Located in the moist heart of the Willamette Valley, Salem is sometimes looked down upon by hippy Corvallis, booky Eugene or cooler-than-thou Portland. And indeed, Salem is different from those towns: it's a true working person's town. Capital of the state, Salem is filled with government buildings and employees. It is somewhat more diverse than ... Read more
many other Oregon towns, and if you are open to it, there's plenty to do here. All summer long, the Salem Saturday Market sets up just north of the capitol building (which is officially named the Oregon Pioneer), where you can pick up local crafts and produce. Depending on when you arrive, you're likely to be enticed into one of the town's many festivals, among them the Oregon State Fair, the Festival Chorale Oregon, the World Beat Festival, the Mid-Valley Video Festival, the Salem Film Festival or the Capitol Pride event. For history junkies, there's plenty to check out in this oldish town, like the old homestead Bush House or the notable Mission Mill Museum downtown. Salem is also a fine base for a wine tasting adventure or a hike into the forested hills.
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Salem places to stay and top hotels

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Salem

Weather

When they think of Oregon, most people picture grey skies and rain. But though the western part of the state stays cool and moist, east of the Cascades is dry and arid. In the summer, the Willamette Valley can ... Read more
get downright hot, sometimes reaching over 90 (32). Coastal areas are much more mild in the summer (and often get a break from the rain), which makes it the most popular time to visit. Book ahead if you’re traveling over the summer, and pack a jacket since wet weather is unpredictable year-round. By October, the rain picks up again and stays through July, driving down hotel rates. But despite the rain, Oregon is gorgeous year-round: spring brings bursts of sunshine and flower festivals, while fall brings colorful foliage.

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Salem

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44.9428975-123.0350963

Salem reviews & trip reports

  • 9.8
    Art & Design Lovers
  • 8.7
    Family Travelers
  • 7.6
    Adventure Travelers
  • 7.3
    Foodies
  • 7.3
    History Buffs

Member Reviews(18)

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Independence

Capital of Oregon. Many stores for everyone's liking lots of parks and schools. Home of Willamette university and Bush pasture park. Pet friendly and right on the Willamette river.

Recommended for:FoodiesStudentsHistory BuffsArt & Design Lovers
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Portland, Oregon, USA

I move here on April fools day, this city is different from what I expected it to be. Being the capital of the state I assumed it would be almost like Portland (I haven't been there prior to writing this). But I was wrong, it's more laid back, slower paced. And very green, luxurious plant life extend themselves across my sight. My biggest con is that there's no public transportation on weekends and late evening.

Recommended for:Outdoor EnthusiastsFamily TravelersGreen TravelersBackpackers
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Richland, Washington, USA

Oregon state capitol, small town feel. It's a gorgeous spring day and the flowering trees are in full bloom.

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SF Bay Area, Western US

Salem is a quaint state capital, with the smaller town feel of a county capital than the entire state. It has a friendly feel, pretty relaxed vibe, and not too much traffic compared to other state capitals. It is only 90 minutes drive to Portland, if you want a little more city to visit.

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Local from Salem, Oregon

Not to big and not to small of a town, that has a variety of things to do and places to go. There is something for everyone

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San Jose, California, USA
First to Review

I didn't like the state capital that much. It just doesn't have that much going on and seems very disconnected from the rest of the state. Very spread out, seems a lot bigger than it is. Nothing special here.

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Our cozy home

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Sterling

lived there for 5 years...my youngest sister was born in Salem, Oregon

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Kent, Washington
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Freetown, Sierra Leone
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