The Best Cities to Visit for Halloween

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From Salem to Seattle, the best cities to visit for Halloween are located in every region of the US. Their activities range from family-friendly to downright terrifying, from centuries-old traditions to outlandish dance parties.
While you can make holiday fun wherever you are, it’s true that some cities just do Halloween bigger and better than the rest.
From Seattle’s Fremonster Spectacular to Salem’s Witch Museum, there are family-friendly (or more scary) Halloween destinations scattered across the U.S., making for some of the best Halloween road trips.
Before you hop on the road to visit these spooktacular haunts, you’ll want to make sure your car is protected with the right car insurance.
Jerry can help you find and compare quotes from up to 50 insurance providers, making sure you’re getting the best deals available.
Without further ado, here are the best cities for Halloween, with an abundance of harvest festivities and ghoulish games awaiting you.
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Salem, Massachusetts

A fish-eye view of the brick exterior of the Salem Witch Museum.
Salem Witch Museum, Salem, MA
If you’re near the East Coast and looking to plan the best Halloween road trip, Salem is a must-see destination. The site of the famous Salem Witch Trials has embraced its sinister past: the town puts on a variety of spooky season events.

What to do in Salem

  • Salem Witch Trial Museum—You won’t need a broomstick to head over to the Salem Witch Museum, which sits right outside Salem Common. Here, you can reflect upon the famous trials of 1692, when over 200 people were accused of witchcraft.
  • Salem Haunted Happenings—The city’s activities are collectively called Salem Haunted Happenings: they include Vampire Weekend, an exclusive vampire dress-up event at the historic Hawthorne Hotel, the Hallowed Harvest Wicked Labyrinth, and a legit Psychic Fair and Witches Market.
  • Halloween on the Hill—Fans of historic estates should check out Halloween on the Hill, where the 114-acre Long Hill estate in Beverly is completely decked out for strolling and picture-taking.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A figure stands over the corridor of the Eastern State Penitentiary.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA
The City of Brotherly Love is home to some of the most “haunted” (if you believe in that kind of thing) places in the U.S—including creeptastic prisons and the infamous Bates Motel.

What to do in Philadelphia

  • Eastern State Penitentiary—Rightfully dubbed the “prison of horrors”, the Eastern State Penitentiary was at one time the world’s most expensive prison and harbored 75,000 people over its lifetime. Some visitors claim to see the ghost of Joseph Taylor, an inmate who killed a guard in 1884. Go for a daytime or nighttime tour, or book special Halloween night events.
  • Bates Motel—Yes, that Bates Motel. The motel was inspired by the movie Psycho, and it is a multi-story haunted attraction with Hollywood-style props, terrifying jump scares, and a haunted hayride.
  • Go on a bar crawl—Philly hosts at least three Halloween bar crawls for the booze-minded: the Halloween Booze Crawl, Trick or Drink, and the Official Halloween Bar Crawl. Note: If you are attending a bar crawl, it is very important to never drink and drive.
  • Peddler’s Village—Families may enjoy the events at Peddler’s Village, which include an imaginative scarecrow competition and display and scarecrow-making workshop.
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New York, New York

Two green skeleton figures stand over a crowd at a NYC Halloween parade.
A Halloween parade in New York City
You’ll never run out of haunted or scary things to do or see on a haunted road trip to New York. The City that Never Sleeps earns its nickname around Halloween because there is just so much going on.

What to do in New York City

  • NYC Halloween Boat Party ($$$)Interested in getting off the road to get on the river? Join an NYC Halloween Boat Party to ride on a themed yacht and participate in a murder mystery party or booze cruise.
  • Great Jack-O’-Lantern Blaze ($$)—The Hudson Valley neighborhood gathers over 7,000 jack-o’-lanterns to create this ingenious art exhibit. (Tickets sell out quickly!)
  • NYC Halloween Parade—Everything in the Big Apple culminates in the NYC Halloween Parade in Manhattan, in which thousands of costume-wearers march from Lower Manhattan to Union Square on Halloween night.
Pro Tip Be sure to venture to the town of Sleepy Hollow 25 miles north of the city. Take a Washington Irving and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow walking tour at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to learn more about the man who immortalized the town with his gothic tale.

