The city of Salem, Oregon sits in the heart of the Willamette Valley. The city is just under 50 miles from Portland. Salem is not only picturesque but has plenty of fun activities for the whole family, too. Here are the must-sees and must-dos, whether you’re there for a day or a week.

Oregon State Capitol

Start your visit with a peek into the inner workings of Oregon’s political system. Also, a piece of history by stopping by the State Capitol. Take a guided historical tour of the building, or strike out on your own and explore educational exhibits and more.

Salem Oregon State Capitol

Enchanted Forest Theme Park

The kids will love this majestic theme park, and young-at-heart parents will probably have a pretty magical time as well. Enjoy wild rides like the Ice Mountain Bobsled Roller Coaster and the Big Timber Log. Afterward, you can take a stroll around Storybook Lane, Tottenville Western Town, and the Old European Village.

OSH Museum

Science and medicine buffs can get a glimpse of the way things used to be at this hospital-turned-museum that features exhibits dedicated to mental health conditions and treatment, as well as a network of underground tunnels that were integral to the operations of the hospital back in the day.

Minto-Brown Island Park

The perfect place to spend a beautiful day, Minto-Brown Island Park is the largest park in Salem, covering 1,200 acres and featuring 29 miles of running and hiking trails. Believe it or not, it surpasses Central Park regarding size!

Riverfront Carousel

It’s a ride with a view! The horses on this carousel, which opened in 2001, were all lovingly carved by hand by a group of dedicated volunteers. The indoor amusement is open daily and offers rides for only $1.50 per person. 

Riverfront Carousel

Hallie Ford Museum of Art

The Hallie Ford Museum is located on the campus of Willamette University and houses a broad range of pieces that run the gamut from classic to contemporary. Its current rotating exhibitions focus on pop and psychedelic art from the ’60s and ’70s.


Salem is smack-dab in the middle of Oregon wine country, which means that aficionados can sip and sample varieties at some different vineyards in the region. Honeywood Winery, Redhawk Vineyard & Winery, and Cubanisimo are just a few of the popular spots to find your new favorite red or white.


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Quick Guide to Salem, Oregon