Salem, Massachusetts was the primary filming location for one of the most popular Halloween movies from the 1990s: Hocus Pocus.
It’s been nearly three decades but Hocus Pocus fans can still run amok at a lot of the original filming spots located throughout the charming and fascinating city of Salem.
In this article, I will give you the most efficient way to visit these filming sites and also give you some tips into how to line up your photos with movie screen stills!
Map of Hocus Pocus Filming Sites
The best routes for exploring Hocus Pocus locations in Salem
The easiest way to see all of the Hocus Pocus filming locations in Salem is to lump them into three separate groups and then decide how you want to explore each group (walking, driving, etc.).
- Ropes Mansion and Garden (318 Essex St)
- Old Town Hall (161 Essex St)
- Phillips Elementary School (next to 56 Washington Square)
- Salem Common (next to 82 Washington Square)
- Max and Dani’s House (4 Ocean Ave)
- Pioneer Village (98 West Ave)
- Old Burial Hill Cemetery
- Crocker Park
- 85 Washington St
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Exploring Group 1 via walking could be done in as short as 15 to 20 minutes from point to point, so it’s a great way to hit some cool Hocus Pocus spots in a very short amount of time.
If you want to add on the sites from Group 2, the time needed for the full walking tour from the Ropes Mansion (318 Essex St) to Pioneer Village (98 West Ave) would be about one hour (one-way).
The Old Burial Hill Cemetery is not located in Salem and is a handful of miles away so if you plan on walking that will take you an additional couple of hours. Using a rental car or calling an Uber would be a better way to go for a lot of people.
We broke our Hocus Pocus tour into two days.
The first day we explored Group 1 sites and then took a short break before heading down to check out the Group 2 locations.
The next day, we chose to drive out to Old Burial Hill Cemetery at sunrise to avoid the crazy October traffic in Salem. After that visit we then took off to Danvers to check out some of the real witch trial memorial sites.
Tip: If you want to start from the very beginning, you can use my pre-set directions here.
I would also recommend to focus on Hocus Pocus locations separately from the Salem witch trial sites.
While it might be more efficient to check out both sites at the same time, visiting the Hocus Pocus filming sites is more about having fun while visiting the historic sites and memorials for the Salem witch trials is more about reflection and remembrance.
I think it is a better experience to explore them separately but that is just me.
Related: The Harry Potter London Tour Review at Warner Brothers Studio
Ropes Mansion and Garden
- Google Map address: 318 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
The Ropes Mansion is very easy to find and it is right next to the The Witch House at Salem.
To get your movie shot, simply stand in front of the Ropes Mansion and take your photo from the street or sidewalk. To align your photo with a screenshot from the film, make sure you are getting all four posts from the gate.
The Ropes Mansion is Allison’s house where they had the fancy Halloween party with Colonial ball costumes. It’s also the site of the infamous and cringe-worthy “yabbos” scene.
When we visited in October, we didn’t find any jack-o’-lanterns or haystacks outside but a day or two before Halloween they might decorate the house in Hocus Pocus fashion.
The actual filming of the party in the interior of the house took place in California at the Crank House, which interestingly enough was also used as the Omega Beta Zeta house from Scream 2 according to iamnotastalker.com.
Did you know? Dozens of black cats were used for Binx with each cat having special abilities that could be tapped into for the specific scene (e.g., jumping, staying still, etc.)
More on the site…
Built in 1727 and extensively remodeled in 1894, The Ropes Mansion is one of the most iconic buildings in Salem and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The mansion is now the property of the Peabody Essex Museum. You can walk onto the property and even head to the back where there is a pretty elaborate garden. If you want to explore the interior you can also book a tour. Just be warned, the mansion is apparently haunted!
Old Town Hall
- Google Map address: 161 Essex Street
The Old Town Hall, a National Historic Site, is located right in the middle of town and is about an 8 minute walk from the Ropes Mansion. The side of the building used in the movie did not have stairs and it looks a little different on each side so in case you are in doubt about the correct side, take photos from both angles.
This is the building where Max’s parents attended their Halloween party and Bette Midler did her famous rendition of “Put a Spell on You.” The actual filming of the interior took place in California at the The MacArthur’s Elks Hall according to iamnotastalker.com.
More on the site…
You can go inside Old Town Hall today and it hosts several events.
The most notable of these events is the interactive play Cry Innocent (about to hit 30 years running…). This tells the story of Bridget Bishop’s trial and allows audience members to participate as members of the Puritan jury. Tickets are about $25. Read more about the play here.
If you want to enjoy a nice buttery lobster roll, you can eat at the Lobster Shanty. Some tables set up for outdoor dining have a great view of Old Town Hall.
Related: Goldbelly Lobster Rolls (McLoons) Review (Order from anywhere in the US!)
Did you know? In South America, Hocus Pocus went under the title “Abracadabra.”
Phillips Elementary School
- Google Map address: 56 Washington Square (next door)
- Website: None
The Phillips Elementary School is located on the perimeter of the Salem common. You could put in the address 86 Essex St but that will take you to the back of the building.
So I would just head to the Salem Common and then walk along S Washington Square. The old elementary school will be right next to 56 Washington Square. You can’t miss it.
Phillips Elementary School was used as “Jacob Bailey High School” and featured in the early scene where the students are leaving school. Somewhat accurately referred to as a “prison, for children” by the witches, it is also the place later on where Max and Allison trick the witches and melt them down into a green trail of smoke.
More on the site…
The elementary school reportedly shut down in 1992 which was just one year before Hocus Pocus was made. From everything I can tell, this building looks like it might serve residential purposes now.
