Set deep within the Willamette Valley, the state capital of Oregon is not just the legislative heart, it’s also a fantastic place to discover the state’s history, culture and art scene. From the historic Downtown streets to the winery region and wilderness areas, Salem has a wide variety of landscapes to explore.
Things to do in Salem
No trip to Salem is complete without a tour of the Oregon State Capitol, a remarkable example of modern architecture built in 1938. Learn about the history of the Oregon Pioneer Statue and capture stunning views of Salem and beyond from the observation deck atop the Capitol
If you’re looking for a dose of culture, meander through the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. Oregon’s third largest museum showcases a permanent collection of over 6,000 culturally and historically diverse works. Don’t miss seeing the pieces of Native American art in the Grand Ronde Gallery.
Scenic hiking trails, rafting, fishing and skiing await in Willamette National Forest, where rushing rivers and wild forests rest beneath seven mountain peaks. Walk behind one of America’s most impressive waterfalls on the Trail of Ten Falls or follow the Pacific Crest Trail for spectacular views of the Three Sisters Wilderness.
Thirsty for a taste of Oregon’s craft beer and cider? Sample a wide range of ales at Gilgamesh Brewing or McMenamins Boon’s Treasury. Those who'd prefer to sip pinot from an award-winning winery can follow the Salem Wine Trail through Willamette Valley. Visit the tasting rooms of the 75-year-old Honeywood Estate, sample artisanal cheese and indulge in chocolate covered cherries.
Getting around Salem
Salem is a one-hour drive north of Eugene and south of Portland, where the closest airport is Portland International Airport. Downtown Salem is easy to explore on foot, with rental cars and public buses the best option for travelling further afield.