Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Fri October 15 2021
State Capitol Park, salem, cherry blossoms


Destinations Home | North America | United States | Oregon


State Capitol Park, salem, cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms at State Capitol Park in Salem. (Photo via svetlana57 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Salem, Oregon, has a wide array of events and attractions offered to both the residents and tourists of the area. Whether attending one of the many fairs and festivals, farmers markets, performing arts scene, wine and agricultural activities or historic museums, Salem offers plenty to do and see in every season. As home to many cultural points of interest including the Reed Opera House, Hallie Ford Museum of Art and historic Elsinore Theatre, one trip to this beautiful Northwestern city and it becomes clear that Salem is a wonderfully charming and naturally inspired vacation destination.

A large part of Salem’s appeal stems from its nearly 50 city parks. As an ultra-clean and environmentally conscious city, Salem goes to great lengths to take care of its parks and outdoor hiking, biking and jogging trails. The parks are not only for plush gardens, serene lakes and the preservation of nature; many of Salem’s popular parks are also home to entertaining attractions such as the carousel at Cascade Gateway Park, or a soap box derby racetrack at Bush’s Pasture Park.

Travelers from all over come to Salem to attend the many fairs, festivals and markets that take place in the city year-round. The Salem Saturday Market is held from May to October, and sells many locally grown, made and cultivated products, including fresh produce, meats, baked goods and crafts. The World Beat Festival features music, dance, food, crafts and folklore from every continent and even holds a Dragon Boat race at Riverfront Park. Other fairs and festivals such as the Salem Art Fair and Chef’s Nite Out, a wine and food benefit, also draw large crowds.

City park pond in Salem, Oregon in spring time (photo via Strekoza2 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
City park pond in Salem, Oregon in spring time (photo via Strekoza2 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The cuisine of the Pacific Northwest is heavy on fresh, sustainable, locally grown ingredients and makes Salem a truly unique gastronomic city. Salem is known for its distinctive seafood, fruits and vegetables, so finding an inspiring meal here isn’t exactly a chore. Word of Mouth is a neighborhood bistro serving all three meals of the day. Voted one of Salem’s best, the menu features everything from blueberry pancakes to calamari piccata. For a vegetarian joint with a phenomenal beer list, try Venti’s Café. For the sweet tooth, Gerry Frank’s Konditorei is a charming dessert shop serving some of the city’s finest cheesecakes, Italian sodas and pastries.

For those traveling by air, the closest airport is Portland International (PDX), an hour away from Salem. From Portland, there are buses, trains and rental cars to get into the city. When it comes to getting around town, the Cherriots bus system is a city-wide network that will take travelers throughout the city and into the suburbs. Day passes cost $2.50, while one-way fares are $1.25. With all the lush parks, festivals and outdoor sites Salem has to offer, walking throughout the city is highly recommended.

Salem, Oregon, is characterized by a West Coast marine climate. Though precipitation is spread throughout the year, rainfall is heaviest in late autumn through the winter. The short dry season tends to last from late June to early September. The average high temperature in the hottest month of August is 81.8° F (27.7° C) and the average low in the coldest month of January is 33.5°F (0.8° C). The best time to visit Salem is during late spring and summer because of the warm, sunny weather and numerous outdoor events that the city is famous for.