Salem is the capital of Oregon and also the second largest city. It is located in the center of the Willamette River Valley located just 47 km from Portland. This amazing city is mostly famous for old communities, historical attractions, performing arts, rich nightlife, lots of festivals, museums, wineries and recreations. The location of Salem, in the heart of Willamette Valley, makes it the center of attraction for the visitors travelling to Oregon. As a matter of fact, it has been selected an All America City by National Civic League twice, 1961 and 1982 because of a number of educational institutions, governmental services and good transportation services. The history of Salem takes us to 1851, when the capital was moved from Oregon City to Salem and then to Corvallis and then again to Salem in 1855. The name “Salem” was selected by David Leslie and W. H. Willson in 1850-1851.
Salem has a typical Mediterranean climate with dry and warm summers. The winters go quite mild and temperature varies from 34 F to 83 F during the year. The warmest month of the year is July with maximum temperature of 85 F and December is the coldest month. Most of the rain is seen in December and the sky remains full of clouds during this period. The chances of snowfall are highest in January and the best time to visit Salem is during spring when the weather remains pleasant most of the time.
How to get here?
Salem’s McNary Field Airport is located just 3 miles from city downtown and offers easy access to General Aviation and Corporate Jet Aircraft. There are two jet runways and operated by the Urban Development Department. You can easily reach downtown from a lot of transportation resources outside the airport. There is also train service named Amtrak Cascades which connects Salem with other cities.
Accommodation and Food
In a short span of time, Salem has made a mark in the shelter business and it provides plenty of lodging options for the visitors. There are many B&B, Inns, hotels, motels, villas, resorts located right in the heart of the city and some are within walking distance from historic buildings and attractive tourist spots. There are two famous resorts in Salem providing facilities like full service spa, outdoor pool, bar, restaurant and opportunity to hold conferences and meeting. These are Oregon Garden Resort at W Main Street and Spirit Mountain Lodge at SW Salmon River Highway. Other choices of visitors are Best Western Pacific Highway Inn, Best Western Plus Mill Creek Inn, Budget Lodge, Comfort Suites and Crossland Economy Studios.
Salem features a world of wine, cider and brews with wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes around the city. Whether you prefer American food or Mexican, Fast food or Seafood, Steakhouse or Sunday Brunch, Pub or Sports Bar, you will not be disappointed. Some of the best restaurants are Adam’s Rib Smoke House Co., Annette’s, Busick Court Restaurant, Creekside Grill & Grotto Martini Bar, Flight Deck Restaurant and Lounge, Oak Tree Inn Restaurant, ram Restaurant & Brewery, Robert Crossing, Sybil’s Omelettes Unlimited, Willamette Valley Grill and Wooden Nickel Pub & Eatery.
Oregon State Capitol
The state legislature and the offices of the Governor, secretary of state and treasurer of Oregon are housed in the Oregon State Capitol. The Capitol is located at Court Street NE and was built in 1935 and opened in 1938. The main attractions here are Art of the Capitol featuring a collection of artwork by Oregon Artists, Capitol Historic Gateway featuring the information about Oregon’s democracy, a climb of 121 steps to the observation deck and Oregon Rock & Mineral Exhibit. There is also the Capitol Gift Shop with a variety of Oregon products offering free gifts with it. You can take various type of guided tours any time of the year except December.
Oregon Garden is a botanical garden located at W Main Street in Salem and covers an area of 80 acres featuring more than 20 gardens with variety of plant species and their habitat. It also has one of the largest collections of miniature conifers in US and an iconic Oak tree which is 400 years old and classified as Oregon Heritage Tree. The garden was opened for the public in 2001 and since then has been the center of attraction for tourists. The garden remains open every day and ticket price is $11 for adults and $8 for juniors.
Mission Mill Museum
Mission Mill Museum is located at Mill Street in Salem and features working displays of Thomas Kay Wooden Mill with some historic buildings. Thomas Kay Wooden Mill was founded in 1889 by Thomas Lister Kay and was closed in 1962. It was then purchased by Mission Mill Museum Association in 1964, which renovated it as a museum with displays of original machinery of industrial wool processing. The museum remains open only on Monday and cost $6 for adults and $4 for children.
The Elsinore Theatre was opened in 1926 at High Street SE in Salem by George Guthrie and since then it has been a hub of quality performing arts events and silent movies. It is also popular for weddings, receptions, conferences, meeting and performances. You can take a guided tour of the theatre and get amazed at its beautiful and unique architecture.