Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Salem, Illinois

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Salem, Illinois: Where Boredom Goes to Die – The Best & Fun Things to Do + Places to Visit

Are you planning a trip to Salem, Illinois? This charming city has a lot to offer visitors, from historic landmarks to fun family activities. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, you’re sure to find something that suits your interests.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Salem is its sense of humor. The city is home to several quirky attractions and landmarks, such as the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle and the Salem Super Twirler. These humorous highlights are sure to bring a smile to your face and provide plenty of photo opportunities.

If you’re looking for adventure, Salem has plenty of options to choose from. You can explore the nearby Shawnee National Forest, go hiking or biking on one of the many trails in the area, or take a thrilling zipline tour. And if you’re traveling with your family, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities to enjoy, such as bowling, mini-golf, and laser tag.

Key Takeaways

  • Salem, Illinois offers a unique blend of humor and adventure that is sure to delight visitors of all ages.
  • From quirky landmarks to outdoor activities, there is something for everyone in Salem.
  • Whether you’re on a budget or looking for a romantic getaway, Salem has plenty of options to suit your needs.

Humorous Highlights of Salem

Salem may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of humor, but this charming town in Illinois has its fair share of funny moments and quirky attractions. Here are some of the humorous highlights of Salem that are sure to make you chuckle.

World’s Largest Catsup Bottle

Yes, you read that right. Salem is home to the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, a 170-foot-tall water tower that looks like a giant bottle of ketchup. This quirky landmark was built in 1949 and has been delighting visitors ever since. It’s the perfect spot for a silly photo op or a pun-filled Instagram caption.

Salem’s Spooktacular Halloween

If you’re looking for a good laugh, head to Salem in October for their annual Spooktacular Halloween celebration. This family-friendly event features a costume contest, pumpkin carving contest, and a hilarious “Thriller” dance-off. You’ll see some of the most creative and hilarious costumes around, and you might even spot a few ghosts and goblins.

Salem’s Humorous Street Names

Salem has some of the most amusing street names around. Take a stroll down Laughlin Street, where you’re sure to find something to tickle your funny bone. Or head over to Boo Boulevard, where you might just spot a friendly ghost. And if you’re feeling a little hungry, why not grab a bite on Bacon Street?

Salem’s Quirky Museums

Salem is home to several quirky museums that are sure to make you laugh. Check out the William Jennings Bryan Boyhood Home and Museum, where you can learn about the life of the famous orator and politician. Or head over to the Salem Witch Museum, where you can learn about the town’s spooky history and even see a reenactment of the infamous witch trials.

Salem’s Fun Festivals

Salem knows how to have a good time, and their fun festivals are proof of that. Check out the Salem Fall Festival, where you can enjoy live music, carnival rides, and delicious food. Or head over to the Salem Balloon Fest, where you can watch colorful hot air balloons take to the sky. And if you’re feeling competitive, don’t miss the annual Cornhole Tournament, where you can test your bean bag tossing skills.

Whether you’re looking for a good laugh or just a quirky adventure, Salem has something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready for a fun-filled trip to this charming town in Illinois.

Adventurous Activities

Looking for some adrenaline-pumping activities in Salem? Look no further! Here are some of the best adventurous activities you can enjoy in this Illinois town.

Hiking Hotspots

Salem is surrounded by natural beauty, and there are plenty of hiking trails for you to explore. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, you’ll find a trail that suits your level of expertise. Some of the most popular hiking hotspots in Salem include:

  • Stephen A. Forbes State Park: This park is home to several trails that offer stunning views of the lake and forest. The trails are well-marked, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
  • Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area: This area has several trails that wind through the woods and along the river. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer, foxes, and birds.
  • Ballard Nature Center: This center has several trails that take you through prairies, forests, and wetlands. You’ll see a variety of plants and animals on your hike.

Bowling Bonanza

If you’re looking for a fun indoor activity, head to one of Salem’s bowling alleys. Bowling is a great way to spend time with friends and family while getting some exercise. Here are some of the best bowling alleys in Salem:

  • Salem Bowl: This bowling alley has 16 lanes and offers leagues and open bowling. They also have a snack bar and arcade games.
  • Tri-County Bowl: This bowling alley has 12 lanes and offers leagues and open bowling. They also have a bar and grill and pool tables.

Climbing Challenges

If you’re up for a challenge, try your hand at indoor rock climbing. Salem has a climbing gym that offers a variety of climbing routes for all skill levels. Here’s the climbing gym in Salem:

  • Vertical Heartland: This climbing gym has over 4,000 square feet of climbing space and offers routes for beginners and experienced climbers. They also have a fitness area and yoga classes.

