Oregon’s state capital is conveniently located on Interstate 5, about 40 miles south of Portland. As most state capitals go, the city is relatively small, and the most interesting thing about it is the capital building itself.
While I’m not a huge fan of this town (i.e. I’m not much into the political system, and there’s not much else to do here) Salem is nonetheless not a bad place to visit for a day. Especially in the summer! Their main farmer’s market is located directly across the street from the capital building, and you could easily spend half a day there. Dozens of vendors set up shop, selling their fresh produce, flowers, crafts, and baked goods. The Oregon State Fair is also held here every late August.
Go here to browse what the capital building has to offer, and get information on their free tours. The city of Salem was founded in 1842, and has always been Oregon’s state capital.
The place to settle down with your laptop with an exceptional cup of your favorite joe. And free coffee tastings on Wednesdays mornings! This coffeehouse places an emphasis on community-building by offering a parent room and a space for local artists.
With jogging paths, a tennis court, a playground, and garden, this is my favorite park in the city. There is even a soap box derby area and a museum! Located in South Salem, west of I-5.
On the banks of the Willamette River, this park has wonderful footpaths, a carousel, and a huge EcoEarth Globe! Enjoy a picnic lunch underneath their covered picnic area.