Introducing the city

£1.00 | $1.28


Gasoline £0.51 | $0.65

One-way ticket £1.25 | $1.60

Beer £3.12 | $4.00

Main Course £9.74 | $12.50

About Salem

Located at the heart of the Willamette Valley, Salem is Oregon's capital and a political stronghold.

Whilst you'd be forgiven for automatically thinking of witchcraft when hearing Salem, you'd actually be thinking of Oregon's counterpart, 2,452 miles away in Massachusetts. Salem in Oregon has a history much less related to the supernatural and instead the city has made its mark as an influential agricultural district.

Just an hour south of Portland, Salem's outdoor recreation is just as vibrant as its northern neighbour, with many mountains and parks to explore. The city is also home to a number of historic sights, including the Oregon State Capitol building which is arguably the most recognisable part of Salem's landscape.

The city is home to a thriving arts scene, including impressive theater as well as a variety of galleries. You won't be short of things to see and do here, although a witch hunt might turn into a wild goose chase.

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When should you visit?

The summer months are the best time to visit Salem; from June to September the temperatures averages above 15 degrees Celsius.

The weather is mild year-round in Salem. Average temperatures in the summer months are around 20 degrees Celsius, with July and August being the hottest months. The winters can get chilly, and January and December see average lows of just one degree Celsius.

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Travioor top tips

one way
tax free

Insider Info

  • The city is incredibly bike-friendly and hosts multiple bike races every year, so you won't be out of place on two wheels.
  • Salem's city center is primarily one-way streets, so plan your route carefully if you're driving.
  • Oregon does not add sales tax to its goods, so enjoy your favourite products with zero tax in Salem.

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Food and drink

Main Course £9.74 | $12.50

3-Course Meal £38.98 | $50.00

Cappuccino £3.07 | $3.94

Beer £3.12 | $4.00

The Scene

Salem's food and drink scene isn't the biggest we've ever seen, but there are a few hidden gems if you know where to look. White's Restaurant is said to be the perfect breakfast spot, with Patty's Off Center Cafe serving up not only tasty breakfasts, but delicious lunches too. Some of the best restaurants are a little further afield, but there are options in the center like Wild Pear and Happy Bibimbap House, which serve Asian and Korean food respectively.

If wine is your thing, you're certainly in luck in Salem as there are wineries and vineyards all over to get stuck into. There are also a fair share of breweries too, and for those looking for somewhere to enjoy a drink alongside some live music, there are plenty of bars and lounges to get your fix.

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Salem’s Story

The first European-Americans came to Salem in 1812, and worked for fur trading companies in nearby Astoria as trappers or food gatherers. The area was previously inhabited by Native American Kalapuya people, and known as Chemeketa.

The origin of Salem's new name is uncertain, and differs depending on who you ask. Many believe the name is the anglicised version of 'Shalom', meaning peace. It is also said that Salem may have taken its name from its counterpart in Massachusetts. Whichever you go with, Salem got its name in the 1850s and was met with a certain level of criticism from locals who were reluctant to make the change.

Much of the city's history is tied with the agricultural industry, and harvesting and lumber have both played important parts in keeping the city running.


Speak The Lingo

Whilst English is the main language spoken in Salem, many residents also speak Spanish. The most noticeable accent in the area is the Pacific Northwest accent and you may come across the following slang terms:

Rig: Any kind of vehicle, car or truck

Salt chuck: The ocean

Spendy: Expensive

Need to know

+ 503 International dialling code
+ 911 Emergency number

Get The Low-Down

  • It's illegal to fill up your own petrol tank in the state of Oregon, so if you're driving make sure you get an attendant to do it for you or you could end up with a $500 fine.
  • Salem does not have an international airport, but Portland International Airport (PDX) is only an hour north. You could fly there and then get a taxi or drive down to Salem.
  • It is customary to tip 15-20% in restaurants.



Find out about the visa requirements for the United States here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Venti's Café

Venti's Café and Taphouse specialises in local craft beers and has quite the selection to choose from.

2. State Park

Silver Falls State Park is 25 miles outside of Salem and whilst it's a bit of a trek it offers 9,000 acres of forest, with walking paths and stunning waterfalls.

3. E.Z. Orchards

The E.Z. Orchards Farm Market is one of the most productive farms in the Willamette Valley, and visitors can purchase fresh produce at its source.

4. State Capitol

The view from the top of the Oregon State Capitol Building looks out over all of Salem and is well worth the 125 steps it takes to get there.

5. Shopping

The Reed Opera House Mall is a quirky hub for shopping in Salem. Here you'll find everything from tattoo parlours to small, independent boutiques.

See What's On In Salem  

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