Salem, the state capital of Oregon, is a truly enchanting destination. Here you’ll find this region’s illusive, almost provincial charm that is easily complemented by a real appreciation of their cultural heritage. In fact, Salem has all the warmth of a small town, but with a strong connection to its local art, history and nature that it has fast become a hotspot for visitors seeking an all-inclusive trip in the US.
The local architecture is a real must-see when visiting Salem, especially the vast State Capitol Building and the incredibly ornate Bush House. These historic buildings are perfect afternoon viewing, with both housing a great selection of local art, so be sure to head here before going into the city centre for a light lunch.
Continue your cultural viewing with a visit to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art which hosts an incredible selection of traditional and modern work. Movie buffs will enjoy taking a tour around the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health, the infamous location for the film ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. Wind down your evening with a trip to the traditional vaudeville Elsinore Theatre, where you can enjoy a variety of live performances before heading to a downtown restaurant to sample some local seafood.
Finally, no trip to Salem would be complete without taking a trip to some of the nearby nature parks. The Willamette Mission State Park and Bush’s Pasture Park have an array of lush nature trails and picnic spots. The gorgeous Riverfront Park even features a fully restored carousel for the whole family to enjoy.
Salem usually sees a rise in tourism during the summer (June to August), especially as the state fair takes place at around the end of August to the beginning of September. Travelling off-peak when school term time is taking place is much cheaper, so the best times to visit Salem are between April to May or from September to October. During these months the region is much quieter, with fantastic weather that makes visiting the local sites even more enjoyable.