A Travel Guide for Salem, Oregon

Salem, OR Vacation

A list of the hottest restaurants, hotels, and historical sites to check out in your next Salem vacation.

Oregon is a grand old state, and Salem is a grand old city with many travelers’ offerings. Whether for business or pleasure, those who travel to the city are often in search of experiencing as much of the amenities as possible. Sadly, with the size of the city, they try to settle for simply the most noteworthy of attractions instead. Though because so many of the attractions are noteworthy, this is also where they run into problems trying to narrow down the best into a nice little list of activities.

If you are one of those people planning a Salem vacation, you are probably looking to fit as much of Salem’s attractions too. Luckily, we have taken the liberty of condensing all of Salem’s attractions down to the very best. Below are the main sites you absolutely have to check out in your next Salem vacation:

Top 5 Salem Restaurants

1. Word of Mouth

This vegan-friendly restaurant offers a great number of healthy meals that cater to the appetites of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. If you’re looking for a place that offers the best of American cuisine, then Word of Mouth is a restaurant that has made a name for itself for having some of the best steaks and breakfast hash out there. A Salem vacation is not complete at least you try this much-lauded restaurant at least once.

The restaurant deals primarily breakfast and lunch. Many who dine in it rave about the quality of the food and special service offered by the staff.

2. Wild Pear

Even with the pandemic closing many restaurants, Wild Pear managed to stay afloat with top-grade sanitation and an offering of world-class cuisine that can satisfy all sorts of diets. Many applaud the restaurant for its atmosphere and service, which is reason enough for visitors to try this place out when paired with the great value you get for the food.

The deserts come highly recommended as well as the soups and salads – a favorite among reviewers. The organic ingredients also mean that the restaurant also seeks to be accessible to as many people as possible. They offer menu selections that are vegetarian and vegan-friendly alike along with some gluten-free options.

3. Annette’s Westgate Café

For an affordable hidden gem that is certainly worth checking out, consider having a mean at the landmark Annette’s Westgate Café. The meals are simple and homely and the restaurant also doubles as a nice place to read a book, have a coffee, and relax. Breakfast is the main meal to visit the restaurant for but they work just fine as a casual dinner spot as well.

Many who visit the café state that they received only the best treatment from the staff and that the food is certainly one of the finest in all of Salem given its affordability. Its location along Edgewater street also provides scenic views of the river.

4. Best Little Road House

The Best Little Road House is exactly what you get with a visit to this restaurant. The ambiance is simple, unpretentious, and rustic. The food is delicious and is served with some of the generous portions one can receive during a Salem vacation. The restaurant is always full of loyal patrons and the whole place is quite welcoming to families and travelers of all ages.

The restaurant also offers gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly options which comes welcome to those who adhere to such diets or are trying to watch their weight.

5. Bentley’s

The restaurant offers an old-timey feel which many visitors are sure to appreciate. The Instagram-worthy establishment offers atmosphere and service enough to complement their exceptional food. The look and feel of the restaurant also make it a favorite among those looking for a venue to host all kinds of events.

It is a great place to have wine and good food that makes waiting for a table more than worth it. The legions of loyal diners are testament enough to the restaurant’s elevated status in the community. The restaurant also offers gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly options and even allows pets within the premises.

Top 5 Hotels

1. Best Western Plus Mill Creek Inn

For a place to stay during your Salem vacation, consider a night at the affordable but luxurious Best Western Plus Mill Creek Inn. The hotel is situated near enough the major highways that guests have easy access to all the city’s major offerings. The amenities are also complete with a pool, a fitness center, and high-speed wifi.

Kids can also stay for free and parking and breakfast come free of charge too. Guests are also very fond of the accommodating staff that tailors their service to the desires of each of the guests. Many also swear that the hotel has cracked the code in running a hotel during the pandemic.

2. Hampton Inn & Suites Salem

As is the case with most cities, the Hampton hotel is synonymous with luxury at a budget price. The amenities the extensive establishment offers are certainly no joke. A pool and fitness center offer families and fitness-minded individuals the chance to have fun or stay in shape. The internet is available in all the rooms and there are business centers available for those traveling for work.

Rooms also come with all the modern conveniences that are standard for the industry. The hotel also offers free breakfasts, parking, and a taxi service ready to take you around Salem.

3. The Grand Hotel in Salem

For the most Salem experience one can have in their Salem vacation, The Grand Hotel is certainly one of the most opulent and historically significant hotels in the city. The recently renovated hotel offers 192 rooms of luxury and comfort. They also hold the distinction of offering the most spacious rooms in the city as well.

The establishment also offers airport transportation and is closely related to several shops, boutiques, restaurants, and major thoroughfares. The entire place is 100% smoke-free and has all the modern conveniences to go with its extensive list of amenities.

