Salem Travel Guide

Salem is the Oregon’s state capital and second-largest city, set in the lovely Willamette River valley. A relatively large city, it is spread over 47 square miles and popular with visitors from around the region, largely due to its historic center and the dramatic scenery of the surrounding area.

The city offers up a good selection of hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions, from museums and historic sites to sports tournaments and arts festivals. A number of parks are within easy walking distance of the center; in fact, more than 1,800 acres of parkland are open to the public for outdoor recreation purposes.

In addition to parks, Salem is surrounded by vast tracts of green pasture, fields of flowers and vegetables, and orchard groves and vineyards. There are seasonal and year-round farmers’ markets loaded with local produce and locally hand-crafted goods. The city is a perfect base for touring Oregon’s wine country and famous gardens.


The Hallie Ford Museum of Art: is Willamette University’s main art museum and one of the largest in the state. It boasts a diverse collection of art from around the world, with a particular emphasis on American and European works.

Mission Mill Village: a premier historical attraction, the museum features working exhibits that include a woolen mill and also several of Salem’s historic buildings that were relocated to this site.

Silver Falls State Park: this is Oregon’s largest state park, situated just 26 miles east of Salem. Options here include cycling, hiking, and horseback riding. One of the highlights is the spectacular canyon with its ten dramatic waterfalls.

Willamette Mission State Park: located to the north of Salem, this park incorporates the first settlement in the region. A mission was originally set up here with the aim of bringing religion and education to the indigenous population.

Oregon Garden: just east of Salem in Silverton is this lush park which houses Gordon House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.