Savannah, Georgia

The Hamilton-Turner is illuminated with yellow lights at dusk.
Hamilton-Turner Inn, Savannah, GA
Savannah is widely recognized as America’s most haunted city (maybe it’s all that Spanish moss). Savannah draws lots of visitors keen to find evidence of the paranormal—especially during the fall months.

What to do in Savannah

  • The Marshall House—Savannah’s oldest hotel, the Marshall House was commissioned by a woman named Mary Marshall. It was used as a hospital during the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemic. Cost per night: from $179.
  • Moon River Brewing Company ($$)—This still-operating brewery is supposedly haunted in the basement and upstairs levels. It wasn’t a brewery until after 1995––it was an elite hotel/gathering place and makeshift yellow fever hospital before sitting vacant for 20 years.
  • Hamilton-Turner Inn—The Inn is supposedly haunted by a man (maybe the first owner) who supposedly smokes a cigar on the roof. People have heard billiard balls collide and children laughing with no one around. Cost per night: from $264
  • Savannah Ghost Tours ($$)—These locally-run tours can give you a more in-depth look at these locations. There’s even a city-wide tour where you can ride around in a jet-black hearse!
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Orlando, Florida

A Mickey Mouse Halloween decoration with the Magic Castle in the background.
Disney World, Orlando, FL
Walt Disney World delivers one of the most magical Halloween experiences for people of all ages. Nearby Universal Studios also offers up some theme park fun, but it is designed for an older audience.

What to do in Orlando

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party ($$$$)—Celebrate at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party during the day, then come back for Disney’s After Hours Boo Bash when the sun sets. The Boo Bash is still kid-friendly, with trick-or-treating, special character visits, and fantastic light shows to enjoy.
  • Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights ($$$$)—Teens and older visitors looking for a scary theme park experience will want to head across town to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. The park comes alive with screams––and not just because the rides are exhilarating.
  • Universal’s Haunted Houses—If you’d rather be trapped inside a building with these abominations, Universal Orlando offers 10 different haunted house experiences. Some of the creepiest themes of 2021 include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Puppet Theater, and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy.
Pro tip Beware of “scare zones” in Universal if you don’t want to be followed and grabbed at by clowns, zombies, and other horrific creatures.

New Orleans, Louisiana

A parade float moves past a crows in New Orleans at night.
New Orleans, LA
The swampy city of New Orleans goes all-out with Halloween decor and definitely competes with Savannah in terms of supposed occurrences of paranormal activity.

What to do in New Orleans

  • Museum Mash at the Louisiana Children’s Museum—Children can find a variety of crafts and entertainment at the Museum Mash and other events at the popular children’s museum.
  • Voodoo Music and Arts Experience—One of the city’s most iconic events, the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience, is canceled for 2021, but be sure to put it on your bucket list. The out-of-this-world music festival has seen over a million guests over the years and hosted high-profile artists like Metallica and The Weeknd.
  • LaLaurie Mansion—Take a ghost tour at LaLaurie Mansion in the French Quarter and decide for yourself if Madame LaLaurie herself still lingers within its walls. The French Quarter is supposedly one of New Orleans’ most haunted areas, so take some time to explore the area after you visit the mansion.
  • Krewe of Boo Parade—You can find costumes––and ghosts that probably aren’t real––at the giant Krewe of Boo Parade, happening about a week before Halloween.
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Las Vegas, Nevada

Three women in Halloween costumes perform at an event in Las Vegas.
A Halloween performance in Las Vegas, NV
Vegas is known for going all out 365 days a year, and Halloween is no exception. Vegas is a great adult Halloween road trip destination…not to say you have to leave the kids at home, but it might be the best idea.

What to do in Las Vegas

  • Attend an epic party—Mature audiences can look forward to all-out celebrations like the World’s Wildest Halloween Party at Area15 or Las Vegas Haunts: Asylum and Hotel Fear, a story-driven night of carousing.
  • Gates of Hell—This spooky spot is a certifiably R-rated haunted house for those ages 17 and up who are willing to sign a liability waiver and sacrifice the next 10ish nights of sleep.
  • Hallow-Reef at the Mandalay Bay Aquarium—This is a great family-friendly event. The aquarium’s shark exhibit turns into a haunted shipwreck complete with scavenger hunts, coloring, and educational shows.
  • Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum—Check out 30 rooms of possessed artifacts, including the reputedly most haunted object in the world, the Dybbuk Box. Zak’s crew conducts paranormal investigations––the building might be closed on Halloween night.
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