4. La Quinta by Wyndham Salem

No Salem vacation is complete without visiting the Capitol or a trip to the lively downtown area. For unbridled access to the very heart of the city, consider a stay at the La Quinta by Wyndham Salem.

The hotel boasts an indoor pool, fitness center, and business center – all with high-speed wifi connections. On top of that, the place is also perfect for hosting conventions and events. Rooms are furnished with only the finest appliances and furniture a traveler can ask for, and their Whirlpool Tub Suites are famous among regulars.

Near the hotel is also the Bush House Park, the Salem Armory, The Salem Conference Center, and the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

5. Phoenix Inn Suites Salem

Homey and inviting is the name of the game for the Phoenix Inn Suites and many say that a Salem vacation should be just that. 87 spacious rooms are served on by extremely helpful staff who are always willing to make your stay as comfortable as possible. On top of that, the amenities include a fairly-sized swimming pool, a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, and a business center with an internet connection.

The establishment is pet-friendly and the rooms come with all the modern conveniences like flat-screen TVs, microwave, and air-conditioning. For an affordable yet comfy springboard to stay in during a Salem vacation, this hotel comes highly recommended.  You should especially visit since they hired a Handyman Salem Oregon to keep the place running smoothly.

Top 5 Historical Sites

1. Astoria Column

When on a Salem Vacation, consider visiting the 125-foot column known as the Astoria Column. It sits at the top of Coxcomb Hill and gets its name because it overlooks the scenic area of Astoria. The beacon and monument offer tourists to enter and climb up to the top although the recent pandemic has closed this portion off to the public.

The site is only an hour away from the city.

2. Salem’s Riverfront Carousel

This beautifully handcrafted carousel is a historic landmark at the heart of downtown Salem that is worth visiting during your next Salem vacation. The family-friendly option is also a non-profit organization that seeks to use the money earned from the carousel to fund donations into community improvement.

The place also offers people the chance to rent the venue for parties. Its proximity to the park also offers a lot of leisure opportunities too. If you are a traveling family, consider stopping by for a place the kids would love. Otherwise, still consider visiting the site during your Salem vacation to contribute to their worthy cause.

3. Bush’s Pasture Park

The scenic park is over 90 acres large and is a great place to get a feel of the daily activities of life during your Salem vacation. Oak trees litter the park and picnic areas and playgrounds allow for a lot of family fun.

Bush’s Pasture Park is a center of many outdoor activities in Salem and also offers some historical site-seeing too. For instance, the park is home to Oregon’s oldest greenhouse conservatory. Nearby is the famous Bush House Museum – a classic Victorian home will all the original fixtures meticulously preserved for viewers to get a blast from the past.


4. Oregon State Capitol

Though many states and major cities boast capitol buildings, the Oregon State Capitol building residing in the capital of the state is certainly a must-see during any Salem vacation. The building’s architecture harkens back to classical Greek fashion and the rotunda is topped with a statue of a gold leaf – a symbol for the state’s first settlers.

Inside, visitors are confronted with murals and artworks of the state’s colorful history and a surrounding area is a common place for strolling, jogging, and picnics.

5. Deepwood Museums and Gardens

The classical victorian mansion turned museum offers more than just a look at the state’s past – it allows you to live in it. The house offers a picture of what life was like centuries ago and is often the host of many historical community events. The nature around it also allows for some great pictures and many take great pleasure in simply strolling on the grounds or checking out the greenhouse.

The gardens are also wonderful for having a look into Salem’s native plants and other such exotic botanical wonders. It is also a frequent venue for many weddings due to its beautiful design and layout. Otherwise, the gardens are usually open for all to enjoy and partake in the natural and historical wonders of Salem.

Some Reminders

Many of the places mentioned on this list of Salem vacation attractions have implemented measures to counteract the spread of the COVID-19 Virus and, thus, might not be completely accessible to the majority of visitors. Always call ahead of time to ensure viability and safety. Be sure to stay away from any zones deemed to be high risk by public health officials too.

Making a reservation is not only a safe way to see sights, it is also the most practical since many of the landmarks, hotels, and restaurants are frequented by many travelers – especially during peak season.

It is also a good idea to plan your itinerary to avoid long waiting times and confusion once you’re in the middle of a Salem vacation. Knowing where you want to go will allow you to find the fastest and most convenient means of transport. It also lets you book a hotel that’s close enough to all the places that make everything much less of a hassle.

In Conclusion

A Salem vacation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must not be passed up. The city is beautiful and holds much significance for the state and for history itself. Despite being the capital of the state of Oregon, it makes sure to maintain its quaint and old-timey feel which keeps visitors coming back for more.

All that considered, we certainly hope that this article was helpful to you in planning a Salem vacation in the near future.