So, whether you’re in the mood for a hike, a bowl, or a climb, Salem has plenty of adventurous activities for you to enjoy. Get out there and have some fun!

Fun for the Family

Looking for some fun activities to do with your family in Salem, Illinois? Look no further! Here are some great options that are sure to keep everyone entertained.

Kid-Friendly Attractions

Salem is full of great attractions that are perfect for kids. Check out the following options:

  • Salem Aquatic Center: Beat the heat and take a dip in the Salem Aquatic Center. With a lazy river, water slides, and a kiddie pool, there’s something for everyone.
  • Salem Skate Park: Got a skater in the family? Head to the Salem Skate Park for some rad tricks and flips.
  • Salem Bowl: Bowl a strike with the whole family at Salem Bowl. With bumpers and lightweight balls for kids, everyone can join in on the fun.

Rainy Day Rescues

Don’t let a rainy day ruin your family fun. Check out these indoor options:

  • Salem Community Activities Center: This indoor facility has a pool, gym, and indoor track, so you can still get active even on a rainy day.
  • Salem Public Library: Get lost in a good book or attend a storytime at the Salem Public Library. They also have a great selection of DVDs and video games.
  • Skateland: Roll on over to Skateland for some indoor roller skating fun. They even have a snack bar for when you need a break.

No matter what the weather, there’s always something fun to do with your family in Salem.

Delightful Dining

Looking for a place to satisfy your taste buds? Salem, Illinois has a lot to offer when it comes to dining. Whether you’re looking for a fancy dinner or a quick bite, you won’t be disappointed. Here are some of the top-rated restaurants and pizza places in town.

Top-Rated Restaurants

If you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner, check out the top-rated restaurants in Salem. These places offer delicious food and great ambiance.

Restaurant NameCuisinePrice Range
Sage & OnionAmerican$$$
The Back Porch SmokehouseBarbecue$$
The Wine RackItalian$$$

Sage & Onion is a great place to go for a special occasion. Their menu features classic American dishes with a modern twist. The Back Porch Smokehouse is a popular spot for barbecue lovers. Their pulled pork and brisket are to die for. The Wine Rack is a great choice for Italian food. They have an extensive wine list and their pasta dishes are delicious.

Pizza Places

Who doesn’t love pizza? Salem has some great pizza places that you don’t want to miss.

Pizza Place NameType of PizzaPrice Range
Joe’s PizzaThin Crust$
Pizza ManDeep Dish$$
Casey’s General StoreConvenience Store Pizza$

Joe’s Pizza is a local favorite. Their thin crust pizza is crispy and flavorful. Pizza Man is known for their deep dish pizza. It’s perfect for when you’re in the mood for something hearty. Casey’s General Store may not be a traditional pizza place, but their convenience store pizza is surprisingly good.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Salem has something to offer. So, go ahead and indulge in some delicious food. You deserve it!

Shop ‘Til You Drop

If you’re a shopaholic, Salem, Illinois has got you covered. From trendy boutiques to antique shops, there’s something for everyone in this charming town. Here are some of the best shopping spots that you won’t want to miss:

Shopping Spots

  • Salem Antique Market: This is the place to go if you’re looking for unique vintage finds. With over 10,000 square feet of space, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. From furniture to clothing, this antique market has it all.
  • The Rusty Nail: If you’re into shabby chic decor, you’ll love The Rusty Nail. This boutique is filled with one-of-a-kind pieces that will add charm to any room. From vintage signs to repurposed furniture, you’ll find plenty of treasures here.
  • The Village Gift Shop: This adorable gift shop has everything from jewelry to home decor. You’ll find plenty of cute and quirky items that make great souvenirs or gifts for loved ones. Plus, the friendly staff will make you feel right at home.

Antique Adventures

If you’re a fan of antiques, Salem is the place to be. Here are some antique shops that you won’t want to miss:

  • Salem Antique Mall: This massive antique mall has over 50 vendors selling everything from vintage clothing to rare collectibles. With so much to see, you could easily spend an entire day here.
  • The Antique Emporium: This charming shop is filled with antiques and vintage items that are sure to transport you back in time. From old-fashioned toys to antique furniture, you’ll find plenty of treasures here.
  • The Old Homestead: This antique shop is housed in a historic building that dates back to 1854. Inside, you’ll find a wide variety of antiques and collectibles, including vintage clothing, furniture, and jewelry.

Whether you’re looking for trendy clothing or unique antiques, Salem has something for everyone. So, grab your wallet and get ready to shop ’til you drop!

Nightlife Nooks

Salem, Illinois, may be a small town, but it has no shortage of fun and exciting nightlife options. Whether you’re in the mood for a cold beer or want to dance the night away, Salem has something for everyone. Here are some of the best nightlife nooks in Salem to check out:

Best Bars

Looking for a place to grab a drink and unwind after a long day? Salem has some great bars that are perfect for a night out with friends or a casual date.

