Salem Things to Do

  • Salem Capitol Building and Mall, in Spring
    Salem Capitol Building and Mall, in...
    by glabah
  • Walkways along Capitol Mall in Spring
    Walkways along Capitol Mall in Spring
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  • Things to Do
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Most Recent Things to Do in Salem

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    Churches of the Capitol Area: Lutheran

    by atufft Written Jul 6, 2008

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    St. Mark's Lutheran Church
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    St. Mark's Lutheran projects a distinctively modern architectural steeple into Salem skies. This building, constructed in 1958, replaced a church building on property sold to the state for capitol mall expansion. Despite the apparently new architectural style of this structure, the use of stone materials anchors the church architecture into tradition. St. Mark's as a congregation began in 1927 when the old Presbyterian Church was purchased for $16,000.

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    Willamette University

    by atufft Written Jul 6, 2008

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    Willamette University
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    The Willamette University grounds are just across state street from the Capitol grounds. The old buildings are worth a look as this is the oldest university in the western USA. Jason Lee, a missionary who first came to Oregon in 1834, originally founded a school for training indians that became known as the Oregon Institute, formally established in 1842. This private University has graduate programs in Law, Management, and Education. The current 69 acres are a fraction of what were once the campus grounds, as much of downtown Salem was once part of the University grounds.

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    Capitol Grounds to the West: Breyman Fountain

    by atufft Updated Jul 6, 2008

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    Breyman Brothers Fountain
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    What appears to be the earliest fountain and contribution to Willson Park is on the very west edge of the capitol grounds. Unfortunately, this cast iron fountain was in dire need of restoration at the time I visited. This was actually a 1904 tribute to the city of Salem by the Breyman Brothers, wealthy residents of the city.

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    Capitol Grounds to the West: Willson Park

    by atufft Written Jul 6, 2008

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    West Capitol Grounds
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    City benefactor William H. Willson gave to the city of Salem land for a city park in 1853, and until 1965, this was Salem's primary city park. Now, the park is part of the capitol grounds, and has a large collection of marvelous old trees of various species, each carefully labeled. There are also open grass areas for picniking, a number of bronze memorial statues, and the circle of the 50 state flags.

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    Capitol Grounds to the North: History Walk

    by atufft Written Jul 5, 2008

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    Oregon State Capitol Paving Stone
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    In addition to the paving stones for each county, there are a large number of stones devoted to cultural and historical trivia important to Oregon. These steps provide good insight into the character of modern Oregon. There's also an effort here to preserve indigenous and pioneer folklore for all time.

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    Capitol Grounds to the North: County Walk

    by atufft Updated Jul 5, 2008

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    Within the pavement of the North Capitol Grounds are stepping stones for each of the 36 counties of Oregon. The name, county seat, and date of admission into Oregon are provided. Just a few examples are shown here. This is a good historical tour for children, or a good place to walk the dog.

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    Capitol Grounds to the North: Memorials

    by atufft Written Jul 5, 2008

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    North Capitol Grounds Fountain
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    On the other side of a broad one-way boulevard are an extensive plaza area where memorials and landscaping create a pleasant walk between various state capitol office buildings. The most notable feature is a large bronze fountain that unfortunately was turned off at the time of my visit. I couldn't find a plate memorial or even on-line reference to this fountain, but I believe it is devoted to world peace or some other such positive symbolism. This area is clearly the newest contribution to the landscaping around the capitol building.

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    AC Gilbert Discovery Museum / Children's Museum

    by glabah Updated Jan 1, 2008

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    Note huge rocking chair on front portch of house

    I don't know that much about this facility, which is on the north side of Salem's Waterfront Park, and I have no children right now to test it with. I know that it is very popular with area children all year, as I have seen many families with children going into the facility. So, by observation I can say that seems to be a popular place with the children in the area. The huge rocking chair on the front portch of the main house, the fact that it was created from preserved examples of historic Salem houses, and what appears to be a tiny but tall waterslide park all make for a very interesting looking facility.

