Department of Agriculture Building Picnic Area
As the state capital, naturally Salem has a great number of state office buildings. Many of those are located very close to the capital building itself.
Through the northern part of this "administrative district" is located Mill Creek, which in places crosses private property but through the area by the state offices has a public walkway, picnic tables and other features.
Each of these park-like areas is a little different, based on which state office is located on the land next to the creek.
The state agriculture department building area has benches and picnic tables, plus one fireplace for those who would like to do some outdoor cooking right in the middle of the state capital. It is a nice, peaceful place to enjoy a break from your other activities.
The edge of the area with the fireplace is right at the water's edge, and from time to time you can find locals dangling their feet in the water here (swimming in the creek is most certainly not recommended!!! and it's too shallow for that anyway!).
Military Service Monument
This monument is "dedicated to all who have served in the armed forces of the United States and to those who even now guard the gates of freedom." The monument is a globe with a soldier standing at the north pole.
It is a simple expression of thanks to those who served and serve in order to protect the country, as opposed to more recent monuments that are far more complicated and huge by comparison.
A day trip to Mt. Hood is a...
A day trip to Mt. Hood is a must, even in the summer. THere's skiing year around, as well as the lift ride for non-skiers, too. There is also a bob sled area with plastic sleds. That can be quite dangerous, though, thus the aid station at the bottom of the ride. You take a lift up to the top and ride the slide down. (That's not actually by the skiing area, it's a half hour or so away.) Back by Timberline Lodge, there's a cafeteria, and well as the lounge. The lodge is historic and a nice place to stay, too. They do have sort of a museum in it. And, of course, there's a gift shop.
You can rent skis here, as well as other mountain sporting toys.
Downtown Salem: Reed Opera House Building
On May 16, 2008, Hillary Clinton made an unannounced stop at the Reed Opera House, as part of her Oregon state primary campaign for the president of the USA. She picked a distinctive multipurpose building in the center of downtown. Built in 1869, the building included a theater that at the time seated a larger audience than there were residents in Salem. This is a great building to wander through as it has many fine restaurants, a bakery, antique, and gift shops. The Trinity Ballroom is used for wedding parties, while the Cyrus Reed Ballroom, named for the original owner, is home to the Salem Reperatory Theatre. Reed's Opera House became the center of Salem's early social life, housing touring plays and opera companies, concerts by John Philip Sousa's band, vaudeville and minstrel shows, revival meetings, and exhibits by political cartoonist Thomas Nast, and other famous artists. Susan B. Anthony and Abigail Scott Duniway both gave speeches here during the height of the woman's suffrage movement. The official opening of the Reed Opera House was Sept. 27, 1870, with the Inaugural Ball for Oregon Governor LaFayette Grover. Subsequent inaugurations for Republican GovernorsW. W.Thayer (1878), Z. F. Moody (1892), William Paine Lord (1895), and T. T. Geer (1899) were also celebrated at the Reed. Thus, this red brick building is arguably the most historic in Salem as it is the oldest surviving opera house in Oregon.
Closest to Salem is a park...
Closest to Salem is a park full of waterfalls. Some of them quite big. I've always loved running around that park---Silver Falls State Park. There is a path all the was around the park. I believe it's about 8 miles and takes you by about 8 waterfalls. Here's one of them.