Salem Has Something to Do for Everyone
Arts & Entertainment
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
The HFMOA is located on the grounds of Willamette University, the first university in the West, founded in Salem in 1842. Over the years, the museum has acquired a significant collection of European, Asian, Native American, Contemporary and Regional art, and in 1998 opened a new facility to showcase its ever-expanding collection. Uniquely set in a former telephone company building transformed into inviting galleries, the collections of Native America baskets and works by historic and modern Oregon artists are particularly impressive.
Mission Mill Museum
At the MMM, one of Salem's premiere historical attractions, you can learn about local and regional history while walking in the footsteps of Oregon pioneers. Displays are housed in architecturally significant buildings filled with 19th century decorative objects and the grounds include the1898 Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, the 1841 Jason Lee House, the 1847 John D. Boon House, the 1841 Methodist Parsonage and the PGE Water Power Interpretive Exhibit.
Bush House Museum
Built in 1877-78 and occupied by members of the Bush family for the next seventy-five years, this living history museum typifies a Victorian home of the period. It remains the Bush family's in spirit, filled with much of what once belonged to a set of Victorian parents and four children and looks almost exactly as it did in the family's day.
Deepwood Estate Museum
Designed by prominent Northwest architect WC Knighton, a tour of the elegant, 1894 Deepwood Estate provides a view of one of Oregon's finest examples of an ornate, multi-gabled Queen Anne style home. Deepwood House features a variety of intricate, original details including stained and beveled glass windows, eastern golden oak woodwork and original 1894 electric light fixtures. The attention to detail and craftsmanship throughout the home is truly remarkable. A tour of the estate grounds consisting of 5.5 acres of English style gardens created in 1930 by the Northwest's first female landscape architecture firm, Lord & Schryver, is not to be missed.
Bush Barn Art Center
Set in lovely Bush Pasture Park, the BBAC is an art gallery in a barn. A historic barn that once held farm equipment has been creatively transformed into three contemporary exhibition galleries, a sales and rental gallery, gift shop and featured artist gallery.
Keizer Heritage Museum
The KHM is housed in the restored 1916 Keizer School, a wonderful example of Craftsman style architecture. The museum displays cover a wide range of Keizer and Oregon history, from the days of the wagon train to the city's beginning in 1982 and on to the present day. Many local families have contributed their own histories in the form of scrapbooks and display boards and a variety of items relate to "The Old School" and its many teachers and students over the years. Every other month, a special exhibit is presented to explore a specific part of Keizer's history with popular exhibits in the past devoted to the Keizer Volunteer Fire Department and Keizer's 30 years of Little League baseball.
Portland Art Museum
The oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, since its founding in 1892, the PAM has amassed a diverse collection numbering over 33,000 objects and works of art. The Museum's collection includes works of European painting and sculpture, American painting and sculpture, English silver, Asian art, Native American art, Pre-Columbian art, African art, contemporary art, sculpture, prints, drawings and photography.
In addition to their regular season in Portland, critically acclaimed Oregon Symphony performs a series of both classical and pops concerts throughout the year right in Salem at the Smith Auditorium, located on the grounds of Willamette University. The OS has a history stretching back almost 150 years and has been lead since 2002 by Carlos Kalmar, the renowned former Music Director of Vienna's Tonkünstlertorchester and Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival.
The Oregon Ballet Theatre
OBT presents an annual season of five programs at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts culled from a repertory that includes over 80 ballets. Recent productions include works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins while the OBT Nutcracker has been hailed by the local press as "Queen of the Christmas Season."
Portland Opera has established itself as a vibrant and vital part of Northwest Oregon's cultural life earning a reputation for innovative, groundbreaking productions. Presenting acclaimed, fully costumed and staged productions sung in the original language with English super-titles, performed in the 3,000 seat Keller Auditorium in Downtown Portland, PO augments the company with prominent artists in residence as well as renowned maestros during each season.
Downtown Salem's jewel, the historic, 1926, 1,200-seat Elsinore Theater reopened in 2004 following a 3-million dollar refurbishment. Now beautifully restored to its gothic castle-like glory, a year round calendar of touring Broadway shows, concerts by renowned artists, classic movies and interesting speakers means there's something exciting to do close to home practically every night of the week.
Pentacle Theater has been the Willamette Valley's leading community theater for more than fifty years presenting quality productions in an intimate setting. The company offers up to nine plays a year including comedies, dramas, musicals, mysteries and classics performed a cozy theater just five miles from Downtown Salem.
