Here’s The Definitive “Hocus Pocus” Self-Guided Walking Tour of Salem

updated Sep 21, 2023
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(Image credit: Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures)

During the month of October, there’s nothing like turning on your TV to watch the Disney classic “Hocus Pocus.” It’s a time-tested way to ring in spooky season. If you’re looking to up the nostalgia factor this year, though, what better way to do just that than to visit Salem, Massachusetts, and witness the magical filming spots in person?

We tapped blogger Amanda Gordon of Life at Cloverhill for planning assistance, who created her own self-guided itinerary before “Hocus Pocus” tours were even a thing.

After Gordon and her husband Garrett got engaged in 2013, they decided to take a spontaneous road trip to Salem for the first time for a pre-Halloween date. It was only when they arrived that they realized, “Oh! That movie ‘Hocus Pocus’ is filmed here.” And so, the couple started searching message boards for movie locations and asking people on the street as they explored.

“I have always been a film buff and my husband is really into films as well, so whenever we traveled we would always look up things out of interest,” Gordon told Apartment Therapy. “But nowhere had something written down of everywhere you could go [for ‘Hocus Pocus’], so I created this self-guided tour.”

Salem has since adopted official “Hocus Pocus” experiences for tourists to buy before their visit. While Gordon admits that there are advantages to doing guided tours — like shared anecdotes and stories that you otherwise wouldn’t know — she is still a huge fan of the self-guided journey.

“What I love about self-guided walking tours is you can go at your own pace,” Gordon says. “Some of the places we stopped in were villages, museums… You can learn more about what interests you.”

Ready to embark on your own “Hocus Pocus” adventure? Use Gordon’s map as your guide, grab your broomstick, and get to it. Oh, and make sure you have a long weekend to take all the magic in.

1. Max and Dani’s House (4 Ocean Avenue)

The unique tower of this historic residence makes it easy to identify as Max and Dani’s house. Several iconic scenes from the film occurred in this building, from Max acting out as a rebellious teenager to the spell book projecting a ray of light in the sky.

2. Old Town Hall (32 Derby Square)

This is where Max and Dani’s parents attend their Halloween party, as the Sanderson sisters take over the stage with “I Put A Spell On You.” Dating back to 1816, Old Town Hall is one of the oldest surviving municipal buildings throughout all of Salem, and is now open to the public as an art space.

3. Allison’s House (The Ropes Mansion, 318 Essex Street)

(Image credit: Jeff Kane)

The exterior of this Georgian Colonial mansion serves as Allison’s house in the film, but it is actually known as the Ropes Mansion to the people of Salem. The Ropes Mansion was victim to a severe fire in 2009, and reopened to the public in 2015 after undergoing renovations.

4. Thackery’s Village (Salem Pioneer Village)

Here’s where the opening scene is filmed, and where Thackery and his family resided before tragedy struck. Also known as the Salem Pioneer Village, the set was originally created to house a play series. But today, it serves as the first living history museum in the United States.

5. John Bailey High School (Phillips Elementary School)

(Image credit: Jeff Kane)

This is where Max first hears about the Sanderson sisters during class, a tale that would soon change life as he knew it. The former elementary school shut down right before filming took place, allowing it to be a blank canvas for the producers to transform it into the fictional high school.

6. Old Burial Hill (Marblehead)

(Image credit: Jeff Kane)

This is where Max encountered the school bullies early on and had his shoes stolen. While the daytime shots were filmed at the cemetery but not identified as such, the evening shots were mentioned to be at Old Burial Hill when that wasn’t actually the case.