    Perhaps one of the more eccentric features of this facility is the name: it is named as a "children's museum" or "discovery center" or various other things, all depending on the map at which you are looking. The official name is "A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village" and it claims to be a hands on and interactive children's museum and educational learning experience.

    If you are passing through this way and need to let the children unwind for a while, this facility plus the Salem Waterfront Carousel, plus letting them run around in Waterfront Park itself might provide the required refreshment time.

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    Willamette Queen

    by glabah Written Jan 1, 2008

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    Willamette Queen at Riverfront Park pier
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    I will admit that I have never taken one of their river cruises. However, the price of $35 for a river cruise plus lunch seems like a very good deal compared to what some of the similar river boats in Portland are charging. Some day, I will go on one of these trips, but not yet.

    The boat departs from Salem's Riverfront Park, which is very easy to get to from downtown.

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    Oregon State Capitol

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Aug 9, 2007

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    The current state capitol building was dedicated 1 October 1938, and is the third after the previous two structures were destroyed by fire in 1855 and 1935. The unusual style looks to me like a Mormon Tabernacle, or perhaps that they forgot to finish the dome, but is described as "Modern Greek" architecture. I hope the Greeks aren't too upset about this. Even while being built, people complained the so-called "dome" looked like a squirrel cage or even a paint can.

    The capitol building houses both branches of he state legislature as well as the governor, treasurer, and secretary of state's offices and is surrounded by beautiful parkland,

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    State of Oregon Capitol Building

    by glabah Updated Jul 31, 2007

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    State Capitol: summer day bath in front fountain
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    It seems like most of us who were raised in the Willamette Valley decades ago were given at least one (and in some cases several) visits to the State Capitol Building as part of school activities. Due to the reduced budget of school districts today, perhaps this is no longer done.

    The capitol building has a large statue of a pioneer on the roof which is covered in gold leaf.

    On the east side of the building, there is a park area with several monuments, as well as some of the remains of the original capitol building, which was destroyed by fire in the 1930s.

    The main entrance to the building faces north, and faces the Capitol Mall (which is a park-like area built directly above a parking lot).

    The fountain in front of the capitol building is sometimes a popular place for people to cool off during hot days.

    The web site below gives a virtual tour and quite a bit of history of the various buildings that have served as the State of Oregon's Capitol Building.

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    Salem Art Fair and Festival

    by glabah Written Jul 23, 2007

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    At least one artist featured Art that Burns
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    The Salem Art Festival (one of the common shortenings of the official event title) is fairly large - perhaps twice the size of similar annual events held in various neighborhoods in Portland.

    The annual event happens in Bush's Pasture Park. During hot years, the large trees in this park help provide a bit of shade.

    The park also has a playground at the south end, which will help keep the children from being bored.

    There are so many artists booths here that just about anything you can imagine is here, from a wide variety of locations in Oregon, Washington and California - over 200 artists.

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    Weekly Farmers Market

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jul 13, 2007

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    Salem has farmers markets on Saturday and Wednesday. We visited the Wednesday market thatis held right in the middle of downtown. About 70 vendors have booths selling fruits, vegetables, flowers, canned goods, and fresh meals. We spent about 45 minutes here walking among the vendors and searching for the best lunch options.

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    Mission Mill Museum

    by glabah Written Jul 9, 2007

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    Part of the old woolen mill, now preserved
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    The museum is a complex of buildings that preserve two important historical facilities in downtown Salem: the old Woolen Mill that was in danger of being demolished in the early 1980s, and the early Christian mission that was part of early life in Salem.

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    Star Trees of Willamette University

    by frankcanfly Updated Jun 15, 2006

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    This grove of giant Sequoias was planted by students from the Class of 1942. They are HUGE! and are considered to be the tallest Christmas trees on a college campus in America.

    If you stand in the center of them and look up, you see a five-pointed star!

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Salem Things to Do

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