Sports & Recreation
Green and serene Salem has an extensive park system covering almost 2,000 acres featuring 29 miles of trails for hiking, biking and jogging. There are 42 city parks in total, 34 of which are neighborhood oriented parks, many with playgrounds as well as sports courts and ball fields. Larger parks range from Minto-Brown Island Park where you can lose yourself in almost 400 acres of open space offering opportunities for every recreational pursuit imaginable to Bush's Pasture Park consisting of 95 acres of groomed grounds, natural groves of old oak trees and over 2,000 rose bushes right in the heart of Downtown.
Keizer is a town where recreational opportunities abound in 17 parks maintained by the city covering almost 150 acres. From neighborhood parks boasting playgrounds and sports courts to the 21,000 square foot Carlson Skate Park to Claggett Creek Park, Keizer's largest park where two baseball diamonds, a full-sized soccer field and basketball courts await, no matter you sport of choice, Keizer has you covered.
Willamette Mission State Park
This 1,680-acre park, just 8 miles from Salem and 7 miles from Keizer, is not only a stunningly beautiful natural environment but it is also one of the most significant historic sites in the Willamette Valley. The first mission for American Indians was founded here in 1834 by the Reverend Jason Lee and the nation's largest black cottonwood tree, now more the 250 years old, is located within the park. There are grassy meadows filled with flowers, plants, trees and wildlife. Mission Lake and the Willamette River provide plenty of places for swimming, boating, fishing and water sports of every variety. Additional recreation opportunities include bird watching with interpretative tours available, biking, hiking and horseback riding trails plus picnic areas with built-in BBQs.
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Baseball
The Volcanoes, farm team of the SF Giants, provide exciting baseball action at their very own stadium right in Keizer. Part of the Northwest Baseball League, the Volcanoes 38 thrilling home games during a season that runs from June to Labor Day are some of the most popular summer events in the Willamette Valley.
Nearby Portland is a pro-sports-fan's paradise. From Trailblazers basketball to Timbers soccer to Winterhawks hockey, there's a team to cheer on to victory all year long.
If you're searching for antiques and collectables, be sure to make the trip to charming Downtown Salem. Discover more than ten different shops in a historic setting where you can find everything from housewares to furniture to vintage apparel.
Choose from 80 specialty shops located in the heart of downtown Salem. Salem Center offers the best national retailers including Nordstrom, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap and many more. Need a break? Select from one of the many dining options or take in a movie at the multiplex.
Reed Opera House, Salem
The circa 1870 Reed Opera House is home to over 40 eclectic gift shops, interior design showrooms, award-winning restaurants and two magnificent ballrooms that can be rented for special occasions. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, come check out one of the most creative shopping destinations in the whole state.
River Road, Keizer
River Road is the main drag that feeds Keizer's everyday life. Running the full length of the city from north to south, for shopping, dining or personal services, River Road is the local destination for all your pleasures and necessities.
Et Cetera Antiques, Salem Browse among hundreds of antiques dating from the 1700's to the 1970's, hand picked for quality, beauty and practicality. The shop will buy your own antiques for resale or you can just bring in your items for a free insurance appraisal.
Double "H" Western, Salem
Double "H" is the largest complete western store in the entire northwest offering kids to grownups everything required to live the classic western lifestyle. From boots to hats to furniture to horse trailers and everything in between, you'll find it all at Double H.
Old Europe Inn, Salem
One of Salem's finest dining establishments, Chef Hans Afshar's Old Europe Inn is the only restaurant in the Northwest to make all its own pasta, bread and desserts in house. The delectable food is influenced by French techniques and methods while the fresh pasta, including ravioli, fettuccine and spaghetti is beyond compare, made fresh daily with a variety of stuffings and flavors.
Allesandro's serves standout Italian cuisine in an 1870 building that was once a livery stable where the beautiful wood floors still bear the scars of hoof marks. Utilizing only the freshest, highest quality ingredients, oils, vinegars and even the porcini mushrooms are imported from Italy. Enjoy wines from an extensive list consisting of selections from Oregon, Washington, Northern California plus every region of Italy. Alessandro's has been featured in Bon Appetit Magazine and has been awarded a three diamond rating by AAA and a three star rating by Mobile Travel Guide.
Straight From New York Pizza, Salem
Straight From New York Pizza is just like a hometown pizza place in Brooklyn or Queens except the food is even better. The dough is made fresh twice daily and the sauce is allowed to simmer for 18 hours. Enjoy great atmosphere with big band music playing on the jukebox, you can buy by the slice or by the pie and take out or eat in. It can be quite busy at lunchtime since it's a favorite of workers at the State Capital Building just a few blocks away.
