Salem, Oregon, and the surrounding Mid-Willamette Valley are known for their natural beauty, historic landmarks, and diverse food and beverage scene. While many of these attractions and eateries are well-known, there are plenty of hidden gems that locals might not know about. Whether you’re a longtime resident or a first-time visitor, here are some unique places to explore in the area.
For those with a sweet tooth, the Willamette Valley Pie Company in Salem is a must-visit. This family-owned bakery uses locally sourced ingredients to create delicious pies, tarts, and other baked goods. Their pies come in a variety of flavors, from classic apple and cherry to more unique offerings like marionberry and chocolate hazelnut. You can also grab a cup of coffee or hot cider to enjoy with your pie.
For a fun and whimsical day out, head to the Enchanted Forest Theme Park in Turner, Oregon. This family-friendly attraction is inspired by fairy tales and nursery rhymes and features rides and attractions like a log flume, roller coaster, and haunted house. There are also plenty of food vendors and gift shops on-site, so you can make a full day of it.
If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from city life, check out Minto-Brown Island Park in Salem. This large nature park offers over 1,200 acres of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views of the Willamette River. You can spend hours exploring the park and soaking up the natural beauty of the area.
Deepwood Estate is a historic home and garden in Salem that dates back to the late 1800s. This beautiful property features Victorian architecture, lush gardens, and walking paths. Visitors can take a guided tour of the house and learn about the history of the property, or simply stroll through the gardens and enjoy the serene atmosphere.
The Historic Reed Opera House in downtown Salem is a must-visit for history buffs, with its rich past as a performance space for famous acts and performers, and now home to a variety of unique shops, restaurants and services.
If you’re in the mood for some retro gaming fun, head to Coin Jam in downtown Salem. This retro arcade and bar features classic arcade games and pinball machines, as well as a full bar with craft beer and cocktails. It’s a great spot for a date night or a night out with friends.
For a taste of authentic Italian cuisine, check out Bari in Salem. This family-owned restaurant serves up classic Italian dishes, including homemade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and seafood dishes. The cozy atmosphere and friendly service make it a great spot for a romantic dinner or a family gathering.
Honeywood Winery is a local winery in Salem that specializes in fruit wines, including blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry wines. You can visit the winery for a tasting and learn about the wine-making process, or simply pick up a bottle to enjoy at home.
Boon’s Treasury is a historic tavern in Salem that dates back to the 1800s. This cozy spot features a menu of classic pub fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and soups. There’s also a wide selection of beers on tap, making it a great spot for happy hour or a casual dinner.
Located in Riverfront Park in downtown Salem, the Salem Riverfront Carousel is a beloved local attraction that is fun for all ages. This beautifully crafted carousel features 42 hand-carved wooden animals, including horses, dragons, and unicorns, as well as a menagerie of other animals like frogs, cats, and rabbits.
Overall, Salem is full of unique and hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re in the mood for nature, history, food, or fun, there’s something for everyone in the beautiful Mid-Willamette Valley region of Oregon. So, get out there and start exploring!