  • The Barrel Room – This cozy bar is known for its extensive selection of craft beers and wines. With its rustic decor and laid-back atmosphere, The Barrel Room is the perfect spot to relax and catch up with friends.
  • The Corner Pub & Grill – If you’re looking for a lively bar with great food and drinks, The Corner Pub & Grill is the place to be. With its friendly staff and fun atmosphere, you’ll feel right at home here.
  • The Office Lounge – This classic dive bar is a local favorite, thanks to its cheap drinks and friendly regulars. If you’re looking for a no-frills night out, The Office Lounge is the place to go.

Concert Cravings

If you’re a music lover, you’ll be happy to know that Salem has some great concert venues that regularly host local and national acts.

  • The Rusty Nail – This intimate venue is known for its great sound system and diverse lineup of bands and musicians. With its cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, The Rusty Nail is the perfect spot to catch a live show.
  • The Red Rooster – If you’re looking for a more laid-back music experience, The Red Rooster is the place to be. This cozy venue hosts local musicians and bands, and is known for its friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere.
  • The Gathering Place – This community center hosts a variety of events, including live music shows and open mic nights. With its inclusive atmosphere and diverse lineup of acts, The Gathering Place is a great place to discover new music and connect with fellow music lovers.

No matter what your nightlife preferences are, Salem has something for everyone. So grab your friends and head out for a night on the town – you won’t be disappointed!

Budget-Friendly Bonanza

Looking for a fun time in Salem, Illinois without breaking the bank? Fear not, because there are plenty of budget-friendly options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for free activities or group discounts, we’ve got you covered.

Free and Fun

Who says you need to spend money to have a good time? Check out these free activities in Salem:

  • Salem Community Activities Center: This community center offers free admission to its indoor pool, gym, and fitness classes. Get your sweat on without spending a dime.
  • Salem Reservoir: Take a hike or have a picnic at the scenic Salem Reservoir. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing day outdoors.
  • Salem Farmers Market: Browse local produce and handmade goods at the Salem Farmers Market, held every Saturday from May to October. Admission is free, but you might end up spending a few dollars on some delicious treats.

Big Group Bargains

Traveling with a big group? Don’t worry, there are plenty of discounts available to help you save some cash. Check out these group discounts in Salem:

  • Williamson County Fair: If you’re visiting Salem in August, don’t miss the Williamson County Fair. Groups of 20 or more can get discounted admission and ride tickets.
  • Salem Bowl: Get a group of 6 or more together and head to Salem Bowl for discounted bowling rates. It’s a great way to have some fun and bond with your friends or family.
  • Salem 8 Theater: Catch a movie with your group at Salem 8 Theater and take advantage of their group rates for parties of 10 or more. Don’t forget the popcorn!

With these budget-friendly options, you can have a blast in Salem without breaking the bank. So grab your friends and family and get ready for a fun-filled adventure.

Romantic Retreats

Looking for a romantic getaway in Salem, Illinois? Look no further! Here are some of the best romantic retreats that will make your heart flutter.

Couples’ Classes

Why not learn something new together? Take a couples’ class and bond over a shared experience. Here are some options:

Wine TastingSip on some local wine and learn about the winemaking process. You might even discover a new favorite!
CookingLearn to cook a new dish together and impress your friends at your next dinner party.
DanceTake a dance class and learn some new moves to show off on the dance floor.
PaintingGet creative and paint a masterpiece together. Who knows, you might have a hidden talent!

Honeymoon Hideaways

Looking for a romantic spot to celebrate your honeymoon or just a special occasion? These hideaways are perfect for a cozy and intimate escape.

The Inn at Irish HollowThis luxurious inn offers cozy cottages with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Enjoy a delicious breakfast in bed and take a stroll through the beautiful gardens.
Timber Creek Bed & BreakfastThis charming bed and breakfast offers cozy rooms with private balconies and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Relax in the hot tub and enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast.
The Goldmoor InnThis elegant inn offers luxurious rooms with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Enjoy a romantic dinner at their award-winning restaurant and take a stroll along the Mississippi River.

Whether you’re looking for a couples’ class or a honeymoon hideaway, Salem, Illinois has plenty of romantic retreats to choose from. So pack your bags and get ready for a romantic adventure!

Hidden Gems of Salem

Looking for something unique to do in Salem? Here are some hidden gems that you won’t find in the guidebooks.

Unseen Salem

If you’re tired of the usual tourist attractions, check out some of Salem’s lesser-known sights. For example, did you know that Salem has a secret garden? The Salem Botanical Garden is tucked away behind the Salem Public Library and is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy some nature.