Porter's Pub, Keizer
Porter's is a popular destination, especially before local ball games with its trio of dining areas featuring Volcanoes baseball photos plus bar and lounge area with four TV sets. Porter's also includes an authentic English-style tearoom with a fireplace as well as a general dining area up front. The menu features a number of popular burgers including Porter's signature Pride of the Pub burger with swiss, cheddar, mushrooms, bacon, ham and a fried egg on the top served alongside a generous helping of delicious seasoned fries. Another specialty is fish and chips, made with either cod or halibut in a beer batter, served with fries, garlic bread, cup of soup or salad and of course, malt vinegar.
La Hacienda Real, locations in both Salem and Keizer
Three years in a row, Statesman Journal readers say Hacienda Real has the best Mexican food in the area, taking top honors in the Best of the Mid-Valley survey for Best Mexican Restaurant. The restaurant has been serving Jalisco-style food to Salem for seven years and opened a new Keizer location just this year. Both locations are colorful inside and out, with bright murals and family friendly prices. Everything on the extensive menu featuring popular dishes like fajitas, arroz con pollo and the super-size, macho burrito is made fresh daily including the delicious salsas.
Caruso's Italian Cafe, Keizer
A great date restaurant, Caruso's serves fine Italian food at reasonable prices in a romantic setting with dim lights and soft music. Enjoy a cocktail in the bar before your meal or take advantage of the value offered on the nightly early-bird specials.
AC Gilbert's Discovery Village
Housed in three unique Victorian homes set on the Salem riverfront, this is finest museum for children of all ages in the whole Northwest featuring fun yet challenging exhibits that spark their natural curiosity. This museum is named for and inspired by AC Gilbert who was trained as a doctor but went on to invent the Erector Set. One of the most popular exhibits is the "Toy Inventors' Workshop" where kids can create fabulous toys and other inventions from common household goods
Salem Riverfront Park
Bounding the downtown shopping district is Salem's Riverfront Park offering breathtaking views of the river combined with opportunities for outdoor concerts and community events in a picturesque setting. A ride on the Riverfront Carousel, acclaimed as one of the nation's finest, with its 42 wooden horses and two "Oregon Trail" wagons, is not to be missed. A community labor of love, all of the horses were hand-carved and hand-painted by volunteers who contributed over 80,000 hours to bring the carousel to life.
The State Capitol
Built in 1938 and one of Salem's premiere attractions, this commanding structure of Greek inspired design is home to the Oregon Legislature and the Offices of the Governor, Secretary of State and Treasurer. Listed on the National Register of Historic Place, the building is clad in four different types of beautiful marble with an impressive rotunda as well as examples of Depression era art. There are historical and educational tours and best of all, admission is free.
Salem Art Fair and Festival
The Salem Art Fair and Festival, held in mid July among the historic oak trees of Bush Pasture Park, is one of Oregon's premier cultural events. The Art Fair is the largest juried art festival of its kind in the state and the Fair's Artist Marketplace features over 200 top fine artists and craftspeople from around the country exhibiting painting, ceramics, glass, jewelry, woodwork and photography. Other attractions include the Open Studio, where visitors can try their hands at the potter's wheel, papermaking and painting plus there are more than 50 different musical acts and entertainer's performing on two different stages.
The Keizer Iris Festival
May is the month when the iris blooms and you don't have far to go to see a display of award winning flowers because Keizer is the iris capital of the US with fertile fields stretching to the horizon. The city hosts its famed Keizer Iris Days at the end of May with events for the whole family like parties, bands, runs, walks, fairs and even a parade to celebrate the blooming of the "bearded wonders."
The Oregon Garden
Located on 80 acres in historic Silverton, the Oregon Garden is one of the state's most popular destinations, where thousands of plants are displayed in more than 20 specialty gardens. Explore amazing water features, garden art, wetlands, the Rediscovery Forest, a playful garden just for kids, the 400-year-old Signature Oak and the Gordon House, the only house in Oregon designed by the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Enchanted Forest
Just seven miles south of Salem in Turner, the Enchanted Forest is Oregon's premiere theme park for fun and amusement. Stroll through a world of fantasy in a lush forest setting where your children's favorite storybook characters come to life. There are thrill-rides for all ages including the "Bobsled" roller coaster and the biggest log flume ride in the Northwest with a forty-foot plunge and spectacular splashdown. Explore a western town, experience the Water-Light Show and then enjoy some laughs in the Comedy Theater.
Spirit Mountain Casino
Spirit Mountain Casino, just west of Salem, offers Vegas style gaming along with headline entertainment. Try your luck at striking