Things to Do in Salem, Oregon

Table of Contents

There are a number of things to do in Salem, Oregon. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, museums, art galleries, and historical sites, or family-friendly attractions, there is sure to be something that interests you!

Oregon State Capitol Building

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is the permanent home to the Ford Collection, which consists of American, European, and African art—established in 1920 by former Oregon Governor and Salem resident Walter M. Pierce as a legacy for his daughter Hallie Ford, who died at an early age of polio, with proceeds from his estate. 

Oregon State Capitol Building 1

The museum features over 7500 objects, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, textiles, photographs, jewelry, and ceramics. Thirty-six galleries housing these collections are located on two floors of the building, with many pieces kept in themed rooms complete with lighting design to complement the art piece.

The third-largest art museum in Oregon, the museum is a part of Willamette University in Salem.

The museum is located at 700 State Street in Salem, OR 97301. For more information, call 503-370-6855.

The Gilbert House Children's Museum

The Gilbert House Children’s Museum is a great place for children to play and learn. The museum is housed in the historic Gilbert House, which was built in 1880 by Salem’s first mayor, William H. Gilbert. Its walls are made of river rock quarried from Silver Creek, and its foundation is sandstone from the nearby Siletz River.

The house served as a family home until 1950, when it became an office for the Masonic Lodge next door. In 1970 it became a private chiropractic clinic and, after that, an insurance agency before being transformed into its current purpose as a children’s museum in 2003. 

Today at the museum, you can learn through field trips, the Gilbert Engineering Studio, homeschool adventures, and storytime. Play through events like Movement Monday, scavenger hunts, and the Creative Space.

The museum is located at 116 Marion St NE in Salem, OR 97301. For more information, call (503) 371-3631.

Willamette Heritage Center

The Willamette Heritage Center is a museum of Oregon’s history. Housed in the historic B&R Stores building, which was constructed in 1867 by Henry Corbett and Ammi Thompson, the center features over 30,000 artifacts and archival materials. 

The Willamette Heritage Center 1

The mission of the center is to promote an understanding of how people began settling in Oregon and what their lives were like by preserving and displaying items from 19th-century life, including household goods, clothing, textiles, firearms, tools, toys, agricultural implements, and Native American objects.

The center is located at 1313 Mill St SE Salem, OR 97301. For more information, call (503) 585-7012.

Deepwood Museum & Gardens

Deepwood Museum & Gardens was built in 1916 for Charles and Emma Fordyce and their children. The estate has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark and is home to three buildings: the main house, the gatehouse/home of gardener George Cooke, and the Bungalow. 

The museum’s collection includes permanent and rotating exhibits displaying artifacts like Victorian dresses, capes, and other items Victorians wore.

The gardens on the property feature plants and flowers from Oregon’s early history, like magnolias, rhododendrons, and Japanese maples.

Deepwood Museum and Gardens is located at 1116 Mission St SE, Salem, OR 97302. For more information, call (503)363-1825.

Lord & Schryver Conservancy

Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver were two women, among the first in the Pacific Northwest, who owned and operated a landscape architecture firm in 1929. 

Lord Schryver Conservancy 1

Gaiety Hollow, located at 545 Mission Street in Salem, is the home, garden, and studio where Elizabeth and Edith lived and worked. The gardens have been restored to their period of glory, and the building is now listed on the National Historic Register.

For more information, call (971) 600-6987.

Outdoor Activities in Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon, is home to a wide variety of outdoor activities. 

The Willamette River runs through Salem and offers opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, and swimming. The river is about 18 miles long, with a 26-mile network of trails along its banks. There are 12 parks on or near the river offering places to explore by foot or bike.

Silver Falls State Park is just 14 miles from downtown Salem but feels much more remote as you walk past old-growth trees along the Trail of Ten Falls. The park contains ten waterfalls over 170 feet tall that can be seen from eight different hiking trails. There are also camping facilities at the park if you’d like to spend a couple of days.

Shopping and Dining in Salem, Oregon

No matter what your tastebuds fancy, there’s a place for you to eat in Salem, whether you’re looking for an outdoor cafe, a casual diner, or a 5-star fine dining experience. 

Salem Center 1

There are plenty of places to shop in Salem, including Salem Center, Willamette Town Center, Pringle Park Plaza, Hilfiker Shopping Center, Cherry City Center, and more.


If golf is your game, then you’ll be right at home in Salem, Oregon, home to the Salem Golf Club, Illahe Hills Country Club, Creekside Golf Club, Meadowlawn, Salemtowne Golf Club, and more.


Salem is home to many interesting attractions that you don’t want to miss. From shopping and dining to museums, galleries, and golf, there’s something for everyone of all ages to do in Salem, Oregon. 


Salem Golf Club 1


For more information about buying or selling a home in Salem, Oregon, reach out to your local real estate agent today.