Another hidden gem is the Salem History Museum. While everyone else is visiting the Witch Museum, you can learn about Salem’s rich history in this small but fascinating museum. The exhibits cover everything from the city’s maritime past to its role in the American Revolution.


If you’re looking for something truly unique, try visiting the Salem Art Association. This small gallery showcases the work of local artists and is a great place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. You might even discover the next big thing in the art world.

For a taste of the bizarre, check out the Salem Antique Mall. This massive store is filled with all kinds of oddities, from vintage taxidermy to antique medical equipment. You never know what you might find here, but it’s sure to be interesting.

Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a drive out to the Salem Reservoir. This hidden gem is off the beaten path, but it’s worth the trip. The reservoir is surrounded by beautiful scenery and is a great place for a picnic or a hike.

So there you have it, some of Salem’s best hidden gems. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just looking for something different, these unique attractions are sure to delight.

Historic Highlights

If you’re a history buff, Salem, Illinois, is the perfect destination for you. With its rich history, Salem has plenty of landmarks and museums that will take you back in time.

Landmarks and Lincoln

One of the most famous landmarks in Salem is the Bryan Statue, located in Bryan Memorial Park. The statue depicts William Jennings Bryan, a three-time presidential candidate and a native of Salem. But that’s not all – did you know that Abraham Lincoln once visited Salem? In fact, he traveled through the town several times during his legal circuit. You can visit the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, just a short drive from Salem, to learn more about his life and legacy.

Museum Marvels

Salem has several museums that are worth a visit. The Marion County Historical Society Museum is a great place to start. Here, you can learn about the history of Salem and the surrounding area. If you’re interested in military history, check out the Salem War Museum. The museum has a collection of military artifacts and memorabilia from various conflicts throughout history.

But that’s not all – Salem is also home to the William Jennings Bryan Boyhood Home and Museum. Here, you can learn about the early life of the famous orator and politician. The museum has exhibits on Bryan’s life and career, as well as artifacts from his childhood.

Whether you’re interested in Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, or just the history of Salem itself, there’s something for everyone in this charming Illinois town.

Accommodation Amusements

Looking for a place to stay in Salem, Illinois? Look no further! Here are some hotel highpoints and weekend getaway spots that will make your stay unforgettable.

Hotel Highpoints

Salem has a variety of hotels to choose from, and each one has its own unique charm. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious experience or a budget-friendly option, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.

  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson: This hotel offers comfortable rooms and a complimentary breakfast to start your day off right.
  • Super 8 by Wyndham Salem: If you’re looking for an affordable option, this hotel has you covered. Plus, it’s conveniently located near many of Salem’s top attractions.
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Salem: For a more upscale experience, this hotel offers spacious rooms and a fitness center to help you stay active during your stay.

Weekend Getaway Spots

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Salem has some great weekend getaway spots that will help you relax and recharge.

  • Stephen A. Forbes State Park: This beautiful park offers hiking trails, fishing, and boating, as well as camping options if you want to spend the night in the great outdoors.
  • Wildcat Hollow State Fish and Wildlife Area: If you’re a nature lover, you’ll enjoy exploring this wildlife area, which is home to a variety of animals and plants.
  • Carlyle Lake: This picturesque lake is perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming. Plus, there are plenty of picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal with family and friends.

No matter where you stay or what you do, you’re sure to have a great time in Salem, Illinois. Happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a haunted house in Salem, Illinois?

Well, you won’t find any witches or ghosts here, but if you’re looking for a good scare, check out the Haunted Trails of Sunset Hills. It’s a spooky adventure that’s sure to get your heart racing!

Where can I find the best pizza in Salem, Illinois?

Ah, pizza! The universal answer to all of life’s problems. For the best pizza in town, head over to Joe’s Pizza and Pasta. Their pies are so delicious, you’ll want to order seconds (or thirds).

What’s the most thrilling activity to do in Salem, Illinois?

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Check out the Salem Speedway. It’s the perfect place to satisfy your need for speed and get your heart racing!

Are there any unique museums to visit in Salem, Illinois?

Yes, there are! The Salem Museum and Genealogy Library is a must-visit for history buffs, while the William Jennings Bryan Boyhood Home and Museum is a great place to learn about one of Illinois’ most famous residents.

Can you recommend a good hiking trail near Salem, Illinois?

Absolutely! Head over to the Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area for some of the best hiking trails in the area. The scenery is breathtaking, and the trails are perfect for hikers of all skill levels.

Is there a local festival or event coming up in Salem, Illinois?

Yes, there is! The Marion County Fair is coming up soon and it’s a great way to experience the local culture and have some fun. From carnival rides to live music, there’s something for everyone at this annual event.

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