Their pizza is amazing and if I ever eat real cheese pizza again, it will be here. Make sure to ask about their secret kids menu! They also have the cutest coloring supplies:

(baby Judah 💧)

Kokeshi  - Asian street food  with plenty of gluten free and vegan options. They also have a secret kids menu.

Tavern in the Square - super kid friendly in the early evening. They have gluten free bread and good salads.

Life Alive - Plenty of vegetarian/vegan options but a limited kids menu and they do serve gluten.

Jodi Bee Bakes - One of our favorite spots for a little treat or lunch. They have delicious coffee and huge selection of Kombucha, too!

Easy Public Restrooms (you never know when nature will call a toddler, am I right?):
Salem Visitor Center - 2 New Liberty Street
Salem Maritime National Park - 193 Derby Street
East India Mall - 1 Church Street (Also has Cinema Salem and a few shops and restaurants.)

And now for the interactive part of this post! I am so excited about this little Scavenger Hunt that I came up with. I've literally been working on this post for weeks and the idea came to me on Monday while walking to Preschoolers in the Park. I created it that afternoon  because I was determined to have this post up on Monday night. And here it is Wedensday... #momlife So without furthur rambling, here is a Scavenger Hunt to make your trip to Salem even more exciting!

Click Here to Download the PDF version!

If you do the hunt, I'd love to see photos! Tag me on instagram @jennygalacar and tag your #radishhunt  I'm thinking I might do a giveaway if enough people get in on the fun!

And for some more interactive fun, here's a little video I made from my Instagram stories. I was all set to take some photos for this post and also make add to my Instagram stories while I was around town, but I totally forgot to take a single photo. Except for the one in here of me with our mayor, Kim Driscoll.

Did I miss anything? I'm happy to answer any questions in the comments!