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- Google Map address: 82 Washington Square
The Phillips Elementary school and Salem Common film site are located in virtually the same spot so you should be able to knock out two birds with one stone.
The scene in the Salem Common looks like it was shot from outside the fenced area near 82 Washington Square.
You can try to line up your shot with the screen still from the movie by using the basketball court as a frame of reference.
However, this one is tough because it’s possible they framed the shot with a nice zoom lens and I’m pretty sure the color change trees were fake, which kind of throws off your alignment.
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Established in 1667, the Common was initially a partial swamp where livestock roamed freely. Over time, it also became grounds for early militia drilling and may have even been the birthplace of the National Guard.
Eventually, efforts were made to beautify the area and the wrought iron fence around the Common was put up in 1850. Today, this is one of the popular places in Salem for strolling around and for local events.
You’ll likely encounter some food carts here serving up all sorts of different items like crepes, hot chocolate, and fried foods. The prices here were very expensive and the quality in my experience was not very great so keep that in mind.
Max and Dani’s House
- Google Map address: 4 Ocean Ave
- Website: None
From Salem Common this would be about a 1.5 mile one-way walk so it will take you about 30 minutes to get there.
It’s a nice walk down Lafayette Street and a great opportunity to check out a lot of the local architecture. If you’re visiting in October, you’ll see a lot of houses going all out for Halloween. This is Salem, after all!
Max and Dani’s House is also located extremely close to Pioneer Village so you can knock those two out at the same time.
You’ll see their house several times in the movie including when they open the spell book and a bright beam of orange light is shot from the crow’s nest atop the house.
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Max and Dani’s House is a private residence so you absolutely want to keep your distance and show respect. I’ve heard that the owner is really cool but your best bet is to stay in the street to take a couple of photos.
You might also want to take photographs in the opposite direction since this house has a pretty amazing view of the water, which was not depicted in the movie (but included in the deleted scenes).
- Google Map address: 98 West Ave, Salem, MA 01970
The village is tucked away behind a baseball park and could be very easy to miss. It is only about a 7 minute walk from Max and Dani’s House. Check out the open hours and dates below if you want to visit.
The opening scenes of the film (before Thackery Binx made his feline transition) were filmed at Pioneer Village. Because it was closed when we visited, we were not able to explore this place closely. But even if it is closed when you arrive, you can still peak over the fence and check out a couple of the structures that were used in the movie.
More on the site…
Pioneer Village, built in the 1930s, is America’s first living history museum and still offers tours. As of October 2021, they were only open on weekends from 12 to 4pm with a $5 admission ticket. So be prepared for odd and limited hours.
Old Burial Hill Cemetery
- Google Map address: Marblehead, MA 01945
From Salem Common this would be about a 4.5 mile one-way walk, taking you about 1.5 hours. For that reason, you may want to drive or take an Uber.
There are a few areas to park along the street nearby and if you go early in the morning (we went around sunrise) you should be able to easily find a spot somewhere close.
When you get there, you will see Fountain Park on one side and then some steps taking you to the cemetery on the other side. It’s a short uphill walk and to find the specific spot that was used in the film.
This scene is where Max ends up shoeless after he has a run-in with the two bullies: Jay and Ernie (aka Ice). This spot is cool because you can get in the exact same location that was filmed in the movie by finding the specific tombstones.
Shortly after you enter the graveyard you will look to your left and you’ll be looking for two tombstones that are angled towards each other (pictured below in the bottom left). The name on the tombstone you are looking for is: Mary Doak.
I think that the tombstone pictured below on the right is either a fake or was removed for some reason because I did not see it in person.
There are also a couple of other tombstones you can find that were used in individual scenes, like when Max was riding his bike into the cemetery.
More on the site…
In case you couldn’t tell this is a real graveyard (and in fact it is one of the oldest in New England dating back to 1638). It’s said that about 600 Revolutionary soldiers were buried here so be sure to be respectful.
If you want to add an extra location to your stop check out nearby Crocker Park. There is where a quick scene was shot where Max is overlooking the city right after dealing with the bullies and you can check out that overlook.
You can also head to a nearby intersection at 85 Washington St, Marblehead, MA 01945. This is where another very short clip of Max riding his bike back home after getting bullied was shot.
Los Angeles, CA Locations
As mentioned above, some of the shots from the movie were also filmed in Los Angeles.
If you remember the scene where the Sanderson sisters find themselves in the home of their “master” aka Satan (and his not so happy wife), that house is located at 6536 Friends Ave, Whittier, CA 90601.
Another house was used was 6546 Friends Ave, located just two houses down from the house above. This house was only seen briefly in a scene where kids were trick-or-treating.
Interestingly, the shot where they are celebrating after melting the witches was actually shot at the Warner Bros. Ranch. It’s the same park and fountain used in the intro of Friends.
Also, in case you were wondering the graveyard where the Sanderson sisters turned to stone/died and their house where they brewed their potions were filmed on Stage 2 on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, CA.
Information found via iamnotastalker.com.
Hocus Pocus 2 filming location
Hocus Pocus 2 how now been released!
Filming began in the fall of 2021 and at least one filming site was open to the public at Chase Park in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
A large portion of the park was partitioned off but they still left a trail on the fringes that you could follow and get a good view of the set.
The set at Chase Park consisted of a small colonial village, which we were able to capture below.
Salem Massachusetts already has a ton of interesting and fascinating places to see. But if you are a fan of Hocus Pocus, you’ve got the added pleasure of checking out these cool sites. If you follow this guide you should be able to efficiently visit all of these filming places and know exactly what to look for.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.